My first clue should have been that this story was published in Nightmare Magazine.
This is a fabulous story: original, chilling, populated with compelling characters, with a strong narrative arc and an intriguing premise. But it’s not my kind of story and I kind of hated reading it!
But the writing, right from the start is fabulous:
As my date—Harvey? Harvard?—brags about his alma mater and Manhattan penthouse, I take a bite of overpriced kale and watch his ugly thoughts swirl overhead.
Isn’t that a great opening sentence? It tells you so much.
And it is even more compelling when you begin to realize that she’s not being metaphorical about being able to see his thoughts.
This is a woman who seems like she might be a victim, then quickly isn’t, then vacillates between the two states, depending on who she’s with at the time.
It makes her “real”, and it makes for an interesting metaphor about life.
But it’s horror. And that’s not my thing.
I was impressed with Alyssa Wong’s writing and am a bit sad that she doesn’t seem to write the kinds of stories I like. But that’s hardly a criticism.
If you like horror and dark fantasy, you should definitely be reading Alyssa Wong’s work!