Winner of the 2021 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize
At fourteen, two schoolgirls slit their palms with safety scissors and promised to be in each other’s lives forever. One, with a small spark of magical power, can hear her friend’s thoughts even as she rebels, runs away, and ends up in a chrome trailer in a desert. The other hears nothing, but still addresses her thoughts to her lost friend as she gets married, has a baby, and tries to build a stable life. When catastrophe hits the world, the desert woman takes in a gangly girl and tries to use her small power to stave off a doomsday church waiting for rain, a mean-spirited ex-girlfriend, and hopelessness that things will ever improve. The other woman flees with her family to a rich uncle’s cabin in the woods. When a scraggly stranger shows up asking for shelter, the woman is torn between safety and compassion, especially when she finds out there’s a gun in the garage.
Deirdre Danklin holds an MFA from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and orange tabby cat.