I'll send the wolves that hunt at night, charging through the shadows with a thunderous whisper, tickling the air with fetid breath that smells of death. Teeth glint like steel in the moonlight, howls calling for blood. They hunt within the dark, blackish coats reflecting hell fire. One bite and you're forever theirs, forever mine. Don't fight the wolves, give in to the sinful desire. I am the wolf. I am Christian Jensen.
An old man sits in the near dark, the sound of his quill pen scratching across yellowed paper filling the single room of his cabin. Outside the hewn log walls, the Pesnnsyltucky night closes in, the cacophony of a summers night in the wilderness suffocating. Candlelight reflects off his bald head, sweat beading on the shinny surface and dripping down his hairy back. The deep wrinkles of his pale face turn into a grimace, thin lips squirming around like malnourished worms. Firelight deepens the shadows of his visage, creating a monster more hideous than that of which he creates.
He is Brian Keene, and this is the rebirth of the great American Zombie.
In 2003 The Rising was released, a novel which is considered to be single handedly responsible for rebirthing the Zombie craze. Two other Zombie novels followed over ensuing years; City of the Dead, and Dead Sea, as well as several other short stories and novellas, and even a short film based on his story “The Ties that Bind”, directed by Jeff Heimbuch.
Keene has been writing for well over a decade, selling millions of novels, novellas, short story collections, and comic books, as well as his contributions to anthologies. He is a very busy and successful man, and I think it would be unfair to say that he owes that success to zombies, however I also think it would be unfair to NOT say that Zombies owe their success to Mr. Keene.
I may tease Mr. Keene about his age (he is a whopping 10 years older than I) and a few other things, but in truth I am in awe of this man. He took something dead (pardon the pun) as zombies because he wanted to write about them, and turned it into a viable genre. If you seriously look at it, without Mr. Keene and his incredible novel The Rising there would be no books such as Apocalypse of the Dead, Dead City, or Flesh Eaters (Joe McKinney) or Hater and Dogs Blood (David Moody) as well as dozens of others. There would be no films like 28 days later, Shawn of the Dead, Zombieland, or the hundreds of others Mr. Keene probably wants no credit (or blame) for. (Seriously, Zombie Strippers? The movie starred a Porn actress and a mixed martial artist, although the premier Porn Actress and a one time UFC world Heavyweight Champion) *Note – Yeah, OK. I actually really liked Zombie Strippers. Why pretend to be high brow now. I do write porn for a living.
BUY MY BOOKS!
If he hadn’t written a little book about Zombies, the world would be a different and more boring place. We already have Vampires that sparkle and werewolves that are nothing more than misunderstood, brooding douche bags. Could you imagine where we would be without the festering stench of Zombies in the air? I shudder at the thought.
I’m dedicating October to Zombies because they are a personal favorite of mine. In conduction with the blog and my interviews and publishing other people’s short stories I am also writing an on going Zombie series, which will be available for sale on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords within a few days. I plan on having the first part available by Friday, October 14th, and yes, I know that’s this Friday.
I’ve asked some of my friends to write me a real short Zombie story, something I can put at the bottom of my posts so y’all don’t’ get too bored with my ramblings and history lessons.
This weeks entry is by Kat Dugger.
Half kitten, half vampire, and half witch, Kat Dugger slips unconsciously between full time roles as mother, wife, coach, and referee. An artist, poet, and creative soul, Kat writes out of North Texas nestled between day and night.
Three months ago, Alana created a memorial near the stadium for her boyfriend, Bradly. A small wooden cross was in the ground, a faded picture of him sat next to it and flowers, new and old, carpeted the ground. This was her special spot. As the sun finished its final descent from the sky into the western horizon, she held her head in her hands and cried for him. His parents refused to believe he died, because his body was not found. Alana knew he died. She heard his the gurgles with his last scream as she ran away.
Tonight, she had cried so much, her eyes closed from exhaustion and she woke, two hours after sunset. Alana stood, took one last look at his picture and wiped her eyes. The autumn air was cooler than normal, even for the small costal town. A chill swept through her as her feet shuffled slowly in the direction of her house.
An odd feeling came over Alana as the hairs on her neck stood on end. A seductively sweet ballad tickled her ears and caressed her body. It was barely audible, howeve,r as it flowed from outside her and into her heart, the sax's growl grew louder, as if it were alive. It found her.
The song tugged at her aching heart. As the music drew her to the source, to him, it teased her with its softness. The notes spoke to her of lost love, forgiveness, the want of a companion, of loneliness and desire.
Alana found a small boom box in the middle of an abandoned warehouse. She knelt in front of it and swayed back and forth with the tempo. Her eyes closed as she remembered hearing Bradly play for her. She did not know it, but he stood behind her.
He moaned softly. Alana turned toward him slowly. She gazed into the fading blue eyes, sunk into his skull. She took in every inch of him as chills covered her arms. When she saw his letterman's jacket, she gasped and knew it was him.
He stumbled and turned his back to her.
"It . . . can't be . . . you. . ."
Tears fell down Alana's cheeks. Bradly turned back to her, knelt by her side and wrapped his arms gently around her. She looked down at him. They kissed and his tongue parted her lips. She carefully slid her arms around his waist.
Reluctantly she pulled from him. Her eyes sparkled with excitement, her breathing came in pants and her heart raced. She did not see what he had become, but what he used to be, and wanted him. They'd never been together and now she wanted nothing more than for him to be in her.
Her hands trembled as she fumbled with his pants. She was pleased to see that the decay had not affected his cock and it was hard and throbbing at her touch. Bradly hiked her skirt and she took him inside her wet pussy. Alana cried as he took her virginity, but moaned as they moved as one. Neither lasted long before they climaxed and what was left of his sperm crawled into her womb, like living zombie microorganism and started the transformation.
Before she collapsed onto him, she whispered "I love you. Now, we can be together, forever."
Bradly smiled. He lay her on the floor next to him. He put her skirt down and fastened his pants. When Alana screamed in pain, he returned her to his lap, pet her as she convulsed. Her eyes fluttered and quickly found his.
She slid onto the floor in front of him, a smile played on her already decaying lips.
"I knew you would come to me."
She reached her hand out and wrapped it around his. "I couldn't live without you."
Bradly helped Alana stand, her legs shook from the change, then her stomach growled.
"Let's get you some food. I know where some really good brains can be found."
Together, they shuffled their feet out of the warehouse, to hunt and live together.