REVIEW: “February Moon” by Josh Rountree

Review of Josh Rountree, “February Moon”, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 303 (May 7, 2020): Read online. Reviewed by Richard Lohmeyer.

Things are not all they seem in the lead story of BCS’ latest issue. Someone or, as the first word of the story suggests, something is killing the animals at the small farm where the German immigrant narrator and two of her children reside. Her husband and oldest son are missing for reasons that provoke guilt in the narrator but are not initially explained. Rountree’s quietly horrifying story is a striking portrait of a solitary woman seemingly in need of a man’s protection—at least according to the men in the town near her farm—yet strong enough to resist repeated unsought advances. What help she does need comes from an unexpected source and, by story’s end, we learn the reason for her fear and guilt, as well as the source of her strength and despair. It’s an excellent story, wonderfully told. I like the title, too. It may seem understated, but it takes on added significance once you’ve finished the piece.