Tag Archives: monsters

Mo, and My Take on Bullying

I’ve always been against bullies, ever since that gargantuan down the street would terrorize everyone at our bus stop in elementary school. Mo, my newest kid’s book, reflects my feelings on bullies.

On a planet quite far from us lives a civilization of monsters with superpowers. It is a sad place, very brown and dead, and looks like this:

Mo

Mo, our protagonist, is a bit smaller than his classmates and has yet to discover his power. The others pick on him in various ways until one day, his teacher gives him a magic key that helps him find his power and become a hero. And, of course, the bullies get their just desserts.

Here is an image of Mo on the cover.

Isn’t he cute? Artist Christina Paul  did an excellent job visualizing the story and all of the little creatures. I love her work.

So, if you want to check out the ebook, it’s available on Kindle and Nook so far. If you check it out, I would love to hear your thoughts on it! Make sure you check out my other ebooks as well…there are a few. Thanks for stopping by!

The Z Word Origin Stories – Kathy

 

 

Author’s note: If you’ve read The Z Word, there was a little confusion over names and there were two women named Kathy in the story. One, a sixteen-year-old, lived with her parents and ran away during the apocalypse. This is not her origin. This is Kathy, the bad-ass late-teens gal who eventually met and teamed up with Zachary. Enjoy!

Click the image to like us on Facebook. And if you haven’t read The Z Word, you should. 🙂

Kathy hit the punching bag over and over as the song Bad Reputation by Joan Jett blasted in the background. She took a break from her workout to play some air guitar. She resembled the old Joan Jett poster she had hung on the workout room wall behind her; her dark brown hair was even cut in a similar fashion. After a few more chords on her invisible instrument, she hit the bag until the song ended and then walked over to the stereo and hit stop as she heard the front door slam.

Sid entered the workout room and smiled. “Quite a sweat you’ve got going on…tough workout?”

She shook her head and smiled. “If you’re asking if I’m too tired to spar a little, I’m up for it.”

He grinned and tried to look at the back of his arm. That’s when she noticed the blood and grew concerned.

“What happened there?”

He saw the rips in the shirt he was wearing and tore off the blood-splattered sleeve. “Nothing, some crazy guy bit me on the way home. It kind of burns a little.”

“I’ll get some peroxide.” She walked down the hall towards the bathroom and yelled over her shoulder, “But don’t think you can use this as an excuse for losing when we spar!”

She returned with the peroxide and a towel and dabbed his arm. “Oh you big baby, there’s just a few teeth marks. You’re fine. Just barely broke the skin. Ready?” she said, smacking the cuts.

“Ow! Jerk. Just for that I’m not holding back!” he said as he put on the gloves. She just laughed at him.

“Yeah…like you ever hold back.”

He walked up to her and put his hands out, which she bumped with her own. “Ready?”

He nodded and she punched him in the jaw faster than he could react. He backed up and shook his head, then laughed. “That all you got?”

Punches were thrown, most were blocked on both sides, and each worked up a sweat as they switched between punches and banter until Sid seemed to slow down a bit and was hit a few more times.

Kathy became worried. “You okay? It’s not usually this easy. And you’re looking a little green.”

He pulled off the gloves. “Yeah, I’m not feeling so hot. I think we’d better stop for now.” She nodded and took off her gloves.

She smiled at him. “Guess I’ll take a shower. Go lie down and I’ll make dinner when I get out! Maybe some soup for you…something light since you’re looking so sick.”

Kathy got undressed and slid the glass door shut on the shower, letting the cold water run over her sweaty body. As she washed the soap off, she noticed a shadow through the glass. She finished up and turned off the water.

“Feeling better already, Sid? Trying to catch a glimpse?” she said with a laugh as she reached out for her towel. He walked toward the door and she slammed it on him. “Oh no, you have to work for it if you want some!” she laughed as she dried off with the towel and wrapped it around her. Sid approached the foggy glass and then slammed a hand against it, scaring her.

“Sid? What the hell?” she said with anger as she opened the glass door. He turned to look at her and she noticed a different look in his eyes, almost cloudy. “Sid?”

