Strange Horizons, June 1, 2020

Strange Horizons, June 1, 2020

“The Husker” by Jessica P. Wick

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

“The Husker” by Jessica P. Wick is a very short mood piece, consisting of a conversation between a woman and a man, interrupted by brief descriptions of supernatural beings from folklore. Among these is the Husker, who strips the flesh from animals, leaving their bones behind, but creating a duplicate of the dead creature, seemingly alive.

The ending of the story is obvious from the start, so it works better as a prose poem rather than as a work of narrative fiction. The author creates an effective sense of quiet eeriness. Throughout the tale, the couple call each other by several pet names, as a sort of lover’s game. Although some of these add to the story’s mood, others seem unnecessary, and the reader may grow tired of them.

Victoria Silverwolf thinks this story could be adapted into a one-act play.