"Cancer Dancer" by Pat Cadigan
This story comes from the anthology "Dead Letters" edited by Conrad Williams.
A woman, living in London, was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Surprised doesn't begin to describe how she felt. She was in remission and then found out that the cancer came back. When she arrived home she found an envelope waiting for her on the floor through the mail slot.
The envelope had an address and name she didn't recognize. The envelope was addressed to a Mike Parris Ret. Detective. It was marked with the words "no longer at this address" and above that the word "deceased". This piqued her interest. How did she end up with this envelope? Whose envelope was it?
So deciding having cancer gave her a right to some adventure she opened the envelope to see what the contents contained. There were 2 pieces of paper torn from notepads and a black plastic card with a magnetic strip. On one piece of paper was a note asking for help. The other had a doodle that spelled out MURDER at the top and on the paper a date and time with some other stuff she couldn't place.
She decided to track down Mike Parris and try to find out what the envelope was about. This leads her down the rabbit hole. People who want the black card. Places she has never heard of before, let alone been to. She definitely get an adventure.
This was a pretty cool story all around. The character development was done well. I could feel for the character and her needs. I could identify the feelings of not giving a fuck what happened because of something that I was going through. I could feel what she felt and that is good writing.
There was actually some really good setting in this story. For being a short story it felt like I took a trip around London with the character. I don't usually get a good sense of the setting in short stories very often. This one did the setting well.
My only gripe is the ending. The ending was just OK. This is still a story worth reading, but the end left me scratching my head. I think I understand where the author was going with the ending, but I'm not entirely sure. I think the ending could have been way better than it was. There was so much potential to just have a mind blowing ending and I felt like the author missed his chance.