Chapter 30 – Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting

A Garden in Paris

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It was quickly obvious that Robert had a major advantage in terms of size and strength. His reach was much longer than Jasper’s and his hits were incredibly powerful. Jasper was quicker, more agile. It wasn’t obvious to Robert, but Jasper also had a lot more training in unarmed combat. Robert had always relied on being bigger and stronger, and it made him lazy in training. If he could win the combat every time, without having to work too hard, he was clearly doing it right. Jasper on the other hand, while still being a decent sized guy, was not always the biggest, the tallest, the fastest. He made up for it with training and dedication. His shots were precise, and he was more aware, paying more attention to the environment, constantly scanning for any opening, any slight mistake on Robert’s part. That’s why he was the one who noticed the zombie closing on Robert. The creature grabbed Robert by the arm as he drew his fist back to punch. Robert spun, slamming his huge fist into the creature, sending it flying back. As he did that he felt rabbit punches slamming into his kidney. Robert turned back as Jasper swung a low roundhouse kick into his thigh. It hurt, it hurt a lot. Robert grabbed the smaller man and pulled him off his feet. Technique counts for a lot, but it has limits. He lifted Jasper and threw him to the ground. Jasper hit the pavement, hard.

Robert casually walked two steps and slammed his foot into Jasper’s ribs. He heard a crunching sound and Jasper gasped in pain. Jasper was on the edge of blacking out, the pain in his side was so intense. He rolled and fetched up at the feet of a zombie. The creature bent down to grab him. Jasper reached up, shifted his weight, dropping the already unbalanced zombie, sending it crashing to the ground between him and Robert, just as the big man brought his foot down, hard. Robert ended up smashing the zombie, missing Jasper. The zombie tried to bite Robert’s leg, forcing Robert to deal with it. Robert slammed his other foot down on the zombies head over and over again until its skull shattered. Jasper’s ribs were screaming bands of pain, breathing was fire. He managed to stay conscious, but every movement took him right back to the edge.

Jasper was doing everything he could to stay out of Robert’s grasp. He couldn’t find the space to get back to his feet. If he wasn’t hurt, maybe… but with his ribs damaged as they were, he didn’t have a chance. The zombies kept reaching for him, Robert kept pressing forward. Jasper kept moving, rolling, crawling. At one point he was certain Robert had him, but he managed to slide between two zombies, they turned to him and Robert smashed through them, sending them falling to the ground.

There were no zombies around them anymore, just the two of them, a pocket of violence in the calming sea. No more distractions, no more places to hide. Just the two of them, like it was always going to be.

Jasper couldn’t lose the big man, couldn’t get free, this was it. All this time, all this distance, and he was going to be beaten to death in a parking lot by a madman. At least he’d had a chance to find Taylor, to tell her he loved her. That was something, more than he had expected when he started the journey. His vision started to go black at the edges, his body finally giving up, finally losing the ability to stay conscious.

Just as he blacked out he saw something, a shape from a nightmare closing behind Robert, then the world went away.
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The Disaster Artist

A Path

It’s a strange thing to watch a movie where good actors play incredibly bad actors. The Disaster Artist is the story of the making of The Room.

The Room is an awful movie, entertaining, but awful. It’s hard to really explain, but it’s compelling in a very strange sort of way. The Disaster Artist is stranger. The truth is that Tommy Wiseau, the writer, director, and star of The Room is a very strange man, and nobody really knows where his money comes from. He personally bankrolled the movie The Room to the tune of six million dollars, owned an apartment in LA, and had no discernable source of income.

The Disaster Artist is fun, but it’s not the same kind of fun. It’s not mean-spirited towards Tommy, in fact, it seems to celebrate him, but it does recognise that he was not a good filmmaker. He is played by James Franco, a very, very talented actor. His best friend and co-star Greg is played by Dave Franco.

It’s so strange that it has to be real life. If I wrote a character like Tommy Wiseau, nobody would believe it. He’s far too bizarre and unexplained.

I often try to include incongruous elements in my characters, and the tale of Tommy Wiseau is a great inspiration for that.

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New Sites

I’m trying to figure out what to do for my two new sites.

I have not put anything at all on them as of yet. One is jennydark.com – currently not hosted. It’s for my series The Strange Tales of Jenny Dark.

I don’t yet know what that’s going to look like, as a website. I think I’ll probably have a lore section, with myths, legends, ideas, etc. Due to a series of conversations with my son I have a developed mythos here. Some things won’t be in my books, although most if not all will actually influence my stories more or less. Some of it is bizarre (Hell has no entropy).

I’m doing the same thing with my World of the Dead series. World of the Dead is an interesting world to me because it’s a lot longer post-zombie than most movies. Twenty years and the world is very, very different. I’m thinking the world of the dead is going to have a great deal of worldbuilding. I want people to see the world, of course only as I reveal it in the books (there are bits that will come out much later and matter to stories).

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Being Stalled on Writing

A Snowy Road

Not writer’s block. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, hell, I have like fifty novels planned out, I write scenes in my head, I have all of this storytelling in my head. The problem is something else, I find that when I sit down to write right now I’m not focusing. I can do code right now, which is cool, but I really need to get some fictions written.

Anyway, something changed last night, and all of a sudden I find I can write again today and I’m slightly resenting that today is a busy day where I have all kinds of non-writing activities I need to do. I want to bang this story out, and I want to do it fast!

So, a good feeling, and I think it might just last for a bit.

I figured out what was blocking me, and I think it’s on the path to being dealt with. Not story related at all. It’s a combination of factors. One huge one: The focus on getting up early. That’s not who I am, and it’s not my life. I’m a night owl, a writer of the classic model, and when I try to force my life into that more mainstream version, well, it doesn’t work out terribly well.

There are other factors, but that’s a huge one. The rest of the getting up and getting going things, I should still do those things, but the forcing myself to early mornings? It’s bad for me.

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I have a short story on Amazon

The Chosen Pigherder Cover

I know, I have a few. This one is even on this site. The only issue is I have edited it since I posted it, so it’s a bit different than the version on the site. Available for sale right now.

The story is The Chosen Pigherder. The basic premise is that the chosen one is actually very good at his job, and loves it. He’s a great pig farmer. It’s not so much that he resists the call to adventure as that he has actually zero interest in it. In the end, he manages to subvert the call and do something else.

I didn’t like this one very much when I wrote it, but I went back and re-read it, and it’s much more clever than I had originally thought, and on reread I quite enjoy it.

The edits help.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t read the version on this site, and I will update it to match, but I haven’t done the updates yet, and it will be a few days before I manage to get those changes done, because I split it up in serial form when I first wrote it… It was an experiment in live writing.

I often find that I enjoy stories more when I take a break and go back. As a reader, I find they often have things to offer me that I didn’t appreciate when I was originally creating them.

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A Long Walk is Almost All Here

A Shack by the Ocean

I have been slowly putting my first novel, A Long Walk, on this site, chapter by chapter. There are a few left. I think three, and they are short.

The sequel is coming out soon. I’m about halfway through editing it, maybe a little more, and it’s good. I like the hero more than I like Jasper (the hero from a long). Is that weird since Jasper is a very definite self-insert character? Chad, despite being military, is more innocent, younger, less jaded.

I do think that Clyde, my villain, is less compelling than Robert in some ways, but in others, he’s more. He’s definitely more clearly evil from the start. A very different kind of villain. He’s nasty, vile, cruel, but his motivations aren’t moustache twirling. He does what he does for reasons that make sense to him and to those who follow him.

I don’t think there’s any question you would not want to spend a day hanging out with either of them… well, maybe Robert at the start. Not at the end though, not once he’s fully and completely gone mad. Clyde on the other hand, never.

It’s an interesting contrast. There’s a love story in the new novel, the only love in the first novel is friendship or parental… the closest to a romance subplot in novel 1 is beyond abusive. Love plays a reasonably large role in novel two, we get to see two people grow close together over the course of time.

One interesting thing I did in novel two is with race. The main society in novel two is genuinely post-racial. There are two categories for them, human and zombie. If you are human then who cares what colour your skin is? Sexism is, however, more of an issue and I do explore it a bit. Of course, humans have a second category, which is long-term cannibals. Those are treated as closer to zombies than to humans.

It’s a darkish world, and as I explore it there will be much more darkness. I’ve only really touched the surface. The reclamation project, which is where novel two is focused, is based on hope. It’s trying to take back the world from the zombies, trying to allow humanity to spread out again. There will be other stories. The Tales from the World of the Dead are bleaker, they concern the daily lives of average people in this world. Some will be in New Hope, the last human city, and some will be in other places where bands of humans exist. Then there will be Stories of New Hope. That series is essentially noir in a city surrounded by zombies with a shrinking set of resources. It is about the lowlives, criminals, the underground. What kind of things are people doing on the fringes of this tenuous society? After all, it’s not like crime suddenly goes away.

So far I have the primary cast for the reclamation series fleshed out. I know who they are and how they act. I have the outline of what the Stories of New Hope looks like, I know some of the major players (and they are introduced or alluded to in Resource Economies, the second book).

So, this is the future of the World of the Dead. There will also be a website soon. I haven’t built it yet because I’m trying to decide how I’m going to do that. Will it be a quick and dirty WordPress or will I do something good?

