GhoStory Guru: “Autopsy” by Theresa Williams

I’m always on the look out specifically for ghost stories, but sometimes I start reading a short story simply because I’m intrigued by the title—and am surprised to find out it’s anything but natural.

Such was the case when I discovered “Autopsy” by Theresa Williams. My short story “Denigrating David” appeared in July 2011’s State of Imagination, and as a rule, I try to read all the work in an issue in which mine was published—I almost always find a gem of a story that way, and sometimes I even reach out to the authors to make friends or tell them how much I admired it. I haven’t reached out to Theresa yet—I’ll share my thoughts with you first.

What makes “Autopsy” an effective ghost story is its honesty, and its lack of the fantastical: if a loved one with whom you were close has died, especially if, at the time, you were a child or teen, you’ll recognize the thoughts of this character. And what happens could just as easily happen to you—if it hasn’t already.

“Autopsy” is extremely short, and that’s what also makes it effective: every word is succinct, every one is important, and it packs a powerful punch in its last line. This will take you less than five minutes to read—but you’ll remember it for months to come.

You can find “Autopsy” in State of Imagination’s July 2011 Issue #3 here:


About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, served as a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, has judged both writing and grant competitions and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info:

Posted on August 4, 2011, in GhoStory Guru and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Theresa Williams

    Thank you for the kind words, Kristi. I’m on Facebook or you can e-mail me at .

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