August 22, 2012

(I finished my last novel on Thursday, got five submissions out, and started my newest project. It’s about zombies. But not only about zombies. There’s a subplot about reproductive rights, which actually makes the zombies seem less frightening. The novel was inspired by a dream I had where the small rabbit and I were trying to survive the zombie Apocalypse. I liked the idea. You rarely hear about animals in zombie stories. If you do, they don’t survive. And usually, the animals are dogs. So, I decided to use my dream as the main plot line. Writing a zombie novel is especially timely given all the wedding preparation. Those people who bothered me in recent months about wedding nonsense get to be eaten by the animated dead. Passive aggression at its finest. There’s actually a writing quote on the topic. Something like, don’t make the author angry. They’ll write you into their book and kill you. I’m paraphrasing.)

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     (((later, when the moaning stops))) i can’t take the claustrophobia and the rabbit and i must eat. the rabbit yawns while i move chairs. i stack the chairs up, one on top of the next, until i am faced with a chair tower. look at me! princess of the chair towers. but that isn’t funny. i try to laugh once a day but my voice gets tired and the laugh is tired and everything is tired and then i just stay quiet. the rabbit watches me closely. i keep her leash looped around my wrist, just in case something comes rushing towards us, and i need to lift her and run. she would probably be faster without me. she would probably find a better hiding place. but what would happen if she didn’t find a hiding place? what would happen if she ran and ran and ran and got tired and couldn’t find water and food? what if she was lonely and needed me? so i don’t let her go. i cling to her. if the zombies come after us, if the zombies get us, then i will let her go. or i will hold her nostrils against me until she is quiet. i just don’t want her to feel any pain if the zombies come. but it is nighttime and we are hungry. she is especially hungry. she craves fresh foods and sometimes, it’s hard to find her any. so i stack the chairs up while thinking, [i am princess of the chair stack] and i push the chairs to the side and i ease the door open and no moans sound. no moans anywhere. not from the walls, the basement, or the rafters. no moans at all. and the rabbit is quiet. she is so still. she sits on her hunches and lifts one of her back legs to her mouth and licks between the toes before stretching the foot out and setting it back. a metal pipe stands against the door and i lift it slowly, the pipe heavy in my hands, rusted metal cutting into my palms. i like the way it feels. the weight makes me feel safe. i twirl the pipe around slowly and push the door the rest of the way. darkness stares back at me. it is too dark, so dark i can’t see. but i don’t hear the moans and before you see zombies, you hear the moans. the rabbit rushes forward and peeks around my feet. she skips in the air. i glance down at her and i can almost hear her shout, [hurray! we're outside! outside! fun, fun, fun! fresh air. grass. i am free. i am free. i am outside!] i step forward and the rabbit follows me. we stand in the doorway for several minutes, letting the darkness settle, listening for any moans that will necessitate slamming the door shut and standing just beyond the stacked chairs, pipe in hand, ready to bash the decaying skulls in. that’s the only way to do it. to break the skull. nothing else works. if you don’t smash, if you just touch the chin or the throat, they keep walking after you. they walk even when they can’t swallow. you could tear their mouths out and they wouldn’t stop biting the air. but there are no moans and we walk outside. cold wind stirs the rabbit’s fur and she stands still, her head raising, nose twitching as she takes in all the air, all the smells. it might have rained before. the ground isn’t wet but the air is heavy with an after rain scent. i used to love that smell. but that was before. that was before the rain smell mixed with the dead smell and made a wet corpse stench that choked me. [come on, i say.] i step into the grass and rabbit trots behind me, pulling on the leash, pausing every few feet to sniff the grass and bite. the grass sags beneath her weight. she is a tiny thing, white and gray, and she springs through the grass. but this grass is unhealthy. she doesn’t sink into it. she rolls over it. she flattens every blade. but she still eats. she eats until her mouth is stained green. i kneel beside her. [we can't stay out here for very long, i say.] the rabbit’s ears twitch. she turns slowly, her eyes so wide, the whites are visible around the large brown center. [what is it, i whisper.] the rabbit rears up and paws the air. she spins again and moves towards the open door. the leash pulls tight and i follow her. my feet thud on the grass. i trample the blades. the rabbit rushes towards the light and disappears into the hallway. i step through the doorway and slam the door shut. i draw the locks and prop my pipe up beside the door. i grab the chairs and push them against the exit, pinning the door shut. metal legs hit plastic backs and i heave my body against them. the chairs bend and squeak. they scrape over the floor. i reach over them, grab the metal pipe, and place it on the floor by my feet. the rabbit turns in a circle. she hits her feet against the floor, thumping so loud, the bangs sound like they are coming from the walls. thump. thump. thump! [it's okay, i call. we're inside. we're fine. we're back inside.] i pull the leash and she slides over the floor, twisting away from the leash desperately. i wrap my arms around her sides and lift her. she hits my chest and rests with her head on my shoulder. she wheezes into my ears. [it's okay, i whisper. it's okay. we're fine. we're back inside. it's okay. relax. we're okay.] her wet nose moves over my cheeks. then she is quiet. i hold my breath. we stare at the door. a cricket chirps. [cccchhhhhhhhirrrrrrr, the cricket sounds.] i cock my head to the side. [shhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrr, another cricket replies.] silence. i step towards the chairs. [oooohhh, a moan sounds.] i sink to the floor and the rabbit and i rock back and forth.


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