Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

My New Normal – A YA Flash Fiction Zombie Story

15 Jun

What is normal? Not normal for everyone else, but normal for you? Is it dragging yourself from bed and hurriedly pulling on your uniform before taking yourself off to school? Is it hitting the snooze button on your alarm so you can get another five minutes in bed? Or getting up and feeding the kids before feeding yourself? Is it racing for the train at seven am? Or sitting in traffic for forty-five minutes just to get to a job you hate? Is it watching day time television rather than going to lectures? Or partying all weekend, then spending Monday to Friday recovering and looking forward to the next one? Is it caring for your grandmother in her dotage? Or running five miles each morning before class? Is it yoga and meditation? Or kickboxing and spin class? Is it watching soap operas? Or reading gossip magazines? Or posting everything you do on Facebook the moment you’ve done it? Is it completing the Sunday Times crossword, in ink, in twenty minutes flat? Or corn flakes for breakfast, tuna sandwiches for lunch, and meat and two veg for supper, no matter what? Is it cuddling up on the sofa after a long day, and feeling all warm and loved? Or reading a book all by yourself? Is it being happy? Or sad? Or just being you? That used to be my life, too, all of them, at one time or another, but that’s not my normality now. Instead, normal is running and fighting, and screaming and shouting; it’s fear and terror, interspersed with hiding and crying; it’s losing all those close to you, over and over and over again; it’s smashing in skulls and chain-sawing off limbs, just to stay alive; it’s blood and gore, and the stench of rotting flesh; it’s struggling each day, all day, every day without a break or even a pause; it’s not sleeping a wink for months on end, or even daring to close your eyes for a second. This is how life is now that the dead have risen from their graves and walk amongst us, hunting us, consuming us, devouring our very flesh whenever they get the chance. For me, for all of us, this is now what normal is.

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Author’s Note: My girlfriend has suggested this bit of flash fiction would make a great start to a YA zombie novel. YA is a territory I rarely stray into, but looking back on this, I think she could be right. Now, all I need to do is to come up with the rest of the story …



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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New Moon – A Flash Fiction Zombie Story

9 Oct

I stare out into the night, but it’s pitch black. While the sky is clear, it’s a new moon, so there’s no light to be had apart from the distance star-shine, and that’s so faint it’s of no help what-so-ever. When the moon is full, or even just a narrow crescent, you can see them as they creep towards you under cover of darkness, the light glinting off their sallow, sagging flesh, making it seem like they’re glowing from within. I know it’s just a trick of the light, but it still sends a shiver down my spine every time I see it. Even though they’re dead, it seems they still have some intelligence. They know we can see them in the daylight and they lie low, hiding in dark, damp places waiting for nightfall before they emerge. When the sun drops below the western horizon, the main sense that keeps us safe, our eyesight, fails us, and we are rendered blind as they are. This levels the playing field and makes it easier for them to catch us by surprise. The darker the night, the more actively they roam, moving amongst the trees and across the open ground, hunting us no matter how hard we try to hide, and nights when the moon is new are the worst. Those are the nights when they swarm through the inky blackness in unimaginable numbers, wearing the night like an invisibility cloak; they attack our defences, trying to overwhelm us, pushing forward, searching for a weak spot where they can break through. They attack in small groups, swiftly and silently. If the defences hold, they disappear back into the darkness to regroup before we have a chance to kill them; if the defences don’t, they make it inside. When they do, they howl with delight as they surge through, drawing more from far and wide. We know we have mere seconds to neutralise them and restore the barricades before we’re overrun, and yet we have to do it without being able to see our hands in front of our faces, let alone each other or those who are attacking us. These are the nights we dread, and yet they come, regular as clockwork, once every twenty-eight and a bit days. We don’t need to mark them off on a calendar, we can just watch the moon expand and contract as the inevitable night of pure darkness approaches yet again, knowing what is coming, knowing that each month we’ll be lucky to make it through that moonless night unharmed. Every time the new moon comes, our numbers shrink. Sometimes we lose only one or two, at other times it’s too many to count. We’re being whittled down, new moon by new moon and it seems there’s nothing we can do to stop it. How many more we will survive, I don’t know, but one thing is certain. Eventually, a new moon will come which sees the last of us wiped out, and when the sun rises the following morning, it will shine on a world where were we are gone, and all that will be left of humanity is them.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

