This is a new book I am writing. It is called The Baseball Women.
In it, two women rent out a stand to sell baseball cards to neighborhood children. The children excitedly paw over the cards, exchange them, and skip off merrily at the end of the business day.
The children take the cards home. They have the faces and mid-game photos of famous players. They have stats, anecdotes, quotes, and stories on the back.
Some children have cards with obscure players on them and obscure facts, stats, anecdotes, quotes, and stories.
One boy takes his cards home, and thumbing through them in his room, he pulls out one in particular which strikes him as unusual.
A picture on its front cover displays a boy cowering on the ground, bleeding as a figure raises a baseball bat above him. The card is entitled "Striker" Gundry, and when the boy turns the card over all he sees is information about himself. His name, how tall he is, his age, how much he weighs, his home address, what kind of clothes he wears.
He shivers for a moment, hesitating to turn it back over.
The two women stay at the stand overnight. They stay still. They have flies buzzing around them, and mouths hanging open in quiet, ghastly grins. They never move because the baseball women are dead. They will be here for a long time.
The boy cautiously turns the card over, only to be comforted by their smiling faces.
Was he imagining things?