I love coming-of-age stories, and if something weird is happening in them, all the better. This is a very short story, that begins with a gang of pre-pubescent girls making calls to an unknown entity from a phone box. “They were ten, flat-chested in bathing suits. Secrets smooth as sea glass.” The descriptions are spot on, we are right there with the giggling girls, playing pranks and laughing about nothing. Then, as they grow and drift, we veer into ever more surreal territory, and the language with it, until the girls are “fleshless, formless, their hearts flung open.” I love the swift transformations here, and how much this story achieves in so little space.
first published in American Short Fiction, 2017, collected in Dead Girls and Other Stories, Dzanc Books 2017, and available to read online here