Technology told me today that it’s Ashley Bethard’s birthday, and since I’ve been saving this vouch for the past few days, it seems particularly apropos to post it today.
Bethard appears in this month’s issue of PANK with a story that will pull your lungs right out of your body. I don’t want to say much more about it, but just let the story do its thing to you. Here’s an excerpt:
When she was 12 she played a game of wolf pack with her cousins and their friends in the woods behind her uncle’s house. They split into two teams and raced through the trees, trying to attack their opponents and avoid being tackled. She ran too far and turned around, coming face to face with an older boy from the other team. He snarled at her, hands raised into claws, and began to run at her. She wanted to run but the open space of the wood seemed to vanish like one last sucking breath, and she stood paralyzed with fear and excitement.
He rushed at her, knocking her down, still playing wolf as he snuffled into her neck, her hair, his hands grasping at her waist, her ass. She tried twisting away, pushing at his bony boy chest. When he finally let her up, he growled again. You better run, he said.