Hainted by Ashley Blooms, Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, July/August 2018

Hainted is, first and foremost, a great word. It feels similar to haunted enough that it hints at what this piece will be about without giving it away.

Plot:

Hainted is about a young girl who goes into an old coal mine where her father works. cov1807lg-250Each person who works there, who enters, leaves part of themselves. Her father was once a caring father and husband, but something has been taken from him and now he is gruff, cold, and her parents fight a lot. Haints are just a part of life in this world and a young man leads the protagonist, an 11-year-old girl, into the mine to find her father’s haint and reunite them.

Characters:

Ther characters are mostly interesting. The remembrances of when her father was a kind person fills out a broken home that needs fixing. Her logic of finding his haint is naive but also touching and understandable from her perspective. She wants to put things back the way they were before.

Setting:

Most of this piece takes place in the mine. there isn’t a whole lot of scenery, giving the whole piece a cramped feeling.

Conclusion:

This is a piece about wanting things to be a way they aren’t. Everyone knows that feeling, and so this piece is pretty effective in the sense of connecting with readers. It recalls our childhoods in which we thought we’d never leave until, of course, we did leave them behind. Just as everyone leaves something behind in the mine–and what you leave becomes your haint.

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