Monday, February 3, 2020

Blue Pages 3.4 — Jane Hertenstein

. . .

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


  1. These are wonderfully vivid and bring up memories of my own. Like the time I found a box turtle, and as I picked it up. the hinge of the bottom shell flopped open. Instead of a head and legs, I saw bones. I realized the turtle's home had become its grave.

  2. I liked that these scary stories were all tied to creeping or crawly creatures.

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