by Brian Hodge
“Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls” was first published April 2010 as a digital short by Darkside Digital, the e-book division of Delirium Books (click link for website). In 2011 it was reprinted in the two premier year’s-best anthologies: THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR Volume 3, edited by Ellen Datlow, and THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR #22, edited by Stephen Jones.
Brian Hodge is the author of 10 novels, and 4 collections of short fiction, drawn from over 100 stories, novelettes, and novellas. His first collection, THE CONVULSION FACTORY, was named by critic Stanley Wiater as one of the 113 best books of modern horror. “As Above, So Below,” the anchor novella of the second collection, FALLING IDOLS, was selected for THE CENTURY’S BEST HORROR anthology, as 1998′s contribution to the top works of the 20th century. His most recent book is the collection PICKING THE BONES, released in 2011 by Cemetery Dance Publications, and he’s gradually releasing his backlist titles in e-book formats, and in a few cases hardcover reissues, so look for those now and throughout the next several months. He lives in Colorado, and is working on his next novel, next collection, and other projects. His website can be found by clicking his name in the byline, and he also blogs at WARRIOR POET.
Your reader this week is the Brian Lieberman, our very own Bdoomed on the forums. Brian is an aspiring game journalist. He blogs at MUSINGS AND RAMBLINGS.
“She seemed not to have heard me even though I knew she had, and I started to feel bad for asking it at all. While at first I’d found her not very nice to look at, I began to wonder if I wasn’t wrong, because now it seemed I’d only been misled by a trick of light and her annoyance. I wondered, too, if she might jump from the window, or lean forward and let herself fall. In that other world three floors down, the neighbors’ house was ringed with square slabs of stone to walk on. Nobody could survive a fall like that.
“I draw,” I told her, volunteering a distraction to save her life. “Want to see?”
I’d sneaked up some old ones, at least, even if I couldn’t make new ones.
“Later, maybe,” she said, and pulled away. Like before, her hand went to the bottom of the window, lingering a few moments, but as she moved back into the room she again left it open.
That night after the lights were out I lay in my bed and imagined her doing the same. I fought to stay awake as long as I could in case there were other songs to hear, or a repeat performance of the first one. Barring that, it seemed possible that she might cry instead, because that’s what I’d done the first night they’d moved me up here, but just before I fell asleep I wondered if the reason I hadn’t heard anything from her was because she was lying in the dark listening for some sound out of me.”