Night Beast

Night Beast

by Ruth Joffre

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802128089
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ruth Joffre is the author of Night Beast. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, she graduated with honors from Cornell University and earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review , Mid-American Review , Masters Review , Hayden's Ferry Review , Nashville Review , and Prairie Schooner , among others. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches writing and literature at the Hugo House.

Read an Excerpt

One of the Lies I Tell My Children (#5)

If they do not clean their room, pretty soon it will be declared a health hazard and systems will be installed in and around the area to prevent the spread of slime mold from the air conditioner to the attic. In the mornings when they get dressed for school my children will have to pass through a decontamination chamber, where I will scrub them and disinfect them, and where they will ask, in their weary voices, “Is this really necessary? The slime mold is our friend.” At night, its black, iridescent fingers will feel around the surfaces of the room, eventually creeping its way onto their pillows and their sheets, and they will encourage it with the sugar water and the potato chips they deliberately smear over their faces. In the beginning, the slime mold will be wary of the offer and retreat every morning when the alarm goes off and I come knocking on their door; then gradually it will grow comfortable with the arrangement and grow stalks inside their nostrils, which will be jellied and metallic, giving the appearance of nose rings or other piercings. When summer arrives the children will have no reason to go outside and will hide in their room, feeding their new mold pet, giving it swathes and patches of their flesh for it to stretch out and grow spores. One day, the mold will take over, and what were once children will become host beds for the oozing, aromatic fungus creeping up between their toes; and because I love them and know how much they love to be dirty I will hook them up to saline drips with glucose and allow the mushrooms to grow in the recesses of their body. It will be a slow process, occurring gradually over weeks and months, and necessitating a great deal of patience and understanding from me. Eventually, when school starts, my children will not be able to get out of bed, so I will stand over them, wishing I could see their hair under all the fungus. I will reach my hand out to stroke them, and in their strange unicellular way the slime molds will reach back, like flowers to the sun.

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