"Bedtime Story" is a simple tale of a young girl huddling in a closet, as an old doll of her mother's named Laura tells a chilling story of evil vultures and goblins. As much fun as the story itself are the audience reactions:
A brown slipper, dog-chewed and ratty, hopped out of the shadows and pressed itself against my side. I felt it trembling, and stroked its nappy surface. "It's all right." My voice sounded loud compared to Laura's creepy whisper. "Sometimes the stories have a happy ending, don't they, Laura?"Tesseracts Seventeen was published in Canada last Fall, but is just hitting American bookshops this month. The Tesseracts anthology series from Edge Publishing highlights Canadian SF/F authors like Rhonda Parrish. Parrish has been publishing since 2006, with emphasis on poetry and flash fiction.
She was silent for a long while, and turned to stare at a spider scuttling its way up the wall. In profile her shadow was strangely flat and misshapen. "Sometimes. Sometimes."
"Bedtime Story" is a wonderfully written story, which challenges adults to remember how magical and frightening the world can appear to a child. Is a child's view of the world around her truly any less real than an adult's? Does it matter?