He lunged at her and she dove across the bathroom, all while keeping the towel wrapped around her body. He fell through the door of the shower, shattering glass everywhere.  “What the hell, Sid?” she asked as he jumped up, glass sticking out of his chest and face. He growled a little and went for her again. This time she was better prepared and threw a right uppercut, hitting him square in the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slammed the bathroom door and shoved a chair under the knob so he was trapped.

She ran to their bedroom and threw on a vintage Runaways tee, skipping the bra and underwear to throw on a pair of black skinny jeans. She heard slamming against the bathroom door and then a scream from outside their studio apartment. She ran to the window to see two little kids being chased by a man covered in blood.

She thought about what she saw outside and what was in her bathroom, the man she loved turned into something else, and knew what was going on. She’d seen the movies. It was zombies. She grabbed Sid’s aluminum baseball bat and jumped onto the ancient fire escape. The ladder, rusted stuck, wouldn’t give so she jumped with her full weight onto it and as it clanged loose held on until it jerked to a stop, almost flinging her from it. She jumped the last four feet and landed as the kids ran by her.

The zombie stopped, looked from the children to her, and let out a piercing sound almost like a scream as it started in her direction. One swift swing of the bat to its head took it down and she turned to the kids. “Are you two okay?”

They nodded without making a sound until one pointed behind Kathy and screamed. She turned to find two more monsters right on top of her. She screamed to the kids “Run home and don’t stop for anything! Lock yourselves in!” The two monsters pushed her into the glass behind her, shattering it as she dropped the bat and held both creatures at the throat so they couldn’t bite her. They pushed and clawed at her, one scratching at her arm as she put a foot into each of the monsters’ chests and pushed with all her strength. They both toppled backward and fell as she reached around for a weapon in the window display. The window belonged to an old army-navy surplus store and lucky for her had a crossbow under the splintered glass on the display floor. She grabbed it just as the zombies stood and let loose with an arrow, shooting one in the head. She loaded as the second walked in her direction, firing as it got close but only hitting the shoulder. She quickly reloaded and this time hit the target.

She stood in the display, brushing glass from her body and looking around. The cut on her arm was more of a scratch and hadn’t drawn blood, but she knew she would need more protection, and that’s when she saw the dummy in the window wearing a long, black leather coat. She snagged that and went into the store to see what else she could find for protection. The dark building had the usual stuff, camouflage clothing, camping gear, old army surplus items, but nothing really lethal until she noticed the curtain covering a doorway to a back room.

“Jackpot,” she said as she pulled the curtain back. Guns, swords and all kinds of illegal weapons garnered the walls. She took what she wanted.

Back at her apartment, Kathy used the hidden key to get in the front door. She looked toward the bathroom door, which was now splintered, half of the remnants hanging from the hinges and the rest in small pieces on the floor.  She reached into the backpack she now carried and grabbed the handle of the shotgun she’d taken from the store. A scratching sound came from the kitchen and she turned in time to see Sid, or what used to be Sid, coming at her slowly.

She aimed the shotgun at her boyfriend’s head and fired.

 

The Z Word Origin Stories – The Dane in Combat Boots (Annya)

Annya had to do something to escape the memories of him and their awful relationship. Everything in the apartment still reminded her of him even though he’d moved out months ago. She needed to get out of Denmark, leave Copenhagen behind, and what better way than to travel during holiday to the U.S.? She could definitely escape her demons there.

The long flight was boring but uneventful, exactly what she wanted for the whole trip. The plane hit very little turbulence and the landing was flawless. She arrived.

She tried to speak as little as possible to the cab driver, just a quick mention of the address of her hotel and he nodded; she was a bit self-conscious of her accent. As they waited at a red light she watched a pale woman walk very slowly, dragging her left foot, and noticed the general disrepair of her business suit. A brownish stain covered the front of her blouse, and Annya wondered what sort of chocolate concoction the woman spilled all over herself, and then forgot the woman completely as she yearned for chocolate. If she’d watched a moment longer, she would have witnessed the woman attacking an unsuspecting older gentleman walking his poodle, and might have been horrified to see his blood spurt out of his throat, freshly covering  her blouse.

