October 30, 2013

Zombie Fiction: Characters in the Works of Julie Cooper Brown


The Wife

Jillian is a hard working short-order cook.  Jillian tells the reader how the infection came about and the things that were happening that led up to the moment that Evan is bitten.

Jillian documents the stages of the infection as it ravages his body. She is only waiting for the complete change to take place so that she can kill Evan and then herself.



Jillian and Evan take shelter in a house on Spirit Lane in Punta Gorda, Florida. That is the house where Kate finds them when she arrives. 

The Soldier


Kate is the main character in book two. She is an American soldier paired with her longtime friend, and they come across the bodies of Jillian and Evan as they look for shelter for the night.  She is plagued by prophetic dreams and fear of not surviving.







The Children


Kate also stumbles across a 6 year old girl in the house, Angel. She takes it upon herself to protect her from infection. Another child is introduced in Book II as well.  Kimmy is a 5 year old girl who is severely disturbed, abusive child who loves to mutilate Barbies.
 



The Zombies


I gave a few of my zombies a conscience with no control over their actions. So they are witnessing these terrible acts of gore and unable to stop themselves from taking the next bite! The anguish and horror they feel as they are committing these acts are portrayed.









Julie Cooper Brown is the author of  a collection of zombie books called The Last Days.The zombie series began with a first novella called The Last Day in the Life of Jillian. Brown followed up with Kate's Calling, and the third book in the series, Angel. These three novels are available as a single volume. Her fourth book,The Dead Live On, went live for Kindle in August of 2013.

October 11, 2013

Sacrifice by J. Cornell Michel

Flash Fiction from the author of Jordan's Brains.

This story has some thematic similarities to Patrick D'Orazio's "Dog Days." Take a look at the story Q & A at the end to hear what one of the authors has to say.

SACRIFICE



Maxine knew that her husband wouldn’t last much longer without a decent meal. She’d been out hunting for three days, but she returned home that afternoon, empty-handed and exhausted. Her husband snapped at her as she walked into the living room, but Maxine knew that he couldn’t get to her. She’d tied him up months ago, when she realized it was too dangerous to let him roam free in the house.

Frank had always been an affectionate man, and he was no different after he died. He’d reach for her in the middle of the night, constantly looking for attention. After a few days, it became too much work to keep tabs on him all the time, so she tied him to his favorite recliner and put him in front of the television. There hadn’t been a signal for days, just a blank screen, but Frank didn’t seem to mind.

The day after Frank was resurrected, Maxine was lucky enough to come across the neighbor’s cat. She easily trapped the animal and brought it home. She set the cat in front of Frank, brimming with pride. Frank had been providing food for the family for years, and now it was her turn to put food on the table. But Frank would have none of it. He shoved the cat off his lap and glared at Maxine, reaching for her with his undead hands. Maxine wasn’t keen on feeding human meat to her husband, but she didn’t have a choice.

Reluctantly, she went out the next morning in search of food for her husband. She convinced herself that it wasn’t murder. No, it was more like gruesome grocery shopping. Maxine made sure to only hunt loners, so no one would get suspicious. The first item on her grocery list was her next-door neighbor, Dorothy. The old woman had lived alone for decades, and Maxine knew that no one would miss her.


She rapped on Dorothy’s door, and politely waited for the old woman to answer. Several minutes passed before the front door slowly opened.

“Hello, dear,” the old woman said. “What are you doing here? The government said that people aren’t supposed to leave their homes.”
“I know, but I wanted to check on you and make sure you have enough food,” Maxine said sweetly.
“Oh, I’m fine, dear, don’t you worry about me. I have plenty of food, and the government is working to do their weekly drop-off. Would you like to come in?”
“No, I was actually wondering if you’d like to come over to my house for a visit. I’m making venison stew for supper.”
“How lovely! I haven’t had meat in weeks,” Dorothy said, licking her lips. “Did Frank catch the deer?”
“Yes, he’s quite good with his rifle. He went out hunting yesterday, and we have plenty to share. Why don’t you come over right now, and we can all have dinner together?”
“Well, I’m sure it would be OK for me to leave the house just this one time, since we’ll be walking over together.”
“Marvelous,” Maxine said as she took Dorothy’s hand and led her down the gravel path to her house.

Poor Dorothy didn’t stand a chance. Maxine led her into the living room, and she shoved Dorothy into her husband’s waiting arms. Dorothy screamed like a banshee, and carried on for quite a while. Maxine felt like a monster, and the intense guilt made her leave the room. But she got used to it after a while. Maxine even started eating her own supper next to Frank while he devoured his victims. It was nice for them to be able to eat meals together again.





