There are two short stories I am specifically looking for. I can't remember the titles. From what I recall, they were in some sort of horror/fantasy combination anthology at the San Francisco Public Library sometime between 2008-2012.

Story 1: a neighbor teaches a boy how to garden, emphasizing roses and the preservation of beauty. At the end, you realize it's all metaphorical references to a young girl they murdered together. He'd an apprentice to a serial killer.

Story 2: A boy and his mother live in a rundown apartment. His mother makes the neighbor woman white soup every day. The boy sees the apartment he delivers to, and the entire apartment is white. At some point, he learns that she's paranoid because she "looked into the void, and it looked back." Now that it had seen her, anything that can become a pattern can be a door for it. He thinks she's crazy and smears something or otherwise disrupts the perfect white. He is present when the thing comes for her, seeing a sudden pattern that moves. He runs as fast as he can, only to realize that he sees something looking at him from a brick wall.

I have searched every anthology content list I could find from those years. I can't find it.

  • 2
    I'm sure I have read the second story but I'm struggling to find it. As I recall the mother normally takes the soup but one day she is ill and the boy has to take it. He trips carrying the soup and it splashes on the wall and that lets the creature in. Does this match what you remember? May 10, 2022 at 11:15
  • YES! That's the story. Sorry for the late reply--family health emergency If you find it, please send me the title/author. I'd like to get a copy of it!
    – Cori
    May 21, 2022 at 1:16


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