Short Story Review: “Pushing Back” by J. C. Hemphill

3 of 5 stars.

Detective stories are common enough–and this one opens on an interrogation room just to press the theme, but this vignette gives the perp’s POV. Sikowitz is innocent, which clearly the detective does not belief.

This is a horror story, as it would be for anyone stumbling across a dead body and a scene that defies easy description.

“So how ’bout the blood on your hands? Was that unwelcome, too?”

“Of course. That wasn’t . . ”

Sikowitz couldn’t finish. Not with the pain expanding in his abdomen. It came out of nowhere and made him forget the accusing stare coming from the opposite side of the table . . . He shut his eyes, willing the pain away.

“Uh-huh. That doesn’t explain the bloody hands. But lemme guess. You were trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

In this very brief vignette, Sikowitz’ composure erodes as rapidly as his health, and he starts spilling his story as quickly as his body will allow: there was his friend’s dead, cold body . . . and yet movement . . . and sudden things bursting from the corpse like the dinner scene in Alien . . .

This tale appears in Whispers from the Abyss edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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