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Zombie Me: Patchwork and Pieces

Chapter 1: Part 1, Litany of Rot

Chapter 1: Part 2, Shattered

Chapter 1: Part 3, Growling with Hunger

Chapter 1: Part 4, Vion Rising

Chapter 1: Part 5, Stand Off

Chapter 1: Part 6, The Call

Chapter 1: Part 7, Free Association

Chapter 1: Part 8, First Taste

Chapter 1: Part 9, Bert and Ernie

Chapter 1: Part 10, Starting to Rain

Chapter 2: Part 1, "Me!"

Chapter 2: Part 2, C.A.B.L.E.T.V.

Chapter 2: Part 3, Raining

Chapter 2: Part 4, Sheltered Hunger

Chapter 2: Part 5, Clouded Eye Open

New short story "The Awakening"

Chapter 2: Part 6, Everything Yet Nothing

Chapter 2: Part 7, The Cheshire Smile

Chapter 2: Part 8, Cacophony of Fists

Chapter 2: Part 9, Still Born

Chapter 2: Part 10, Empty Nest

Chapter 3: Part 1, False Rescue, Hidden Hope

Chapter 3: Part 2, The Process

Review of Brainchild... A collection of Artifacts

Chapter 3: Part 3, Psuedo Life

Chapter 3: Part 4, Wayward Derelicts

Chapter 3: Part 5, The Cleaners

Chapter 3: Part 6 The Corridor

Chapter 3: Part 7, Echoes of Death

Chapter 3: Part 8, The Road Kill Machine

Chapter 3: Part 9, Fixed Lividity

New short story "Alone in the Woods"

Chapter 3: Part 10, Fire Within

Chapter 4: Part 1, Eye of the Beholder

Chapter 4: Part 2, Home

New - Character Sketches

Chapter 4: Part 3, Dead Inside

Chapter 4: Part 4, Dead Soldiers

Chapter 4: Part 5, Kill Switch

Chapter 4: Part 6, The Call Part 2

Chapter 4: Part 7, The Key

Chapter 4: Part 8, Reunion

Chapter 4: Part 9, Unleashed


2006/04/27

Review of Brainchild

Brainchild... A Collection of Artifacts.

Published by Omnibucket Copyright 2005.

Here's something different for all you zombie lovers out there. I was approached by one of the authors of this wonderful collection and asked to review it for the fans of Zombie Me.

First let me start with the overall design. I was given a PDF version so I can't really speak about the quality of print or construction, but what I can say is that the overall layout of graphics versus text is well blended. The print type suitably changes with the pacing of the stories. A couple of good examples of this are The Red Room by Scott Lambridis in which the sporadic thoughts of the main character are done in an offset block format where each thought is slightly skewed visually from the preceding paragraph. Another example is the highlighted text in Black Days: Sandy by Rebecca Brock.

This graphic novel is a collection of totally separate stories and pictures unrelated to each other. The main unifying point to them is the overall feeling they convey as you progress through the book. The tone of the book starts off with fear and uncertainty and slowly transforms to resolve and the determination to survive and finishes with an uncertain recovery in a zombiefied world.

The overall tempo of this graphic novella is paced quite well, with the exception of an essay entitled My Zombie Girlfriend by Mia Epstein. The essay, which discusses the role of females in past and present film, threw a wrench into an otherwise spotless storyline. Needless to say I think that this short novel recovers well from this stumbling point.

The main highlight of this book for most readers is the inclusion of Running by David Wellington. This published author doesn't disappoint with a tale describing a frightening journey of self rescue and false safety in a world overrun by flesh hungry shamblers.

Finally the artwork needs its separate mention. The graphics range from the disturbingly macabre to the hauntingly humorous. Their placement throughout the novel helps to spread the pacing and provide some moments of reflection on the prior story and fear fraught fantasies of what's to come.

