By Steven Millhauser
13 darkly comedian tales, risky Laughter is a enchanting trip that stretches the bounds of the normal international.
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Extra resources for Dangerous Laughter: 13 Stories
Hiding my disgust, I trudged past him, sack in hand. ‘My thanks to you,’ he called after me, ‘and to the old woman too. ’ After which, the door of the hovel banged shut. Because of the recent rain, it didn’t take long to dig a second grave alongside the first. That done, I unhitched the horse and was climbing into the buggy when I remembered leaving my bag on the porch. I hurried back, tiptoeing the last few paces so as not to disturb those inside. As I stooped for the bag, however, I heard something.
I couldn’t help but obey. Slowly, I raised my head, and as our eyes met, I knew instantly that I had given myself away. ‘Ah,’ he sighed. ’ I nodded. ’ ‘It’s not just you,’ I confessed. ’ He regarded me in silence for some moments. ‘This presents us with a problem,’ he said finally. ’ I echoed him, the fear audible in my voice. But there, on that crowded lawn, he was reluctant to explain. ‘You will tell no one about us, you understand,’ he said by way of warning. ’ I hated the sound of that word ‘later’.
That’s part of our price,’ he went on. ‘The other part is this. Even if some man looks past your disfigurement or loves you in spite of it, you’ll reject him. You’ll live alone for the rest of your days. In exchange, I leave you with the gift of seeing, which you stole from us that night – more than just an eye. ’ ‘Agreed,’ I whispered, and felt for his hand, but he had already gone. Alone in the cottage I cleaned and staunched the bleeding wound, though that was all. In the clear morning light I could see that he’d done his work well.