Tales from God’s Teeth are small slices of Appalachian life, just the briefest of glimpses into a world of monsters and darkness hidden away in the hollers and wilds of the east coast. Ground down by eons, they might not be as impressive as the Rockies or the Himalyas, but the Appalachians hide more than their fair share of secrets. From forgotten coal towns to modern cities, life can vary wildy in Appalachia, and no matter where you are you’re never really too far away from the mountains and for the folks that call the area home, remembering that can be the difference between life and death. Tread carefully in God’s Teeth, your life might depend on it.
They say that the bottom of the sea is the last great frontier, besides space, I suppose. Well, the ocean might be deep and I’m sure it hides many secrets that are better left alone, but the Appalachians are old. Older than the Atlantic, which split the ancient mountain range in two when the continents separated. And they are certainly older than us. And I think there are still some things up here on dry land left to be discovered. The Appalachian Mountains are a lot more than just old, though, they’re also beautiful. During the Spring and Summer the Appalachians are a rolling green blanket that seem to cradle those towns and cities that are lucky enough to call the region home. In the Fall they even attract tourists, people come from all around just to see the leaves turn. What was that Camus said about Fall? Something along the lines of every leaf being a flower. Couldn’t agree with him more, it really is something to see. But the Winter, the Winter is a different story entirely. Some people say that the mountains hate the Winter. That without their leaves they feel exposed, vulnerable, worried that all of the ancient things they try so hard to hide will finally be brought to light. Or maybe they’re worried that people will finally see the true nature of the Appalachians. Because I’ve also heard that places take on a sort of life of their own over time, and the mountains have certainly had plenty of time. Time spent hiding things that no one was ever meant to see, things that were never meant to be. Maybe that’s why they hate it, the Winter, they can’t hide behind their mask of leaves like they can the other three-fourths of the year. But I’ve seen it. I’ve seen behind that wretched mask of leaves. And the mountains have grown cruel in their old age. Cruel and hateful.
From Mask of Leaves
Dear Julie is the first collection of short stories set in God’s Teeth, otherwise known as the Appalachian Mountains. Spurred on by a mysterious and grisly letter from her uncle, Julie sets out to find him with her friend Jack in tow. Told through emails, can our narrator catch up to them in time? What will they find in God’s Teeth?
If you’re reading this then I’m dead, there’s no two ways about it. Actually, it’s more like you’re reading this because I’m dead. I wouldn’t have sent this email if I thought there was any hope of seeing you again.
Now, at this point I could say something along the lines of stop reading this if you value your life, your safety, and even your sanity. But I know you won’t. I know there’s nothing I could write that would dissuade you from reading the rest of this letter and that’s good. It would be too cliché anyway, everyone always reads the rest of the letter. You need to know what’s happened, but if by some chance you truly want to remain ignorant of the true nature of the world, then for God’s sake, you really should stop reading right now.
Still with me, Julie? Good. I knew you would be.
Assuming my body’s still in the garage, I’m sure that everyone thinks that I’ve committed suicide. That’s good. Let them keep on thinking that, the police, the public, even the rest of the family, it’ll be better that way. Maybe if they think I did it myself there won’t be much of an investigation and that’ll be the end of it, of all of this. God, it’s such a mess. But they might do it that way […]