Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…
This week, author Sylvia Gunnery weighs in on her zombie apocalypse survival plan. And she does so as a story! Sylvia is one of the authors I’ll be doing workshops with at the SD73 Young Authors’ Conference in Kamloops on May 4th.
Zombie Apocalypse Challenge
It’s midnight (of course). The wicked winter wind howls around the corners of my house and the angry Atlantic Ocean pounds against the rugged shoreline. Salty spray is hurled at the trembling windows. All dire warnings. But is anybody listening?
Snow swirls out of the darkness like desperate, lost ghosts.
A sudden knock sounds on the front door. Eerie. Eager. Then again.
Through the frosted window I think I see, in the dangerous darkness, a crowd (more of a small collection, than a crowd, actually) of desperate zombies, huddled helplessly together. They plead with undead eyes for me to let them come in out of the apocalyptic storm. The winter nor’easter, my first weapon, has grabbed the zombie spirits by their fleshy (er..I mean…) creepy throats. They are already faltering in their gruesome intentions!
But the zombies are not yet conquered. (Of course not.)
My second weapon is ready.
I open the door. Zachery (I already know his name because I’m the one writing this scene) stands at the head of this zombie collection. He’s the one who came up with the brainy (yummmmm) idea to appear at Crescent Beach on this winter-storm night. Zachery nods to his nearly dead followers. Like a group of ten-year-olds at Hallowe’en, they crowd into my porch. I close the door against the wild wind and frigid, foreboding night.
Grey eyes stare out of decayed faces. Grey and blistered lips curl across pointed and purposeful teeth.
“Hu…” I stop myself (before it’s too late) from asking if anyone’s hungry.
“Thi…” I stop myself (before it’s too late) from asking if anyone’s thirsty.
My second weapon has begun to work its magic. Silent. Invisible. It oozes into their brittle zombie bones. Finally, their grey and gruesome zombie thoughts slowly begin to melt away in the warmth of the fire in the wood stove. (Note: slowly begin to melt away.) It’s not over yet!
I have one more weapon left! (Three is always a good number in story structure–you know, like three wishes, or three little pigs, or three blind mice. Or, in this scene, three zombie-conquering weapons.)
With my third weapon, I will turn this boney band of beleaguered bodies into a calm collection of curious creatures!
“Sit down, everyone. Make yourselves comfortable,” I say. “Do I have a story for you!”
It was a dark and stormy night…
About the author…
Sylvia Gunnery first took herself seriously as a writer when she attended the five-week Banff Centre writing session in 1976 under the instruction of W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and others. Since then she has published over 25 books for teens and children as well as professional resources for teachers of writing. A recipient of a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award, she has presented at conferences, libraries, and schools across Canada. In 2016, she was honoured with a WFNS Legacy Membership. Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Her newest YA novel is Road Signs That Say West (Pajama Press 2017).