Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I’ve been lost in a sea of erotica for so long I damn near forgot my roots. As much fun as it is making my living off of sex every once in awhile I need to get grounded and find myself, searching through the wreckage and dusting off my soul, as tattered and black as it is.
I started thinking about writing a zombie novel a couple months ago, and decided October is the perfect month to put it out. Halloween is coming, and real zombies walk the streets mixing with the living, snatching some brains and causing all kinds of havoc. The Walking Dead, the incredible TV series on AMC starts its second season on October 16th. Zombies are our minds and in our hearts, so what better time to premier my own work of undead fiction?
I need to admit that writing this book has been one of the hardest creations I’ve birthed (put that visual in your head and smoke it!) – for several different reasons. For one, I need to shift mental gears and get sex of my mind for the first time since I hit puberty and discovered my pee-pee. For another I am such a HUGE fan of everything zombie related, from George Romero, Brian Keene, Joe McKinney and now The Walking Dead, I’ve seen and read them all and loved them all. I don’t want to put out something that sucks, or to bastardize what has already been done.
I need to be original and scary, I need to give zombies the place of honor they deserve as our premier nightmares. I want real, rotting corpses to head into the streets and seek living victims. I want people to vomit all over themselves and run out of their rooms screaming, their kindles and nooks left smoldering on the beds as a decomposing hand reaches out of the screen. I want people to scream at their churches and schools that my book needs to be burned because it was penned by the Devil himself.
I won’t settle for anything less.
So I’ve been going through version after version of my opening, trying to find the most gruesome, bleak, and terrifying version of the near future I could manage. I want it to be depressing and real, and I want people to love it. Most of all I want to love it, and that’s harder than it sounds.
As a writer we all love most of our characters, they are extensions of ourselves and in many ways they become our children. We create them, give them a voice, and send them off into the universe hoping they follow directions and make a good name for themselves. Even the bad ones hold a special place in my heart, and find myself thinking about them and the world I created for them even when I’m not writing.
For me, this zombie novel is more true to life than anything else I’ve written. It’s like looking into the future, because I am holding out hope that if the world does die, it’s zombies that kill it. I want to run through the streets with my guns blazing and rescue the living, putting bullets into the skulls of the attacking dead. I want to swing an axe and feel it chop through a spine. I don’t think about this is a maybe, I think about it as an eventually. Does that make me sick?
If you think it does than obviously you don’t know me, because that’s a tamed down version of what I think the future holds, what I hope and pray to the dark angry gods will eventually happen.
So why is it so fucking hard for me to create this world in which zombies run amok? I’ve spent hours upon hours fantasizing about it, running the different scenarios through my head, dreaming about one day taking to the streets and fighting back the hordes. Why can’t I just take one of those ideas and put them to paper?
They’re just not good enough.
I need something epic, something so unbelievably real and horrifying that it makes people go insane. I need to create panic and mistrust. I need the characters to jump alive and take over, and none of them have.
So what’s a boy to do?
I keep writing, as always. I try over and over, and when the correct character is born it will jump out of my head and onto the page. It will fight the dead until his last breath, saving the world and dying a hero.
So what do I do with the mutant spawn that I won’t let see the light of day?
I let them fester, stewing in their own juices until they become ripe and find their own place in my universe.
Until then I am going back to work.
Since this is officially ZOMBIE! Month on my blog, I am asking any of my readers to send me a zombie story. Write one, dust one off, or edit a crappy old work that you wrote in grammar school. I don’t care, just get them too me, and get them to me quick.
When I finally decide on my characters and the correct universe for them I will be publishing the book in several volumes, each of them 10,000 words and available for sale for $0.99 all through October. I don’t know how many volumes there will be, but I am planning on somewhere around 10. Hard to say when I can’t get the first five thousand words done, but that’s the plan as it stands right now.
I’ll also be including excerpts from each book right here on my blog for your enjoyment and disgust, as well as deleted scenes; characters that didn’t see the light of day, and alternate plot points.
So in that vein I am including one of the rejected beginnings for you to read and throw tomatoes at. Seriously, let me know what you think about it.
In November the story line will continue, but the book price is going to jump top the regular $2.99, and it will be coming out less frequently, probably once a month as opposed to once a week in October. I’ll be back writing more erotic horror, because that’s what pays the bills.
REJECTED STORY, ZOMBIES!
I aimed between her milky eyes, raising my site upwards from her gnarled mess of her mouth. This one was a fucking mess, all greasy, paper-thin skin and festering sores. Most of her teeth were gone, broken into jagged nubs that stuck from rotting black gums waiting to rip through my living flesh. Blond hair hung in dirty, stringy clumps over what was left of her scalp. What was left of her clothes was so covered with putrefying blood and gore it very nearly looked like her decaying flesh.
