The new Sirenia Digest
this month has an exceptionally good story from Caitlin R. Kiernan called "Virginia Story." Featuring two characters on a long, lonely night drive in the rain, it works like an old fashioned ghost story while also reminding me a bit of the film noir
and Caitlin's own The Drowning Girl
A literature professor named Meg is driving home to New York from Alabama when she picks up a hitchhiker, a mysterious young woman with a curious physical abnormality. The story that follows is subtle and very effective as Caitlin combines the present tension from Meg's anxiety about dangerous road conditions with the naturally developed cues of character development and the weirdness of the story the hitchhiker tells. There's an effective reference to the biblical story of Lot and how he offered his daughters to be raped, a story actually in Genesis though, unlike a very similar story in Judges 19, no rape occurs thanks to the presence of a couple angels (Milton references both stories in Book I of Paradise Lost
). "Virginia Story" makes one of the most effective uses of werewolves I've ever seen in fiction, too. A very nice story.Twitter Sonnet #1095A tiny shield sufficed for flattened pop.
A bottle thrown would spin and spill a tale.
Along the gaucho line the strange'd stop.
In heaven, salmon dwarf the biggest whale.
We bought a whistle shaped to break a world.
In ev'ry fence a smil'ing goat's asleep.
And further than a horse the lamb was hurled.
To land in peace upon a giant sheep.
A warning hat obscured departs to book.
A waiting list approached the island late.
Throughout the castle grins whereso you look.
The table's set for sketches off the slate.
A goblin stood for verdant visions past.
The wind's a canny sculptor first and last.