Selected for the O. Henry Prize Stories, 2011

They told Grace they’d found her curled into a nest of leaves, that since dawn they’d been following a strange spoor through the bush, and then, just as they’d begun to smell her, there she was, staring up at them through a cloud of iridescent flies.

They peered through the mottled gloom. Flies were clustered on her nose and eyes and mouth, and yet she didn’t move, didn’t even blink. “It’s dead,” said one of them, stretching out a stick to prod her.

That’s when she sprang, scattering the flies and baring all her teeth in a dreadful high-pitched screech. They leapt back, reaching for their knives. She was up on her haunches now, biting at the air between them with her jagged teeth. But with the leaves and flies swirling, and her furious, wild hair, it took some time before they understood that it was a girl raging before them, just a girl.

People on couch
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