Genre: Horror, Southern Gothic
Type of Short Story: Short Story
Summary: When ten year old Junie Rae Campbell wakes up in the parking lot of a seedy motel, and her mother is found dead inside, she has no choice but to go with the social worker who comes to collect her and take her to the tiny, sun-baked Oklahoma town of Crankston’s Landing to live with Granny Enid. But when lies and lechery threaten Junie and the people she has latched onto, secrets are exposed, untapped abilities reemerge…and a weapon for vengeance is born.
I started collectin' secrets when I was just ten years old. The summer I went to live with Granny Enid, I collected a lot of secrets. Been collectin’ them ever since. It took me a while to learn the power of secrets. Not havin’ secrets yourself, of course, but knowin' someone else's. It's like carvin' out a piece of their soul and carryin’ it around with you. You can either choose to keep it safe, or you can tear it to pieces and scatter it to the winds—your choice.
The first few secrets, I kept. But some secrets are too big to keep; they spill out no matter how hard you hang on to 'em. One of these took hold of my Mama--that's why they sent me to live with Granny Enid. The secret took root inside her and devoured her. When it was finally through with her, she was dead in a motel in Memphis, and I was found asleep outside in her idling car.
Granny Enid didn't want to take me in at first. I’d never met her before, and the social worker really had to work at her to get her to agree to it. I thought it was me—maybe she thought I was bad luck or jinxed or somethin.' But it wasn't me; it was just one of those secrets that I didn't know about until much later. Granny was right, though. It would've been better if I had never came to stay with her.
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