I personally would recommend this to the fans of the genre and I eagerly await future releases from the authors involved. I give Brainchild... A Collection of Artifacts four and a half corpses out of five!

2006/04/25

Chapter 3: Part 2, The Process

Note from the author:

Many of you have read my earlier comments on how I've struggled with the initial parts to chapter 3. Out of all of them this following part was the hardest and has undergone the most revision, both plotwise and grammatically. I have been doing a lot of research on how to write dialogue and I hope that it flows better then it did initially. I appreciate your understanding that this a learning process for me. What has started as idea has snowballed for me, and please know that this will continue to the end. Enjoy!


William Zedalis




Click... static... "Can you hear me?"...sssshhh...click. The question floated on the crest of a narcotic high so powerful that Eric felt utterly disembodied. Unsure of the ability to even answer he tried to close himself off hoping that the voice would leave him alone to enjoy the black velvet which enveloped his senses.

Click... static..."Answer me Eric! I have some questions that I need you to answer." ...sssshhh...click. The warbling voice had a mechanical aspect which made it impossible to determine from whom it came. Each time it spoke to him it was accompanied by those annoying clicks as if it came through an intercom, and the static white noise thrumming in his head was starting to give him a headache.

A compulsion which seemed to come from deep inside forced him to answer. "Yes, I hear you, but there's a lot of interference." Eric laughed in the darkness at the sound of his own voice. I must've had quite a bit to drink, he thought to himself as his words echoed back in that same, if somewhat slurred mechanical tone.

Click...static...click...sssshhh...sssssss... Click... The continual Velcro tearing sound was gone and Eric was able to relax slightly. "Is this better?" ...ssss...click.

"Yes..." Eric replied, thankful that all he heard now was a low hiss.

"Very good Eric!" The voice sounded pleased. "Answers... answers are what I seek."

"Did you know that the search for answers was how this all started?" The voice asked and then halted as if it expected some sort of reply.

When none came it continued. "You see I am actually a philosopher at heart, and one of the most unanswered questions asked by philosophers is... Where does the soul reside?" The electrical snake hissed in Eric's mind as another calculated pause commenced. "Do you know where your soul is Eric?"

"Hmmm... I didn't think so. I wonder if you even have a soul." If Eric could have felt pain that remark would've bitten him deeply.

"I only say that because I believe you were born into this world without the moral restraints of having one, as was I. You see, you and I are of the same breed and I sensed this deficit when I first met you."

There was a long period where the only sounds Eric heard were faint ones buried within the low hiss. Then the voice came back. "Ancient Greek philosophers postulated that the soul lived within the entire body. There was one problem with this though, what happened when there was an amputation? Did that part of the soul get amputated as well?" Eric tried to think about this, but he found it hard to concentrate as his thoughts seemed mired in the blackness around him.

"This led to the dichotomy of head versus heart. Western philosophers believed that the soul resided in the brain while Eastern philosophers believed just the opposite. At the end of this century modern science had developed the first artificial heart and by the process of elimination ruled it out as the residence of the soul."

Ambient noises of clinking metal drifted towards Eric as he listened to the history lesson. The voice continued, "This led me to rationalize that the soul is in the brain. It's wrapped up inside all that twisting, turning grey and white matter."

Just then a shrill ringing shot through the darkness startling Eric. This was followed by a cruel chuckle. It was then that Eric came to the frightening conclusion that the mechanized voiced belonged to Raimi. He's got me drugged and he's interrogating me. Eric's mind raced through the library of compounds which could induce this effect. With each passing chemical structure he grew more frustrated when none seemed to fit his condition.

"Sorry about that. I just needed to make a few adjustments. It's all a part of the process... Are you still with me Eric?"

"Yes... What's going on? What... What have you done to me? I can't feel my body and it's hard to think." Eric scolded himself for sounding so pathetic, but the lack of control he felt was testing his emotional restraint.

