Horror Blog: “The Roaches”


Thomas M. Disch’s “The Roaches” is a darkly humorous tale that reminds me of the movie Willard. The story is about Marcia Kenwell, who has recently arrived in New York to seek out a new job, but unfortunately has to settle for a series of dead end jobs while living in a cockroach-infested apartment. Marcia has an intense phobia of roaches, but also shares a psychic bond with the creatures and is able to command them to do her bidding.

Disch’s plain and simple use of language is effective in drawing the reader into the low-rent apartments of New York, where all sorts of nasty bugs lurk between the cracks and at the back of a dark cabinet. Marcia is painted as a very flawed person, whose focus on cleanliness seems to alienate her from others. She dismisses her neighbors as loud and filthy – more or less as human cockroaches.

The ending is ambiguous, but it’s implied that Marcia’s power has caused her to descend into insanity. I recommend checking this one out.

— Mike Malan, Blogger

Editor’s Note: Mike Malan recently graduated from Lewis University with a degree in English with a sub-speciality in Creative Writing. Mike especially enjoys writing gothic, Poe and all things that chill your bones. He is a dark writer but you can find him dabbling in politics. He is also interested in the editing process and hopes that you will enjoy his work.