NaNoWriMo

Nov. 1st, 2011 10:12 pm
li_izumi: (well shite)
[personal profile] li_izumi
After suffering the past 3+ years with a rather dibilitating writer's block (I have had PLENTY of story ideas, just lacking the ability to sit down and write them all out!), I determined that I was going to pushy past that block by attempting NaNo this year.

The good news, today I wrote 2934 words.
The bad news, it was an unrelated short story based on a dream I had last night.
Still, after 3+ years of writers block, I was not going to turn away from any story idea that my muse saw fit to give me.

I'm not sure if I'll be counting this story as part of my word count for NaNo. I suppose it depends on if I need 3k at the end of the month.

In any case, here is part one of likely 2 parts, not sure if I'll be writing part 2 tomorrow or holding off for a while. This story, with only a bit of tweaking, is pretty much exactly how my dream last night went. I'm not sure if it was because it was Halloween, or what, but I dreamt of a zombie apocalypse. There is nothing too gruesome here, but it is about a zombie apocalypse. I hope you enjoy the first thing I've written in years:


It was a zombie apocalypse. When the zombies burst in, I made a b-line for the wall. I had to grapple with a zombie on the way, but I managed to break free without getting bitten and successfully reached the wall. From there, it was a matter climbing up as quickly as I could to reach the rafters high above the zombie fray below.

The room I was in now reminded me of the family room in my grandparent’s Cape Cod cottage—not quite finished with its exposed rafters. This room was brighter though, more windows. While in general I would not recommend a place with a lot of windows as a secure location during a zombie apocalypse, I wasn’t too concerned about the windows in this case. We were several floors up in the air. No, the real concern was the door, and as there was only one, and the room was at the end of a long hall, all in all the room was a safe bet. Furthermore, I choose this room as my starting point precisely because of the rafters. They provided me a haven from at least most of the zombie hoard below.

While I was reaching the safety of the rafters, others were not so fortunate. There was a frenzied fray as a few other humans were caught unprepared for the zombies. A few of the zombies were taken out, but the room had been rather full at the start of things, so the zombies outnumbered and quickly overwhelmed the humans, who now joined the zombie ranks. There hadn’t been much I could have done to save them. My first priority was to take care of myself, and from there I would do what I could for any other humans.

There was a bit of jostling below me, but the zombies lost interest in a prey they couldn’t reach, and soon went off in search of easier food and the room below me cleared out for the most part.

It was a pretty good set up for me. There was a water fountain just out of the room in the hallway so at least for the time being I had water. I didn’t have access to food, and I knew that was going to be an issue, but I could deal with that later. The water would be enough to sustain me for a few days at least. The room I was in was at the far end of the hall, so there was only one direction the zombies could come in from and I was able to keep out of reach from most of the zombies that did come by.

Most, I said. Not all.

I didn’t think much of him when he shambled in with another handful of zombies. Stay up above them in the rafters and they’d likely leave after a while. I had not expected in the slightest that he would turn and slaughter his fellow zombies.

“Wait, what…?” I stammered, completely taken aback.

He had appeared to be just a regular zombie, his eyes void and thoughtless, when he had come into the room. But now there was a spark in his eyes. He was human.

I climbed down from my perch to help him finish off the zombies in the room. “So you’re able to disguise yourself as a zombie to move freely among them?”

“I…am a…zombie…?” There was a question to those words, but what struck me the most was how flat his tone, as if he was just parroting back words with no concept of their meaning.

The oddness gave me pause, which gave me just the second needed to jump back as he swung at me.

“No…” I moaned as I scrambled backwards. I knew I was in trouble. There wasn’t much of a chance I could climb back into the rafters without getting bitten by him.

Just as I thought I was dead, the zombie had stopped. “I…am a…zombie…?”

The human spark was back in his eyes but I paid little head as I took advantage of the respite. Within seconds I was back in the safety of the rafters.

A noise out in the hall attracted him, and he was gone. I don’t know what became of him, but as long as I was safe I didn’t care. Not a human who could pass as a zombie, but a zombie who had a ghost of his humanity. I shuddered, glad that that wasn’t me.

I soon discovered that he wasn’t the only unusual zombie. While the majority of zombies were all the same, slow, mindless, lumbering masses wanting nothing more than to chomp into any human they came across, there were some that were different. Some retained an aspect of their human selves in some form or another. Only the first one had retained any of his human mind, but it was the ones that kept some of their physical abilities that really gave me trouble.

I was safe from the reach of the zombies in the rafters, I thought. Ten feet above was plenty to keep me safe, I thought. No way any of the zombies could reach me, I thought. But a six-three former (when alive) basketball player zombie who could still jump? Yeah, that would do it.

