Tayler Heuston, California-native, holds an MFA from North Carolina State University where she received the Robbie S. Knott endowment for promising women writers. She is a 2016 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow. Her fiction and poetry have also appeared in At Length Magazine, Carve Magazine, Prairie Schooner (blog), Two Serious Ladies, NANO Fiction, Into the Teeth of the Wind, and Spectrum. Last Halloween, Tayler dressed as Sylvia Plath. The handmade oven was a labor of love. She lives in Raleigh, NC, where she is writing a novel.
Praise for ‘Hostages’
With ‘Hostages,’ Heuston has crafted a thoughtful, wise, and lovely story that, although it tracks a kidnapping case, is as much–or perhaps more–an existential examination of the search for self, for truth, and the impossibility of finite answers. –Therese Anne Fowler
This mesmerizing, unsettling, utterly original story had me hooked from the surprising first sentence to the devastating last. Tayler Heuston writes with precise attention to the way our personal histories–what we experienced, learned, witnessed–live within us at every moment. An exciting new voice in fiction. —Belle Boggs, author of The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood and Mattaponi Queen
‘Hostages’ is the best kind of short story–multi-layered, nuanced, rich with detail. Henry and Therese Hines have a seemingly normal life, a happy marriage, until the FBI shows up, and their neighbors learn that many years ago, Henry kidnapped Therese, and she has, it seems, been his hostage for decades. Hostages isn’t their story though, not really. Instead, this is a story of a woman who hardly knew the Hines’s trying to make sense of the public spectacle of trauma and the ways in which we can be drawn to the people or things that hurt us.– Roxane Gay, 2015 Short Fiction Award Judge
Excerpt from ‘Hostages’
The summer I moved back in with my parents, federal agents arrested the man across the street for kidnapping his wife.
I didn’t know what I was doing back in Naglee Park, other than failing at being an adult, already at twenty-six, and failing at being an artist, having received, then squandered grant money living in Noe Valley in a fashionable apartment and dining out with stylish friends who disappeared, one by one, along with the money.
The morning the FBI arrested Henry Hines, two federal agents brought his wife Therese screaming and thrashing out of the front door of their two-story Victorian. She screamed his name. And he, allowing himself to be led away, said, “It’s okay Therese, it’s going to be okay.”
After they were driven away in separate cars, the remaining agents stood in the yard drinking coffee, snapping pictures, and taking calls on their cellphones. Occasionally, someone emerged from the house with a bag of evidence.
In the middle of the night, a sedan pulled up to the Hineses’ driveway. Therese got out, shutting the car door softly. She stopped at her front door, realizing then, perhaps, that she didn’t have a key. She tried the doorknob. It was locked. She turned back to the sedan. She looked at the car, or at someone inside of it. Then she turned over a potted plant and picked up the spare.