2 of 5 stars.
Appearing in After the End: Recent Apocalypses edited by Paula Guran, this short story takes place a few years after a nuclear-triggered apocalypse. The narrator, dubbed “The Adjudicator,” tells a non-linear story that quickly outlines the rapid collapse of society. The nuclear weapons instantly killed most people. Then, most of the survivors quickly succumbed to fallout. After the second wave of death, most of those survivors descended into a brain-mushed, murderous madness that cleared out most of the rest of the populous. That does not leave many people a couple years out from the initial trigger. Ones that that are left survived in bunkers and strong houses, mostly, but not the Adjudicator. Society is set on rebuilding.
Somehow, the narrator survived all of these waves of death without a bunker. He also appears to heal quickly now and his body is hairless. All told, this makes him a feared person, rumored to be un-killable. He may not be the only one in this new state, however.
Much is left unclear in this story, such as what this character did before the war, what he did during the first couple years after the war, and what’s truly going on even during the timeline of the story. The unreliable narrator no longer thinks linearly, logically, or morally.
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