The basketball zombie jumped up and was able to grab my leg through the rafters. I screamed in surprise as I kicked with my other foot. I managed to shake him off me before he could pull me down.

What saved me was the floor I was building. I had been stock-piling some plywood boards in the rafters, working on creating a flat area to have a more comfortable area to sleep. It served as a shield between me and the jumping zombie. He lacked any intelligence to do more than jump, so he didn’t think to pull himself up into the rafters or any other means of reaching me other than jumping. I was beyond relieved when he eventually wandered off.

Still, after that close call, I knew just keeping out of zombie reach wasn’t enough. I needed a means to dispatch the zombies. I needed a weapon.

I was ready for the next zombie with unusual abilities. A former gymnast, like the basketball zombie before her who had retained its athletic ability, deftly made her way up the wall to reach my rafter haven. I greeted her with a wooden dowel that I had shaped the end into a crude spear point. With the spear point through her throat, I could sever her head from her body.

Having weapons emboldened me, and I thought I was ready for anything.

I’m still not sure what drew the hoard to my room, I just knew that the room had been empty and then suddenly there was a crowd of zombies and there was little space in the room not filled with zombies. Even in the rafters I was anxious at the sight of so many below me, jostling for position in their attempts to reach me.

Then, some were climbing onto the shoulders of others, surrounding me as they reached for me, pressing me back. I was striking at them with everything I had but they just shrugged off my attacks.

“Wait, what? Wait! Pause!” I cried out. “Stop!”

They weren’t stopping.

“Wait a minute I said! Hold!”

“Hold!” the masses around me cried out as they stopped in place.

“Hold!” the ones at the door cried out.

“Hold!” repeated down the hallway, one after another, fading out.

Great. Now I was going to get the organizers storming down here to see who was causing the interruption. I needed to resolve this before they got down here to find I called “hold” when there was no injuries or other similar emergency.

“I’ve hit each of you at least once, if not three times now. I’m not aware of any ability in game that allows you to not die.”

“Oh, we have fivers,” the zombie closest to me explained. “We can’t die until we’ve used them up.”

“Um, no. It doesn’t work that way. Fivers are out-of-game coupons. They have nothing to do with the game.”

“But we haven’t used them up.”

“Irrelevant. Fivers are out-of-game. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t used them up, if you die, you die.”

“But we got them in our game packet.”

“Yes, because they are a bonus for you, but OUT-OF-GAME. They are a bonus for you AS A PLAYER. It has NOTHING to do with YOUR CHARACTER. Fivers have NOTHING to do with you as a zombie. If I kill you, you’re dead.”

“Oh.”

“Furthermore, what type of zombies are you?”

“Regular.”

“Regular? So no cards telling you have special abilities? No above normal intelligence?”

“No.”

“Then what are you doing climbing on each others shoulders?! You’re regular zombies! You don’t know how to strategize! You don’t know how to climb or to cooperate to reach me up here! Get back to the floor, except the ones I hit because you’re dead. Geez, you have the advantage with numbers already.”

The zombies got out of the rafters and the cry of “game on!” repeated down the hall. Without their cheating, I was able to take out the horde, sending the dead back to their base.

Things were pretty quiet for a while. I was resting when I heard someone at the water fountain. A moment later a head popped into the room. “Any survivors?”

I peered down out of the rafters at him. “Yo,” I said with a short wave.

He looked up and whistled. “That’s a rather impressive fort you’ve set up there.”

My previous dealings with the zombies had taught me many lessons, and since the last attack I had been expanding my floor into a rather secure fortress with floor, walls, and spike palisades. And all ten feet above the floor.

“Thanks. It’s been a labor of necessity.”

“I’m sure.”

“Don’t you have a fortress yourself?” I figured by this point, most of the survivors had to have created some sort of residence.

“I’ve found that wandering and not staying in one spot has been best for me.” He held up a ‘shot-gun’—a plastic nerf gun. “Got any bullets?”

“No, sorry. Nothing like that was here, and I’ve pretty much stayed put.”

“Makes sense, with the set up you’ve got going on here.”

“My thoughts.”

“I’m Aaron.”

“Li.”

“Mind if I join you up there for a while?”

“Come on up.”

Safe up in my haven, Aaron and I chatted for a while, sharing our stories since the apocalypse began. He was a bit vague at parts, and I got the sense he was leaving things out, but I had a pretty good feeling about him and didn’t worry about his past. I felt no need to hold things back, and related all of my dealings in the game.

“Oh so YOU’RE the reason ‘hold’ was called.”

“If I die, I die. That is, I don’t mind losing. I’d rather not, and I’m going to do everything in my power to not get caught by the zombies, but it’s a game and it’s not going to ruin my day if I do lose. Just not if they’re going to cheat like that. I don’t abide by cheating.”

