Friday, January 23, 2015

Short Fiction Friday: Oasis of the Damned by Greg F. Gifune

Heather Richter was lucky to have survived the helicopter crash, but it seems her luck may have run out there. Richter doesn't know that yet, though. Another survivor from an earlier crash comes to her rescue and leads her to a nearby abandoned military post. But what at first seems to be a welcome oasis to wait out rescue is soon revealed to be the ultimate nightmare. Here Richter and Owens will have to fight to survive as the post withstands nightly attacks from a gruesome and never ending enemy all the while fighting to overcome their own demons as well. 

This latest from Gifune is short, coming in at just around 75 pages, but packs a wallop! It's the kind of tale that continues to stick with you well after reading, and I found myself going over and over the various layers of the tale in the days after I finished.

At the forefront is of course the main horror - Richter and Owens, trapped in the desert and forced to fight daily for their survival. But beyond that, each character is fighting other horrors as well: Owens has lost the rest of his crew in this nightly onslaught and Richter is plagued by memories of her brother. Their physical enemies force the two to face down the enemies they hold within themselves - their doubts, fears, and regrets - and it seems there may be no escape from any of it.

Oasis of the Damned is a dark tale and one I enjoyed immensely for its complexity. It was certainly unexpected to some extent simply because the story was so short, but given that Gifune is regularly praised by followers of the genre I have to admit I did have some grand expectation for my first reading of his work. I was not let down in the least!

Rating: 4/5

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