David Hayden’s stories are like silences set in a velvet background, like jewels in a display case. This one is chilling, yet there is a strange pull between relaxation and aggression as someone sees what might be their violent actions as being the work of someone else, or something else. It’s like a compressed slasher road novel, but truly it doesn’t quite fit any genre, and that’s partly why I like it.
I was once told that to write a good short story you must first create an atmosphere that leads the narrative, and this, for me, is a prime example. It feels a bit like how I experience ASMR, pleasant by way of discomfort.
First published online in Granta, October 2018, and available to read here