A to Z Challenge – Halfway!

So, we’ve reached the halfway mark of the A to Z Challenge, and already there have been a lot of tips and advice on my chosen theme of surviving the zombie apocalypse… Here’s a quick recap! (I’ve been posting these on my blog directly, rather than on here – follow the link in the top-right of your screen if you’re at a laptop 🙂 )

Apocalypse comes: a zombie flavour.
Achieve survival – life’s to savour!

Pack a bag, be ready to go,
Life is beautiful, don’t you know.

No more commuting, that’s all out,
No chance of a cure, I have no doubt.

Build up defences, walls and bricks,
Death isn’t life, but still plays tricks.

Beware the evil that men do;
Don’t slip on entrails ‘neath your shoe.

Fish for food and find some friends.
Don’t know first aid? Make amends.

Growing food; guns and more.
Playing golf… guts and gore.

Knowing when to hide, or seek.
The humour skills you need to tweak.

Imitation, insects, immortality.
Imagine no Internet! Insanity!

Joggers’ justice in the park
Jam and jelly after dark.

Killing zombies, armoured knights,
Kayak, knife and knitting fights.

Living, loving on the land,
Laugh at lawyers getting canned.

Making music, marry right,
Military lost the fight.

So much advice, so many more…
Who knows what other tips in store?

What’s been your favourite tip so far? Any topics that you’re dying to hear covered? Let me know in the comments!
















A (1)


Hello, hello!

I’ve been blogging for a while at https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/ but have decided to make the jump to a self-hosted website… so here we are!

I can’t pretend to understand most of the technical ins and outs of migrating from one site to another, but I am hoping that with sufficient warning and a bit of a handover period anyone who was following my old blog will find out about and follow this one too. And if you were having second thoughts about me then now’s your chance to cut and run! (I plan to mothball the old site at the end of April, and focus everything through this site.)

I have plans to develop and to branch out a little more than I did with the old site – just learning as I go. So what else can you expect?

1 – I am taking part in the A to Z Challenge again this year, running throughout April. My theme will be … survival in a zombie world! And because this is me and that’s not enough of a daft challenge, I’ll be doing it in my inimitable haiku style too (because who has time for lengthy survival tips when you’re running from the undead?).

2 – As well as “more about me”, I also want to get to know you better… well, some of you anyway! Starting in April, I want to run a regular Sunday interview feature called “The Dirty Dozen“… details to follow.

As this is all new and shiny, please drop me a comment to let me know any thoughts on this new site, the layout, etc, or any ideas that you want to share for taking this forward. And if you fancy a go in the hotseat for the Dirty Dozen, then let me know below!

Thank you for joining me on this new leg of the adventure! 🙂

Merry Zombie Christmas!

I hadn’t planned on writing another poem before Christmas, but yesterday’s haiku about broken hearts and betrayal didn’t seem to strike the right festive note for me… This is far more up my street!

(Two things I can promise you about 2016: more haikumore zombies.)

Thank you to everyone for your comments, likes and all-round awesomeness this year. I really do appreciate it <3. Love and best wishes to you and your families x

The Christmas zombies
Wish you festive brain chomping
And happy fresh flesh !





Haiku Challenge – "Tide" & "Flesh"

These are my contributions for Ronovan’s weekly haiku challenge – check it out here: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-64-tide-flesh/

The first is based on the closing scene from my short story, Adam. It’s not your usual zombie tale… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/adam-short-story/

Necrotic zombie
Washed ashore by blood-red tide
Seeking redemption

Now, and entirely unrelated to this one, imagine you’re playing happily in the sea off Amity Beach. In the distance, some very familiar bass notes can be heard… duh DUN… duh DUN…

Triangle of flesh
Rising up above the tide.
Time to clear the beach!


Adam (Short Story)

This is a short story I wrote last year that I hope you will enjoy. It’s 1700 words or so – short enough to be read over a cup of coffee!

At the end of the world, there is a zombie outbreak on a refugee ship. Adam is bitten and falls overboard, beginning a long walk to redemption…

The flight deck echoed with a cacophony of sudden, deafening noise and movement. Breathless, direction-less panic. Scattered shots ringing out. The screaming of the terrified; sobbing children howling for their parents; warning shouts from the crew.

The frenzied feeding of the infected.

Nowhere was safe. This former-warship-turned-refugee-lifeboat had put half an ocean between the living and the infected. It wasn’t enough.

Adam grabbed his young son, sweeping him up into his chest with one arm and running for the lifeboats, joining a crush of people with the same goal. “Just hold tight to me, Joey. Keep your eyes closed, and hold me tight.” Joey cried pitifully, gasping, but held fast to his father, eyes screwed shut, head nestled into his chest. Adam elbowed and fought his way forward. They were almost to the raft, when a group of infected attacked them from the side, biting, scratching, savaging. The crowd scattered in blind terror.

