Flash Fiction: “Zombie Says”

This short story first appeared in my collection Moments of Darkness. It was inspired by a mis-interpreted phrase from the song Twin Dummy from the band Voivod.


Zombie Says

 

Zombie says: “Get me more.”

Damn Zombie. I hate that thing. It never shuts up. It’s always asking for more. It’s loud. It’s demanding.

 

Zombie says: “Hurry, get it now.”

Stupid Zombie. It doesn’t know me. It thinks it does, but it can’t possibly understand who I am or what I want. It’s too consumed with a gnawing desire for more. Always more.

 

Zombie says: “If you don’t get more I’ll take it from you.”

Zombie is always threatening me. It’s always promising some kind of action. It tries to bully me to act on its behalf. I’m not afraid.

 

Zombie says: “Be a good little girl and do as I say. Behave and nothing will happen to you.”

Zombie caught me-once. I tried to trick it. I thought I’d had it fooled but it was smarter than I gave it credit for. Zombie bit me. It took my little finger. I don’t care. I’m still alive. Zombie isn’t.

 

Zombie says: “I’m tired of games. I want more than this.”

Zombie can’t leave the house. Zombie gets wild when someone knocks on the door. Zombie thrashes and shambles around the house when someone unexpectedly shows up. I try to calm it, but it senses the blood.

 

Zombie says: “Well done my child. One day you’ll have what I have.”

Zombie thinks I’m its daughter. Its daughter left a long time ago. Or was eaten. Either way, its daughter isn’t around anymore. It was just my dumb luck to stumble on this place. Ever since, Zombie has kept me. Like a prisoner.

 

Zombie says: “My dear, please keep me company. Don’t leave. Stay and read to me.”

As if I could leave. Zombie has me trapped. There aren’t any exits but the front door. All the rest were blocked off. Zombie was afraid of an attack. I don’t know why. The large herds were far off to the north near Chicago. There’s more meat there. But somehow, Zombie ran across a small group. They turned a once strong man into a new Zombie. Every day I have to read to it. Reading soothes its urge to attack me. It helps me survive long enough. And keeps my mind sane.

 

Zombie says: “I need more now, please get me more.”

Zombie disgusts me. It eats flesh and muscle and brains with a ghastly bite. It rummages inside the body for tender organs, devouring them like a dog. Moans of pleasure mixed with slurping and sucking sounds as it eats. It’s enough to make me vomit, which I did once. Zombie threatened me then. I haven’t vomited since. At least not where Zombie could hear me.

 

Zombie says: “You will never leave. I need you. I can protect you.”

I’m going to kill Zombie. I can’t stay any longer. The news reports keep telling us to flee, a large herd is heading towards us and the authorities are helpless to stop it. I need to leave. Staying means death…or worse. I don’t want either. Zombie won’t let me go.

 

Zombie says: “The reports are false. There are no others. There’s only me. Don’t worry.”

Zombie doesn’t know what I’ve planned. Zombie got rid of all the knives long ago. Zombie doesn’t know I’ve created a knife from part of the bed. I’m ready now. I have to flee. I won’t get caught in the horde. I slash at Zombie. It screams. I stab it in the head, its bones weakened from decay. It gurgles and tries to speak. I raise my shiv and stab again and again. Zombie slumps to the floor.

 

Zombie says nothing anymore.


If you enjoyed this story, please like, comment, and share. You can get this and 13 other dark stores in my collection Moments of Darkness for only .99 on Amazon!

 

 

 

5 Posts for Indie Authors

Indie authors have a tough time getting noticed in the sea of titles out there. Here are five posts to help give you an edge and the motivation to succeed.


Indie Author Finds Success Hitting the Festival Circuit

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Faced with a difficult time being discovered, author Raymond Depew hit the festival circuit to market and sell his books.


@#*&$it – Self-Publishing Does NOT Have to Cost You Anything

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Author K.S. Brooks breaks down how indie authors can publish their work for little to no money–and still turn out a great product!


15 Book Publicity Commandments

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Writer Carolyn Howard-Johnson discusses fifteen top practices when promoting your books.


Please Don’t Buy My Book

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Author David Gaughran breaks down launch success and failure for two of his books.


8 Myths about Book Sales That Authors Need To Ditch Now

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Writer Beth Bacon breaks down myths authors need to eliminate now!


 

Being an indie author, heck any author for that matter, is difficult. The more we as writers hone our craft and work on promoting effectively, the more chance we have to succeed and rise above the rest.

If you found something useful here, please like, comment, and share this post with others. Thanks!

 

Dirty Dish Philosophy

Doing the dishes sucks. It’s never been my favorite chore.

My mom made my brother and I do the dishes as kids. We’d have the duty for a week at a time. After dinner, we were expected to get the dishes done no matter what. I remember how angry I’d get when I heard my brother outside with our friends, playing and having a good time while I was stuck inside doing the dishes. Those days were the worst.