First Time – A Flash Fiction Zombie Story

9 Oct

‘They say you never forget your first time and, I can tell you, I won’t be forgetting mine any time soon. I guess she was eighteen, maybe nineteen at the most, and I didn’t even know her name. If I close my eyes, I can still see her: long, blonde hair framing a pale face as she walked slowly across the room towards me. Since I’d never done it before, I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean I’d heard stories from other guys, and seen a couple of movies, but it’s not the same as actually doing it, it is? As she drew close, she moaned softly, letting me know she wanted me as much as I wanted this to happen. My heart racing, I wiped the sweat from my hands and stepped tentatively towards her. She moaned again, louder and more urgently, her mouth slightly open, arms reaching out towards me, ready to embrace me. That was when I knew the time was right. I stepped forward again, this time with more confidence, closing the gap between us as I swung the baseball bat I was carrying. There was a dull thunk as it connected, sending her tumbling to the concrete floor but within a flash she was back on her feet, snarling angrily through clenched teeth. As I swung the bat again, I smelled the distinctive scent of her rotting flesh. She went down for a second time, and this time I made sure she’d never get up again. When I close my eyes, I can see her lifeless body lying there in the deserted warehouse, blonde hair streaked with blood, the left side of her face unrecognisable. I swear as long as I live, I’ll never forget the night I killed my first zombie.’


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

Silence – A Zombie Flash Fiction Story

28 Aug

I listen intently, but hear nothing. I glance round, wondering what caught my attention enough to wake me but not enough to have me grabbing my axe and leaping to my feet. Once sounds in the night would have been the sirens of fire engines or the rattle of the last train pulling into the station behind my house; now they’re more likely to be the low guttural moans of the dead as they hunt the living. I hear the sound again, and realise what it was that woke me in the first place – just the cry of a fox out seeking a mate. I fall back onto my mattress, trying to get some rest but knowing I’m now too much on edge to get back to sleep before dawn.

I lie in the dark, thinking about how the world sounds different now: no more jumbo jets roaring overhead as they start their descent into the airport across the river; no more taxi engines idling below my bedroom window while they disgorge their laughing passengers; no more car doors slamming in the night, or car alarms going off in the small hours of the morning; no more kids kicking an empty tin can down the street or drunks screaming at each other outside the pub across the road. I’d hated all those noises before everything changed, but now I’d give anything to hear them again. Now all I hear is the silence of the deserted city, weighing me down, stifling me, only broken by the occasional cry of an animal or, more frequently, by the sound of the dead as they stagger through the streets in search of flesh. I don’t know why, but every now and then they let out a groan or a snarl, each one setting off the next in some ungodly chain reaction. If I didn’t know they were dead, I’d have sworn they were communicating, letting each other know where they are and whether they’ve found anyone to feast on or not. If they could communicate, it would explain how so many turn up so suddenly the moment one of them works out where you are, but surely being dead they couldn’t be doing anything as purposeful as that, could they?

