The New Year should start out in a positive way. I didn’t intend to begin the year with my favorite genre of horror, crime, or crime fiction. I would start out with something of quality from a great writer (IMHO). Joyce Carol Oates never fails to impress me so here is a short story, The Sign of the Beast. It is difficult to escape my favorite genre.
Howard Heike might be described as a “slow” child. It is difficult to keep up with the latest non-micro-aggression politically correct terms but in this case, it doesn’t matter because Howard is slow to respond and slow to speak. His physical appearance is larger than that of his classmates. Howard doesn’t want to appear threatening. The birthmark on his face is not that large or threatening, but with his physical build and his reactions to taunts about his birthmark sometimes physical responses exceed his intent. He only meant to threaten a tormenting classmate by shoving him; Howard had not meant to continue kicking the boy when he was down. That just happened sometimes.