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Comic Book / And Then Emily Was Gone

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Behave yourself or Bonnie Shaw will take you away.

The Devil hides in corners. Evil festers in the right kind of frame, or door. The right kind of box.

And Then Emily Was Gone is a 2014 horror comic book written by John Lees, with art by Iain Laurie and colors by Megan Wilson. It's been praised as "disturbing and unsettling," "a surreal, waking nightmare," and "a spiral downwards into madness..."

One night, after disgraced former detective Greg Hellinger fails to get a single night of sleep away from the disturbing monsters he sees everywhere, he gets a knock on his door from a young girl named Fiona. Fiona has come to find Hellinger because he was known for finding missing people — and Fiona's best friend Emily has gone missing.

Fiona and Emily are from Merksay, one of the Orkney islands. One day, Emily told Fiona that "Bonnie Shaw" was coming for her. Bonnie Shaw, however, is just a local legend, a bogeyman who makes deals with parents in exchange for their children. He isn't real...or is he?


Hellinger initially doesn't want to take the case, but Fiona convinces him, so together they travel back to Merksay...and all the mysteries and horrors it contains.

And Then Emily Was Gone contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Ending: Fiona burns Emily alive, saying that she is actually a "stock" and not Emily at all. Then she goes back home, where she meets Vincent, who has been hired to kill her. But Fiona still has the knife from Big Carey. The book ends before it's shown if Vincent kills her or the other way around.
  • Circus of Fear: The Circus of the Night, led by Billy Styx. They live on the same isle as Bonnie Shaw.
  • Creepy Child: Fiona, who burns Emily alive when she thinks she's a "stock," a fake.
  • Deal with the Devil: Bonnie Shaw only takes the children of parents who make a deal with him. Emily's mother made a deal to get rid of her husband's sickness.
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  • Eldritch Abomination: Bonnie Shaw. And the parasites.
  • Foreshadowing: In the bar, Mental Jimmy mentions "things called stocks," which replace people unless you put them to fire. At the end, when Emily just wants to go back home, Fiona thinks she's a stock and sets her on fire.
  • The Grotesque: Big Carey of the Circus of the Night.
  • Hellhound: Hellinger dreams about a black dog who warns him (black dogs were considered omens of death). In fact, the last issue is called "Black Dog."
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Bonnie Shaw and the creatures Hellinger sees. And the parasites Emily's dad finds.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Whatever that giant creature was in the meatpacking plant, it kept giving birth to parasites, which were packed up with meat and shipped out to other places.
  • Necessarily Evil: Bonnie Shaw states that he HAS to take someone every time a deal's made with him, or else the universe will collapse.
  • Professional Killer: Vincent Eckland, who was hired by a mysterious person to kill Fiona.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Whatever Emily's father took out from his and his wife's neck might be this.
  • Real After All: Yes, Bonnie Shaw does indeed exist.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: Billy Styx of the Circus of the Night.
  • The Sociopath: Vincent Eckland, who gets sexually excited from killing and takes a job killing a kid (Fiona).
  • Surreal Horror: Iain Laurie's art makes everyone, even the humans, look grotesque and strange.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Bonnie Shaw, as well as all of the monsters Hellinger sees. Subverted, however, in that Hellinger finds out he can actually control the monsters by talking to them.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Emily's father says that nobody should open the box and if they do, they will go insane. Emily's mother opens it anyways.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Did Emily's father actually dig out a parasite from his neck or is he just going insane? Did he really find a conspiracy to place parasites inside everyone or simply lose his mind from the loss of Emily? None of it is ever resolved and the only other person who sees is Emily's mother, who might also be going insane.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Merksay.
  • Urban Legends: Bonnie Shaw is just a legend, right?