Short Tuesday #45: “Outside of Omaha” by Ray Nadler

We’re back for another Short Tuesday! Today I headed back to Nightmare Magazine, this time to read “Outside of Omaha” by Ray Nadler. You can read the story here…

I loved this story from the very first sentence: “You would have hated your funeral reception.” Such a striking sentence, and as the rest of the story reveals itself, the author spins a quiet tale of a man, his unearthly wife, and a hatred for others that knit their relationship together into a hidden paradise. This is a story beautifully told, especially in terms of pacing and language.

On the days I went to town I felt as if, as my mule stepped out onto the country road, I was crossing a barrier beyond which was another place, not our own. Inside, our world was bright and cunning as a painted Persian box, where I lived in lacquer with someone strange and stranger than myself. And I would unlid for no-one what was inside.

This is the kind of muted, subtle tale that you can’t help but love. Not much happens, just hinted-at secrets and a richly detailed description of an unlikely relationship. Yet the whole mood of the piece can’t help but draw you in–I was loving the feeling of a dusty, forgotten America where monsters hide in plain sight. It’s a story on the shorter end, so if you’re wanting a palate cleanser with purposeful, gorgeous language and a philosophical feel, give this one a try.

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