I read this story from Nalo Hopkinson’s collection Skin Folk (2001) a long time ago, and though I don’t remember all the details as well as I would like to, it has stayed with me. The protagonist, Jacky, is a PhD student who lives with her grandmother. Her story is interspersed with the myth of the soucouyant, a vampire-like figure who leaves her skin at night to go and suck the life spirit from children, and a recurring character in Caribbean literature, from Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘My Mother’ (1983) and Edwidge Danticat’s ‘Nineteen-Thirty Seven’ (1995) to David Chariandy’s Soucouyant (2007).
First published in Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, Warner, 2000. Collected in Skin Folk, Aspect, 2001