“The Other Side” — Jamie Lackey

Jamie Lackey’s short fiction has appeared in Atomjack Magazine, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Drabblecast, and in the anthology It Was a Dark and Stormy Halloween. She is also a slush reader for Clarkesworld Magazine and an assistant editor for the Triangulation annual anthology series. She hails from Pittsburgh, where George Romero filmed Night of the Living Dead.

For most of history, human beings have been throwing up walls. Walls seem to offer protection from a hostile world, and give us a sense of control, of keeping people where we think they ought to be. But walls definitely have a spotty history when it comes to their actual usefulness. The magnificent Great Wall of China never really did keep the barbarians out, nor did the walls of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The Berlin Wall ultimately failed to keep Germany divided, and the strenuous efforts by the Israelis to put up walls between them and the Palestinians haven’t really proven effective.

Can we have much confidence that walls would do any better against zombies? And of course with any wall there’s the question not just of what are you keeping out, but also what are you holding in. Our next story is about fences, about boundaries, and being on the wrong side of them, and, of course, about zombies. The author says, “This story is about high school students almost twenty years after a zombie apocalypse. And unrequited love. I started thinking how the world would be different if there were zombies, but they’d been driven back decades ago. The zombies might still be a threat, biding their time, waiting to strike again, or they could have all rotted away without anyone noticing. The emotions in the story are what make it personal to me—the need to fit in, the fear, and in the end, the sorrow and regret.”