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There was a horror short story collection I read as a child in the mid 80s. The story I remember was about a ghoul. This was a love story of sorts between a human girl and a changeling/ghoul boy. They grew up together as children, the girl would visit the boy at his home. As they grew up they drifted, mainly because of puberty I think. The boy always loved the girl and he didn't know what he was. The girl started dating douchebags. There was a scene where she gets raped by said douchebag and she just coldly stares at the guy. I think the ghoul ends up "saving" her by eating the douchebag. Something like this happened I can't remember fully. I'd really like to know who wrote this and the title...Thx

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  • We have another question about boy meets ghoul at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/107141/… albeit the anthology is more recent and the sexes are swapped. Still, it might be worth looking at.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 11, 2016 at 13:35
  • The story's plot sounds like "Shadetree", by Michael reeves, about a changeling boy (A hollow-eyed creature called a Haunt) told from the perspective of Shadetree's childhood friend Collly-Sue. I read the story in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, so I'm afraid I can't help with the title of the collection that you read. Oct 14, 2022 at 14:45

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The story's plot sounds like "Shadetree", by Michael Reaves, about a changeling boy (A hollow-eyed ghoul called a Haunt) told from the perspective of Shadetree's childhood friend Collly-Sue. Shadetree never hides what he is, but the other children believe his stories to be nothing more than youthful fantasizing about a well-known local legend. As the characters mature, Shadetree urges Colly Sue to help him arrange for non-embalmed corpses to be buried in the local cemetery for the feeding of the other Haunts:

“You got to tell your cousin E.A. something important,” he said. His voice was quiet and soft, showing no signs of grief at all as he squatted holding the man’s head. “Tell him what?” Colly Sue decided that she would be damned if she would show any more emotion than Shadetree did. To prove she was strong, she pinched the dead eyes shut, but the head lolled at such an angle that they fell open again. “You got to have him promise that he won’t embalm Uncle Arlie.” Shadetree released the corpse and put his hands on Colly Sue’s shoulders — his right thumb left a spot of blood on the crisp white cotton. Her cousin was the local mortician. “Whatever for? E.A. could go to jail for that!” “It’s not against the law,” Shadetree told her. “Say it was Uncle Arlie’s last request.” “That waren’t never no request of his,” Colly Sue said slowly. “It’s a request of mine,” Shadetree said. “That old man ain’t gonna be embalmed.” He hesitated, then explained, “The haunts need him, is why.”

Shadetree later expresses an unusual regret after causing the violent death of Colly Sue's abusive husband:

Shadetree stood beneath the shelter of a magnolia tree, staring at the pickup’s blackened metal skeleton. She stood beside him, numbly. After a time he sighed, shook his head and said sadly, “Hardly a bone left to bury. Ain’t that a god-damn shame."

I read the story in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, so I'm afraid I can't help with the title of the collection that you read. My research says that the story was published in 1978, but I did read it earlier, no later than 1977.

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    I think you mean "Michael Reaves" per this ISFDb entry.
    – DavidW
    Oct 25, 2022 at 16:27
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    Note that this is a reasonable match, but your recollection isn't perfect. You might want to re-read the story and insert a few quotes.
    – DavidW
    Oct 25, 2022 at 16:40

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