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This darkly offbeat novel opens with the narrator, Wallace Black, as the target of the school bully's violence. After suffering a horrendous beating, Black goes home to his equally abusive family. As a punishment for fighting at school, his mother straps a set of grotesque horns to the top of his head. He is unsure of where the horns came from. They have always been in the house. And they contain a power no one could have expected. Let Andersen Prunty (ZEROSTRATA, MORNING IS DEAD, and THE BEARD) guide you through a sometimes hilarious, sometimes violent and terrifying coming-of-age Midwestern gothic novel.
horrible thing I was about to do, I didn’t figure it would make a whole lot of difference. Wild, unkempt hedges grew all across the front of the house, thick and bushy. I rolled over to the hedges in front of the kitchen. That way they wouldn’t be able to see my now incriminating silhouette from the living room where they spent most of their time. I didn’t think they’d mistake me for the mailman or the meter reader with those horns on my head. There was a moment when I wanted to open the
Elf’s real name. He probably wouldn’t remember my name at all. Anyway, Elf had been through one of those blobbification programs. He was actually taken out of his home. The people who took him away from his folks though, he didn’t call them the Clean People. He said his father called them the Ringmasters. Elf really didn’t find out why he was taken out of the house until he went to live with the new people. They had told Elf how glad he should be to be living with them. Apparently, his
I have a hard time fitting in anyway.” “I’ll see what I can do.” He went into the back of the house. I was beginning to realize anything of importance was located in the back of the house. He returned with a small box. “Let me see one of those horns,” he said. I proffered my head toward him. He moved my hair around and felt around the base of one of the horns with his fingers. “What’d she do, super glue the suckers on there?” “No, they had a strap but it came off when I tried to unbuckle
going slow enough for me to look around again. It must have been late afternoon sometime. The hill was covered in trees. The air felt cooler since we were in constant shade and everything smelled woody. I always found the woods to be slightly creepy. They seemed completely disorienting, like you’d never be able to remember where you were. And the further you looked into them, the darker it became. I imagined people living in secret houses and doing secret things like making moonshine and
ground. I didn’t know where the hell I was. I couldn’t even see the smokestacks from Milltown. At least I was away from that godforsaken place. It smelled good out there in the countryside. Everything was coming alive, clawing its way out of the ground, breathing color into the world. It wouldn’t be long before everything was in bloom. I looked up at the moon, nearly full but not quite. Black clouds wrapped themselves around it only to be quickly yanked away. And somewhere, under that good