One of the best things about submitting a piece of fiction is that you don’t have to brood on it. Salmonweird is already out of my mind for the next 6-8 weeks while I await news. In the meantime, I have plenty of other projects to work on.
Although I am keen to get cracking with Romans vs Aliens (now I have a title in Children of Phobetor) it is towards zombies that I now turn my attention.
Although I have sold mercifully few copies of Dead Heat, those who have read it have not forgotten about the single page description at the end stating my intent to write a mirror story. If you’ve not yet read Dead Heat, I posted the blurb for Dead Lock here.
Surprisingly, the story is keeping me busy. I completed chapter one about a month ago, writing it at a snail’s pace. In the space of about 4 hours yesterday, I started and completed chapter 2. I’m pleased with this as I wasn’t quite sure where to go initially. Changing chapter 1’s ending helped me find a direction. So far, we’ve met just two of the four characters from Dead Lock and there is much more action. Would you like a snippet? Oh go on then, it is Sunday after all.
The zombie let out a long, low moan and Jim’s pulse quickened as it turned slightly towards him. He hid behind the building, held his breath and listened intently for sounds of movement. He could hear the creature stumbling around next to the building, breaking twigs and scuffing feet against uneven ground as it wandered around aimlessly.
Jim looked around him for something he could use as a weapon. Against the wall of the outbuilding, he found only a few stones and twigs, but nothing that could damage a walking, rotting carcass.
A cold and clammy hand grabbed at Jim’s leg, followed by an all too familiar sound of groaning of the dead. The mutilated and decomposing face of a zombie stared up at him from the ground. This was not the same creature as the one of the other side of the building. It was of slight build, possibly a woman, and had no legs. Its swollen face writhed and snapped at Jim’s leg.
He stumbled back, falling against the building but just caught his balance before he collapsed into a pile on the floor. He sent stones scattering beyond the edge of the building and heard a second moan from beyond it. It was the unmistakeable sound of the zombie he had initially tried to avoid. Jim kicked out at the creature on the floor and it shrieked in anger, its neck jerking back with a crack.
He thought the creature’s neck had snapped, but it lurched back towards him, pulling itself forward towards the foot that had enraged it so. Jim fell back and into the soft body of the large zombie that had decided to investigate the commotion.
His toppling weight made the creature stumble but not collapse beneath him. It immediately asserted itself and seized Jim clumsily by the neck.
‘Let go of me you bastard!’ with all the strength he could muster, Jim jerked his head backwards. He felt something give way against his skull, cartilage crushing against soft skin; something soft and wet oozed onto his head. The zombie released its grip on Jim and he threw his body against it once more. This time it toppled, briefly swaying before falling onto its back with a growl.
Acting quickly, Jim threw himself on top of the large male zombie, pressed his hands to the sides of its head and gave it a short, sharp twist.
All life went from the creature, its grip relaxed. It was no longer a threat. A wave of emotion swept over Jim – a mix of relief, surprise at his own strength and disgust. He looked at his blood and gunk covered hands and wanted to vomit. He could smell the rot and the metallic smell of dried blood and wiped them quickly on his trousers before it froze. Only then did he turn his attention back to the second zombie now crawling along the floor towards him. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as it reached for him.
It’s a little rough around the edges I know, but it gives you an indication of the sort of direction this story is going.