Catastrophe

A Novella

978-1-68003-273-4 Paperback
5 x 7.5 x 0 in
186 pp.
Pub Date: 04/15/2022
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Winner of the 2021 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, selected by Leslie Jill Patterson
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.

from Catastrophe

I am in the desert and I can still hear your thoughts. The desert is red at dawn. The sand is red and coarse and my heart still loves you, sort of, a lot. There is a lizard’s footprint, there is a spider’s broken web, there is a cactus’ two inch spine. I am not in the desert because of the catastrophe. I am not in isolation because it is recommended. I am in the desert because I love the indigo sky. I tilt my face up to its great expanse, and the sky takes me in.

Published by Texas Review Press