In his new novella, British horror author Joseph D'Lacey turns his sights on the future, rendering a Bradburyesque (think “Martian Chronicles”) tale of an apocalyptic world where the pleasures are few, and each day is a fight for survival. Perhaps it's his different take on zombies – the “hot” horror monster, at the moment – that makes this novella work, or the melancholic tenor of his prose. Either way, an author who's already displayed a deft ability at using genre conventions to deliver elevated thought comes through again.
The world is a box to Sheri Delgado. Literally, as it is to everyone else. Two-hundred souls, crammed into several city blocks, living a stripped down existence of bare essentials, and something else: their numbers keep dwindling, while those changed when the “Long Silence” began keep coming. It won't be long until the “Commuters” - those who've been changed – overrun them. It's just a matter of time, and not to pander to the cliché...but time is running out.
Sheri's on a “Kill Crew”, a unit of seven who patrol their area, as far as they can...and eliminate Commuters. As many as they can, for there's no way to save or recover those changed...except for a bullet to the head. However, it's work, of a sort. It gives purpose. Instills a sense of duty. For Sheri, it's a dependable foundation to lean on: she's a “Crewer”. It's what she does. It's what she is.
Everything changes when she almost dies in a vain attempt to save a fellow Crewer. That, and her relationship with Ike – normally so manageable – has gotten messy. Complicated. Also, a relationship has grown between her and a withdrawn, abused teen named Trixie, and suddenly, the once content Sheri is desperate to escape, to find a way out, to see if there's anything else beyond. Their escape comes in the form of an abandoned Humvee that miraculously still works.
Salvation, however...may still come in the form of a bullet. What the Commuters have is contagious, spread so easily...through anything organic of the outside world.
And Sheri has dared bring something in.