Issue #82

Spring 2022

Swimming through Shadowlands and Hungry House

by Keith Hoerner

Swimming through Shadowlands

Deep below the lake's murky surface, there sits—intact—a house. A two-story structure of Carpenter Gothic details like elaborate wooden trim bloated to bursting. Its front yard: purple loosestrife. Its inhabitants: alligator gar, bull trout, and pupfish. All glide past languidly—out of window sashes and back inside door frames. It is serene, and it is foreboding. Curtains of algae float gossamer to and fro. Pictures rest clustered atop credenzas. A chandelier is lit, intermittently, by freshwater electric eels. And near a Victrola, white to the bone, a man and a woman waltz in a floating embrace.

***

Hungry House

Every time he checks the blueprints, something's different. When he questions the builder, he sneers, as if to demand "What are ya talkin' about bub; you were on board with the designs – just yesterday." But upon today's examination, the roofline has taken on a monstrous fortress-like appearance. Worse yet, each day, it continues to grow in strangeness. Now, as the house is complete, he does not question its organic shapeshifting. He lies in bed aware—as walls fold and floors slide around him. The house lives, takes on new forms, and against his will, locks its doors and windows.

Author Bio

doorway


Keith Hoerner lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. He is frequently featured in lit journals/anthologies (85+ to date, including decomP (USA), Fiction Kitchen Berlin (DE), and Litro (UK)—to name just a few). He is founding editor of the Webby Award recognized Dribble Drabble Review, and is a Best Book and American Writing Award Finalist.