Short Story Review: “Street Worm” by Nisi Shawl

3 of 5 stars.

Teenage coming-of-age stories mesh well with tales of superpowers and magic. The already anxious themes of finding oneself, trusting one’s instincts, and finding one’s independence from parents and other adults get ramped up as supernatural abilities confront larger than normal life obstacles.

Brit runs from her house and parents into the dark streets of Seattle when they refuse to believe her visions of nests of worms clinging to the sides of buildings and fixtures throughout the city. They call her “troubled” and want her to see a therapist. She just wants to be trusted, and to be told she’s not crazy.

Not successful in securing a bed in a hostel for the night, Brit finds refuge in a restaurant but is soon joined by an older overweight man. He claims she has magic abilities, and a lasting aura that he’s able to follow. She ditches him at the first opportunity …

Not that that works when one leaves a trailing aura, a shining. But he cannot see what she can. Magic realizes differently in different people. She must be the one to figure out the worms …

This tale appears in Street Magicks edited by Paula Guran. I received this new anthology from Netgalley. The short story was originally published in Streets of Shadows [Alliteration Ink, 2014].
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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