Happy Halloween everyone!
This Halloween, I've decided to do something that scares me and share some of my writing. As some of you may already know, I am writing my own novel which I am incredibly serious about and am going to push to get published once I have finished writing it. The reasons for this are because I truly do believe it's a good storyline, and I also believe this particular storyline has never been done before. Sure, I've read one or two zombie chick lit books (Married With Zombies) and even zombie romance novels (Warm Bodies) but I've never read a story where people fall in love during a zombie apocalypse. And I find that strange, because if you watch any action (and sometimes zombie) movie, or read an action book, nearly always, there's that element of romance. It's one of the reasons I love action sometimes as I feel there's just something special about a love that is created during one of those kind of adventures.
Anyway. Right now it's called You, Me & Zombie (working title) and here's just one snippet I'm sharing...enjoy, and please, please do leave me any feedback!
I was average.
I was the type of girl who most people would never look twice at in the street. Chances are, if you ever met me, you wouldn’t recognise me again because I just happened to have one of those plain faces.
I had blue eyes, shoulder length straight brown hair and a body that wasn't too big, nor too little. I had no piercings or tattoos. No quirks or kinks. There was nothing about me at all that stood out.
And I didn’t just look average. My whole life was average too.
Working as a waitress.
I was an only child and I had no idea my dead beat dad was. My mum was shacked up in Paris with some random dude I'd never met after she'd upped and left for France years back. We had an okay relationship – we got on well enough and I loved her to pieces, but our relationship wasn’t anything special.
My social life was nothing out of the ordinary either. I had a few close friends I could depend on for most things and a few more people who I'd considered as part of my social circle but that was about it. I'd only had two serious relationships in my life – the first ended because of distance when he buggered off to university half way across the country and the second ended because he was a dick.
So to chalk it up, my life was beyond boring.
However, I did of course yearn for something more than my standard working week, spent waiting on other people hand and foot. The thought of spending my life that way bored me to tears and I'd constantly question why I did it. I used to daydream about travelling and meeting new people, learning about their life stories and creating memories that would last me a lifetime.
But then I'd remember that I needed money to travel and to save that money I needed a job. But, as a typical 25 year old, I found it impossible to actually save any money.
There was absolutely nothing special about me or my life. I'd never done anything particularly exciting with my time, nor had I ever made an impact on anyone's life. I just spent my days doing the same thing over and over, occasionally throwing in a drunken night out with my friends once or twice a month.
I wanted change – I craved change - I just wasn't brave enough to make it happen.
It turns out though that in the end, change came to me whether I was ready for it or not.
In hindsight, the day it all began to change was pretty much the end of the world for everyone else.
But for me? For me it was just the beginning...
It’s a gloomy and miserable kind of day and the weather is acting as the perfect backdrop to my afternoon spent trailing around the shops. The irony of being back at the shopping centre on my day off when I already spend five days a week working here certainly is not lost on me. But needs must, and those needs include a last minute stroll around the shops to find the perfect dress for my plans tonight. My best friend is throwing an engagement party and, since she’s my best friend and all, any dresses I already own simply will not do. It called for a brand spanking new dress, something that was as glam as the event I’ll be attending when my bestie and me toasted to what would soon be a whole new life for her.
Ideally, I would have loved to have found something during a lunch break earlier in the week. It would make life so much easier if I could instead be at home right now, getting ready at a leisurely and relaxing pace. But life was rarely ever simple for me (though it was mostly boring), and the task of finding the perfect outfit in small forty-five minute windows throughout the week has proved impossible.
I’m still determined to spend my afternoon relaxed though, hence why since getting here half an hour ago and ducking out of the rain into the harsh and bright lights of the shopping centre, all I'd done so far was amble around slowly, window shopping and craving some form of caffeine. And most of that time has been spent day dreaming about being at home all cosy and in the warmth – or better yet, on holiday somewhere exotic – instead of living the harsh reality of shopping among the busy crowds in central London on a Saturday afternoon.
Still, I have roughly until six pm to find a dress and that thought comforted me somewhat.
I have a whole five hours left.
I can do this.
Deciding I cannot survive without some form of coffee any longer, I change direction and instead head towards the escalators to take me up to the second level of the shopping centre. I hated being here on my day off, so I definitely don’t fancy actually going into work when I’m not rota'd in today - but since I’m a single girl paying extortionate rent on a tiny flat in central London, it’s a safe option to bypass Starbucks and instead go somewhere where I can get coffee for half price.
I'm just stepping off the escalator when I begin to hear a commotion behind me. I don't even notice it at first because, as usual, I'm in a world of my own – the crowds of people around me blending into a background blur. After all, commotion is pretty common in a shopping centre this big on a busy Saturday.
It's only when I hear a fearful scream echo throughout the air that I feel my blood run ice cold.
I’ve heard quite a few screams in my lifetime – especially with living in the area of London that I do – so I can easily differentiate between a scream of someone who is joking around, a scream of someone who is putting it on and the scream of someone who believes they are in genuine danger.
That was one of those screams.
I immediately throw myself towards the second floor balcony, leaning across the glass panels and glancing around at the crowds on the first floor. Wondering what the hell is going on, my heart begins to pick up its pace a little. I clutch my bag closer to me and then freeze in shock when my gaze finally falls on the horror that’s beginning to unfold beneath me.
An elderly gentlemen – I'd have guessed in his late forties – is ambling with a limp towards a younger woman who looks scared for her life. I see his walking stick cast aside, laying on the floor a few feet away.
Even though he’s limping, he doesn’t seem to need it.
