Every now and then, there’s a story that hits me so hard in the feels that I’m knocked back by it. These are the stories that make me pause for a moment and consider life. Reconsider it. We Are the Flower by Claire Humphrey was one of these stories.
It is about a woman who was killed in a bike accident and hangs around as a ghost, figuring out what her unfinished business is.
I think anyone even peripherally involved in the cycling community will be hit hard by this. We all know someone who died in a cycling accident. There are too many ghost bikes set up in cities, marking the unnecessary passing of people we loved.
For me, it was a lovely person named Kris, who I barely knew. But I knew her partner enough to feel the pain of her passing from halfway across the world. Even though the person I know had a different kind of story, the description of the main character’s body, of her lover’s body… it all felt very real and too close for coincidence. At the same time, it remained a story about life ended too quickly that, I’m sure, is accessible to people outside of the cycling community.
Jen R. Albert’s narration of this piece is incredible. She gives a depth of emotion to the piece that makes my heart ache. The main character has a habit of turning into a bird every other paragraph or so, which borders on comical. However, the tone Jen sets, pushes through the absurdity of it so that it doesn’t fall like slapstick. Most of the time, I recommend pieces that can be read or listened to, but this one I’m going to really recommend that you give it a listen. The narration, in my opinion, is almost as important as the writing here.
What’s weird about this story? Well, any ghost story that is more fantasy than horror is going to fall into the weird for me. This is a story about a haunting, but not the haunting of the living. It is a haunting of the ghost itself. The nagging concept of unfinished business.
The magic in this story — being a ghost, turning into a bird — is taken for granted, which I appreciate in my stories. I am happy to suspend my belief and take flight with a character for half an hour or so. Claire balances the magical and strange with a very conversational tone that makes me feel like I’m hanging out with the MC, listening to her chat over a cup of coffee.
About the Author
Claire Humphrey has plenty of stories up on Podcastle. She also has a book out called Spells of Blood and Kin, which I plan on adding to my reading list.
Find out more about her at her website or check out her twitter: