This first story in this collection has a crisp, clean, traditional style.
It unnerved me first with this passage:
“She was about 5 when she first experienced it. Sleeping on the bottom bunk, her older sister snoring on top. A thin naked woman had settled on her chest, a coiled weight, loose skin slopping over her ribs into the floor. Wild confusion of hair trembling in the air like shock lines around a comic strip character’s head. A stunningly beautiful face. Mask of someone else’s mask. All that hair whipping and hissing with blind aggression.”
Yet it also contains haunted frames of contemporary malaise:
“All of her actions were familiar, like an old videotape recorded over long forgotten shows, fleeting images of the original programming peaking through.”
Although the style is orderly, the ambiguous ending and the desolately lonely madness of the atmosphere recalled Robert Aickman…
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