Issue 4 cover

Forests of the Night

by Abigail Hilton

Issue 4 :: Spring 2009 (stories)

Adel arrived at our small hospice late one afternoon. Her family--an impeccably-dressed couple in their late twenties--hid behind sunglasses and surgically-enhanced smiles. I wondered why they’d chosen our small-town establishment. They looked like they could afford something better.

Adel trailed after them, an ancient woman following along like a lost puppy. She looked rumpled in her thin cotton shirt and trousers, somewhat stained. Her fine white hair gave the impression of a cartoon character who has just stuck a finger in an electrical socket. They told us she was ninety-seven and in the final stages of terminal breast cancer.

No, they just could not handle her anymore. Yes, she was confused--had been confused for years, even before the cancer. Yes, she had a tendency to wander. Here were her medical records, doctors’ orders, and insurance information. Here was a very large check. Here were her belongings--one pitifully small suitcase. Here was their phone number. They would be in touch.

Adel did not appear to understand any of this.


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"Forests of the Night" is roughly 1175 words.

Abigail Hilton is a nurse living in Portland, Oregon with two cats and a variety of carnivorous plants. She is pursuing a masters degree. Her fiction has been featured in Beyond Centauri and The Drabblecast. Information about her podcast novel, The Prophet of Panamindorah, can be found at">