(Editor’s note: SHORT SHOTS is a column where I review short stories from horror anthologies, collections, and zines.)

“Meat cleaver in hand and her belly full of blood, Cynthia hid beneath the carving table, trembling with fear.” 

This killer first sentence jump-starts the culinary horror short story “My Body” by two-time Splatterpunk Award-winning author Wesley Southard. It’s the lead tale in Southard’s 2022 release They Mostly Come at Night: Collected Short Fiction. The story first appeared in the 2020 anthology Midnight in the Pentagram and won the 2021 Splatterpunk Award for Best Short Story.

With an opening line like that, “My Body” gets us ready for some Southard cooking. And I’m not talking Grandma’s gravy and biscuits or Mom’s cornbread. The main ingredient in Southard cooking is blood, and he makes a mess in the kitchen. 

As you can probably tell, the main character Cynthia is having a bad day. But that’s just the tease. How did she end up under that table at a fancy restaurant in Evansville, Indiana? 

Well, let’s flash back to a few days earlier. Cynthia is a food critic who’s writing a review of the new high-end French bistro Mon Corps for the local newspaper. The restaurant is remarkably popular and successful in a building where every other previous restaurant has failed for the past 30 years. 

When Cynthia asks about the secret to the restaurant’s success, the wealthy owner of Mon Corps, Jermane Welkner, offers a vague answer: “I have an eye for what works and what doesn’t.” Also, there’s a mysterious and standoffish chef named Boucher who insisted Welkner build him an off-limits sub-basement to store the meats. 

With her reporter’s instincts buzzing, Cynthia finds the whole situation a bit odd as she sits down with her boyfriend to sample the food. But she ain’t seen nothing yet (sorry, sometimes the double negative just feels right). 

The structure of “My Body” (which is what Mon Corps means in French) alternates back and forth in time. Southard effectively keeps us guessing as he lets us know from the get-go that Cynthia is in danger then carefully doles out the details of what led up to her current situation. 

As you probably guessed, the food at Mon Corps is not typical European fare. It stirs passionate feelings among the customers, in a manner of speaking. Cynthia’s research reveals surprising information about the previous restaurant owners, but it’s too little, too late. She’s as hooked on the food as everyone else. 

The climax veers hard into extreme horror, and as chaos ensues, Cynthia returns to the only place where she’ll find answers: Mon Corps. Tonight, though, there’s blood on the menu – and on the floor and on the walls and in Cynthia’s belly (remember that opening line?). 

Cynthia discovers the secret to the restaurant’s success is location, location, location. And Mon Corps is actually the perfect name for the business. Almost too perfect, really. But her curiosity may cost more than the bouillabaisse, which is to die for, by the way. 

They Mostly Come at Night features 11 short stories plus an excellent introduction by 2014 World Horror Grandmaster Award recipient Brian Keene, who gives us a succinct horror fiction history lesson.


SHORT SHOTS | ‘Long Distance Call’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘They Say the Sky is Full of Snakewolves’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘Wreckers’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘The Wolf Hunters’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘The Painting My Husband Keeps’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘A Traveler Between Eternities’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘Quiet Embers’


SHORT SHOTS | ‘Political Suicide’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘The Hay Bale’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘Still Life’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘Complex’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘Cabin Twelve’ & ‘The Face’

SHORT SHOTS | ‘The Sun Sets Nonetheless’

2 thoughts on “SHORT SHOTS | ‘My Body’

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