Remnants, by Nyx
What I love about this story is that you don’t know where it’s going. I selected it by category, so I had some idea, but the narration gives nothing away. The reader is thrust into the setting—a desolate post-apoc city about which we know little—and we follow the protagonist on their journey. Who’s the protag? We don’t know that either, right away: they could be anyone and this could be anywhere. Everything will be revealed in time and the story enjoys the process of slowly unfolding, rushing nothing.
Revelations erupt in bursts and very quickly we realize a little of what’s going on. Flashback, and we get the whole story, bringing us up to present day. Everyone on the planet (as far as we know) has been reduced to a couple inches tall, except for the narrator, Amelia, a young woman roving from city to city with her shrunken boyfriend, Owen, in search of supplies and another person like her. We learn more about the narrator, how she’s adapted to this new existence, and here the story turns rather dark.
Everything is believable, though. I can totally see these things happening, with this one particular person an effectual giantess in a world of tiny people. If someone else were the last big person, it would be a different story, of course, but this is an exploration of one specific mindset swinging between survival mode and lurid entertainment. Nyx enhances the narrator’s interior philosophy and emotional drives with stings of colors and textures, and the story slowly evolves like a stew of raw ingredients progressively blending, chemically changing into a new beast entirely. At the end, this is not the story you started reading, but you can clearly see the path that led you here. Similarly, Amelia isn’t who she was half a year ago, either. “Remnants” is much a story about change and evolution, how people shift in an altered environment with new (or no) consequences.
And then the story goes further. Just when you’ve adjusted to Amelia’s new-found taste for violence, when you think you can accept or understand it in the context, Nyx pushes the reader over the border one more time. We listen to Amelia’s thoughts as she plays with the various tiny people she’s collected, the things she thinks to do with them, retribution that goes quite beyond simple revenge, and the delirious pleasure she experiences from these activities. Some people who read this story will start to feel grave concerns about where this path leads, and others will feel something spark and catch fire in their minds with a need to learn more. And Nyx provides. She does not hold back.
Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash