Final Girl

Emily Geminder



Nights in the dark: a slasher film on TV. I lived for the devil, said the girl
on the screen. You and me: two shadows. We watched the girl on TV.

The body: opened. The blood and the meat. B-actors, shoddy doubles.
Two shadows and a screen. Come closer, you said. Each night

the night that bedeviled me. Your drawer full of pills. Your carpet
with a stain. In the morning, your mother called and told you her dream.


The killer kept calling. You muted the noise. Come closer, you said.
Night was a slasher film on TV. You and me: two dark spots, two ghost

spots side by side. Ghosts of some other people, on opposite sides of time.
The remakes, the sequels. The phone ringing one more time. The call

was coming from the house, from the room. From inside. New girl,
same knife—I couldn’t mute the noise. Every pill was a devil.

They set us alight. In dreams, I kept dying. The call came from inside.
The devil slept sound, dreamless as daylight.


On TV, I was dying. We watched on the screen. You were the devil.
I was the mute with apocalyptic dreams. Or no: we were just guts,

blood—devils moved in and out of us like bees. Time made mutes of us
all in the end. Time was the thing that bedeviled me. Time with its ax,

its cleaver. Its violence once removed. Time, with its complicated
mother issues. The last scene belonged to the final girl, who survived.

Took off down the highway, a storm in the night. She knew:
always you’re the girl or the knife.


I too lived for the devil, crashed holes through the night. I took up
with tornadoes. I wrecked towns and lives. Lost time was gathering

like a storm. TV anchormen gave me names—alphabetical,
like hurricanes. I was all mute, all noise. Tuned to every channel.

I was calling from everywhere: the last scream, the longest shadow,
the final girl I’d be. I rang out like a called name inside me.


Emily Geminder’s short stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review Online, Mississippi Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Witness, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and a fellowship award from the Vermont Studio Center.