This Light of Mine

Wendy Oleson

Early 90s summers at my friend’s grandparents’ house. VHS tapes and lake leeches. Adults there but somehow never around. No sleeping bags because I had my own twin bed, the bed where in my head I replayed the scary movies my friend’s older brother rented, my favorite the one from the CryptKeeper about a bride who fucked her grooms to death on their wedding nights, groom after groom taken down around her thighs. In her white dress she was a rod of light, a halogen bulb, her bodice tight as blown glass. I tried to think of her instead of the bitten-out cheek of the woman who slept with Robert De Niro in Cape Fear (after he spit out her flesh I wasn’t the same). Then the Child’s Play movies unleashed a string of nightmares about the horny ginger doll with the soul of a serial killer. In my dreams Chucky popped up everywhere looking enough like my beloved American-Girl doll to show me anything I let get close could transform into a threat. Almost twelve, I had so many Chucky nightmares I found a book about dreaming. The book said I needed to summon a hero for protection. I chose Jesus, and one night in my friend’s grandparents’ spare bed, Jesus on horseback murdered Chucky. Got the job done quick. I’m still surprised it worked. Back then I went to church—though not in the summer. Back then I believed I was a good girl, maybe a little divine. Now, I’m full of longing. Maybe I miss Jesus, miss believing he loves me. Or maybe I wonder what would have happened if I’d chosen the black-widow bride for my savior. She could have crushed Chucky and Robert De Niro. I think she would have loved me, my awe for her, my thrill that a woman could commit so much evil—feel so much pleasure—night after night, that she could be so fucking bright, a white-hot burning light.


Wendy Oleson (she/they) is the author of two award-winning prose chapbooks. Her nonfiction flash appears in HAD, the Maine Review, trampset, Peatsmoke Journal, and elsewhere. She’s managing editor for Split Lip Magazine and associate prose editor for Fairy Tale Review. Wendy lives with her wife and dogs in Walla Walla, Washington.