Sometimes I come across short stories either published online or in anthologies that I want to spotlight because I enjoyed them so much. The Ledge by Michael Meyerhofer is one such story!
This is published in The Dread Magazine, which specialises in futuristic dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, slipstream, and science fiction.
The plot… ok, I’m not giving too much too much away because with a short story there’s a lot less space not to spoil, but think icy mountains, a precipitous ledge, and an enemy willing to leave you on it…
Things I loved about this story:
- The narrative voice. Second person is such a tricky one to pull off but I thought was done perfectly here. It draws you in close to the main character in their predicament, and – crucially – the move away from second person to third person limited right at the end is then shocking and effective. The ending in fact was my favourite thing about it – I won’t spoil how it goes!
- The sense of a world much bigger than the scope of the short story. I loved the mentions of a god, and the names of the enemy forces – bits of detail that hint at a wider world.
- The imagery of the mountain as a mother, looking after the main character. The sweetness of it contrasts so starkly with the actual dark and dangerous situation that the MC is in, that it both highlights that danger and makes their plight strangely emotive.
- The simplicity of the story. There are just two characters that we get insight into, and one very simple – if terrifying – situation. The value of the story comes from how the simple things are painted.
Sometimes short fiction really hits the spot when you want to feed your reading brain a complete narrative in one sitting or need a break in the middle of some longer reads. Let me know in the comments any short fiction that you’ve enjoyed!