Maxine began to fear for her husband’s health when her hunting trips weren’t successful. Frank had only been having one meal per week, and he was starting to look gaunt. Maxine knew she’d have to do something drastic soon, but she was running out of options. She’d walked for miles over the past three days, and she hadn’t come across a single survivor. 

She knew what she had to do. It was time to make sacrifices.

Maxine was a dutiful housewife, and she walked into the kitchen on autopilot, like she had many times before. She grabbed a butcher knife and stared at it for a few seconds before returning to the living room. Maxine walked up to her husband with tears in her eyes, and she gritted her teeth as she sliced into the meaty flesh of her forearm and cut out a chunk. She yelped in pain as she handed her offering to her husband. Frank greedily grabbed the meat, swallowed it, and looked at her, wanting more. 


Maxine was never able to refuse her husband, and she wasn’t about to start now.  

-------



Story Q & A

Q: Have you read "Dog Days" by Patrick D'Orazio?

I just read “Dog Days,” and it was a great story. I think it’s very well written, and the descriptions pulled me right into the story.
Q. How do you think your story contrasts with that one?
“Dog Days” has vivid descriptions that set the scene, and, in contrast, I didn’t really add any physical descriptions in my story. In this story, I tended to focus on what characters are doing and how they’re feeling, rather than what they’re seeing. D’Orazio’s writing sets a great example for others in that respect. In my story, Maxine volunteered to sacrifice herself to Frank, but Jed wasn’t a willing victim at first. However, he conceded when he realized that it would keep Susie alive a little longer.
Q. In "Turning" Bryan Cassiday enters the mind of the zombie. Do you think Frank thinks like this, or does he not think at all?
I’ve written about “thinking” zombies before, but it wasn’t where I was going with this story. I wanted the focus to be on Maxine, and just have Frank in the background.


About J. Cornell Michel


Michel currently lives in Maryland, but has plans to move to San Francisco very soon because she's feeling ready for a new adventure. She is looking forward to a change of scenery, the excitement of hunting for a new job, and the thrill of discovering indie bookstores.

Most of Jillian Cornell Michel's  free time is dedicated to devouring stories about the living dead. She writes for Zombie Guide Magazine with four other talented writers. We post new articles every day on our website: http://www.zombie-guide.com/

Michel turned her zombie obsession into something productive when she decided to write Jordan’s Brain: A Zombie Evolution.  


As she explains:
Jordan is a psychotic yet friendly zombie expert whose gender is never revealed. Having prepared for the zombie apocalypse since childhood, Jordan is thrilled when hordes of the infected undead finally invade. With a bug-out bag and a confident grin, Jordan leaves the safety of the psychiatric hospital and wanders alone into the zombie-infested streets to rescue family and strangers alike. Everything seems perfect until Jordan’s loved ones start dying, and Jordan has to face the harsh reality that the zombie apocalypse isn’t going according to plan.

October 9, 2013

Dog Days, by Patrick D'Orazio

Flash Fiction from the author of Comes the Dark

Patrick D'Orazio was generous enough to share this piece of flash fiction with me back in February. It might be an interesting read right now, considering the story that is coming out on this blog tomorrow.


Dog Days



Jed’s eyes popped open after a fitful nap, and he dragged himself up from the bedroom floor. He patted Susie on the head and forced his aching legs to carry him down the stairs. Digging in his ears, he removed the ear plugs and stuffed them in his pocket. Relentless pounding and wailing flooded his senses.
 

“You keep a-knockin’, but you can’t come in …” Jed sang tunelessly as he checked the barricaded doors and windows for the umpteenth time. He could barely hear the padding of Susie’s paws as she followed him into the kitchen with the hope of being fed.
 

“Sorry, girl. No dice.”

They were down to five full gallon jugs of water. The food had run out three days ago.


Jed’s Labrador looked as lousy as he felt. She’d stopped barking at the moans of the undead weeks ago, but the endless desperation of the monsters had worn on her. Her gorgeous coat was falling out in clumps as her ribcage grew ever more visible.


“Were gonna starve in here, baby, but at least those bastards won’t eat us.”
 

Being eaten alive was Jed’s biggest fear. Blackened teeth sinking into your flesh and blood-scabbed fingers tearing into your muscles and organs was the worst possible way to go. Starving would hurt, but Jed hoped his senses would grow dull and he would pass away in his sleep.
 

