Excerpt from "The Hungry Ghost"


Sam did not know she could die. She knew other people could die. Her ex-husband had come close a few times, leaning back in his lawn chair, booze-dazed and heat-dazzled, convulsing in a shuddering seizure she had not imagined his soft body capable of. Peter’s death had been a constant dark shadow at the edges of Sam’s universe; she had dreaded it and anticipated it at the same time. When you were married to an alcoholic that was what you did: you woke up every morning and you asked yourself, “Is he going to drink himself to death today?” She had been so caught up in sick fantasies of his death that Sam never thought about her own death… not in a conscious way, at least. 

Mortality hit Sam like that—in a flash of light on the night she might have been happiest. Through the slick of the rain and a spill of oil, the steering wheel was wrenched from her hands as her car skittered up the hill into the left lane. She tried to bear right but the semi came barreling down.

It was the noise that hung in her mind the longest, after the brilliance of the headlights had faded away. The blare of the semi’s horn—

—and then darkness.


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