Aaron agreed and we sat in silence for a while. Then he commented, “You’ve got probably the best set-up here I’ve seen from any of the survivors. The location of your place, the rafters, and the fort you’ve created up here are really hardcore awesome.”

“There’s one major drawback.”

“Oh?”

“No food.”

“None?” His eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I’m looking rather gaunt to you.”

“Oh dear. If you don’t have any food tokens at the end, they’re going to say you starved.”

“I’ve had access to plenty of water, which has been enough to keep me alive to this point, but…” I shrug.

Aaron pulls out a food card. “We can split this, but with two eating, it won’t last very long.”

“Thanks.”

We ‘eat’ in silence for a while before Aaron says, “You’re going to have to leave your fort here to get food if you’re going to survive.”

“I know. I’ve managed against the zombies so far mostly because of my perch up here in the rafters, and I’ve fashioned a few spears that have helped me defend myself, but I haven’t had anything like your gun and my weapons are not going to be sufficient out there.”

“Yeah,” Aaron mused. “Your spears and bats are fine against a few at a time. The biggest challenge is being out in the open and being surrounded by the swarms. So what we need to do is find ways to keep the zombies apart, prevent them from forming a horde.”

“You have a plan?”

“I think I do.” There was a chime played over the loudspeakers, a signal that another day was over. “We’ll ‘sleep’ now,” Aaron said, “but in the ‘morning’, let’s get us some food.”

When it was ‘morning’, Aaron explained his plan. “You’re at the end of a long hallway, and rather far from the main area. While there are a LOT of zombies along this hallway, they’re more isolated in this area. You’ve got a great strong hold here, and obviously have developed some sort of system for taking out the zombies that get in here”

“Go on.”

“I can go out into the hall, lure a group of zombies back here, where you take them out before they can reach me. I’ll have one of your bats in case one of the zombies was a track star, but otherwise I should be able to outrun them enough to get in here. You’ll be in place to hit them as they get in here, and even if I get too big of a group following me, with you slowing them down at the entrance, I should be able to get up here safely.”

There were a lot of ways this could go wrong, but it seemed to me as good of a plan as any. Certainly less risk for me than both of us attempting to ninja our way past the zombie masses. I have always considered myself a pirate-type, not a ninja. I couldn’t sneak quietly to save my life. And at least I would still be up in my fort while he did the running around as bait trick. If things went south, I didn’t think I’d be any worse off than I was before he showed up. It was a cruel thought, but as practical as one had to be to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Aaron readied himself mentally (with calming, focusing breaths) and physically (making certain his shoelaces were tied so tight they would need scissors to be taken off, his hair was slicked back, and there was nothing to hamper his way from the door to the best spot to climb up into the rafters.) He grabbed a spear, double checked that I was ready, and went out the door into the hall.

I was on edge, willing myself to be ready for whatever was needed. I strained my ears for the slightest sounds. I thought I heard some doors shut. I could just about hear my heartbeat, it was pounding in my chest that hard. I could hear the wind outside.

Then I heard someone running, getting closer to my room. “Get ready!” Aaron unnecessarily shouted.

Aaron rushed in but it was several long moments before the zombies followed. They did not make it far into the room. By the time Aaron had hauled himself into the rafters, I had taken care of his pursuers.

“Is that all of them?” I asked him.

“Maybe? It was kinda hard to tell when running for my life to know how many I got following me.”

We waited for a while, in part to let Aaron catch his breath, in part to make certain he didn’t climb down just to find himself face to face with a horde just outside the doorway. When all seemed quiet, Aaron got ready for another go.

Aaron hadn’t gotten far when I heard him say loudly, “Oh hey, not cool guys. Are there any humans among you? No? Any intelligent zombies? Then how are you able to open the doors I shut? The rules say a shut door acts as a barricade, and you need at least a dozen of you to overwhelm a simple barricade.” There was some mutters, and a few slammed doors. After a moment Aaron popped his head through the door way. “You weren’t kidding on how the zombies in this area keep cheating.”

Without waiting for a reply, he was back on his mission. After the third time he came running back to my room, once I had finished dispatching the zombies that chased him, he announced that other than the zombies barricaded in the neighbor ‘houses’ he was pretty certain we had gotten the hallway cleared out.

There was definitely an anxiety about leaving my rafters. I had gotten them very secure and had managed to defend myself against countless zombie attacks so far. It was a huge risk to leave my secured zone. But Aaron was right; we needed food, and soon, or we were going to lose anyway.

With a last look at my apocalypse home, and a fear that it might be the last time I was going to see it, I followed Aaron out into the hallway.
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