Mouth (Living Hole in the Ground Horror)


Did I ever think I’d read a monster story, about a hole in the ground, with layers of teeth that had different purposes, a mind of its own, and could communicate with his people by rumbling the ground? If you’d have asked me before I read this, the answer would’ve been most definitely not. Monster stories haven’t always been for me, I’ve often found them too unbelievably stupid (sorry monster fans) and even though I enjoy a paranormal book and film or ten, monsters just…never did it for me. Rusty finds himself in charge of a great piece of property left to him by a stranger he knew as Wayne. Wayne also told him he had a pet that needed a feeding once a day, and a special treat once a week, called Mouth. And he is most definitely that. This story naturally progresses in a way that flows well. Rusty has to feed Mouth, and in doing so that means buying food. Mice to be exact. And when Cashier Abigail doesn’t believe he’s feeding a huge snake with the quantity he buys, she ends up following him, meeting Mouth, and in turn, creating a kind of cliché “chalk and cheese” friendship. But what I liked about this is Abigail isn’t always likeable, she’s frustrating to read sometimes, and that makes the journey with Rusty seem believable.


“He watched as the head of the rodent disappeared deeper into the small opening. That’s when he got his first look at it. The small hole in the ground had teeth. And after fully engulfing the rabbit, the mouth stretched a tad bit wider. William was perplexed— It was a goddamn mouth. Monstrous teeth in the ground, right there, smack dab in the middle of one of his forgotten acres. And we’re not talking about missing human or animal teeth: the ground had an actual mouth with two visible rows of teeth.”


Throughout the book there are illustrations dotted at the end of some chapters, and although I tend to have my own ideas on what characters or scenes look like, this gave me the image that the author imagined. Some chapters featured backgrounds on characters, without a lead up, and some had a natural progression from the story with a character relating their tale. I particularly liked the scene of the secret room, and the VHS that Wayne left for Rusty. Then you have the Mouth POV chapters; as a non-speaking character he still has thoughts, feels, and tries to communicate. Is it believable that a stranger would just walk in, find a endless hole with teeth that can communicate and just kind deal with it ? Probably not. But it works so well, and it’s so well written that even though this is an unbelievable story, it didn’t feel like it. I loved the idea of Mouth and the journey Abigail and Rusty take to find out his “origins”, which leads them all beyond their pasts. I’d genuinely love to read more stories about Mouth, perhaps a true origin on how and what he is, or even a continuation if possible. I feel kind of attached to a hole in the ground with endless rows of teeth, and I’m not afraid to admit it.


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Written by Arianne, Sovereign Deity of the Damned

Mouth (2024)
Joshua Hall
Tenebrous Press
5 / 5