Nu Yang’s Duet was very well received by the judges of the Story Quest Short Story Contest, hence its shortlisting. They were particularly impressed with the dark, psychological overtones of the story, and the hard edged narrative style. GH
My brother came home with a shotgun in one hand and a bag of salt and vinegar chips in the other.
Jason didn’t say anything as he leaned against the wall outside our motel room. That was our home. Room 11. It had been for almost a week now.
I glanced at the gun and waited for him to speak.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay in the room until I got back?” He kept his attention on the parking lot. Only a handful of cars looked back at him including the black SUV we had picked up from a grocery store parking lot two states back last month.
“I hate being cooped up all day.” I scratched my sticky nose. “It’s so damn hot.”
“Watch your mouth.” Jason turned his hardened gaze to my face. “Girls shouldn’t talk like that.”
Horror is about making the reader uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, whether it is with the sledgehammer of shock, or the subtle descriptive form that creeps the reader out as the narrative progresses. Nu Yang does the latter very well indeed, and we are pleased to have her return to SQ Mag in this story about a supernatural event that is closely tied with one of the most tumultuous events in US history in this century. GH
The note came on a Monday.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I would like to meet with you sometime this week to discuss Maribel’s behavior in class. Please contact me at the school at your earliest convenience.
Sincerely, Mrs. Allen
When Ryan asked his daughter what her fifth grade teacher wanted to speak about, Maribel shrugged. “I think it might be about this history report I did.” She was huddled over her homework at the dining table. “She told me to see her after class when I turned it in.”
“What did she tell you?” Ryan asked.
“Just that she didn’t like what I wrote.” Maribel chewed on her bottom lip. Her green eyes stayed downcast.
Ryan leaned against the kitchen counter. “Do you have the report with you?”