Short Story Spotlight: Invasive Species by Jacob Appel

110112-walter-reeves_3I’m not sure how exactly I stumbled onto this story, but I am thankful I did. Invasive Species, winner of the New Millennium Writings Awards #32is one of those quiet, unassuming stories that, with each perfect sentence, slowly wends its way into your soul.

The late afternoon sun makes her pale, hairless scalp appear practically translucent, exposing the latticework of slender blood vessels that carry the metastases through her body like a miniature plumbing system.


A little girl, Celeste, battles cancer and loves to hide in the belly of a grandfather clock. Her mother, Meredith, struggles with the agony of her daughter’s failing health, loneliness, and an uncertain friendship with the older gentleman who has moved in next door, and whom she watches hacking at the overgrown yard with his machete.

A hush descends on the patio, broken only by the honk of distant geese. Cohan looks at Celeste with wonder, blinking, as though he has discovered a new species.




Heart-wrenching and multi-layered, this is one story that keeps on ticking long after the last beat of the clock.


Jacob M Appel is the author of the novels The Biology of Luck, and The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, as well the short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper.


In case you missed the link at the top, the story can be read for free here.


For the first entry in the Short Story Spotlight series, go here.

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