Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"The Sound That Grief Makes" by Kristi DeMeester :: Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week

"Caleb had been dead for two weeks when I started pretending to be his ghost."

I do love a great opening line!

My Story Recommendation of the Week is for Kristi DeMeester's The Sound That Grief Makes, from the October 2016 issue of The Dark magazine.

In "The Sound That Grief Makes," our narrator's husband has committed suicide. She and her son Hudson are devastated. In a dubious bid to help him deal with his loss, his mother begins lurking outside Hudson's room at night, knowing that he believes the noises she makes are his father's ghost:
Every night, I knocked on his door.

Every night, my son would talk to me from behind that thin wood.

And then I found a worm, Dad. Big as my arm. Swear. And Nathan dared Scott to take a bite of it, and Scott said he would do it if Nathan handed over his entire Punisher comic book collection. Nathan said okay because he thought there was no way Scott would do it. Nathan kept the worm to keep everything fair, and then Scott showed up the next day, and ate the entire thing.

Hudson poured out his life for his dead father, and I sat and listened and understood I would never be able to give him all that he needed. I couldn’t be his father.

Eventually, the knocking would stop. Eventually, I would have to stop haunting my son.
(Since we know who the "ghost" is, this story has no supernatural element. Some would conclude it's not a horror story, but in my view horror fiction does not always require a supernatural element, and this story is a great example.)

Surprisingly, his father's apparent ghostly appearances really seem to help Hudson deal with his grief. But who is going to help Hudson's mother?

"The Sound That Grief Makes" is a simple but sad, moving, and elegantly written piece.

Kristi DeMeester's short fiction has appeared in such markets as Black Static, Apex, Shimmer, and Shock Totem. Her first novel, Beneath, is due out in April 2017.

The Dark is a fairly new on-line horror magazine, which I am digging so far. Look for more SROTWs from this publication.

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