Editorial: A Bittersweet October

It’s become something of an FFO tradition that our October issue is horror-themed. This year, we went in a slightly different direction. Horror stories are most effective when they tap into universal fears like bodily mutilation or loss of autonomy. Our stories this month contain elements of emotional horror—sadness, anxiety, unmet needs, and most of all, shame. But unlike horror, not all of the stories end in despair. There’s an element of hope to be found here. 

(CW: eating disorder/body dysmorphia) “Every Shard, Every Speck, Every Particle” by Emma Brankin is an unflinching look at a ballet dancer’s struggle to achieve perfection. 

FFO alumnus Dafydd McKimm’s “In A World without Bluebells” is an allegorical look at what we allow to divide… or unite us… against our neighbors.

Fellow FFO alumnus, Samantha Murray’s “Sub Rosa” is our reprint offering this month. This story leans into the horror tradition of Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a woman’s mental illness is exacerbated to the breaking point. 

And finally, “Directions to the House of Unnumbered Stars” by Devin Miller provides a well-deserved respite for those seeking acceptance in chosen families. 

May we all find the night cartographer and our places in this world.