“Dark Warm Heart” by Rich Larson
Card picked: 8♣ – My horror suit.
Found at: Tor
Noel caught her wrist, the not-sore one, and folded both hands around it. “I’m sorry about last night,” he said. “I don’t know what’s in my head, sometimes.”
Kristine and Noel are newlyweds, but Noel’s work collecting the oral tales of the Canadian Inuits has kept him away for an extended time. When Noel returns, after being caught in a freak blizzard, he’s changed. He can’t eat and is obsessed with finishing the English translations of the stories he’s recorded. Kristine is haunted by the phone call she received from Noel after his rescue, of what he told her he saw in the blowing snow.
Larson is very strong with his use of color to evoke the cold throughout this story. I’m kind of glad I read it on a toasty summer day rather than a cold winter night (though the kind of cold and snow that is in this story doesn’t exist in Arizona). Also, I’ve started to think about Readers Imbibing Peril, which doesn’t start until September, and this story was a nice little taste of horror to tide me over.