Andrew Forrest Baker
he | him
Southern gothic storyteller.
My new novel, The House That Wasn't There, is out now from April Gloaming Publishing.
“You’re new here, huh?” he asked from his perch atop the red vinyl barstool at the end of the counter. An untouched chai latte was pushed off to the side in front of him--the milk foam slowly dissipating beneath the sprinkle of mahogany cinnamon spread over it--to make room for the small spiral bound notebook he used to sketch out rough abstract patterns. A wicked grin slinked across his lips as he eyed me from head to toe to take in my neon blue dyed hair, the bits of metal dotting my eyebrows and ears and lip, the ink on my arms: all the signals I’d acquired to separate myself from the mainstream, everything I’d donned to showcase my difference. “You’ll do.”
The sun had not even begun to crest the horizon when I heard the clang of pans in the kitchen, followed by the crack and sizzle of eggs frying. Grandma Nellie did not even try to be quiet. She wasn’t too used to having others in the house. Besides, it wouldn’t be long before MaNet, her daughter and my grandmother, would creep into the bedroom to gently rouse my brother and me. The smell of bread toasting to a near black wafted like lit charcoal across the bed linens and was quickly replaced by the sweet, salty scent of bologna hitting the cast iron.