The process


Writing is often more difficult than it appears. Most folks I know imagine authors sitting around in their pajamas, sipping tea and plunking away at a keyboard. Those folks don’t have a clue.

Coming up with the lead paragraph is the easy part. Writing a title (Zombie Love Bites) is the easy part. Drawing the characters out with words; that can be a solid bitch. Pete was okay, but Dorothy – she’s dead! What kind of experience do I have with dead folk?

Sure, I’ve seen nearly every zombie movie ever made – both in the U.S. and abroad. I know more about zombie culture than most folks can imagine: how they sleep (they don’t); what they eat (more than brains); the difference among voodoo zombies, Italian zombies, Asian zombies, and U.S. zombies; rage versus supernatural.

Did you know there were so many different kinds? I do. And there are still other variations.

But I want my own mythos. I want Dorothy to be different, to be more. And so I struggle with the lines I write. Every step she takes is thought over thoroughly.

I managed to write only a few dozen words last night. I need the rage to write. I’m working up to it.

Zombie Love Bites – a outtake

Short outtake from the ZLB short story

Zombie Love Bites

Pete’s Story

Chapter 1

I never thought I could love a dead woman let alone have sex with her. I mean, my momma raised me better than that, what with all her yelling, screaming and occasional whippings.

At least, I think that’s what she meant when she shouted, “Keep your pecker in your pants till you get married!”

But there ain’t no marrying a dead woman. Folks got laws against what they call “necro-feel-ya.” You ain’t supposed to be feeling a dead woman, and you damn sure ain’t supposed to put your pecker in one.

But that’s what I’m planning to do, and even I can’t believe what’s brought me to this. Hell, I can’t even believe I killed her.

Chapter 2

Dorothy Chalice left school early enough in the evening to watch the sun disappear behind a small grove of pecan trees on campus. She skipped the last few minutes of class by feigning a needed trip to the restroom and then snuck out of the building while no one was paying attention. The halls were empty of students and professors. Notes on bulletin boards fluttered as Dorothy walked quickly through the exit.

Not that she needed to be so sly. College classes are all about taking responsibility for yourself. If you wanted to leave early – or not come at all – you did so. But Dorothy, just recently graduated from high school, hadn’t yet gotten used to that kind of freedom. She continued to expect a teacher to snatch at her arm and hold her back for an inquisition. That was how high school had been – teachers, parents, boyfriends – always someone to demand an explanation for her actions.

“I don’t know!” That was her response to the most typical question of, “Why did you do that?” Blond-haired and blue-eyed, she would shake one back and widen the other: Dorothy didn’t mind that folks often underestimated her. Unconsciously she preferred to be thought of as a dumb blonde, the butt of jokes about un-intelligence and silly actions. Low expectations made her feel better about herself – even the smallest accomplishment was a great one when expectations were low.

So Friday found her skipping out of school early, and getting a head start on the weekend.

“Nothing but the beach and boys,” she murmured to herself as headed quickly to her car in the parking lot. “Sand, sun and fun.”

Her Toyota was parked where she had left it, across two parking spots in the professor’s reserved parking lot. Red tickets fluttered on the windshield, and a large yellow tire boot was clamped around the front driver’s side tire.

“Oh, no.” Dorothy stumbled to a stop a few feet away from her car. She stamped her small foot, then looked around wildly trying to find someone to which to complain – to reason with – to beg forgiveness. There was no one nearby: The campus seemed deserted.

“Oh, no, no, no.” Dorothy felt tears welling. “This can’t happen. Daddy will kill me for this.” She looked around again, this time spotting a young man wearing the uniform of a campus cop. He was some distance away, and Dorothy tossed her books onto the hood of her car and sprinted in his direction.

“Yoo-hoo!” she called out, waving her arms. “Can you help me?” She jogged down the sidewalk toward the man. He stood with a ticket book in one hand, a pen in the other poised to scribble. The man was tall and stooped with a scraggle of black hair standing out, as though at odds with his head. He was still young enough to have acne: Bright red blooms scarred his face. As he turned to face her, she saw his name tag: Jackson.

“Mr. Jackson!” Dorothy slowed to a walk and brushed the blond hair out of her face. “Mr. Jackson, can you help me?”

“Pete,” he said, still holding the ticket book and pen. “My name’s Pete.” He took in her good looks in a single long glance: long legs, short plaid skirt, button-down white shirt, blond hair and a creamy complexion. Her eyes were blue, and there was a sprinkling of freckles across her cute upturned nose.

“How can I help you, ma’am?”

….

Drowning

This part of the short story is the most difficult, as I only have hazy memories of my own experiences with near-drowning.

Dorothy is in a vat of chemicals, suspended about halfway down. She is submerged when she regains consciousness, but it’s so completely black in the vat, that Dorothy is initially disoriented. She sees nothing, hears nothing. The liquid doesn’t move, so she doesn’t really feel anything beyond the oddity of suspension.

Dorothy doesn’t yet know that she doesn’t need to breathe.

This will be a difficult one to sort out. I remember one of my own experiences. Very odd. I was stuck under a pier and wrapped in seaweed. I desperately needed a breath and took one. I was under water, and it shocked me that I was still able to take a breath. That shock allowed me to fight my way free.

Rage

It takes a lot of energy to maintain this kind of rage. I imagine I’ll burn out some day – a bright flame. Until then, I’ll write. Working now on a Zombie story of love, rape and revenge. Should be interesting. I’ll post some of it when I’m finished. For now, much to do.