We recently published Jules Archer’s eerie “Contents of a Letter Found on a Stained Bar Napkin.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:


1) The attempted murderer in this piece has an M.O. similar to the BTK killer. Did you have a specific murderer in mind when you wrote this piece?

Ooo, yeah, I could see it being similar to BTK. Actually, the serial killer I had in mind when I wrote this was the Golden State Killer (Also the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker). At the time, I was reading the book by Michelle McNamara, then watching the news coverage when they captured him, and it was just something he did — lurking in the room — that chilled me to my core. I mean, I could probably take a knife. I couldn’t take someone staring at me in a pitch black room.

2) I love the last line and that image “as close as a ghost,” which for me, almost transports this story into a dreamworld, where the napkin writer imagines they survived, but maybe didn’t. Do you think this story is true? Do you think they really came so close to being killed?

Thanks! I worked long and hard for that last line. I definitely think there’s an airy, dissociative part to this piece that makes it feel almost not-quite true, but it’s true. The girl got away. And hey, isn’t that so beautiful to say these days?