This short story is taken from the collection Cover Before Striking. The most common phrase in print is “cover before striking,” a warning to those about to innocently strike a match to be careful not to burn their fingers. Uppal’s characters in Cover Before Striking are all people pushing their lives to new levels of intensity, danger, or passion as they test their limits and those of the world. Implacable and just a little unhinged, the stories of Cover Before Striking each move toward that moment of contact when the sparks begin to fly, when destruction and beauty seem to blur together. With this collection, Priscila Uppal offers the literary equivalent of playing with fire.
“The Boy Next Door” was originally published in Blood & Aphorisms magazine.