Ron Rash, "Burning Bright"

Marcie thinks her husband might be the arsonist.

(from Ecotone vol. 4, 1 &2)

This is one of those stories that, when I’ve finished reading it, I think: Now that is why there should be short stories. It’s an argument I have in my head when I hear people knock on the form, or when I wonder why there seem to be so many short story writers and so few straight-up readers. And my case, in this case, is a strange one. I like “Burning Bright” because of its simple ambiguity. If we ended up knowing for sure whether Carl was the guy setting fires in the woods, what would be have? Bland moral certainty? An episode of Law & Order, with Sam Waterston holding up a receipt for accelerants found in the subject’s dry cleaning? No, it’s better not knowing, feeling the conflict Marcie feels, pondering the situation more than the conclusion.

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