Canaan Falls

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Canaan Falls is a story written by Tsukizubon Saruko and illustrated by wredwrat. It ran in Issue 12 at, and is mirrored at and AO3.


From "When Bobby Leonard returns to Canaan Falls to deal with the haunted house, he also comes back to Pete."

From "Two men, old friends, come together again to face a fear from their childhood."

From "Pete calls his childhood friend Bobby back to Canaan Falls when the haunted house they'd entered as children starts talking to him again. Honestly, this feels like something written by Stephen King. It really does. It's incredible and spooky and heartbreaking and these two have wonderful chemistry."

"There's no such things as real haunted houses. Probably just somebody went in to smoke some grass or Do It one time and scared a cat or something, and told everybody about the scary ghost he saw." I laughed, dutifully, but also for real: it was a relief, to hear Dave dismiss the idea of real haunted houses with such authority. If there was ever going to be a real one, after all, it was the one out on Glentree Road.

Author's Notes[edit]

It will probably be immediately obvious to anyone remotely familiar with the source material that Canaan Falls is intended as a massive (and slightly tongue-in-cheek, given the gay porn) pastiche. For those to whom it isn't, however, I would like to note that the story of course owes a massive creative debt to: the novels of Stephen King, primarily, particularly It and Salem's Lot; the marvelous online multimedia project The Dionaea House; and, to a considerably lesser degree, the film Mysterious Skin and the original novel by Scott Heim. Rest assured that I haven't done any of these sources justice, nor did I ever believe I would.

Geographically speaking, by my allusions and references I've placed Canaan Falls in approximately the same location as Lisbon Falls -- a town in Maine that actually exists. As far as I know, though, the two have absolutely nothing in common, in internal geography or in character. I have probably also taken inexcusable liberties with the special collections and archival section of Bates College. For these sins and others I do heartily apologize.

Finally, I thought I was very clever with character names in this story, and wanted to include notes on wut, exactly, I did thar (feel free to skip this section): Pete and Bobby are the names of two characters from (albeit different sections of) another Stephen King novel, Hearts In Atlantis. Leonard was the last name of a boy I had a mild crush on in eighth grade. Pete's last name -- which I've only just realized never actually came up in the story -- is Blanchard, which was the name of my undergraduate college's campus center. Linda was the name of my best friend in seventh grade -- around the time I would assume Pete and Lin would have met. Neil is the name of one of the two main characters in Mysterious Skin. James is the name of more or less all the men on my mother's side of the family, going back several generations. David is the name of Stephen King's real-life older brother.

...And that's it!

External Reviews[edit]

One of my all time Bang Bang favorites, Canaan Falls is the story of two childhood friends who have spent their lives trying to forget each other and the darkness they found one dusty summer, at the heart of their small town. But now, years later, it seems Canaan Falls hasn't forgotten them.

This short story is nothing if not powerful. Beautifully written and full of terribly realistic characters- Canaan Falls could be your own home town and it will remind you of that time when you knew the dark was full of monsters. Monsters that knew your name.
  • "If Stephen King wrote tender loving man-on-man action".
  • "a really gripping ghost story that isn't really about ghosts"
  • "one I remember especially for the end. The image of the door at the end has haunted me! It is also one that I remember for having older men than I was used to seeing at S2B2. A good chunk of stories there are about younger men, but this story was older guys with a frightening event in their pasts. It's haunting and scary as hell, but also super sexy."