Read it now : "Don't Stop"
By James Patrick Kelly
In Asimov's Science Fiction
Word Count: 5,000 approx.
"Don't Stop" is another Nebula award nominee from Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. Kelly's story this time is a gentle, modern fantasy about a forty-two year old woman, Lisa, who has been haunted nearly all her life by a ghost she calls Crispin. Crispin never speaks, has never told her why he is there. He has simply grown up beside her, watching her, following her as she runs.
Lisa's dilemma, which she ponders during her running session, is whether she can risk taking her romantic relationship with Matt any further, or just quit.
The story is beautiful to read. The ghost story element is used to create a question about love and friendship, for to be in a relationship surely means trusting someone enough to talk about your life. However Lisa's life involves being constantly shadowed by a ghost that no one else can see, and talking about it has lead to many betrayals. The ghost is part of her life, but not something she can share with anyone.
The ending lacks a little punch. It's as if the story points to what it is getting at without actually getting there. It's up to the reader to work out if that's enough and whether the story is worthy of it's Nebula nomination.
The link to Kelly's website has many links to his fiction and podcasts as well as essays.