Her eyes seemed almost sad, as if she hated what she had become and very nearly welcomed the relief of true death. I can’t attest to anything about this woman’s life, but I could see her death had been incredibly horrible. She was riddled with bite marks; her breasts and stomach and arms were nearly covered, and if I was the kind of man who had any sympathy I would have very nearly felt bad for her.
Lucky I aint that guy. I shot the whore in the face and turned my sites to the next festering puss bag that walked into the room, my mind keeping a very tight count on the amount of rounds I fired. I had enough ammo on me to kill a thousand of the fucks as long as my aim was true and I remained patient, killing them when they got in range rather than just spraying and praying like I’ve seen so many douche bags do right before they get themselves killed. Every time I saw one of those cowards panic and start shooting like maniacs I silently wished they would just eat a bullet and get it over with. That would leave more ammo for me. Inconsiderate bastards.
I was trapped inside a ratty little ranch. Just another stop on the apocalypse tour 2015, just another rotted out house that was left deserted, a place that may or may not offer me something worth scavenging. I slipped into places like this on a regular basis now, choosing to take my chance with the mold and mildew over the hordes of walking dead that meander around the rotted monuments to civilization all us living folks deserted two years ago.
I had this foolproof plan that had been working like a charm; I walked through any given neighborhood, making sure I was out in the open and visible as I scanned the houses and yards for any sign of life or death. If I saw nothing, or only a couple corpses then I would head to one end of the neighborhood and light up a couple dozen firecrackers. Nothing fancy, no bright pretty colors or anything, just the noisy fuckers that sounded like gunfire when I was a kid but now just remind me of when the world was a little less fucked.
As the fireworks go off I run down the street and hide somewhere until the dead start coming out to investigate. If there are a dozen or less I begin to hunt through the houses, looking for anything worth scavenging; blankets and bedding, clothes, shoes, weapons, and especially food. It used to be I couldn’t get a pretty girl to give me a second look, but now I can get a blowjob from beauty queen for a can of unopened beans. It happened once; the crazy bitch was still wearing the sash from her last contest too. Crazy bitch.
I worked my plan over and over again, moving through hundreds of vacant houses. It worked so good that eventually I became cocky and very nearly got myself killed.
So here I am, with my back up against the cold bricks of a fireplace calmly shooting zombies in the head, the number in my brain rising while the number of rounds in my pack quickly lowers. I can see them walking past the windows in a steady stream, hundreds of bodies waiting to get their turn through the door. I can’t make it out a window, and the only way into the house is bottlenecked with the dead. I’m too wide in the shoulders to make it up the fireplace, and aint no way I’m going into the basement.
I could eat a bullet and end it all, leave my meat for the dead and the goodies in my pack for anyone who comes across it later. I could keep firing until I kill the last one and then run for it, or I could calm the fuck down and use my living brain for something useful.
My heart is climbing out of my chest; trying to hide somewhere the zombies won’t find it when their fingers break through my skin and bone looking for it. My brain is screaming at me, telling me it likes the constant flow of blood and oxygen, begging me to not get infected. Legs begin to shake and hands tremble as adrenaline courses through my veins.
They’re coming in the door faster now, a relentless stream of bodies that crowd through the frame and spill into the foyer. The incessant moaning is driving me insane, the stench coming off them filling my head like bad thoughts. A window breaks off to my right, but the dead aren’t trying to get in that way, the mechanics of their bodies won’t allow them to climb like that. Between the noise and the smell I can’t concentrate, fear is obscuring my senses. I take in a deep breath, hold it, and fire. I take in another deep breath, hold it, and fire. I do this five more times, each one calming me enough to scatter the clouds and allow me the time to think.
This house was nice once upon a time. The fireplace is made of river rock, all jagged edges and little shelves. The cathedral ceiling has decorative beams running the width of the house, from one wall to the other. In the corner of the room there is a giant wet spot where the roof has been leaking for ages. Like the slow kid in my second grade class who used to eat paste and pick his nose till it bled I put all these things together and finally formulate a plan.
I move closer to the door, killing the next five zombies as they try to make it through. Their bodies slow down the others and I suddenly have a couple minutes to get up onto those beams. It’s rough going, and I slip a couple times but eventually I make it. I’m on one of the beams slowly making my way across the room towards the weak spot in the roof when the zombies start moving through the door. By the time I kick a serviceable hole in the roof the house is filled wall to wall with the festering dead.
I made it onto the roof, but now what? Crawling on my belly I make it to the edge and look down. Another hundred zombies are crowding around the outside of the house, patiently waiting their turn to get inside. I’m surrounded, and the closest house is a couple hundred feet away. I’m stuck on the roof until something more interesting comes along. I could be sitting up here for days, maybe longer.