Adam and Joey were thrown to the floor, the crowded deck slippery with fresh blood. Adam scrambled to his feet without releasing his grip on his son. Two infected grabbed him from behind, one biting him on his shoulder, teeth tearing through shirt and flesh. Adam screamed in agony, as the other grabbed at Joey, scratching him across his face and drawing blood, the child howling in fear and pain. The father lashed out, punching them away with his free hand, before another one attacked, driving them towards the edge of the ship. More appeared, an advancing wall of snapping teeth and grabbing hands. Edging backwards towards the raft at the edge of the boat, he half-slipped again, and another surge pushed father and son overboard, into the freezing cold water of the Atlantic.

They hit the water hard. Joey slipped from his grasp on impact, and vanished beneath the surface, with no time to reach for his father, or even to cry out.

The shock of the cold water jolted Adam. “Joey. Joey!” he shouted, frantic. He dived under the water, searching for his son, coming up for air at intervals. Others were falling overboard now, living and infected, the ocean foaming as their battles continued into the water, a handful of brave souls trying desperately to rescue those going under. Adam dived again and again, going deeper each time; utter panic setting in, heart pounding manically. He gulped in air at each brief return to the surface. He dived again, deeper this time, deep as he dared. Out of air, he made for the surface to take a relieving breath. One of the infected floated right past him, still snapping underwater. Adam gasped, shocked, taking in a mouthful of filthy, salty water.

He scrabbled and flailed instinctively, trying to climb a ladder that wasn’t there. With one final, fruitless scramble, he succumbed, and was still. Wrapped in death’s warm embrace, he floated slowly and serenely into the silence below.

Later, Adam woke on the sea floor in total darkness. He arched his back as his body convulsed in agony, every limb and muscle and sinew on fire. He would have roared in agony, but his mouth and lungs were full of water. The spasm passed, and Adam felt no pain. He felt completely numb, oblivious to the dense freezing water around him. The darkness had enveloped him; he lifted his hand up in front of his face, but could not see it. Yet he felt no fear, or panic. Only one impulse remained: feed.

He rose to his feet and started walking, direction irrelevant. Every stride was slow and measured, against resistance from the water. He had a flicker of memory of swimming, and tried to use his arms to propel himself forwards, but lacked the co-ordination. He shambled forward, unsteadily, through the abyss, stumbling over unseen obstacles, rocks and bones and decay.

He walked for a long time in the dark, taking one slow step after another. Days, weeks, months passed. Adam kept moving forward, seeking food. He never paused, never needed to sleep or rest, never felt fatigued, as the hunger drove him onwards. Time had no meaning in the deep. There was only the search.

Occasionally, Adam sensed something crawling or swimming past his face, and his jaws would automatically snap in that general direction. Sometimes, this resulted in an impromptu, if small, meal. More often, the curious creature would escape unharmed.

Sometimes half a memory would pop into his head, before vanishing again, like a bubble popping as you cup it in your hands.

He walked over a mountain, rising slowly from sea floor to summit. At the peak, the water became light enough to see some of the creatures who shared his space. Glowing and sparkling with luminescence, the more he looked, the more life he saw, in every direction around him. He stopped and simply stared for a long time.

Hunger drove him on again, jaws snapping at a passing fish. Having crossed the ridge, he tumbled down the mountain slope, losing his footing on some unstable rocks. He fell awkwardly, leaving his right foot at right angles to the ankle joint, but felt no pain. He hauled himself back to his feet and continued making progress, one small step after another, shuffling onwards through the black.

He walked on. Days turned into more weeks, more years. If he focused now, he could catch one of those bubbles of memory, and hold onto it for just a few seconds. As long as the bubble held, he remembered feelings, thoughts. Loss. The bubbles became stronger as time passed, old neural pathways rebuilding themselves.

He remembered his name. “Adam,” he mouthed.

Then he remembered Joey.

He sat on the ocean floor in impenetrable darkness, and did not move for a long time.

Then the hunger lifted him to his feet and on again.

He came across a geothermal vent. Illuminated by the hot magma, he stared at the beautiful black clouds of smoke glowing in the gloom. He walked towards it, holding his right hand over one of the flumes. The skin melted away instantly. Adam retracted his hand slowly. He stood and watched the creatures huddled around the warmth of this fire, holding his skeletal hand with his left.

He walked for many more days, the water becoming lighter around him as he ascended into the twilight zone. He saw silvery shoals of bizarre and beautiful fish, dancing effortlessly through the water. He heard the love songs of whales, diving in the deep. He saw the twinkling lights of bioluminescent creatures all around him. Such beauty, such wonders.

He reached out to touch the light of a passing anglerfish. The fish bit into his left hand, assuming he was prey, and did not let go. Adam studied the fish for a few moments before biting it in half, feeding on its life blood.

With every fish that he ate, he felt another sliver of humanity return. He started to think.

Is that the answer? Time, and fish?

In the faint half-light at the bottom of the ocean, he became aware of another infected nearby, wearing the remnants of an orange lifejacket, no longer providing any buoyancy. She saw Adam, and followed him. Adam studied her decomposing face for a sign of intelligence, a sign of life, but saw none.

Time and fish.