The driver pulled up to a fancy hotel, and Annya was surprised at how nice it was. She looked at the address on the side of the hotel and then down at her agenda, making sure it was right. This luxurious palace couldn’t possibly have cost her so little, could it? She gasped and then realized the driver was waiting for his money.

As she paid him and got out, difficulty with her suitcase exasperated the driver. he seemed rushed.

“No, no don’t help me, I’m fine,” she said to him.

“Sorry, miss, but there have been a lot of attacks around here lately, I’m not getting out. I have a family!”

She finally freed the suitcase and started pulling it toward the front entrance as she heard a scream from somewhere a few blocks away. She looked around, saw nothing and headed inside the hotel to the desk.

“Hello,” she said to the perfectly groomed clerk . She handed him her passport to keep from chatting, and the man took it and found her room number. He grabbed a sheet of paper that shot out of the printer and asked her to sign.

After getting the key to her room she went to the elevator and hit the up button. The sound of the bell woke her up from a daydream, and she was surprised at how relaxed she was already. This trip would be the uneventful but fun adventure she needed to put all her horrible, scarring past behind her.

This story is the origin of one of the many characters from my new book, The Z Word, available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. Like us on Facebook.

The Z Word Origin Stories: Zachary

This story is a prequel to my upcoming zombie collection The Z Word. Like it here on facebook.
Click the photograph to see WhiteStag’s Etsy account where this print and more are available!

Zachary Ward was sitting in his old bean bag chair reading the recent Walking Dead when it happened. A scream ripped through the open window of his bedroom and he barely looked up from the issue. But then, who would? The second scream was the one that forced him to carefully place it on the shag carpet in the basement bedroom he “rented” from his grandmother and walk up to the eye-leveled window.

It had started. He saw two of his neighbors chased down by another, who seemed a bit slower than usual, and a bit more…gray? The slower neighbor latched on to one of their jackets and pulled the woman in, biting her arm as her scream reverberated off the walls of neighboring homes. Blood splattered across Zach’s window as her eyes met his and she reached for him.

It was time.

He ran to the comic he’d thrown to the ground in frustration and held the cover up, looking from the image to the view outside. It was definitely time.

He turned to find his grandmother standing in his doorway, the light from the basement steps silhouetting her figure.

“Mom-mom, how many times have I told you to knock first! I don’t care if you have to do laundry!” he whined. She stood, waiting for something, and that was when he looked back at the comic he’d been reading and flipped to the fourth page. It showed a back lit silhouette of someone in a doorway, a similar scene. He carefully placed the comic onto his sofa bed and reached under, feeling for something.

“Mom-mom, I would answer me if I were you…”

She made a sound, guttural, coming from deep inside, and that’s when his hand hit what he was looking for – a baseball bat. She lunged at him just as he pulled it out, and he swung it at her side, knocking her away from him.

“Mom-mom?” He looked into her eyes, a milky white. He sighed and knew what it was he had to do.

“Sorry mom-mom. You’re no longer the person I knew. I love you.” She stood again, her flowery moo moo flowing behind her as she jumped at him and he swung the bat at her head. The crack sounded different from those of the star baseball player’s he bench-warmed for. After all, his bat had never connected with anything other than wind that whole season his dad forced him to play.

She dropped to the ground, blood oozing from a crack in her skull. Zach looked at her for a brief moment and then started gathering items around his room and throwing them into a backpack. He’d been reading about these things for years now. He’d seen all the movies, even the terrible ones. The books, the graphic novels, everything prepared him for this moment. And he knew what he had to do next. It was time to save the hottest girl in his old high school who just so happened to live across the street and also, however unlikely, never pulled the blinds when she was changing. Why else would a twenty-year-old live in his grandmother’s basement?

