Story of the Week #14 — “Elegy in Running Water” by Alex Friedman

Thus begins a series of Stories of the Week wherein I laud the incredible talents of the class of writers I was privileged to share a classroom with for the past two years. My graduate class has been, as a whole, getting publication acceptances left and right lately, and it’s only fair that I showcase their hard work here as I would my own. These people have helped shape what I consider “good” writing and have played a part in who I am as a writer.

So, this week I am showcasing my good friend Alex Friedman’s piece, “Elegy in Running Water.” Alex’s piece went up on This Dark Matter as part of their ‘Black Friday Fiction’ series on March 13. I have always loved Alex’s work. Right away when we began workshop together, when I was still a scared undergraduate in my head, I noticed that this guy wrote the kinds of stuff I like to read: the weird stuff, like watercolor dragons and alien flamingos. This guy has an imagination. His work stood out – and at the risk of sounding cliche or sappy, I knew we were gonna be friends.

“Elegy in Running Water” may not be strictly about that “weird stuff” that I love, but there is a familiar element of horror riding beneath the words. The haunting repetition of the “drip” sends shivers down my spine even now. The thing I love best about this story, though, is in this line:

“How do we know which of us is dead?”

Boom. This is where the mic drops. The rest of the story becomes an internal struggle for the reader: well, what’s the answer? Who is actually dead?

Check this one out. Please. Read carefully, digest. Swallow the wet pavement at the end and try to decide whether or not you are dead.

You can check out more of Alex’s work here and here.

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