City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s

The Pale Boy - Theresa Weir

This might be one of the few times where I think my review might be longer than the length of the actual story/work I've read. Don't quote me on that because I'm speaking only on what it felt like in the experience reading it. It began, then it ended just as soon as it started. While I can approve of tight writing and brief reads that enthrall me (and I've read my fair share of flash fiction) - I can't say I felt the same reading this particular work."The Pale Boy" was an ebook I downloaded for free on Amazon, from an author I've never read before, Theresa Weir (who also writes under the name Anne Fraiser). The subtitle/blurb reads "A Very Short Fantasy". At first I thought it was a redundant description but after seeing the screens, I realized that it really *was* short in length. I figure that still shouldn't keep me from reading what could be a decent story, so I picked it up, read through it with an open mind.About ten minutes later, I'm scratching my head wondering where the story was in this piece, among a fair helping of cliched elements mixed with interesting images that came and went like a snuffed flame on a candle. I'm not going to say that there aren't sparks of an interesting "potential" story here, but it feels so undeveloped that it lacks any kind of intimacy and resonance even in its brevity. Considering for a moment if this particular story were flash fiction or something of the sort, the intrigue has to be very high in order to make a connection with the reader. I don't think it ever connected well, and it's a story that revolves around a lot of vague, disjointed images, which further complicates the kind of story being told.The story revolves around a nameless woman, a "Goth Nancy Drew" if you will, who comes across a pale boy while paddling to a secret island from a Louisiana swamp. She thinks she recognizes the boy from the cafe at which she works. For some reason, she has a gun. She makes a joke about vampires. Boy leads her further on island and she realizes she's in a dream. Boy gives her glass of wine - she thinks it's blood. Another vampire joke, from him this time. Boy mentions something about a clan and her only being there because she wants to. Nameless woman drinks wine and a flurry of images - sex with said boy, has children with boy, 20 years pass in a rush of vision. Nameless woman wakes to find boy handing her his business card, and he asks how often they do drawings for a raffle, she says every Monday, to which he's content and mentions that he'll bring a new card next week. Nameless woman smiles and anticipates how long she'll wait in the whole week for him.That's pretty much how it runs. I don't consider those spoilers as much because there are other descriptors to be had if one chooses to read it, but I'm torn by how little was offered in this tale. Vague characters, vague descriptors, fairly disjointed ideas. I think this could've been a much better developed story, and the bit inserts of humor weren't humorous at all, just...odd. It seems like it's intended to be an "odd" and dreamlike state of revelation, but without the characterization or any sort of conflict, there's no real story here. And it feels told rather than shown in places.Not really worth the time taken to read it, tbh. I have a feeling that this may not be representative of the author's style, per se, so I'm willing to give her novels a go, but only because this didn't really give me a strong impression of what her writing style was like, since it was so brief.Overall score: 1/5