Earlier this year, I wrote a hard science fiction cosmic horror story called "Black Site," which will be appearing in the upcoming Clones: The Anthology this spring/summer (and holy crap, wait until you see the cover for that book! WOW!). This story was a bit of a challenge for me on several levels and required a lot of rewriting before I was comfortable enough to submit it for edits and feedback for future revisions. It's a story I am damn proud of, and there's a lot of layers to it, but once it was finished I needed something a bit more straight-forward to focus on, something that was driven a bit more deeply by character rather than concept.
One night, while emptying the dishwasher, a man named Everett Hart told me his story. His was a simple story, but one filled with loss and uncertainty. Everett was unmoored by the tragedies life so often brings us, and he's closer to the end of his life than the start of it. He told me these things while sitting in a restaurant known for its fried fish, during what must have been the start of a zombie apocalypse.
Everett's story can be found in the short horror story Let Go, and it's available now at Amazon.
While Everett struggles with letting go of his particular baggage, writing Let Go was a way for me to, ahem, let go of the haunting complexity I encountered while writing "Black Site." It was a way for me to let go of that previous story with a bit of a palette cleanser.
Unlike "Black Site" the focus is not on any particular high concept idea(s), but on a character and his emotional challenges. I wasn't looking to reinvent any particular wheels with this one. I just wanted to tell a straight-forward, character-first kind of zombie story, and I think I did OK in that mission.
Mostly, though, I just wanted to tell Everett's story as he told it to me one evening after work while I was occupied with household chores. I think his story is one worth telling. It's a story of loss and grief and trying to cope with those unexpected moments when life completely flips the script and upends your expectations. It's also about coping with the unknown, in all the various guises the unknown can appear in. This is a story of life, and life after death.