You Better Run: Bethard at PANK

20 Apr

[CONTRIBUTOR’S UPDATE: Sometimes two Vouchers really dig the same story, as you can see. Customarily, we wouldn’t post about the same story within 24 hours, if at all. However, in the spirit of 1. Birthdays 2. Happy coincidences (Christopher and I both drafted these  Vouches for the same story without consulting each other or talking about it) 3.  and Fridays… we’re going to let it fly. You really should read this story! ]

We are all monsters, no matter how good we try to be. Great stories make you face this, they grab you by the back of the head and make you look the worst in the eye. Ashley Bethard’s Salty Wounds, from the latest online issue of PANK, does this.

It shows us how we hurt ourselves:

She pretended for a second that the grains of salt were not grains at all. That they were blades instead. But blades took courage, and courage was just another word in a long list of things that she lacked…

We hurt each other:

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

We hurt the world:

Summer had ended early that year, choked off by a vicious frost that forced the trees bare. On land she saw them standing naked, their limbs creeping across the brightness of a full white moon like ominous black lace, set to strangle. 

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