A Story: "At the Edge of the Forest"


Over at my website-website, I've posted a new story, "At the Edge of the Forest". It's about a man with a disfigured face who has certain connections to death, and maybe the dead. It's not quite a horror story, though — more a strange story, unsettling at times, with its development influenced by some Buddhist material I was reading at the time I wrote it.

The story is not exactly new, as I began writing it two years ago at least, and though it did prove quite difficult to wrangle into shape, I finished it a while back. I sent it out to some literary journals, but, unsurprisingly, it wasn't to their taste. At a bit over 7,000 words, it's too long for most such places, and it's too contemplative for the genre market. So, like "A Suicide Gun" last year, it really only makes sense to publish the story myself. This lets me release it under a Creative Commons license, too, which I prefer. And as a bonus, I created an audio file where I read the story, which you'll see linked at the top.

Here's the beginning, to give you a taste:

Throughout the day after the funeral, while puttering around the shop, Bryan caught himself thinking of Julia, her memory like a glint at the edge of his sight. He remembered their constant conversations, her insatiable curiosity, her devotion to both him and Cameron, an odd couple she had herself created through a combination of insight and force of will. She had insisted on bringing Cameron to the shop to meet Bryan, even though Bryan told her not to, that he would renounce his friendship with her immediately, that he was serious, he really, truly, absolutely did not want to meet this man, because he had understood what she was trying to do from the moment she mentioned her friend who was legally blind but not blind blind, who lived with his mother even though he was only a few years younger than Bryan, who was a wonderful potter and an artistic soul and a good conversationalist and everybody loved him instantly and she knew they’d both be interested in each other. “Stop trying to set me up,” Bryan had said to her, and she looked stunned. “I don’t even know,” she said, “if he goes that way.” (Cameron laughed at that later. He and Julia had known each other since high school. She was the first person he came out to.)

 “Every freak needs a blind lover, is that what you’re thinking?”

“No,” Julia said. She looked away. She walked over to an oak table with a set of mid-20th-century cookbooks on it. She lifted the cover of one of the books without looking at it, her eyes drifting to a wall display of old gas station signs. She came back to the counter. “Okay, I’ll be honest. I think he’ll be intrigued by your face, your skull. I think he’ll want to touch it. And that’s good. He’s very tactile. It’s not like a freakshow thing, not like — like, you know…”

“Not like a fetish?”

Continue reading at this link.