Short Story Review: “The Door” by Kelley Armstrong

4 of 5 stars.

Post-apocalyptic tales come in all flavors depending on the POV of the characters involved. Some characters experience the brunt of the terminal event and react well or poorly–knowingly or cluelessly. Others are born into a changed world. But even here, some may own and be adapted to the new reality while others might be protected from it, for better or for worse.

This very short tale depicts a child, and then young adult that has remained innocent to the harsh realities of the world around her. She stays in her house with her mother, while the father goes out to gather food, water, games and books. The food and water are stockpiled in the basement. A series of two doors separates the narrator from the greater world of which she knows nothing.

Soon, an infant daughter is added to the mix. And the father sickens and dies. Small hints of what might lie beyond are gleaned from muffled conversations of the parents, but without experience they lack context. Mother resumes the father’s tasks of gathering supplies until she, too, falls sick . . .

The pacing and discovery process in this brief tale are on cue. The narrow POV works effectively.

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read this author’s “A Haunted House of Her Own” and “The Screams of Dragons”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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