When I got married, I didn’t have a clue about cooking. I could make the basics, but I never liked to do it. Because of all that time spent with my hands in dishwater, I made a deal with my wife that if she did the cooking, I’d do all the dishes. It’s an arrangement that’s worked pretty good for over twenty years now.

The huge pile of dishes after a big meal seems daunting. It’s disheartening. How do I get them all done?

One. Dish. At a time.

You know what, that’s an extremely valuable lesson.

Think about it. When faced with a difficult task, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When that giant project looms large, it’s hard to focus because all your attention is directed towards the overall assignment.

However, if you take one task at a time; one small victory after another, you will create success.

dishes-197_960_720That pile of dishes goes away one dish, one glass, one pan at a time. Soon enough, that insurmountable counter full of dishes disappears and the task is over.

Difficult tasks can be tackled with the same mindset.

When writing a novel, it can be horrifying when you think about all those words you need to write. The blank page is every bit as scary as a monster pile of dishes. But adding one word at a time, you will get there. Soon they form sentences, then paragraphs, and those turn into pages. Before long, you’ll have a book. All it takes is to work on one small task at a time.

All those years of grumbling about dishes and soaking my hands in nasty water has led me to this conclusion: anything can be accomplished if you focus on doing all the small things needed to finish the monumental task ahead.

Now if you’ll excuse, my sink is full. I’ve got work to do.

 

Forgetting to Remember

Sometimes I’m terrible with names. I mean, really, really bad. I try hard to remember a name, but this brain can only take in so much information before it overloads.

There was a time I had a customer and I couldn’t remember her name. Still can’t.

I work as a sales rep. for a screen-printing company. One day many years back, I had an older woman come in to order t-shirts for her husband’s business. The name of the business was his name, Ralph’s Excavating* so she wanted everything written under his name; the account name, the contact name–everything.

I did as she asked. They also wanted names on the shirts so I gathered those from her and placed the order.

Several months later, maybe even close to a year, she comes back in to place a reorder. She called me by my name but I never repeated hers because I didn’t know it! I figured I could look at the names list for their previous order and figure out who she was. When she left and I pulled the last order, I was lost! They weren’t their regular names, but nicknames! I had no clue who she was!

remember-1750119_960_720She came back in a few months after that to place a reorder and still didn’t introduce her name to me. I couldn’t ask now! I was three orders in. I should’ve known by now. How could I possibly ask her what her name was? So for a third time I wrote the order using only her husband’s name. When we called to let them know their order was done, we’d always have to ask for Ralph because I didn’t know her name and was too embarrassed to ask.

She treated me so nice too. I mean, she was like a grandma. Always asking about my family and how things were. Telling me about her grandkids and such. But I didn’t know her name! It was awful.

Then, a few years later, I had a younger guy come in for the account. He was her son and said “mom passed away a year ago and I’m taking over the ordering.” Not, “Hey my mom Jean” or “Hey my mom Barb.” Nothing. No name.

So here I am, years later without a clue as to her name.

Ever have that happen to you? Ever date someone and not know their name? Ever know someone a while and not know who they were? Share with the rest of us! I can’t be the only one, right?

*Names, when remembered, have been changed to protect the innocent.

 

Tools of the Trade

Writing used to be so simple. Grab a pen or pencil, some paper, and off you went. These days, more often than not, writers use a slew of tools for their work that don’t require paper.

When I first tried my hand at NaNoWriMo, I used our iPad with the onscreen keyboard. I got to about 12,000 words with that set-up before I finally petered out. It wasn’t my work station that did me in, but my lack of planning for success.

I often go back to my NaNoWriMo experiences as the times when I can refer to myself as a writer because that’s when I started taking this entire process with some seriousness.

After that failure, Google released the Chromebook computers. They were cheap and came with a ton of storage in the Drive, so I bought one. It was a poor man’s MacBook Air. I loved the size of it. It lacked a light up keyboard which I wanted, but it worked. I tried winning NaNoWriMo the following year, failing at around 20,000 words. I followed it up the next year with my first “win” using the same Chromebook.

Not long after, I wanted something more. The Chromebook wasn’t cutting it. I wrote in the evenings back then and the dark keyboard was an issue. I’d sit in the living room with my wife. She watched television and I wrote. The lamp light wasn’t enough.

That summer, I bought an Asus Windows laptop with Windows 8 and a backlit keyboard. The interface was clunky but I got used to it. The only issue I had was the freaking space bar! When I typed, I guess the way I hit the bar wasn’t sufficient and I’d get frustrated as my words jumbled together.

computer-1839667_960_720Not long after, my wife started online schooling and needed a more robust computer than her MacBook Air. Her mom had a MacBook Pro, so with some cash and my Asus, we made a three way trade. My wife got the Pro, I got the Air, and my mother-in-law got the Asus. That set-up has worked great until recently.

About a week ago I got a new MacBook Air with a larger screen cause these older eyes had a hard time seeing on the smaller screen. Such is life I guess.

