The First 18 Days by Trisha M. Wilson

The First 18 Days by Trisha M. Wilson
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (138 pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

I am in Hell.

Correction, Damnation.

I’m dead but I don’t care. What is this place I’ve fallen into with its neat rows of the pure white townhouses with a backdrop of more white? Where is the evil, the fire, the brimstone, the painful, agonizing screams of torture? Where is the Hell?

The only thing remotely interesting about Damnation is the fact that we can’t go into Damnation Gardens. Why? What lurks behind those tall, imposing black walls? Will it be something truly hellish or will I spend eternity in this peaceful, too perfect place?

Not if I have anything to do with it. Hell shall rise with me.

How would you respond to an afterlife that wasn’t at all what you were expecting it to be?

The protagonist’s personal development was marvelous. It took me a little bit to figure out what was going on with this character because the plot was written from a first-person perspective. This turned out to be an excellent decision, though, because it required me as a reader to think carefully about the clues the main character dropped about who they had been when they were alive.

The only thing I would have liked to see done differently had to do with which names of the characters were shared with the audience. A couple of their names were revealed. The vast majority were not. This is a very minor criticism of an otherwise chilling story, but I think it would have been more consistent for all of the characters to either mention their real names or keep them concealed.

There’s something to be said for letting a reader’s imagination run wild. Ms. Wilson struck a smart balance between describing what Damnation looked and sounded like and allowing me to imagine other key elements of it for myself. It was far scarier to come up with my own interpretation of what certain parts of this community were really like or why they operated the way they did than to have everything handed to me. Writing it this way was smart!

The First 18 Days was so frightening that I had to stop reading it well before bedtime. This is a fantastic choice for anyone who loves the horror genre.

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