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Chapter 29 – What She Saw in the Night

The Portuguese Countryside From a High Castle

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Naomi ran outside, close behind Jasper. She got separated from him in seconds, turned around and isolated. She was in the open, surrounded by zombies, no cover close at hand. She charged, head down. She thought she was running for the building but wasn’t sure. It was loud, gunfire going off on all sides, zombies moaning, impeding her vision. Hands grabbed her, trying to bear her to the ground. She lashed out with her machete, catching dead flesh, one of the arms that was grabbing her came away from its body, fell to the ground. It gave her enough momentum to hit the accelerator inside her, she slammed into a wall, hard. At least she could keep her back to it now.

Naomi turned, pushing hands off of her. She had on light armour, skateboard pads and paintball gear, but it was enough to have kept her alive so far. She swung the machete over and over again, the weight of zombies never seeming to get smaller, until suddenly it did. She found herself in the middle of a calm moment, the eye of the storm so to speak. Where she was there was a slight rise in the ground. She could see most of the battle, clusters of violence swirling around her.

Taylor swung into view, swinging a stick, one end sharpened into a vicious point. Taylor was using her small size and agility to weave back and forth between the zombie. Naomi saw her whirling the stick around, slamming into one zombie after another. They fell, lifeless and limp, but more kept coming. Naomi called out “Taylor, over here!” but the girl didn’t hear her.

More and more zombies were piling on to Taylor, cutting her off from the rest of the defenders. One of them grabbed her arm, trying to bite through the armour there. She pushed it off, darted through their legs on the ground and dove into one of the dumpsters lining the lot. She was closer to other defenders now, they were pushing the two dumpsters across the open gate. Her leap moved it the final inches into place, then the lid dropped on her, taking her from Naomi’s view.

Naomi could see Karen now too. Karen had a length of re-bar in her hands and was fighting like a demon. More zombies closed on Naomi, she had to fight again herself, her arms starting to fail, to lose strength. If not for the slight armour she would have fallen some time ago.

She drew her arm back and dropped the heavy blade on the skull of a young woman, probably her age when she turned. A pretty redhead, dressed like Ann of Green Gables. The woman fell, and Naomi had another brief gap. She saw a woman, almost a zombie herself, slipping into the compound. Fuck, it was Mona!

Mona was lost to sight instantly, walking between zombies. They didn’t seem to even notice her, like she was one of them, but she wasn’t moving like them, striding tall and purposeful.

Back to Karen. Karen had her back against another defender, one of the large men with the beards. They were laying out zombies all around them, dozens on the ground. The man slipped, Naomi couldn’t see on what, and hit the ground. Zombies piled on him, tearing him to pieces. Naomi felt so helpless, stuck against the wall, no way to make it to Karen. More zombies were coming at her anyway, Karen would have to fend for herself.

When Naomi got her next brief window she saw that the gap in the fence was closed, the flood of zombies stemmed. The two dumpsters weren’t enough to close it completely, but they were close enough that the zombies had to try and make it in single file, squeezing through a too narrow gap. A couple of defenders were slamming knives into their skulls as they passed the gap. It was going to be tight, but they stood a chance now.

Naomi scanned for Karen, trying to spot her in the confusion. Finally, she saw her, still fighting, still swinging her piece of re-bar. She wasn’t even raising it over her head anymore, slamming zombies in the chest, then pushing the re-bar through their skulls once they fell down, leaning her weight into the bar, it looked like she didn’t have the strength left to lift the bar.

Finally one of the zombies grabbed her from behind. Naomi watched her spin, trying to make it around to hit the zombie, but she didn’t have the energy left, the strength. The zombie bit deep into her throat, arterial spray washing over the rest of the zombies. They tore her apart, a dozen of them biting into her. The defenders took advantage of the lull, closing on the zombies and dispatching them.

In the far distance something was happening that looked different. Was that Robert? Yes, and that was Jasper at his feet. Naomi abandoned her relatively safe perch, running for them as fast as she could.
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I just had an idea

A Tunnel

I don’t know if I’m going to do it or not, but I’m thinking about doing a movie review channel dedicated entirely to zombies. I think I’ve watched almost every single zombie movie in existence, and there are a lot of them. Some are good, some are brilliant, and most are terrible.

The idea is to once a week (or a month, I haven’t really figured that out yet) review one of the almost infinite number of zombie movies that exist in the world. I have a couple of candidates for the first episode even (probably the original Night of the Living Dead, although The Girl with All the Gifts would also work).

So, what do people think? I’m tentatively thinking of calling it Reviews of the Dead, but it’s probably taken. Well, I guess I should find that out.

Okay, I checked… Reviews of the Dead is officially one of my youtube channels now. I will update once it has content.

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