This October boasts five Tuesdays—the day we release our regular issues—and we’re getting all freaked out at Atticus Review with a special “Halloween Fiction” edition. Four chilling stories should get you in the seasonal mood, beginning with Ryan Pasquale’s twisted and violent piece, “Static.” Pasquale’s story, which reads like a dark, middle school fantasy, creates the insular vacuum of a family taken hostage. The story’s realism reminds us that all our lives exist on the verge of exploding. “Static” features a compelling, brief relationship between the narrator and a killer, some funny dialogue despite the horror, and a tight single-scene construction (conforms to the Three Unities of ancient Greek theater!).
“In the Land That Knows,” by Lillie Rose Ryan follows the day of a grieving young woman in her early thirties. Ryan brings to life the tragic welcoming of a bar during the daytime—the dialogue is spot-on—before taking an unexpected twist. Her tough voice, often lean and direct, veers into surprising bursts of lyricism.
Ryan P. Kennedy locates his story, “New Guy Brings a Hatchet to the Office,” in the production offices of Johnson and Johnson’s Band-Aid brand. The ironic setting is funny and still convincing, one of the contrasts that set up the story: the crazy, young new guy vs. the older, bland office workers he joins, the vulnerability of an infant vs. the violent world. Kennedy’s take on office psychology and the often-innocent boredom of white collar workers feels fresh, as does his subtle depiction of the deep fears experienced by parents of the very young.
The horror of a decomposing relationship and a woman consumed by murderous thoughts lie at the center of Alayssa Sarnovsky’s “Rot.” The embedded metaphor of a decaying tomato calls to mind our soft, pulpy hearts, the thin skin stretched over our guilt and regret. Sarnovsky’s imagery and charged language imbue the piece with a satisfyingly sticky, spooky bitterness.
Photo By: DeuxXFlorida