Fantastical Night

Chris's When They Came Back: A Horror Story tells of a mysterious black rain that falls on the rural town of Hardgrove, Nebraska in 1899—a rain that has the effect of raising the dead from their graves. My painting "Fantastical Night" is inspired by section 40 of Chris's tale. Winnie and Livy are two young sisters; Winnie is alive while Livy is dead, or undead, having been murdered by their father. —J.B.

Fantastical Night
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Winnie stood at the open gash
in the earth, noticing the fantastical
sky above her, watching her sister.
Livy stood with her head toward
what had been her grave. She
got on her knees, moved her hands
into the earth, as if she wanted
to return to it. "Livy, Livy,"
Winnie cried, going to her,
taking her by the shoulders,
"no, Livy, I want you with me,
I want us to be together always!
I'll help you through your sickness,
Livy! I'll take care of you! Please,
Livy!" But the girl kept scooping
at the dirt with her hands, too weak
to really accomplish anything, but
it was clear what she meant to do. Winnie
wept into her sister's neck. When
she looked up again her father
was standing there before them, blotting out
the mad sky, shotgun cradled in his arms.

From When they Came Back: A Horror Story copyright ©2014 by Christopher Conlon
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