[For the previous countdown post, click here.]
30. “Minutes” (1994)
Partridge’s stories often warrant a second reading, not simply for the joy of the experience, but also because misdirection is a key component of the narrative. This short but hard-hitting piece is a perfect example. A woman wakes up alone in bed at midnight and senses a shadowy figure outside her window, but this isn’t some basic home invasion or sexual predator scenario. Susan struggles to comprehend a repeating series of curious occurrences outside–the crash of metal against metal, anguished screams, strange markings made on the windowpane–and when their significance is finally revealed in the climax, she (and the reader) can’t help but feel the pain. The blunt imagery of this tale of devastating guilt has stuck with me for many, many years.