Review: “Captive Hearts” by Brian Keene

3 of 5 stars.

Appearing in Extreme Zombies edited by Paula Guran, this vignette does not rise to the level of being a full short story which is a good thing in this case. With any more length and scrutiny, this set-up would have likely crumpled.

The scene opens with Gina threatening more physical (and psychological) harm to Richard, her one-time boss. His extremities are already handcuffed to all four corners of the bed. He flickers in and out of consciousness due to prolonged captivity–bedsores blossom, his fighting has weakened. She’s removed nine of his ten toes despite his living screams.

This is a scenario of misguided survival and revenge. As the plague raged, Gina stayed behind with her wheel-chair-bound husband, Paul. She quickly descends to great depths of depravity, all to resist accepting the reality of her situation which is not sustainable. There’s no where for this story to go, and it thankfully doesn’t.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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