he where this story comes from – The End – is a collection of the best the late and much missed Jurassic Press had to offer. I loved their books, have a number of originals (with book number stamps) and had submitted to their contests (nearly made it). The End was their swan song, their going-out-of-business, best-of collection.
This short story is from their collection (and more on the strange realization in a bit). This story takes place in a dystopian England, a place where supposedly nukes have detonated, civilization has fallen apart, and London is a walled city where, if you interview well with a skill, you might just get in. Diane is attempting to drive there and runs out of gas. English banknotes, it is reflected on, are only worth stuffing into your coat for warmth or for burning, ditto. The army comes along but the only thing they can provide is to shove her car into the ditch to keep the road clear. And they can’t bring her along. So Diane, with her broken leg, in her wheelchair, sets out for London. What else can she do?
This opening scene gripped me – it just gets progressively worse and worst as you realize just how sunk she is. And then comes a car speeding along which forces her to leap from the chair to stay alive – the chair rolls way down a hill, forcing Diane to crawl after it. And that when she meets Owen, a blind man trudging up the road, hopeless and helpless.
Together they form a team of sorts, attempting to get to London and salvation. But then they encounter another person, a man named Fox, who has his own goals, which manifest themselves in dark resolutions.
Yeah, this one was a great short story, well worth the time if you can find it somewhere. Like I said, my copy is in a collective that is not to be reissued.
So, interesting point about this – this comes from a novel I bought, read and reviewed years back, Thy Kingdom Come. I was reading the short story in bed and then I saw the notes detailing where it came from, and I thought, hell, I own that book. And I do. Reviewed it and everything. Maybe it’s time for another read.
Anyway, great story for our own plague-filled world.