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: http://stateofimagination.com/autopsy-by-theresa-williams/