As I see it, twisting expectations is what short stories live and die on. Much like short films, they either have to be really funny, or hugely depressing (assuming porn is out of the question).

Dunno if I’ve ever mentioned it, but that’s kind of why I’m not fond of short-format work. Also part of why I like that you chose a collected sort of format for your short story project, since it gives you a way to avoid that by building a larger setting as well.