Susie gave a low, throaty growl as Jed took a swig of water. Looking down, he could see her raised hackles and her lips pulled back, revealing sharp doggy teeth.
 

“Girl?”
 

Jed dropped the jug and raised his arm just in time to prevent his pup from sinking her teeth into his throat. Instead, Susie latched on to his forearm as Jed’s back slammed into a cabinet. Jed’s legs crumpled and he collapsed to the floor, howling in pain.
 

Susie relinquished her hold and scrambled out of the way of Jed’s falling body. He landed face-up and felt lukewarm water from the jug he’d dropped seeping through his clothes. He couldn’t move.
 

“Susie? Wha- what didja do to me?”
 

A trickle of blood darkened the puddle of water beneath Jed’s arm. He could still feel his extremities but could only move his neck. As he struggled, he heard Susie growl again.
 

Jed shifted his head to watch as she inched closer.
 

“Susie, sweetie, I think you really hurt daddy. I can’t move. Calm down, baby.”
 

Susie drooled with hunger. Jed had never seen such a look of desperation on his sweet puppy’s face before, and it chilled his blood.
 

Susie nuzzled the arm she had already torn open, lapping at the blood before sinking her teeth into the open wound. She ignored Jed’s screams as she tore off a hunk of meat.
 

He’d lost some weight during his time trapped inside the house, but Jed suspected there was more than enough meat for Susie to survive on for a long time to come.




 -------





Patrick D'Orazio is the author of Comes the DarkInto the Dark, and  Beyond the Dark, all of which are published by  Permuted Press

You can read more about Comes the Dark on D'Orazio's blog, Tomes of Darkness.


October 7, 2013

Zombie Confessions, by J. Cornell Michel

 Flash Fiction From the Author of "Jordan's Brains"


About a year into the zombie apocalypse, most of the survivors have been killed or turned into zombies. Unintentional separations are commonplace. Near Fairfax, Virginia, two survivors are unwillingly parted by a horde of zombies. Fatima does her best to stay close to the place she last saw her companion, Isabella. She’s driven into an isolated hideaway, one that is ironically quite familiar to her. As the days go by, two of her greatest fears come to light.


Dearest Isabelle,

I’ve wanted to write this letter for so long, and now I’ve finally found the courage, knowing that I won’t live to see tomorrow. The zombies have me surrounded. I’m stuck in the attic of my grandmother’s house, with no food or water. I won’t last much longer, but I’m surprisingly calm about my imminent death. There’s something about certain death that makes a person brave enough to face their fears.

 

Telling you how I feel about you, my dearest, is my biggest fear. I should have told you years ago that I love you. But life always seemed to get in the way. It’s ironic that death is what has inspired me to share my feelings with you. I know you will probably never get this letter, but it’s still freeing to write down the truth.



I hear the zombies’ moans coming from below. They’ve been down there for days, shuffling, groaning, listening, and waiting. They know I’m up here, otherwise they would have moved on to find other prey. Now that the population is so low, the zombies have become more patient, waiting for weeks for their victims to come out of hiding in search of food. I refuse to end up like that. I’d rather starve than get eaten by rotting corpses from hell. It has been four days since I’ve had anything to eat. It’s a painful yet peaceful death. 



Isabelle, I’m so sorry we were separated in Fairfax. You have to understand that it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t get to you, but I went back several times to look for you. 

 I camped nearby and returned every morning, hoping you’d be there. I wish I knew where you were, whether you’re alive, dead, or undead.

 If I knew you were alive, it might give me the courage to come down from this attic and fight for my life. 

But when I lost any hope of finding you, I lost my will to live. The constant running, hiding, and scouring empty shelves for food became too much to bear.


 ***

I must have passed out for a moment. 


You know I’m not the romantic type. There’s no use harping on the past. If there’s an afterlife, maybe I’ll see you there. If not, well, I’d wish you a long life, but these days, that would be more of a curse. 

Good luck, my... love.

Regretfully,

Fatima



Jillian Cornell Michel currently lives in Maryland, but is planning a move to San Francisco. She is looking forward to a change of scenery, the excitement of hunting for a new job, and the thrill of discovering indie bookstores.

Most of her free time is dedicated to devouring stories about the living dead.

She turned her zombie obsession into something productive with the novel “Jordan’s Brain: A Zombie Evolution.” Michel also writes for Zombie Guide Magazine with four other talented writers. Michel and her coauthors post new articles every day on their website: http://www.zombie-guide.com/


J. Cornell Michel

Website and blog: http://jordansbrains.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JordansBrains

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JCornellMichel

Email: jordansbrains@gmail.com