Review: “Abed” by Elizabeth Massie

3 of 5 stars.

This very short story appears in Extreme Zombies edited by Paula Guran. It should be noted that this story is very graphic and for adults only. The entire anthology carries a warning that it is for adults only, which is likely due to this inclusion. The undead, as in most zombie stories, are not the real story. The story is how the living treat the living when the ethics of society have been stripped away.

Just about anything else I write here would be a spoiler due to the nature of the story. However, it starts rather benignly in a family home nestled between cornfields and woods in rural America. Meggie, the protagonist, is handed her favorite dress, freshly ironed, by her mother-in-law with whom she lives. The idyllic scene quickly devolves from there.

The writing is good; the scene becomes horrific. Sometimes, that combination can be quite unsettling. This is one of those cases. The story wandered so far beyond my comfort zone that I started to wonder if I did not believe the situation could get that bad, or if I just did not want to believe it could get that bad. And yet every couple of years, a real world headline will show just how horrible people can be to each other. These headlines don’t take the reader into the minds of the people experiencing the situation, though, as this story does. Read this story, forewarned.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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