I am writing this seconds after finishing the short story If God Were a Wound by Eric LaRocca, recently published in the horror anthology Shattered and Splintered.
There aren’t many short story first liners that grab you by the face demanding your attention. They’re few and far between. Sometimes, I feel terrible when I attempt to read a short story and just can’t get past the first few lines because if that’s the case, I am throwing in the towel and moving on. If God Were a Wound didn’t just grab my face, it punched me in the gut and forced me to read on with pleasure.
And the first line is, “If God were a wound, I think more people might be inclined to believe in Him.”
Whether or not you believe in God is besides the point. This short story doesn’t just have something to say, it needs the world to hear it and makes the world want to hear it. As a writer myself, the crafting of a short story is as difficult to formulate as a full blown novel. I was mesmerized by LaRocca’s poetic prose, story arc (yes, there are arcs in shorts,) twists, build up, and ultimately an end that makes the reader ponder afterward for quite some time. I could feel LaRocca’s vulnerability and when a writer accomplishes that, well I’d say they have accomplished as a writer.
This story is the type that should be read in classrooms, analyzed and discussed. So, dear reader, I will leave you with this excerpt from If God Were a Wound:
“Bad news?” he asks.
I don’t know how to answer. It’s not necessarily bad news. At least, not in the way most people might consider bad news, or take it for that matter. Instead, it seems more appropriate to classify it as “strange news.”
Believe me, you’ll want to find out what this “strange news” is, so help me God.
I am Sterp. I write dark fiction and have a very unhealthy obsession with disturbing narratives. I am the author of The Cult Called Freedom House: Sophia Rey Book One. My short story The Lost Tea Cup is in Issue 26 of The Literary Hatchet. I am also a painter.
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