Short Story Review: “Alexandra Lost” by Simon Strantzas

3 of 5 stars.

Deep-seated anxieties filter one’s perspective of the world. Capturing that in a tale’s narration helps make the psychologically challenging state accessible to those who’ve never felt such blinders. Here, Alexandra’s anxieties mirror Lovecraftian mythos by drawing on the unfathomable ocean’s depths and might.

Alexandra doesn’t travel and doesn’t wander. Not since her father never came back years ago. She still assumes he’s just lost–as she’s lost, when she’s not right where she’s comfortable. Her boyfriend, Leonard, is surprised she’d never seen the ocean since they live in New York, albeit upstate New York nearly ten hours drive from the coast. On a whim, he offers an impromptu road trip. She, wanting to impress Leonard, agrees.

Despite rigorously mapping the journey they should take, Alexandra loses track of where they are on her road map. Leonard speeds ahead toward the ocean, far less worried than his girl. Her anxieties emerge in dreams and migraines and visions of horrors beckoning to her. Yet they travel onward toward the vast ocean. Soon, Alexandra’s symptoms turn to cramping, blinding pain–yet she suffers through to the end of the road . . .

This tale appears in the New Lovecraftian anthology, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu edited by Paula Guran. I received my copy of the anthology directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read this author’s “Emotional Dues” and “On Ice”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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