Ignoring the questions the voice continued, this time its cadence was slightly faster as if Raimi was working while he talked. "Yes... Somewhere inside the brain is the soul, that elusive thing which makes us who we are. This is where my journey began. Modern medicine has recorded neurological injuries where, in some cases the personality was altered, in other more traumatic injuries the person was the fine. In this day and age there is also a variety of drugs which can alter mood, and even correct some personality disorders. My main point Eric is that even though the brain is complex, there was data which provided a starting point for my research."

"My early exploration consisted mostly of data retrieval and case study. I had found that personality traits linked to survival, such as competitiveness and aggression were regulated by the limbic system. While what we consider memory, both short and long term, is handled in the cerebellum. It is the interaction of these two parts of the brain that forms who we are. Some call it personality, while others call it a soul. I call it chance chemical encounters. You see I believe we are who we are because of these continual chemical and biological interactions."

It was then that the full realization of the situation came crashing down on him. He's not interrogating me... He's torturing me. Eric couldn't help feeling like an insect trapped under a microscope as he realized that he was Raimi's next experiment. Knowing that Raimi was out there somewhere, beyond the blackness, with scalpel in hand and ready to cut frightened Eric.

Raimi's emotionally void tone continued. "I had also observed that when this connection was completely severed people were left in a vegetative state, and when it was partially severed the patients exhibited everything from aggression to severe paranoia. What I needed to know is what would happen if this interaction ceased and was then reestablished. What happens to this soul?"

"It wasn't until I had met some like minded colleagues that I was able to realize the full extent of my theories. I now had the proper tools and technology at my disposal to take my experiments to the next stage. I also had the right people who appreciated the implications of my work. They also wanted to know what would happen when this link was severed and then reset, and my new friends at Vion had just developed a method of achieving this. They called it... The Process, and what it accomplished was basically a reboot on a cellular level. And just like a computer... In order for it to reboot, it first needs to be shut down." Eric could hear low laughter. ...Static... Click.

2006/04/13

Chapter 3: Part 1, False Rescue, Hidden Hope

The barrage of hammering fists had drowned out all rational thought as Corina had fought to maintain sanity in the darkness. A barely audible groan escaped from under the mattress as the arm continued is slithering movement.

"Jen, is that you?... Damnit answer me!" She rummaged around on the floor looking for something to use as a weapon. She grunted with exertion as she tried to lift a large dumbbell that had been lying next to her. It was big and awkward but would smash the skull of whatever was working its way from under those blankets. By now enough of the shadowed figure was exposed to tell that it was Jen. "So help me God! Jen, If you don't answer me I'm gonna smash your damn head in!"

Jen let out a long moan and Corina cocked the unwieldy weight over her shoulder and aimed for Jen's left temple. "Jen, answer me!" She waited a few seconds to see if there was any sign of her former friend hidden within the dark shadow. When none came she pulled the heavy object down with all her might. The weight came crashing around in a wide arc as Corina's arms blurred in the darkness. As the full weight reached the bottom of its path Corina felt a pop in her shoulder and released the weight with a painful gasp. She watched in dismay as the deadly missile narrowly missed its target.

She was scrambling for another weapon when a second sound caught her attention. It was the sound of now two pairs of fists beating on the door. It rattled in its metal frame but seemed to keep, at least for the time being.

"It's Andre isn't it?" An emotionless voice asked somewhere from the back of the room.

Corina turned to face the question and was startled to find that Jen had retreated back into the shadows of the far corner. Probably a defensive move she thought, smart also, it was the farthest spot from the weakening door which rattled again as if to back up this point. The weight of two full grown men smashed against it repeatedly, and Corina thought that she might be wrong with her assessment of the door.

"Yeah, Jackson attacked him. He's hurt and..." Corina paused for a second and reigned in her emotions.

