Pseudopod 189: Gretel


by Camille Alexa

He was tall and quiet, and thinner even than Gretel. Cigarette burn scars covered one cheek, and he was blind in his left eye from an especially bad night with his father. Gretel thought he was beautiful.

You’re beautiful, he told her later that night, after her stepmother had driven away and Brykerwoods orderlies had taken Gretel’s leather jacket and the contents of her pockets… but not the lipstick tube they hadn’t found in her bra. After she’d found him, like an uncharted territory, or an undiscovered planet, sitting on the dirty white linoleum next to a vacant chair in an empty TV room without a television. After she’d had handed him one hit of acid and placed the other under her tongue. You’re beautiful.

I’m not, she said. My front teeth jut like fallen tombstones. My nose is the size of a bus and my hair is like strips of rotting bacon and my eyes are small and brown as rabbit turds. You must be tripping.

And he said, I am, but that’s not why I like you.

About the Author

Camille Alexa

Camille Alexa, Alex C. Renwick, Alexandra Renwick, and Zandra Renwick are all mashup pen names of author Alexandra Camille Renwick. Award-nominated collection PUSH OF THE SKY (written as Camille Alexa) received a starred review in Publishers Weeklyand was an official reading selection of the Powell’s Books SF Book Club. More information and a list of published short fiction at

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About the Narrator

Claudia Smith

Claudia Smith is a video game translator who reads (and narrates) for fun. She was introduced to Pseudopod by her old university friend, Helen Keeble, and highly recommends reading her two books, Fang Girl and No Angel – especially if, as well as being a fan of the horror genre, you also enjoy a bit of light-hearted teen vampire romance parody.

Find more by Claudia Smith