An excerpt from “The Ravine” — a short story in Traci Skuce’s debut collection, Hunger moon
“I’ll send you 
fucking postcards”

“All senses are fully engaged in 
Hunger Moon, an honest, unflinching
and riveting collection.”

—Julie Paul, author of Meteorites 
and The Pull of the Moon

Published by NeWest Press


TOBY has a girlfriend. Christine Meyer. Who, four days before Spring Break, hugs all her friends in the north parking lot after school, saying she’ll miss them but she’ll totally send postcards. She asks Beth and Sally to scribble their addresses into a Hello Kitty autograph book with a Hello Kitty pencil. It’s an unmistakable form of charity but Beth writes her address anyway and tells Christine to have a really great time—so much fun!—in Jamaica. Jojo, who flies off to Disney World on Saturday, unworthy of Christine’s pity or postcards, says, “Bring back rum! And ganja!”

Christine says, “Yah mon!” And it sounds as though she’s coughing up a pearl.

Christine reminds Beth of weddings, her curly blond hair, more white than yellow, like a frieze of baby’s breath. She’s tall too, wears a prim white ski jacket and loose white jeans. Once, during a snowfall, Beth saw her standing on a snowbank, and she looked like a bride, veil of snowflakes over her face. So when Beth fantasizes about Christine’s death—car accident, leukemia, drowning in a lagoon—there’s often a tragic white gown involved.

Raw wind tunnels into Beth’s ear, giving it a sharp, swift ache. She winces, wonders if the universe will punish her thoughts. You aren’t supposed to wish ill on anyone. Only trust that the outcome of what you want will benefit all involved. From her corner of the parking lot, she watches Christine thread her arms into Toby’s, nuzzle his neck, kiss his throat, and she revamps the death scenario, praying Christine will fall in love with a Jamaican boy on her vacation, never to return.

“She won’t bring back rum,” Sally says. “Or ganja.”

“Who can bring back ganja?” Beth says. Then she entertains Christine’s arrest at customs, her prosecution and punishment for the pound of weed sewn into her suitcase or underwear. Neither Sally nor Jojo know about Toby or the pink bubbles. They think his going out with Christine cured her crush months ago. And before she found Mrs. Wilson’s book, she tried not to like him. Spent six weekends in a row watching The Breakfast Club so she could swoon over Judd Nelson. Plus she upped her commitment to dance, three times a week instead of two. None of that matters, because there are still moments when tiny electrical pulses leap from Toby’s fingertips to hers. Passing notes in English, pretending to everyone else, even to each other, nothing exists between them.

On the opposite side of the lot, Toby climbs into Christine’s Pontiac, and Christine waves to them—Jojo, Sally and Beth— smiling her wedding cake smile. Jojo says, “Do you think she’ll deliver? This afternoon before she flies away?” Ever since Jojo came this close to losing her virginity last summer, she likes to talk about who delivers and who doesn’t.

“I heard they did it like a month ago,” Sally says.

And Beth’s heart dispatches a battalion of envy. She’s never had the chance to deliver. And she curses the universe for failing her.

A squall snaps across the parking lot, a whip of old dirty snow. Beth digs around her pockets for one woolen mitten. Where the other one ended up, she has no idea, so she slips both hands in and blows warm air between her thumbs.

Sally pulls a scarf over her face, tugs at the too-short bangs she bleached last week.

Jojo tosses a chunk of watermelon Bubblicious into her mouth and slides a heel across a grimy patch of snow. “Anyway, Christine won’t send you postcards,” she says. “I’ll send you fucking postcards.”

from “To The Ravine” in Hunger Moon

Order the book:

All Lit Up | Amazon

Read Traci’s Little Fiction stories:

Other Ways Besides The Door | Elephant Shoe

Traci Skuce currently lives in social isolation in Cumberland, B.C. with her husband, two grown sons
and son’s girlfriend, and new dog, Molly. This excerpt is from her brand-new collection of short stories called
Hunger Moon, released by NeWest press, and she’d love for you to read it.

Traci wishes she could go on her modest book-tour, but for now will offer readings on
Facebook and Instagram. Follow her on IG @traciskuce.thewritingjourney or check out her
website at Twitter: @SkuceTraci