Synopsis from Goodreads:
Five months into the zombie apocalypse, seventeen-year-old Stephen Hart lived in a society where rules and humanity had left him for dead. The remaining survivors clung feverishly to whatever hope remained–maybe it was a family member, or a religion, or a destination. But in less than one week, everything changed. (And so the cycle repeats.)
A year later, his ramshackle settlement has been compromised, as evidenced by the hordes of the undead swarming inside the gates… and Stephen is to blame. Instead of running, he takes to the airwaves, using the transmission in the now-abandoned radio station to broadcast his story via speakers to his fleeing citizens. This way, maybe he won’t look like such a total monster.
With the clock running out, venture into Stephen’s post-apocalyptic world, where circumstances can make us become something other than ourselves.
“Are you afraid of the dark?” I asked.
“No. Monsters aren’t real. This is real. I’m scared of what could happen when the lights go out.”
This is the type of fiction that lingers in your mind long after you’ve filed it away. It’s the bittersweet tang of that last sip of tea, with all the sugar granules amassed at the bottom of your cup now grating the tip of your tongue.
Going into the story, I knew three things: 1) This will be a shorter piece of fiction than I’m normally accustomed to reading, 2) there will be zombies, and 3) who knows what’s going to happen?
My initial reaction: Wow, that escalated quickly.
This was a very quick read. It felt like only minutes had passed, and yet, so many things were happening in the story. In fear of spoiling any potential readers, I will avoid summarizing anything about the plot. But yes, you can expect to read about zombies, or “hollows”, as they are so eloquently referred to as. I particularly enjoyed the use of that word.
I had to fight off the urge to cringe during a few scenes, but that only added to the reading experience. At first glance, the ending caught me off guard. I thought, “Oh. How peculiar. What a way to tell this story. How tragic.” That basically sums up all of my feelings.
On another note, I am quite impressed by the fact that the author was only sixteen years of age when he wrote this. More importantly, I am thankful that I was not the only teenager thinking about humanity and all of the self-inflicted, inevitable doom headed our way. I can’t comment on whether I have outgrown that mindset yet or not, haha.
From what I recall (I have not read short fiction in years), the best kind of short fiction makes you question morality, the fate of humanity, and our individual presence amidst all the chaos.
★★★★ (4 stars) because Exodus in Confluence ticked all of those boxes.