What would make a person lie about having cancer? Why would someone wish that on herself?
Beautiful Dead Thing is about all that. It’s coming out in Witness this October or so and is featured in my new manuscript (one of two) with the working title “Stranger in the Dream House.”
Here’s the opening.
Beautiful Dead Thing
She found the deer skull in the shallow brook in the woods where she used to take the dogs back when she had dogs. At first it revealed itself to her as something else, a stone broken into the shape of a face, a thing worth taking a second glance at and that’s all, but then as she moved closer the fake face—the face of a man—became the real face of an animal looking up at her from the water. She didn’t hesitate. She jumped from the footbridge, moved closer and bent down. The water was cold and flecked with snow and she had to strain to free the skull from the mud. The spine rose in a long sinewy line, like the root of a difficult turnip, ending in a cluster of spiked bone. She let it drape between her hands and it reminded her of everything all at once—a broken machine, a weapon, a puzzle—except for the thing it used to be. Her shoes were soaked and she had a two mile walk back to the car, but she didn’t feel stupid in the least. The simple fact that others had noticed this grotesque treasure but decided to leave it alone did not occur to her until later. No, she was the first to see, nobody else, and how special was that?
That’s what made her call Peter. Why else but to tell this story?