Tiny, Little Horrors=a flash memoir series
by Jane Hertenstein
*Once walking in the woods I stepped on a snake, a black rope come to life beneath my feet. I sprung back in fear, but it soon disappeared, slithering into the tall grass. Always after that I would look out for snakes at that spot.
*One time I woke up hungry in the middle of the night and decided to eat a granola bar. I slit open the package and pushed the bar up through the plastic sleeve into my mouth. As I chewed in the darkness I had the feeling of movement. Not only my teeth and jaws but something more. I spit into the sink and turned on the light. Tiny white worms pulsed in and out of the masticated mess. To this day I cannot eat granola bars.
*When I was about five or six years old I collected a shoebox of caterpillars. I named them and fed them leaves and placed a twig inside the box they could play on. In the middle of the night I got up to check on my caterpillars. In the semi-darkness I reached into a webby sticky mass. I shrieked, throwing the box into the garbage. I was deathly afraid of spiders and thought the caterpillars had transformed. They do, just not like that.
*At about this same time we had a playhouse in the backyard. I’d hang out in it for hours. One summer’s morning I ran to the playhouse. Inside were daddy long-legs suspended into the corners. There were dozens of them resting in the coolness. I never went into the playhouse again. Little did I know they aren’t really spiders.
Jane Hertenstein’s current obsession is flash. She is the author of over 80 published stories, a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction, and blurred genre both micro and macro. In addition she has published a YA novel, Beyond Paradise and a non-fiction project, Orphan Girl: The Memoir of a Chicago Bag Lady, which garnered national reviews. Jane is the recipient of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Hunger Mountain, Rosebud, Word Riot, Flashquake, Fiction Fix, Frostwriting, and several themed anthologies. She can also be found blogging at http://memoirouswrite.blogspot.com/