The fallen city surrounds me, fencing me in on all sides and this means I must keep quiet too: never speaking, being careful where I tread so I don’t send the creak of a loose floorboard out into the night and towards those long dead but ever-listening ears, making sure I make no noise at all. All I can do it cower silently in my attic, where I’ve been since it all started, working my way through my ever-dwindling supplies, hoping against hope that the dead will somehow disappear before the last of my food is consumed and I’m forced out into their world by the need to find more. If I have to do that, I know my silence will no longer be enough to keep me safe, as it has done all these months, because even though their eyes are dead, somehow they can still see, and it’ll be only a matter of time before I’m spotted. Then, as they descend on me, heads thrown back, roaring to let others of their kind know food is near; the chase will begin, and it’s one I know I’ll never win.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

Tiredness Kills – A Flash Fiction Story

31 Jul

As I speed along the highway, weaving through the abandoned and burnt out cars, I spot a rusting sign at the side of the road proclaiming ‘Tiredness Kills – Take a Break’ and I can’t help but laugh. I’d always thought such public safety warnings were pointless but now the world’s changed, I can see it’s prophetically useful advice. After all, the last guy I knew who fell asleep when he should have been doing something else woke up to find a zombie chewing his face off. He was meant to be on watch but just couldn’t keep his eyes open and it crept up on him while he slept; so you see the sign’s right, tiredness can kill you, especially in the world in which we all now live.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

A Plague On Both Your Houses – A Shakespearian Zombie Story

12 Jun

Mercutio struggled to break into the crypt which held the bodies of Romeo and his young bride. The fighting between their two families had gone on too long and had cost too many lives, including his own. The need for revenge burned deep within Mercutio’s body and it was this which had brought him back when he should have remained still and lifeless in his grave. He knew he wasn’t alive as such, instead he was little more than a walking corpse; he couldn’t think clearly, he couldn’t speak but he could move and what was left of his mind was consumed with an overwhelming desire to wreak revenge on those he blamed for his untimely death. With his dying words Mercutio had sworn to bring a plague on both their houses and now he was able to move again, he was going to make it happen. This wouldn’t be a biblical plague of locusts or some creeping disease; instead it would be a plague of his fellow dead, and at their head would be the two young lovers who’d died because their families bore a grudge for reasons none of them could even remember.

Having been dead for more than a week, Mercutio’s muscles weren’t as strong as they’d been in life and he struggled to get into the crypt. Somehow he sensed that since he wasn’t alive he couldn’t heal himself, and that if he damaged his gradually-decaying body he might not be able satisfy the desire for revenge he felt burning through every fibre left of his being. He knew this meant he should be careful, but this hunger drove him onwards. Risking injury, Mercutio put his full weight to the door. With a sudden groan he finally broke through and he tumbled forward. Instinctively he put out his arms to try to break his fall, snapping off two fingers as he hit the ground. Mercutio stared at them for a moment, watching as they skittered across the earthen floor and came to rest against the wall of the crypt. He wasn’t alive so it didn’t hurt; instead it was just inconvenient. Leaving them where they lay, Mercutio slowly pulled himself to his feet and looked around. In the moonlight spilling through the broken door, he could see the bodies of the newly-married bride and her secret groom lying next to each other. Soon, like Mercutio, they’d move again, and then he’d send them to do his bidding, bringing the same havoc to the lives of their warring families that they had brought to his. When he was finished with them, the Capulets and the Montagues would be no more and Verona would be a better place for it. Then, and only then, would he let these star-crossed lovers rest, side by side, hand in hand, for all eternity.

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You can download a PDF of this story here.

Author’s Note: The idea for this Romeo and Juliet-inspired flash fiction zombie story was born out of a post by my fellow zombie author Jack Flacco on his blog. If you want to check out that post, and indeed the comments where the first seeds for this story were sown, you can find it here.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

Winter’s End – A Short Zombie Story

22 May

A PDF of this story can be downloaded from here.

I saw the first sign of the approaching spring today. I was down in the lower field near the river looking for animal tracks in last night’s snow. It was only a light dusting but I was confident I’d find some and have a successful hunt for the first time in a week; instead I found fresh shoots breaking through the crust of snow which had blanketed the land around us since October. I was never much good with plants but I think they were snowdrops. We didn’t used to get them here but since my parents stopped farming the fields around here, all sorts of things had moved in.