As he burst through the old front door of her home, the screams got to him and he winced and lost his nerve for a moment. At that point he pulled out the iPod his cousin had given him when the new one came out and threw the buds into his ears after pushing random. With the bat in his hand he entered the street filled with monsters and victims alike, trying to catch some food or survive, depending which side they were on. He stepped to the other curb and was ready to swing the bat when a song started. The first few notes made him stop as the lyrics “Well no one told me about her…the way she lied” and he laughed at the irony of this song of all songs being the first to play. As he ran across the street one of the zombies came after him and he swung, this time right at its head. It went down fast as two more turned to look at him. He ran around her brother’s van parked in the driveway and checked to see if he could make it to the front door. He took off for her house and got to the door to find it locked. He rang the doorbell and turned to find the two from earlier coming at him rather slowly.

“Just like Romero said,” Zach actually said to himself as he gripped the bat tighter before thinking better of it and swing the bag around from his back. He pulled out a half-filled bottle of rum and stuffed a rag in it as they got closer, dropping the iPod and letting it yank the buds out of his ears. A quick flick of the lighter and the cocktail was lit. He threw it at the oncoming creatures and watched them ignite and fall, bringing three more into view who were apparently following them.

“Shit.”

He turned and banged on the door, rang the doorbell again and started yelling. Finally he heard a voice.

“Who is it?”

“Lucy! It’s Zach! Let me in!”

“Who? I can’t. Something’s going on! I’m not opening the door!”

“If you don’t open it I WILL DIE!”

He waited, the closest undead thing within reach of his bat and he took it down with one swing. The click of the lock turning caught his attention and as she opened the door he fell inside onto her.

“Quick! Lock it!”

She sat on her ass looking at the monsters slowly approaching and began to shake so he jumped up and slammed it shut in their faces. He threw the latch and slid the chain into place, then offered her his hand.

“Are you okay?” She nodded and then wrinkled her nose at him.

“Oh, you’re that creepy guy from across the street. You live with that old lady.”

“Um…yeah. I was also in your homeroom.”

“Oh.”

She brushed herself off. “What do you want?”

“I was trying to save you.”

“Well, I’m fine. I’m locked in. Safe. You can go.”

“We need to barricade the door, block up the windows and do a quick survey of what you have in here. Got a lot of food? We’ll need it.”

Lucy just stood there staring.

“What?” he asked her.

“Why should I share with you?”

He pulled open the curtains to get a view of the street. “You want to be alone in all this? They’re zombies.”

“They’re what?”

“Zombies. Dead people come back to life. Eating people.”

“That’s stupid. They aren’t even eating the people’s brains. Zombies eat brains.”

“Where in the hell did you hear that? It’s a myth.”

“So are zombies.”

“Then what are those?” he yelled, pointing outside at the chaos.

She looked outside and her confidence wavered. “They can’t be z- they just can’t be.”

She rubbed her arm and looked at him as sweat began to form on her forehead. “Well, what do we do?”

“We do what they always do. Lock ourselves in. Hold down the fort. Hope others find us so we become stronger in numbers.”

The two of them went to work moving furniture and blocking the doors and windows with as much as they could find. A quick inventory found them plenty of food and he filled up the bathtub with water.

“Why do we do this?”

“If the water stops running you’ll thank me.”

“What if I need to take a shower?”

He rubbed his temples for a moment trying not to yell, but ended up losing his temper a bit anyway. He yelled “YOU DON’T TAKE A SHOWER IN THE MIDDLE OF A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!”

Her lower lip trembled and he instantly felt bad. “I’m sorry, Lucy. I didn’t mean it.”

She took a good look at him and collected herself. “I’m fine. I get it. We’re in trouble. I’ll be tough.” She looked out the bathroom window and gasped. “This is for real, isn’t it.”

“Sure is.”

She turned and looked at him, a small smile forming. “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m actually glad you’re here.”

He smiled and felt his heart skip a beat. The hot girl from his high school days was happy he existed. That’s when they heard the thump. Zach ran down as fast as he could, Lucy close behind, to find the front door being rattled. He ran to it and pushed up against it, Lucy copying him. That’s when the window shattered.

