Short Stories Countdown Nov 23, 2010 12:12:13 GMT -5
Post by callipygias on Nov 23, 2010 12:12:13 GMT -5
River of Names
Suicide, nightmarish abuse, murder, incestuous child-rape. This is one disturbing story. More so for the brutally dark humor Allison uses. "Almost always, we were raped, my cousins and I. That was some kind of joke too. What's a South Carolina virgin? 'At's a ten-year-old can run fast."
River of Names' present is set in the narrator's bed, where she lays with her lover, Jesse, who tells her idyllic stories from her own childhood, of which the narrator says, "I listen with my mouth open, not believing but wanting, aching for the fairy tale she thinks is everyone's life." Here's an illustration of the two by Ashley Dumonchelle.
But most of the story is filled with impressions and fragments from her horrific childhood. Many of her relatives' stories are summed up in short paragraphs: James went blind. One of the uncles got him in the face with home brewed alcohol.
Some take a little more space, like this sickening one:
My Uncle Matthew used to beat my Aunt Raylene. The twins, Mark and Luke, swore to stop him, pulled him out in the yard one time, throwing him between them like a loose bag of grain. Uncle Matthew screamed like a pig coming up for slaughter. ...Little Bo came running out of the house, off the porch, feet first into his daddy's arms. Uncle Matthew started swinging him like a scythe, going after the bigger boys, Bo's head thudding their shoulders, their hips. Afterward, Bo crawled around in the dirt, the blood running out of his ears and his tongue hanging out of his mouth.
From the opening paragraph, where children discover their 8-year-old cousin's body swinging from the rafters in the barn, "his face as black as his shoes," all the way through, a real horror story.