That was well before the world fell apart, when the first spring plants appeared at the end of January; now the winters are longer and it’s usually March before any dare show themselves. The winter’s are harsher too and we struggle to survive, huddled together in a building with ill-fitting boards for windows and nothing but an open fire to keep us warm. In the past, we’d have snow but it would only stay for a week at a time, maybe two, before melting away. Now it lies heavily for six months or more on ground that’s as hard as iron. There’s no hope of ploughing it, of planting winter crops. All we can do is try to survive off the land and the meagre stores we can build up after the first frosts of autumn start to chill the air.

Mostly we eat meat: rabbits from the warren in the paddock or roe deer from the wood if I get really lucky. More often, though, it’s rats and mice from the barn that once housed chickens. The kids hated eating them at first but now they’re both skilled hunters. They come back with their catch tied by their tails to the stout wooden sticks they use to kill them; showing off and boasting about who’s caught the most. Before all this, they’d been disgusted by the sight of whole fish on the fishmonger’s slab at the supermarket but now they’re experts at gutting and skinning their tiny prey before throwing the carcasses into the stew pot.

If there’s been a good crop the year before, we’ll still have the acorns and beach nuts Mhairi grinds into flour with an old mill stone she’d unearthed behind the abandoned cow shed the first winter we were here. She then turns it into something that loosely resembles bread and which we can dip into our stew. When the crop’s poor, we run out of flour by the winter solstice and have to resort to eating lichen; it tastes awful but it gives us the vitamins we need to stay healthy and it stops our stomachs from rumbling.

Before all this happened, I’d been a touch on the heavy side. Not exactly fat but definitely carrying a few extra pounds. Now I’m all sinew and bone, my muscles wiry but hardened by the constant exertion needed to stay alive. Once I went into a neighbouring house looking for any supplies that might have been overlooked by those who’d already ransacked it and was startled to find an old man staring at me out of the gloom: hair limp and straggly, cheeks drawn and gaunt, eyes sunken and bloodshot. At first I thought he was one them, one of the rotters, and raised my axe but when the old man did the same I realised he was just my reflection in a grubby mirror that hung on the wall. I’m only forty-one but the last six years have taken their toll, and I now look closer to seventy.

Still, winter will soon be over and our life will change as it always does with the shift from one season to the next. We’ll pack the few belongings we still have and leave the remote farmhouse where I grew up. As the snow melts, we’ll move up into the mountains. Once there, we’ll set up our battered tents in a place we hope the ground will remain frozen but where we can still find some food. Up there, there’s no chance of rabbits or roe deer, and no rodents to supplement a poor hunt; instead we have to rely on catching the small song birds which hop from rock to rock. They’re difficult to trap and they have little meat on them, but their occasional presence in a diet that primarily consists of lichen and scrubby mountain herbs is a real treat in the lean months of summer.

This is the contrariness of the world we find ourselves trapped in. Winters, while harsh, at least allows us to venture far enough down from the mountains to find shelter in the old farm buildings on the valley floor. There’re woods where we can forage, and even a stream we can fish in if we can break through the ice. Then each spring, the thaw comes, melting the frozen ground, releasing the rotters trapped in its icy grip. Once free, they start their endless search for human flesh. Whenever I dare slip into the valley in summer in search something more nutritious than we can find in the mountains, I encounter enough to know it’s not safe to remain while the ground’s still soft. Once the first sign of spring was something to celebrate, but now it’s a warning that once again we’ll soon be banished from the lands where I grew up. Each spring we’re forced up into the highest reaches of the mountains where the ground remains permanently frozen and no rotters can reach us before they freeze solid. The chill of winter, the snow, the ice – they’re now our friends; the sun, and the heat it gives to the land, our enemy.

I won’t tell the others about what I found, not yet. Instead, I’ll give them a few more days to enjoy the luxury of being surrounded by four stone walls and all the rats they can catch. I’ll let the happiness of winter, when we can move freely without having to worry about the dead, last as long as I can but I know we’ll soon be exiled to the mountains once more.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.