The last zombie story I read was a short Kindle story titled Deadlocked by A.R. Wise. It has been a few years since I read this short story on a father’s journey to save his family from a zombie outbreak, but my memory tells me that I enjoyed it very much. Since then, I have traversed the horror/thriller genre while also exploring a variety of genres outside of my preferred reading list. Nevertheless, Goodreads brought me to discover Juli D. Revezzo’s Bicycle Requiem, a short zombie novelette, and I figured it was time to revisit the zombie plot.
Revezzo’s Bicycle Requiem tells the gorey and bloody tale of Theodora’s guilt-ridden breakdown after her hit and run results in a child’s death. However despite all her efforts to move on from the event, Teddy (as her family and friends call her) ends up tormented by her victim’s zombie with no escape in sight. The zombie child follows an exhausted Teddy to her night job, home, and anywhere else she hopes to find sanctuary. Teddy is left between a rock and a hard place where she must decide if coming forward is better than being maliciously taunted by a zombie forever.
If you wish to avoid any spoilers, please proceed from “CONTINUE READING FROM HERE.”
After reading Revezzo’s novelette, I was left feeling unsure about the overall storytelling. Although Revezzo does a great job setting the stage for the rest of the story and pays attention to detail in my favorite ways, I couldn’t tell how she intended the story to be perceived. Were we supposed to assume the child zombie was real (as in, a zombie from The Walking Dead) or to assume Teddy was having a mental breakdown?
I have read many stories where the main events trigger a breakdown or catatonic state in the protagonist, and Bicycle Requiem seemed to follow the same pattern as those. Teddy is worn out, exhausted, and works the night shift that can only lead to even more weirdness in a person’s life after throwing off the body’s natural time clock. Additionally, the fact that only Teddy can see the zombie child reminded me more of a malevolent spirit than an actual zombie. This confusion brought me to my next ambivalence on the storytelling.
I was thrown off at time by the dialogue that Teddy seemed to be having with the zombie child. It could have been just my personal interpretation of the situations, but Teddy was depicted in a much calmer state of mind and logic when conversing or dealing with her tormentor. At times, she would view the zombie more as a nuisance than an actual horrid creature haunting her night and day. Of course, a person or character’s reaction is subjective and personal, yet Teddy’s acceptance of the zombie was received much more quickly for someone who was depicted as having doubts of anything supernatural from the beginning.
That said, I must praise Revezzo’s attention to detail. Throughout the entire story, we can clearly see everything that is happening even down to the tiniest aspects. One of the paragraphs that stood out to me was from chapter 2:
“The child materialized in the mist. Her eyes sunken in, her cheeks dark and hollow. I narrowed my eyes watching her. She rode on the back of a huge sheepdog.”
Revezzo illustrated so that her readers can see exactly what she wants them to see without becoming overbearing in telling us every single element. We can recreate each scene easily as we read along and understand the horrors that Teddy is seeing – which include lots of gore and blood that is a part of the wonderful staple of zombie tales. Even until the very end, Revezzo keeps that same momentum when it comes to her descriptions so there is never a dull moment where we are left in a blank space listening to dialogue. Doing this is very hard, as sometimes too much detail takes away from the story, but not to Revezzo.
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Overall, I would suggest reading this novelette. It is full of wonderful blood, guts, gore and horror that make up a great zombie story. Despite my apprehension with some of the storytelling, I did end up thinking about Teddy, her zombie, and what happened to her days after finishing Bicycle Requiem. It left me intrigued, which says a lot about the plot and the characters. If it had sucked, I know I would not have cared about it at all the minute I finished the last sentence.
I also think that how you read this story is all based on what you’ve encountered as an avid reader. Your interpretation could be vastly different from mine based on what you usually read or are intrigued by in your general reading list.
So, please do read because I would love to know what you think of this zombie novelette and hear about your thoughts on Juli D. Revezzo’s Bicycle Requiem. The story is around 9,000 words, so it won’t take you too long.
You can purchase Bicycle Requiem here on smashwords.com