If I’m not mistaken, this is the first supernatural story since the the “vampire” ones at the start of the collection. You might remember them, way back in February? “Homecoming,” “Uncle Einar,” and “The Traveler.” And I actually didn’t even realize at first, but the story is about Cecy, one of the characters from those earlier stories.
Why it wasn’t put in the collection with those ones, rather than separated by quite a few stories is beyond me, but I’m not in the business of organizing short story collections, I’m in the business of writing about them, so what do I know?
The story is… kind of creepy. Cecy wants to be in love, but can’t marry a mortal because apparently that would make her lose her powers. How that works, I don’t know. It’s supernatural and magic, there doesn’t have to be an explanation. A wizard did it (I know, technically that’s for continuity snarls, but it works here too).
Anyway, if you remember from “Homecoming” and “The Traveler,” Cecy has the ability to possess… well, anything, really, from an amoeba to a frog to a human. Anything living. Possibly some things that aren’t alive, too, I’m not totally sure about that one. Oh, and plants, she’s used plants as hosts too (including falling leaves, before you get on my case because plants are alive). So she decides to go out and go inside the body of a young girl.
What takes place is kind of morally questionable at best. She forces the poor girl to go on a date with a guy she hates, just so she can experience it. Honestly I’m not totally sure if Bradbury wants us to sympathize with Cecy or with Ann, the girl she possesses, but I definitely lean towards Ann.
Though to be fair, Bradbury is a good enough writer that I did feel my sympathies vacillating back and forth between the two at times.
Honestly some of the descriptions go on a little too long for my taste. Like, they dip into purple prose territory at times. Between that and just how creepy the story is, and not in a good way, I can definitely say that this is not one of my favorites. I mean, all of the stories about these characters are a little odd, but the parts involving Cecy are just downright creepy. I guess it’s got to do with the lack of control and such. The idea of someone else being in control of your body and actions is just a really uncomfortable thought.