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What Are You Afraid Of?

Michael Hyde

Publication Year: 2005

Powerful and haunting, the ten stories of this debut collection imagine a world where dreams and reality merge, often with dangerous consequences. Michael Hyde explores the relationships between illusion and reality, delusion and clarity, as his characters come to realize that the revelations they wholeheartedly pursue are often not the ones that await them and will move them. A teenage girl obsessed with the death of a classmate hopes to become the killer's next victim, a wayward graveyard attendant punishes the dead for his punishments in life, and a ghostly vision in a garden shed offers a catalyst for one woman's change. "Michael Hyde’s stories are strangely satisfying and satisfyingly strange. They combine the gothic sensibility of Flannery O’Connor and the restrained prose of Raymond Carver. These are tales of love-in-extremis. They should be taken as a tonic before bedtime, to stir up our dreams and awaken our compassion."—Sharon Oard Warner, judge, author of Learning to Dance and Deep in the Heart

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Half title

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Previous Winners of the Katherine Anne Porter prize

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Title page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I am indebted to many whose wisdom, nourishment, and support contributed to these stories and my life with them: Andy Augusto, Diana Cavallo, Michael Cunningham, Karen DeVinney, Thea Diamond, Wesley Gibson, Mary Gordon, Maureen Howard, Christie Hyde, Gary Hyde, ...

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her hollywood

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pp. 1-14

The girl was Mary Alice Bunt and they found her by the river. My brother Wade and I thought we’d see the print her body made but rain came and the river jumped its banks before we could find the spot. It’s a good thing the search party found her when they did. ...

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people’s choice

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pp. 15-37

One week before the fair, the year the locusts came thick and heavy and drummed their anthem all around Sinking Springs, Enid woke during the night with a start and sat straight up in bed. She was startled by the full sound that came spreading through the open window. ...

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the clay is vile

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pp. 38-60

If once, a thousand times. John quickens passing that eyesore. He’s not afraid, not particularly afraid, yet the sight of the house speeds his heart, makes him think of the house, the burden of it, nothing but. History, warred and yet unsettled, speaks everywhere, from the horribly orange tin roof ...

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what is now proved was once only imagined

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pp. 61-80

The backyard was lit with mist and moon and the puckering glow from faraway porch-lamps brought Miriam’s anger further forward as she recalled the glare of the Bingo Bazaar and losing to Ed when she was just one number away: G54. He hadn’t understood why she’d been so mad. ...

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pp. 81-98

Peet Hillegass had been thinking all morning about too much of a good thing being poison, so he decided to try it. In the supply shed behind the church, he took one white industrial-sized bucket, filled it from the tap, and emptied an entire box of Miracle-Gro. ...

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pp. 99-116

He remembered seeing it first a few days before, a vague gray mass moving across the sky with the bloom and pulse of a jellyfish until it paused and fell gently into place over the house, as if it meant to stay, for a while. When he’d looked more closely, he could make out individual fibers, rising and falling in the thin breezes ...

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everything valuable and portable

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pp. 117-129

They decided to keep the book hidden, for safekeeping. Joan was eleven, the oldest, and suggested they hide it in her room, behind the guinea pig’s aquarium. The others protested, accusing Joan of trying to keep it for herself. William suggested that they put it someplace where they could all enjoy it and share. ...

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what are you afraid of?

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pp. 130-148

The house in which Claire’s parents lived was not a house but a hunting lodge. It sat among trees, smoke streamed from a chimney. It made you think of fairy tales, of grandmothers consumed in their beds by wolves. ...

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pp. 149-155

My father doesn’t want to watch, so he stays on the screened-in porch with his book of word-finds. Sue and I wait for him to settle before starting with the big dresser bureau. The top drawer holds nylons, lingerie, delicate items rolled into balls. My sister and I take them out, unfold them, unball them, ...

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life among the bulrushes

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pp. 156-172

The one named April is the first to go. Daniel Peale collects the brown caterpillars that have slipped from their spidery tents in the wild-cherry trees and gives them names of people he knows and doesn’t particularly like—names belonging to the smiling schoolmates of his ninth-grade class, names of distant relations, names of TV stars. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781574414844
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574412017

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2005