‘Above Below’ by Casey Hannan

It was a struggle for me to pick just one of Hannan’s stories. I am in such debt to him as a writer – it was his work that first inspired me to start writing flash fiction. With it, the revelation that the form could be more than just vignette, but could like poetry stand a humming, febrile charge. This story takes place on ‘Ghost Bridge’, with the narrator and the object of their desire, Jack, waiting on a folkloric ghost train to come rushing past. The narrator knows that the reality is that no such train is coming, but uses the time spent waiting to move closer to Jack, thinking of him in the language of food:

‘I’m looking at his face. His skin is rice paper. His veins are overlapping carrot shreds. He’s like a spring roll. I want to close my lips on his neck and inhale. I want to bring those carrots up.’

There’s something both ghostly and slightly disgusting in this image that means it has staying power, as the brain argues over it, troubled like an oyster over a piece of grit. Despite the narrator’s rejection of a haunting, the story itself is haunted by desire, by the sense of a whole town and many sets of tales existing just outside the frame.

(Published online at Dogzplot Fiction)

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