The story is set in the mountains of West Virginia where a community of impoverished miners wrestles with their inhumanity after toxic waste has led to their deaths and ultimately their reanimation. When they were alive, the miners accepted their position in the world. Even if they were poor, they could still sleep well while reaping the emotional reward of a hard day's work. However, when greedy strip miners stole their livelihood, everything began to change.
The strip miners unearthed toxins as they ravished the land. Then, mountain rains spread the toxins throughout the ecosystem when the unemployed locals needed their natural food supply the most. The effects of the polluted food occurred quickly, turning most of the people into the mindless and hungry undead. However, there were a few exceptions. A small number of the afflicted were still able to think and feel human emotions. This ability proved to be a torture all in itself.
As one man endures the torment of this unnatural state of limbo, he finds hope in his ability to rally his family and his neighbors together in victory over their circumstance as they feast on the wealthy strip miners and eventually the rest of the world.
McRob twists a complex and haunting narrative into the seventeen pages that are Beware the Mold. Horror fiction's much beloved gore and the Zombie sub-genre's brain eating are plentiful. Even so, the remaining thoughts and emotions of the narrator in his undead condition are what make this piece so disturbing. The force of his vengeful, broken heart drives the plot's action while he leads his family to recovery. McRob not only addresses a powerful value of family with lines like, "Ah, yes, the family that eats together . . . ," but also comments directly on modern social injustices and the idea of a "New World Order."
I give Beware the Mold 4.5 / 5 stars.
Beware the Mold is now available from Visionary Press Collaborative for Kindle at Amazon. Visit Blaze McRob!