In honor of the beginning of October, I’m highly recommending you go read this story written by my friend Betsy Phillips and published in the September, 2011 issue of Apex Magazine. I don’t want to give anything away because that would ruin the fun of it, but let’s just say it’s a zombie story. It’s not very reminiscent of the way pop culture usually presents zombies, you won’t find anything reminiscent of George Romero or Robert Kirkman.
The story opens with a driving lesson. This mundane opening scene may make you wonder if you’re reading the right story. Never fear though, things go creepy pretty quick.
The pacing and economy of the story telling are what really make me a fan. Things unfold a little at a time and just when you think you’re clear about what’s going on a new, supremely creepy, revelation comes out. Phillips specializes in setting a creepy scene without veering into outright horror and this subtlety embues the story with the feeling that everything going on could happen at any time. The horrible things going on are presented so matter of fact that you don’t always realize what was just said until you’re two sentences past it.
On a more academic note… I usually try not to over think my reading, but I really have to wonder if Phillips intended the story to be a metaphor for how day-to-day life makes us all into zombies and the toll that takes on our relationships.