"Jen, listen to me very carefully. You said that you broke into a bioresearch lab. Do you have any data on that dog you guys took? Cause that wasn't Jackson out there." Jen gave Corina a questioning look. "Well I mean it is... but it isn't. Whatever's gotten into him has made him crazy. He attacked me. I think he would have killed me if Andre hadn't stopped him." Corina's heart suddenly sank as she thought of what might have happened to Andre, she had always given him a tough time but she was just playing hard to get. "Andre's either hurt or dead, I heard some terrible sounds as I ran down here. Damnit Jen! What the hell did you guys do?"

"I... I don’t know. That, that dog must've attacked Jackson." Jen leaned forward and stood up. Grabbing a toppled bookshelf she righted it and started putting the spilled books back on the shelves. She's cleaning up, at a time like this! Corina felt like shaking the dazed girl and then thought better of it. Jen suddenly stopped and looked to Corina with an almost lucid gaze. "Carmen and Klaus, they have the data drives. They took them to the Advanced Computing and A.I. lab to work on the decryption. They might know more about what's going on at Vion, and then there is the body that we took. It's still at Saint Bernard's cemetery, in one of the storage sheds."

"Well it's a start at least! Once we find a way to get some help maybe we could go there and get some answers. I've got to be honest though Jen, our situation is pretty desperate and I'm scared shitless." Corina started moving the bloodied mattress over to barricade the door. The flaccid mattress fit awkwardly but appeared to deaden the sounds of aggression that seemed to be amplified by the metal door frame. "Try and find out how to get some light back in this place."

Jen slowly walked over to the radiant heater, unplugged it from the power strip and reset the tripped breaker. Light spilled onto the floor from an overturned lamp stand casting the room in a harsh glow from its naked bulb. There were splotches of blood on the floor from where Jackson had taken his first steps as his new self. Corina looked over Jen for any sign of injury. She was a shadow of her former beauty. Her eyes had taken on a sunken look to them from crying, and their once vibrant blue now had turned to a cold grey. All over the room there were signs of a struggle, one that seemed to have centered on Jen.

"Jen, my God, are you alright? I've been so focused on what has been going on that I didn't realize you might be hurt." Corina raised her hand and Jen backed away reflexively.

"I'm fine!" Jen went back to cleaning and continued talking absent mindedly, almost as if she had no idea that she was doing it. "Jackson had some sort of seizure. When it finally stopped he was... he was dead. Well I think he was, his skin was so cold and I couldn't get a pulse. A minute later he sat up and jumped at me." Jen relived her frightful encounter with a soulless indifference. "He tried to attack me but I hit him with that." She pointed to an ornately carved oak paddle that most fraternities claim to be symbolic but Corina knew otherwise. Jen continued "I hit him in the head over and over." Jen's face contorted with anger each time stressing the word over. "Each time I hit him he fell back slightly but... but it didn't seem to hurt him. He finally stumbled out into the hallway. Then he just stopped and walked away. It was as if something else had caught his attention."

Corina thought to herself, yeah Andre and me. Just then Corina became acutely aware that the pounding on the door had stopped. Jen didn't seem to notice as she continued putting the disheveled room back in order. She quietly pulled the mattress back from the door and put her ear to the cold metal of the door. A metallic smell rose from it and she couldn't tell whether it was from the battered metal or from the blood that covered the floor. She could hear faint voices from the other side but couldn't make out who they came from or what they were saying.

"Jen, I think someone's come to help us. I think it may be some of the other brothers." Corina felt her spirits rise as the thought of rescue crossed her mind.

"We don't need the help Corina." Jen's voice came in haunting waves. "They're the ones who are going to need the help. They're all going to die..."

"What... what the hell are you talking about? Why?" Corina turned around to Jen. Who was now standing in front of an opened access panel that had been hidden behind the bookshelf.

Jen was staring into the darkness at the glittering metal that lay beyond. "Because..." Jen paused as the hint of a smile crossed her pursed lips. It was an unsettling smile that unnerved Corina. "Because we have all the weapons..."