I’ve used several writing programs over the years but I’ve settled on two. My main writing program is Scrivener. I love how easy it is to change chapters, customize headings, and create usable files. And as far as cost, it’s one of the more affordable options. Of course, Open Office and the word processor on Google Drive are free, so there’s that.

I also use Microsoft Word. I’ve found as much as I love Scrivener, sometimes I have a need for the trusty Word program. It’s great for formatting paperback books. I use it for Standard Manuscript formatting when submitting short stories. I’m sure Scrivener could do it, but the program is so complex at times I can’t find what I need.

So that’s it, my tools of the trade. I work on a MacBook Air using Scrivener and MS Word. It’s worked so far, though I’m always up for learning new programs and practices to make my process better. What about you? What’s the set-up you use for your writing? What’s your go-to writing program? I’d love to hear if we’re alike or if you’ve got something else that works better.

Review Circles for Authors

Are you an indie author or an author looking for more reviews? Well, let me help!

I’ve created a private Facebook group to address this and hopefully help us all as we work on our promotions.

Let me get this out there to be clear: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW EXCHANGE! We will NOT review book for book. You will not be expected to review a book from an author who is reviewing you. That would make for a dishonest review (or at the very least, the temptation to leave a higher review since you’d expect them to give you a higher review). I don’t like how that works and I don’t condone it.

In it’s most basic form, it works like this:

Review Circle

 

Here are a few guidelines to consider:

All authors will be expected to buy the book they’re reviewing as long as it’s $1.99 or less. If it’s over that price point, I want the author to gift it to them or send the reviewer a free copy.

I prefer reviewers buy the book to give the review the “Verified Purchase” tag. But I also want people to stick around and if they gotta keep paying more than $1.99 per book for something they may or may not normally read, I feel it’s asking too much.

Reviewers will have two weeks to read and review the books. All authors participating must not argue with the review received. These are honest opinions and if your work isn’t up to par, work on it first.

All reviews are honest. If as an author you get a review lower than what you expect, please do not argue with the reviewer. By submitting to the Review Circle, that’s the chance we take. That’s what an honest review is. This is not an opportunity for us to hand out five star reviews “just because.” It’s meant to help each other gain honest reviews of our work. Honest doesn’t always mean pleasant. Again, please do not argue with the reviewer.

Reviewers, though you are tasked with leaving an honest review, please be courteous. We’re not trying to discourage our fellow authors with negative remarks. You can voice your opinion in a thoughtful and constructive manner. Please do not crush your fellow authors.

For the book you’d like to have reviewed, please make sure your book is well constructed and edited, preferably by a professional. This is not a Beta reading circle. We are working under the assumption your book is a final product. What we read is what any reader would read. Make sure it’s the best representation of your book.

Try to keep all books requesting a review under 350 pages or less. Since this is a fairly quick turnaround of two weeks, longer books won’t work well. If your reviewer is OK with a longer book, go ahead and submit it. If not, please consider a different book.

By participating in the Review Circle, you must be ok with reading various genres. I will try to assign reviewers according to their tastes but I can’t guarantee it’s gonna be in your wheelhouse. If that happens, please keep an open mind and review the book on its merits as a story, not on if you like the genre. We can all learn when reading outside our specific genres.


So that’s it. I’ve run something like this in a Facebook group I’m part of, but I think it’s time to branch out and start a group based solely on this premise. If you’d like to join and are ready to be reviewed while offering your honest reviews, please send over a request to join the Review Circle for Authors Facebook Group. Thanks!

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

Hey everyone, I wanted to share a few reviews with you today. I’ve never commented like this on reviews so let me know if I’m committing some faux pas.

For writers and authors, reviews are the lifeblood that pushes us forward. They can also make us cringe and get all defensive, though retaliation is a horrible thing to get involved in. It’s much better to suck it up and deal with the review as a learning tool, as a means of improving your craft. You gotta take the bad with the good and balance it out.

Anyway, here are three reviews I received recently for my book The Selection.


File_001I loved this review! So many great comparisons. I’m a bit humbled by them to be honest, but there’s a lot going on here that makes me think I nailed the feel and tone of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 


File_000 (2)This review further emphasized to me my tone and feel of the book was what I hoped it would be. It’s so tough to know how people will react to your work until you start seeing the proof in the reviews.

 

 

 


File_002

So this was my latest review and I love the honesty. The end of The Selection is pretty tough to take and I wanted a big hook to make the reader want more. So far, for the majority of readers it has gone over like I wanted. There are some who don’t agree with how I ended it and that’s perfectly fine.  I wouldn’t argue with any review that said the end sucked (or about anything in the book for that matter). That’s the opinion of the reader and I respect that.

 


 

There you have it. Three of my most recent reviews. I’m still in awe every time someone reads my work and feels compelled to leave a review. It’s fulfilling to know what I present to the reader is being accepted and enjoyed.

If you want to see for yourself what all the chatter is about, you can get The Selection on Amazon for only .99 now through August 31st. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free to read. When you do, please consider leaving a review. Honest reviews are the best ones, even if you hate it.

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