Rising, a short story by Joan Spilman

Grandma looks bewildered, like a child who’s been tricked. I’ve seen this look on her face before. In the hospital, mostly in the evening. The physical therapist told me not to worry. “It happens with stroke patients. We call it sundowning. They get confused. Expect her to have good days and bad. Expect her to cry and be moody. Don’t be alarmed at outbursts, accusations.” I’ve never feared for anything until now.

Sugarpool, an Appalachian Novel

All my life I’ve been looking over my shoulder for my sister. We were inseparable until she stepped into the Guyandotte River, plunged into a current, and drowned. I stood on the bank, frozen. She bobbed up once, her face frozen, too, but for her eyes. She knew what was happening. I ran for Daddy, and then the men came with the dogs. They found her body on a sandbar near Branchland, her feet tangled in brush.