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Publication date: October 12th 2020 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads F rom the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on O...

Review || Hungry Business by Maria DeBlassie


Publication date: October 12th 2020
Links: Amazon Goodreads

From the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings comes a cozy Gothic short story about searching for soul, meaning, love in a world that's forgotten the power of everyday conjuring. 

 Looking for love can be deadly… You know how it goes. You go out, hoping to meet someone. You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead good at passing as human. 

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets. But you keep at it. All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether. How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies? 

Dating. 

It’s hungry business. 

CW: Assault.

 

At just 17 pages, Hungry Business is a poignant tale of one woman's search to find love in a dead world. Our protagonist is lonely. Why else would she continue to date when those dates make her feel cold. Vowing to never date again and swearing it's not worth the risk but loneliness and desperation drive her back out again nights later. Through it all, she wonders about the cat in the apartment across the way and the person who is still human enough to own it, as all the cats left the dead parts of the city during the initial rage of the virus. 

Drawing parallels between the pitfalls of dating and dating in the zombie apocalypse, this short story packs a big world into a few pages. The dating scene is a cold enough place to be even when the body sitting across the table from you isn't slowly rotting from the inside out. Of course, the dates she encounters try to put on their best impressions—covering the evidence of their afflictions with dress and carefully applied makeup. It's not enough to hide the hungriness inside them as they ache for the life they no longer have.

This is obviously horror, populated as it is with the undead, though "Cozy gothic" are two words not often seen together. The pervasiveness of the narrator's constant fear of being overcome by rot, along with the pensive mood of the piece heightens the isolation that she feels even when with others. 

Eventually, she realizes that the inside of her bright, cheery apartment and the view of the cat in the window fills her heart and brings her comfort the way the dates couldn't. It's a strange contrast between the cold, gray world outside and the cozy blankets, warm baths, and hot tea she comforts herself with indoors to keep ahold of her humanity. Through it all, the orange tabby cat is in the window across the way as a beacon of hope that there is another beating heart out there. Isn't that what we all search for in this big cold world?