WELDED by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright

What would happen if a victim was the lone survivor of a serial killer’s murder spree? Would he be grateful? Or would he hate himself and everyone he comes into contact with because he is still alive? How did he get to be the lucky one? The kid, (we never learn his name), would probably tell you he is far from fortunate because he has welded metal plates in his head. The added bonus for him is that his girlfriend who was one of the victims is in his head as a ghost. She comments on his every move. She isn’t alone. The kid has a habit of visiting the convicted murderer and besides being brutal; the guy on death row is known for not shutting up. The killer’s words worm their way into the kid’s brain.

I enjoyed this story quite a bit. It had a good combination of dark humor, brutal violence, and biting social commentary. It struck a chord with me because I’m a huge fan of the character deconstruction trope when executed well. There is a scene near the climax that reminded me of “The Green Mile” which isn’t a bad thing in this case. It is the first highlight of the anthology.