CHROMO Countdown: 8

Jacqueline West's "Bluettes" steps up to the Horror buffet and loads its plate with Weird and Gothic and lets the reader FEAST

Today is June 22nd, and that means you only have 8 more days to pre-order the special edition of CHROMOPHOBIA. You can place your order HERE.

Today’s story:


by Jacqueline West

It’s been four years since I was home.

Long enough for my memories to swell and shift, taking on those stained-glass tints that emotion casts over everything. Long enough for the house in my mind to turn vast, rambling, every room a cavern of mood-dyed moments. So when I pull up to the white wooden house at the end of the gravel road, I have to check the porch numbers twice. This house is so worn. So small. It couldn’t possibly hold so many words, so many minutes, so many silences.

If the woods behind the house didn’t look as deep as I remember, I’d wonder if I imagined it all. But green-blue shadows still swim in the hollows where Mina and I used to hide all day, every day, out of reach of that house and everything in it. At least that memory is real.

Mom doesn’t answer my knock at the front door.

I’ve never knocked before. I’m sure the key in my bag still works, but it doesn’t seem right to use it on a door that isn’t mine.

I knock again. This time a voice from inside calls, “Come in.”

The door isn’t even locked.

When I step across the threshold, the first thing I notice is the smell. The house doesn’t smell like him anymore. His sweat, his weekend cigarettes, that too-sweet citrus soap he used. What’s left is my mother’s scent. It’s faint, delicate. Lavender. Like dust. I couldn’t have described it before, when it was buried beneath layers of stronger things, but I know it now. I’d know it anywhere. It’s woven into me from my very start, before I knew anything else at all.

I glance around the living room. Everything is smaller, dimmer, softer than I remember. And everything is covered with clutter. Leaning stacks of books. Bundles of plants. Clusters of fallen petals, tiny white stones. The skeleton of last year’s Christmas tree—or maybe from the year before—still stands in the front window, its brittle branches strung with fairy lights.

Without my stepfather here, my mother has been free to fill this place until there’s only room enough in it for her.

And maybe for me.


Just over a week and our CHROMOPHOBIA hardcover pre-order window closes. To say we are proud of this gorgeous book (and its authors and editor) is an understatement. If this is our last anthology at Rooster Republic/Strangehouse Books, then we are going out in style. From concept to content, production to publication, CHROMOPHOBIA just feels special.

You can pre-order your hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.

And, remember…

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