HANDFUL OF DUST
J. T. MARIE
Rating: 2 Cups
Seventeen-year-old Sara is a reader with a wild imagination. She observes her brother and his friend, Harris, avoiding work by neglecting Jon’s father’s charge to find the family’s mower. Sara describes the neighborhood as if it were a malevolent metaphoric map. This ominous scene makes the reader feel something terrible is about to happen.
Their father has a bad temper, and the family, including Sara’s younger sister, seem afraid of him. That could be why they are less afraid of a strange neighbor, “Homer,” named by their mother.
Jon and Harris wander the neighborhood, a rural lane-like community. Homer lives in a broken down house reminiscent of the crooked man/crooked house jingle from childhood. Ignoring all foreshadowed horror signs, Sara chooses to walk to work rather than drive.
The story in this short story is missing. It might be implied, but it never comes to fruition. There are story arcs, but they are not pursued. For a writer of Ms. Marie’s caliber, this is a disappointing work. It leaves unanswered questions: Is Homer stalking Sara? Is she simply an imaginative teen who likes to tease? Is her brother Jon a ne’er-do-well or an avoider of confrontation? The writer backs away from pedophilia, horror, child abuse and adventure that her own publishing press promises with its trademarked name: Queerteen Press. Now that is queer.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More