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Today is Wednesday, March 16th, 2022. We are not quite half-way through our CHROMOPHOBIA table-of-contents showcase. You can check out previous entries by clicking the links at the end of this article.
This is our 12th entry, and it’s a doozy if you’re into the “Weird” stories of authors like Robert Aickman, Elizabeth Bowen, and Shirley Jackson.
“Gray Rock Method”
by Lauren C. Teffeau
We sit, you and I, as we always do every week in my drab little office in a respectable part of town. We’re past the initial pleasantries and my baseline assessment, ready to start the session proper. And yet, I find myself hesitating.
You notice, offense and hurt all wrapped together, and I hold up my hands like a penitent.
“I’m finding it difficult to maintain the necessary distance during our sessions. Your tragic history…”
I shake my head at my inadequate words. When I think of the push-pull of our wide-ranging discussions, it feels like we’re only treading water sometimes, instead of the deep dive into the psyche we both need. Me to do my job, you to plumb the depths of all that still haunts you. But our lack of progress is my own fault. I’m not strong enough to share in the full extent of your burdens. I’ve never turned my back on my professional obligations, but I’m already bracing myself for what’s to come out of your mouth, as if I can make myself smaller, unnoticeable, overwhelmed before we even begin.
“I feel it would be best if you found someone else, someone who’ll—”
Your eyes widen with heartbreaking alarm. “How can you say that? You’re the first person who’s made me believe I’m not hysterical for having all these impossible feelings.”
At some cost to myself, though.
Lauren C. Teffeau’s “Gray Rock Method” is capital-W Weird Fiction. This story, while taking place in our world, absolutely does not take place in our world, in the way that the best Weird stories often do. Existing out of time and place? Check. How about a, perhaps, unreliable narrator? Check. Inexplicable goings-on? Check. It may be a bit tongue-in-cheek of us, but not altogether incorrect, to comp this short story by saying it’s a bit as if Robert Aickman wanted to homage THE GIVING TREE.
Pleased as punch to have this story included in CHROMOPHOBIA. And, if you’re interested in reading further work by Teffeau, then consider picking up her very well-received book IMPLANTED (purchase via Angry Robot). Check out her author site HERE.
Want to read the previous CHROMOPHOBIA showcases? Click a title:
Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
Check out part two of editor Sara Tantlinger’s CHROMOPHOBIA roundtable HERE.
Thanks for the support, and remember…