Meanwhile, the girl’s right hand is clasped tight around her left arm, the white material of her top quickly turning a deep, dark red as it's stains with her blood. I find my eye line constantly flicking between the younger lady and elderly man, unable to look away.
There’s something odd about the man.
Even though she’s backing off fearfully, he’s still continuing towards her, slowly and swaying, slightly uneven on his feet. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was drunk – but there's just something in his posture and the expression on his face that told me he isn't.
The lady falls to her knees and I peer over the railing, trying to get a closer look, not quite understanding what was going on. Was he trying to help her? If so, why did she scream?
He looks so...odd.
His skin is a faint uneven grey tone and his probably once dusty grey hair looks almost brown now, filled with what seems like dirt and dried blood.
It makes no sense, and I’m almost tempted to laugh out loud because what I’m seeing can’t be real.
I'm just wondering why no one else has noticed whats going on or why no one is trying to help when two men push through the crowd and pounce on him, knocking him to his knees.
My gaze darts back to the woman and I hesitate when I see she’s no longer on her knees and in pain - she’s now standing tall as if nothing even happened.
In the blink of an eye, she reaches out and grabs hold of a man passing by, earphones in, eyes focused down on the phone in his hand and unaware of what’s happening around him.
And then everything begins to happen in slow motion.
She develops this crazy, determined look in her eyes (which I can even see from up here) and emits this loud growling noise from deep in her throat.
Then before I can even blink, she leans down and sinks her teeth deep in the side of this man’s neck, blood instantly pouring everywhere.
There's a loud scream.
And then another.
Then suddenly the whole crowd that had subtly gathered around them start to panic.
I don't even understand what's happening until I look back and see the other elderly man imitating her – and the two men that originally had a hold of him.
And then as I watch, frozen to the spot as one injured person turns into two, three and then six 'injured' people, it dawns on me.
Reality hits me like a brick in that moment and I immediately dash towards the escalators to head back down to the crowd, eager to help someone – anyone – to safety.
And then a switch clicks inside me and without thinking, I turn to the opposite direction and run quickly towards the opposite escalator to take me to the top floor.
Right now, I don’t even care that I’m acting cowardly.
I've seen enough movies by now to know that by trying to help them, I’ll only be making the situation worse.
I’d only add to the problem - and put myself in danger in the process.
Less than a minute has passes and as I stumble up the metallic escalator stairs, I glance back behind me and can see already half a dozen people biting, eating, feasting – whatever you want to call it – on others.
I immediately know there’s no way I can get out of this shopping centre right now. The large crowd is between me and the nearest exit, and the crowd is growing bigger, almost like a ripple effect in a pond.
The only way – the safest way – is up.
By the time I reach the top floor and practically throw myself at the lift that would take me to the rooftop cafe – where I work and where I'd actually been heading originally before this all kicked off – the whole shopping centre is in madness.
I hear an alarm ringing loudly against a soundtrack of screams, inhumane noises and smashing glass.
I don't know if the smashing glass is for safety, weapons or just pure idiots trying to steal things but I don't care. In mere minutes, the whole place has turned into chaos. My only concern is to get to safety.
I frantically push at the lift button, the only signal of my panic. Other than that, I'm completely calm. I turn around and try and grab the arms of people rushing around me. I recognize a couple of colleagues, but I'm stunned to find they just rush past me in a panic.
“H-Hey! Up here is SAFE!” I cry loudly. “You shouldn't be panicking. DON'T go downstairs. You have NO chance if you try and fight them!” I continue to scream. No one listens to me. Not one person.
The lift finally opens with a loud ding and I feel rather then see more shoppers dash past me, bags heavy, faces of fear. I reach out and grab one of them – tight.
“HEY listen to me!” I cry angrily. I assume they have no idea of what's going on, only that the alarm has gone off so that everyone has come downstairs as a safety precaution. Bad move.
The guy I'd grabbed turns around and looks at me with a puzzled look on his face. The only thing I have time to notice is that he's about a head taller then me and a bunch of tattoo's decorate his arms.
“Don't go down there” I continue, my eyes pleading. “Up there is more safe, trust me, PLEASE. You can't get out and more and more people are getting - ” I bite my tongue, cutting myself short. I know that even if I find the words to explain, he won't believe me. “Just please” I beg, my blue eyes burning into his green ones.
I have to get into the lift before it goes up again and I can see behind him that the madness is getting worse. I can see on the other side of the escalators that there's a small disruption, indicating that it - whatever it is - has reached the top floor. I guess that means that the other two floors are pretty bad.
I bite my lip and back myself into the lift, but I don't let go of his arm. Instead I try to pull him in with me, until he shakes me off. He still doesn't say anything.
“PLEASE” I continue desperately.
I can feel tears threatening to fall from my eyes. Whoa, I’m more shook up then I thought. “Just look” I point behind him and watch as he turns around and then starts, before he steps back slightly.
I watch him and the confusion and fear on his face is obvious.
“But...” he speaks at last but is lost for words. I don't know if he understands, but there’s no doubt that what we can both see as clear as day in front of us is shocking. Even if we don't understand it. “They need help” he concludes at last. Yet he doesn't move.
Rubbing my right eye out of frustration, I try again. “You can't help them. Please trust me. It'll only happen to you if you try” I explain. How am I going to get him to understand?
“PLEASE” I cry. By this point, I don't know if it's more for my safety or his. I don’t even know why I care - I just want to get to safety - but somehow if I can at least make one person safe in the process, I’ve at least done something right.
The lift doors begin to close. “Please” I whisper, my eyes locking on his.
Until the very last moment. He sticks his hand out, stopping the doors. With one last glance behind him, he sighs and steps inside to join me in the small lift. The doors close behind him. And then there is silence.
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