“In the known history of Tallahassee, nobody had ever been killed by a rhinoceros, and that was going to change.”
I’ll admit I’m an impatient reader these days. I’m looking for stories to delight me with their language, even more so than the story itself. I want each sentence to be like eating popcorn–every kernel a delight to ingest, so you want to keep going to the end. This is why I like Ben Chadwick‘s “True Love and the Giraffe” so much. It’s surprising, it’s fun, it has good humor and is really smart. Though I didn’t know what was going on at every moment, I liked that because I felt like the narrator was driving with confidence, and I was willing to go along with the ride.
I know that the story is a little longer than most pieces posted on Fictionaut, and therefore probably gets less readers because of it. However, it’s worth taking the time for. The situation itself is crazy, and it just keeps getting more and more insane with each twist of the plot. Ben is not afraid to take risks with his plot, and we as readers benefit from it. Good stuff!
“Bicycle Boys” is a Horror/Science Fiction Short-Story that follows the mysterious sightings of a group of boys riding bicycles in Bombay, India, that people are unsure of are actually there. The sightings of the titular characters, creates tension with the residents of Bombay during an intense heatwave in the summer. The suspense paces very well, building up moments of mystery and intrigue, with a climax that is both shocking and well executed.
The first story I faved on this site was “Better Than Chocolate” by the wonderful Jeanne Holtzmann. This story was posted on Fictionaut earlier this year, when Jeannie learned that Night Train was going to be publishing it. I faved it for about 40 reasons, and I’ll get into a couple. The narrator works at a grocery store and is asked (and goes) to visit a co-worker while he’s working his second job as a night watchman. The guy is described thusly: “His dad owns a junkyard. My friends think he’s mean and scary, but they’re a bunch of wusses, and besides, they don’t see him the way I do.” Look how she sets the stage during the narrator’s drive out to see the guy: “Dead leaves blow across the narrow, crumbling pavement like animals running for their lives.” And when the guy sees the narrator, look how Jeannie describes it: “‘You came,’ he says. He smells of weed and beer. He peers out between the diamonds with those eyes, sad and cynical, the color of chocolate and shit.”
I won’t get into any more laudatory phrases or give away the ending, which to me is the kind of heartbreaking I can’t get enough of, the kind that doesn’t try too hard, the kind that smacks you around each time you read it. I love this story and would fave it again if I could.
Fictionaut Faves, a series in which Fictionaut members recommend stories on the site, is edited by Marcelle Heath, a fiction writer, freelance editor, and assistant editor for Luna Park. She lives in Portland, Oregon.