A Tunnel in the Sky

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Your Shadow Half Remains
by Sunny Moraine

Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted January 24, 2024

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"Between the motion and the act falls the shadow."

I received a digital review copy of this novel from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It will publish in two weeks, February 6. It is horror, and if filmed there would be quite a few jump scares, but most of those things are only imagined, hallucinated, or dreamt of by the main character. On several occasions Riley has to question what is happening, whether she is going insane. As many other people apparently have. The story begins with Riley throwing her cell phone into a lake. A lake where her grandparents had a cabin. The cabin where her grandmother killed her grandfather, then killed herself. Riley has still not cleaned up where the blood splattered the walls, woodwork, and floors. What has propelled people into acts of madness and violence is little understood, but it seems to be affected by eye contact with someone already infected. Before Riley moved to her grandparents cabin she had witnessed multiple acts of mayhem, murder, and suicide, but luckily from a distance, she didn't make eye contact with the perpetrators or their victims. Her father had died about ten years prior to that. Her mother had died more recently, but not before cutting her own eyes out. Or, is it possible, based on recurring hallucinations, did Riley cut her mother's eyes out before killing her?

Riley keeps telling herself she is not infected, or else she would be dead. Or, the mechanics of the sickness not being understood, it may have morphed into something else. No one knows. Riley doesn't know since she doesn't follow the news anymore, what little is available. Someone, or perhaps she in one of her fugue states, severed all the cables on her computer, and she has no phone since she threw it in the lake. She has a stockpile of food and other necessities, but how long will they last, and how will she get more? Have her actions been intended as a slow form of suicide? She had thought she was alone at the lake, but one day she encounters a man, Ellis, who is living in one of the other cabins. They have to be very careful not to look each other in the eye, so they face away from each other, lower their gaze to the ground, or wear 'blinders,' goggles made with glass from a welder's helmet. Riley is not only paranoid about her own mental health, she starts to wonder if Ellis is actively trying to drive her insane. Is he the one who cut her computer cables? Is he the one who scratched the word 'Look' into the plaster on her walls? If so, when did he do that, and why didn't she hear him?

I can't answer those questions since I'm not sure myself. Even though everything is from Riley's perspective, it is written in third-person, and you can never be sure what is only in Riley's imagination. It is a short novel, with very short chapters, a quick read. The mood is oppressively dark and bleak, with no hope in sight. Riley continually thinks she should just get it over with, either kill herself, or look Ellis in the eye to see what happens. It couldn't be any worse than the dark shadows enveloping her. It is not a pleasant story, although I liked it and can recommend it, especially for those who like horror. The vagueness of the ending might be the best part.


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Sunny Moraine

February 6, 2024

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