All that while I’ll slowly be starving to death, waiting to die perched on top of a rotting roof while the dead wait for me to fall so they can have a snack. It’s not how I want to go out, so once more I need to collect my thoughts and figure something out.
The roof isn’t too high; I could jump and be all right. The only problem is I would be jumping into a pile of the dead, and I that won’t do me any good. There is a pine tree by one corner of the house, a real big mother fucker that towers over me, casting shade over the house and leaving the south side of the roof covered in brown needles. I could jump to the tree and scurry down it, but again that is bringing me right into the arms of the dead. I move across the roof, walking quietly so the moaning, festering bastards can’t track my movement. Boots crunch softly over the pine needles, but the endless moaning from the corpses below covers the noise.
Down on the ground the dead are crowding around the door, coming from everywhere at once and heading for the only spot in town that has anything worth eating; me. If I can make it onto the tree and down the backside of it I should have enough time to run away. There is another neighborhood behind this one, but beyond that there is nothing but trees. If I can get to the woods I’ll be fine. I need to be quick, and thinking things over leaves my mouth dry and lungs aching already. I haven’t even done anything yet and I’m already tired. Stupid adrenaline.
There is a massive branch that’s even with the roof, five feet away. If I can get my hands on that than I could swing down and drop to the ground. Less than three seconds from roof to ground to running, if only I could figure out some distraction to keep the bastards busy on the other side of the house.
Noise usually works, but I don’t think I have any fireworks left.
I take my pack off and begin to root through it, taking everything out and placing it on the roof in such a way as to make sure nothing rolls down the sloped surface. I have a dozen clips for my .9mm, a .40 caliber with twenty clips, three more clips for my Colt match target, three knives, a machete, six can’s of food with no label, two cans of spam, three bottles of water, sox and long john’s sealed in plastic, a sleeping bag, my notebook and a couple pens, a bottle of vodka and fifteen single fireworks that fell to the bottom of the pack, most of them without fuses.
It’s all I need.
I empty two of the water bottles and fill them with vodka. I cut a couple strips off my shirt to use as a fuse and shove them into the mouths of the bottle. The glass vodka bottle is still half full, and it gets the biggest fuse. Everything goes back into my pack except for the bottles and the fireworks. I leave my backpack by the tree and head over to the hole I made in the roof. Just as I expected the dead are all clamoring at the wall as if they could scale it by sheer will alone, their moans coming through the rotted wood like it’s a bullhorn.
I light two of the fuses and drop the bottles into the opening. The glass vodka bottle smacks into a blonde woman’s head ripping some of her skin down the side of her face. I watch it roll towards the wall and come to rest next to a tattered bunny slipper. I taker aim with my .9mm and pull the trigger slowly. The bottle disappears in a sudden burst of flame. A second fireball erupts as the plastic water bottle melts. Zombies continue to pound and claw against the wall, the fact that they are all ablaze meaningless to them. All they care about is me, and the juicy meat contained within my trembling skin.
I light the fuse on the second water bottle and let it burn for a few seconds before dropping it over the front door. It only takes a couple seconds for the plastic to melt and soon all the waiting dead are on fire. I can feel the roof getting warm as the fire licks upwards. Black, greasy smoke is billowing out of the hole I made in the roof. It’s almost time to go.
I run back to the hole in the roof and drop the fireworks. It takes a couple seconds for them to ignite, but the unmistakable popping draws the dead quicker towards the house. I see my chance and take it.
The roof is hot now, the tar melting and dry shingles curling up, black smoke pouring from every crack and crevice. I don’t want the souls of my shoes to melt, but I have to be careful. One wrong step and the roof could collapse, sending me into a fiery pit full of zombies. Not a fun way to go.
I get to the edge and sit down. The roof isn’t as hot here, but I can still feel the heat coming in through the seat of my jeans. I reach outwards and get my fingers on the branch, but it’s still too far to get a good grip on. My pack Isn’t that heavy, but it’s heavy enough to make me worry. That and the rifle slung over my shoulder make my motions awkward. My heart is pounding harder now, my vision closing a little to focus on the branch. Finally, my adrenaline is working for me rather than against me as I push my feet against the side of the house and get a hold of the tree. I swing and let go, sailing ten feet or so to the soft ground. I bend my knees, letting them absorb the impact and propel me forward into a run.
None of the dead are close enough to get a hold of me, but I run as fast as I can anyway making sure to put as much distance as possible between us. I’m over a six foot privacy fence and into the neighbors backyard, running at full speed towards the woods.
I move as silently as I can, keeping my breathing in check and letting my legs do their thing until I’m finally too exhausted to keep going. I can see the smoke from the house through the trees, but even the monotonous moaning from the dead has faded to nothing. Holy shit, that was close.