About the Book:
This House of Wounds is the devastating debut short story collection from British Fantasy Award-winning author Georgina Bruce. Haunting and visceral tales for the lost and the lonely. An emotional and riveting debut, with 4 brand new stories.
“An astonishing, totally absorbing debut collection. Edgy, disturbing and delicious in equal parts. Georgina Bruce plays with myth and horror beautifully.”
– Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Author of Gamble, and The Black Country
Read an Excerpt:
Her Bones the Trees
She ran, her red coat flashing through the woods. Wet leaves and soil under her shoes. The woods are full of dead girls. She heard voices calling her back, men trailing her, hunting her. She wouldn’t go back. She was pulled onwards, that tugging at her core growing stronger, more insistent. She kept moving, running into the dark dense forest, her heart thundering in her ears and her chest burning and her muscles aching—and she tripped on a tree root and fell, sprawled over leaves and mud.
Her heart thumped in her chest. She felt her pulse in her throat, in her fingers, digging into the dirt. She’d fallen into a natural clearing. She clambered to her feet and raised her head, and he was suddenly there, a shadow in the darkness between two trees. He wasn’t what she expected him to be, not really. He was wearing a mask but it was a mask of dreaming. She didn’t know him, only from stories. They’d buried the stories so deep, she wouldn’t have known him at all if it hadn’t been for the apple he held in his hand.
“It’s just an apple,” he said. “Take it, if you want.” His eyes were hidden behind the mask, or she wouldn’t have been able to look at him, so fierce, so upright was his bearing. The proud antlers that crested around his head seemed to tangle and weave in and out with tree limbs and branches. As though he wore the whole forest for his crown. The Woods King, his hands full of gifts. “Apples want to be bitten,” said he, and held out the fruit. She took it from him, their fingers touching, sliding together and apart. The apple tumbled glossy into her palm. She snapped the skin, bit into the pale heart. Juice flooded her tongue, shone on her mouth. He reached out and slid his thumb over the flesh of her lip, then his own lip, licking off the trembling droplet. An almost kiss. A teasing glance. Nothing more. But it was the same as if he’d pressed his whole mouth against her and tugged at her quivering heart.