Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.
In Great Britain and beyond, ghost stories are seen as something of a winter tradition, and I guess that makes a certain amount of sense. This time of year, there’s precious little light left, and in its absence... why, what else but darkness? Which is itself scary enough for some, but bear with me a bit, because darkness, in turn, suggests silence, and in silence, every sound seems strange—intrusive, even. No wonder we tell tales of things that go bump in the night. No wonder we spin fictions to diminish our fear of the unseen. In a way, being scared makes us feel safer. And so: ghost stories.
Well, thank Santa for counter-programming! I’ve never been one to watch the Queen’s Christmas Message—the alternative address has always been my preference—and much as I adore a good ghost story, reading one this week would be more than a little predictable. So I sought out something a little different: an episodic western about a nun with guns.