They walked on. Other infected joined them on their long march, forming a slow herd all heading in a common direction. Some had obviously been in the water for a long time. Their clothes had rotted away, and fish and other creatures had attacked their skin, leaving them decrepit, skeletal, but still driven by the hunger.

Adam taught them how to catch anglerfish, demonstrating his technique of allowing the fish to bite your arm before devouring them.

The silent army grew.

They marched on. They could now tell when the sun was high in the sky, and when the moon was dominant. As the sun set one night, Adam felt something brush his hand. He looked down, and saw an infected child pulling at his hand.

Time and fish.

The child had been in the water for some time. Whole sections of skin were missing from its face and scalp. Even its gender was impossible to judge, and its clothes were ragged, in tatters. Its eyes were cold and lifeless, but the child pulled again.

He held the child’s hand, and they walked on together.

As the world got lighter, Adam could hear strange noises in the water, an intermittent pinging following them day and night. He did not understand, but marvelled at the return of regular sound after so long in silence, his senses alive.

Fish proved trickier to catch at this depth. Some of the infected would work together, corralling the fish so others could feed. Crabs were a good source of food, as the infected felt no pain as the crabs tried in vain to defend themselves with snapping claws. Techniques were refined and shared by demonstration across the group, quieting the hunger temporarily.

Maybe we can co-exist.

They fed, and they grew, walking onwards, Adam and the child holding hands.

Another cycle of night and day passed, and Adam felt the sea floor tilt upwards. They had reached the shore! Stepping from the water, Adam experienced a moment of pure bliss as the sunlight of a bright spring morning fell upon his face for the first time in many years. Hope welled within him. He felt ten feet tall.

He never heard the first bullet zip through his skull, or the thousand that followed at his companions.

“Captain, we’ve engaged the super-herd. They’ve started to emerge from the water,” the young officer calmly reported over the radio, directing his snipers from the metal bunker that stretched the length of the shore. He’d been training a long time for this. His finger traced the scar on his face. Payback time.

“Very good, Joe. Remember your training now. Our latest estimate is there could be as many as ten thousand infected coming to shore. If we clean this lot up, our waters may even be safe one day. Make every shot count, kid.”

Bullets pinged with monotonous regularity, each one a guaranteed kill shot through the skull. Necrotic bodies washed up on the shore, as the living took their revenge. Wave after wave of infected emerged from the ocean, blinking in the light of an unfamiliar sun for a moment or two before the lights went out for the second, and final, time.

In that rising mountain of corpses, of life re-born and destroyed anew, Adam and the infected child remained hand-in-hand, face down in the sand, bobbing gently on the tide.


flickr.com/photos/maxgag/15567640590 / Creative Commons

Haiku Challenge – "Save" & "Rise"… and Zombies

Some further thoughts on Ronovan’s weekly haiku challenge… on a zombie theme!

When the undead rise,
As we surely know they will,
What will save mankind?

I will make a stand.
They shall NOT feast on my friends!
Who will stand with me?


Picture courtesy of flickr.com/photos/rooners/8265884180 / Creative Commons

Should You Ever Meet A Zombie (poem)

Should you ever meet a zombie,
By an unfortunate turn of events,
Don’t waste time trying to reason:
Undead appetites are immense

You need to do a 1-80
Don’t think about trying your luck
Don’t think about bashing its brains:
Get a move on and run like THE CLAPPERS!


https://www.flickr.com/photos/g205/441858611 – Mark Lobo, Zombies / Creative Commons

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The Zombie Blues (poem)

Woke up this morning
Turns out I’m dead
People keep trying
To bash in my head

I got
The Zombie, zombie, zombie Blues

Walk down my street
People all scream
I just don’t believe it
It’s like a bad dream

I got
The Zombie, zombie, zombie Blues

I’m slow and I’m stupid
I’ve lost all my hair
And most of my skin
But still I don’t care

I got
The Zombie, zombie, zombie Blues

Here comes the hunger
Need to eat brains
I’m not at my finest
I smell like the drains

I got
The Zombie, zombie, zombie Blues

I used to earn money
For talking in court
Now I just want to feast
D’you think that I ought?

I got
The Zombie, zombie, zombie Blues

Had some cake in the fridge
Now it’s going to waste
If I eat some brains
How bland will they taste?

The Zombie Blues
The Zombie Blues
The Zombie Blues

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Picture courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustychainsaw/4066964951

Not sure what tune to use for this? See 2:30 into this clip for the source… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS2FFICrbbU Beware the mindworms!

When The Zombie Came To Call (poem)

When the zombie came to call,
There was no answer at 56.
54 ignored it, thinking
Ethan up to his tricks.

52 said “no thank you”
Without opening his door.
Number 50 didn’t respond
(She can’t hear anymore)

48 through 42
Had all gone into town
40 had just got out of the bath
And was in her dressing gown.

Not a one even noticed
The zombie on their drive,
Taking for granted the pleasure
Of simply being alive.

And that was how it continued
For most of the rest of the day.
Life can be awful lonesome
For a zombie who just wants to play


Picture courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/3481252317/