“No! Lucy get back!” By the time she realized what was going on, a hand grabbed her nearby arm and pulled it through the window. Zach grabbed her waist and pulled her back in, and as she turned he saw the distinct marks on her arm. Bite marks. She looked at it and said “I’m fine!”

“You aren’t. When you get bit you become one.”

She looked at the cuts, wiped away some blood and passed out. He picked her up and put her on the couch.

“Shit.” He knew what he had to do. He ran to the front door and added a heavy armoire to their makeshift barricade and then went back to her. She didn’t wake up. “I’m sorry. I have to leave you. It’s too late for you.”

At that he grabbed the keys to her brother’s van off the counter, ran to the back door, turned to take a last look at the hottest girl in his grade, and left through the backyard.

Zombies and Art

If you enjoy this, please visit my book’s new facebook page and like my upcoming novel, The Z Word, a collection of short zombie stories and flash fiction pieces that change everything you know about the genre. Okay, maybe not, but they’re still entertaining, and it’s still exciting that I have a book being published! I’m also challenging any writers I know to write zombie haiku and post them on the facebook page!

Adam shoved the bar between the two handles of the main doors and wrenched it into place. Jan was already on the marble floor trying to catch her breath.

“Holy shit. That was close. Were you bit?” Adam leaned against the door as it started to shake.

She shook her head. “You?”

“Nope.” He slid down to the floor next to her. “This floor is cold.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

“Think it’s safe here?”

“As safe as anywhere else. This is an art museum. The place should be locked down. Nobody can get in.”

“Think anyone is in here?”

They both looked up the marble stairs past the golden banisters into the semi-dark reception area as if waiting for a sound.

“I don’t hear anything,” she said to him in a low voice.

They both continued to listen.

“HELLO?” he screamed, making her jump.

“Thanks a lot, ass.”

He laughed. “Sorry.”

She stood herself up leaning on the large fireman’s ax she carried and crossed the stairwell, small drops of blood dripping from the ax trailing behind her. She climbed the four steps to the landing and listened again.

“I don’t think anyone is here. They would have come running, I would think.”

“True. Or they don’t trust us.”

She nodded as he stood up and adjusted the backpack he carried.

Jan entered the reception area first, the large room fairly well-lit from above by a glass roof. The signs directed visitors to the food court, gift shop and a long list of exhibits.

Adam walked up beside her. “We better check the place out, make sure it’s safe before we let our guard down.” She nodded in agreement and turned right toward the food court.

“Hun, why that way?”

“If people are here, we’ll know it by the condition of the food court. They’d need to eat!”

She passed an exhibit area, peeked in and saw an empty room save the art and a few statues. “Clear.”

As she continued on down the hall, she heard him yelp a little and turned back. “Hun?”

She pressed her back against the cold wall and peeked around the corner and saw nothing.

“Hun?”

He must have gone into the exhibit for some reason, she figured, so she relaxed a bit and peeked in.

“Holy shit!” he yelled.

She ran in brandishing the ax, ready to kill to find him looking at a Monet.

“Look at this? It’s beautiful!”

She walked up next to him and slapped him on the back of the head.

“Scare the shit out of me, why don’t you?”

He laughed. “Sorry. But come on. It’s a Monet. This room is full of them!”

“I’m glad you can appreciate art, even at a time like this. But come on, let’s make sure it’s safe first.”

He walked up to the velvet rope and started taking it off the pole.

“What are you doing?”

“I want to get close, real close! Closer than anyone has come before!”

His nose was almost touching it when she came up alongside.

“Great. Can we check the food court now?”

“Dare me to touch it?”

“You can’t!”

“Says who? The guards?”

She looked around. “Good point.”

He looked closely at the brush strokes, each one visible on the canvas.

“Wow,” he gasped and she breathed in, amazed at the work.

“Doesn’t look like much from up close, huh? But then, you can see each and every nuance. Intense.”

She wiped her hand on her jeans and reached up, running her fingers gently over the strokes. “Whoa.”

He followed suit and felt the small lines.

They stared a moment longer before she broke the silence.

“Okay, let’s get to work. We can touch the other priceless works of art once we know it’s safe.”