Short Story Review: “My Stalk” by Aaron J. French

2 of 5 stars.

This modern folktale blends Lovecraft with a Jack and the Beanstalk variant replacing the giant with the Sky God and the magic beans with magic dried mushrooms. What it lacks from its fairytale kernel is any sense of hero or quest. It’s merely about beckoning the largely unknown god to who knows what end. The speaker is rather vague on that issue, perhaps due to the influence of fungal spores from his mushroom stalk hijacking his common sense–that would be an interesting development. But I made that part up to fill in gaping holes in this tale.

The narrator visits a witch in the woods who tempts him to take the mushrooms–and to pay everything he had on his person for them to boot. She’s quite the salesperson. He does take them, because he has a vision of a beastly amphibious Sky God when he considers the shrooms. Shrooms will do that to a person. He plants the mushrooms and then watches a colorful fungal stalk grow with the idea that he’s fulfilling his half of the bargain in bridging his place to the Sky God’s realm.

What’s not clear is the motivation to immediately worship and offer servitude to an unknown god.

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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