Short Stories 366:283 — “Nothing to Worry About,” by Matthew Bright

coverSome horror stories sneak up on you. They sort of settle in a few steps behind, whistling while you’re reading, and it’s only as you keep going that you realize they’re whistling just slightly out of tune, and it’s a creepy kids rhyme they’re whistling, and then before you know it you turn around and they’re directly behind you and smiling like a freaking clown or something and bam.

Full on body-shudder.

“Nothing to Worry About,” is one of those types of stories, in that it’s has this overall tone to it that slips in small increments as the story progresses. A pregnant woman and her fella are waiting for a home visit. She’s prepared the house as best she can, though her husband seems bound and determined to not care, or maybe he’s just an asshole, or…

Something isn’t right.

When the social worker shows up, and starts interviewing the woman, she’s desperate to get the answers right, and she’s doing everything in her power to please this woman, and it soon becomes obvious that the woman is just as aware, and that feeling of “not-right” starts to head further south to “very-wrong.”

The ending was a short, sharp shock, and the realization of just what Bright was doing with this story—and the commentary he creates about a domestic and political sort of horror—had me leaning back in my chair. It’s a smart sort of horror, and all too easily imaginable.

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