Oasis Of The Damned is a short standalone novel by the horror book author Greg F. Gifune. Horror is not a genre I read very often, but now and then, when I feel like sampling, I head over to Netgalley and browse through the selection listed by the publisher DarkFuse, which is chock full of great short horror novellas.
The story is about Heather Richter, an ex-army captain whose helicopter crashed somewhere in the Sahara desert. Much to her surprise, she is not alone. She is soon found by Owens, a man who has been seemingly there for a while. While she is happy to see him, he is not, and that is quite apparent from his behavior towards her.
Nevertheless they head out to his current place of refuge, an old WWII outpost, which should keep them sheltered for a while. At first Owens is rather cryptic with his answers about his surroundings and history, but soon his words expand into a crazy story. Owens ended up there in the same way she did, except he was initially not alone. One by one his friends all died (and he refuses to tell her how), leaving only him alive to fight off something that he is literally freaking out about,, without telling her what that actually is.
As the story unfolds we learn more about Heather’s past in Iraq, as well as her life back at home. Before we learn too much, though, the night falls and Heather gets the shock of her life. And she is not one to scare easily, having been in the war and all.
As Owens also tells bits and pieces of the story of how he got there and why there he is still scared almost to insanity, Heather is confused about this, as it seems the oasis is a good place to stay at while until they’re getting rescued, especially since the oasis is situated on top of a natural well.
Her confusion soon turns to horror and she realizes just what Owen was babbling about all along, when the night comes, and with it all the horrible creatures that try to enter their home and kill them both.
The story is very atmospheric and you feel you are right there with Heather and Owens, fighting to survive and fend off the scary creatures of the night. What I didn’t expect was the ending, which is quite fitting, now that I think about. I am still confused about how Owens knew her name before it was revealed to us in the story, but I got fast over that small part.
Overall I loved this novella and once again I was not disappointed by the DarkFuse range of books. Greg F. Gifune is an author I will be looking forward to reading more from in the future.