Book Review Friday: Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1

 

Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1, by Bobby Adair, follows the unpredictable path of slacker Zed Zane, a man who finds himself in the wrong place (jail) at the wrong time (the zombie apocalypse). Not that his day started with promise. Broke, hung over, and oblivious to anything except the need to ask his mom and step dad to cover his rent, again, Zed arrives at his childhood home to find a gruesome scene of death and destruction. As Zed says, “Sometimes a half-bottle of breakfast tequila just isn’t enough to deal with the day’s reality.”

Clueless and buzzed, Zed attempts to call the police. “I guess some people in that situation would have crumbled, some would have cried, but I’d emotionally disconnected from life a long time ago. For that I had to thank the skeletal bitch on the floor with her greedy rodent soul and her short-tempered ape-mate in the kitchen. If anything, her death was a belated answer to old prayers, with a bit of unexpected mess.”

Okay, maybe Zed’s not so clueless after all.

Arrested for the murder of his parents, Zed’s thrown in jail. Ever the survivor, when the jail erupts in a riot Zed follows over-sized Murphy Smalls and his friend Earl, as they escape. Too bad it’s one of those out of the fire and into the frying pan situations as now the trio must contend with flesh-eating zombies and panicky armed police. Even worse, Zed’s nasty arm wound, inflicted by his dear, dead step dad, needs medical care. A perilous trip to the nearest Emergency Room gets Zed and his friends quarantined. Zed has a sneaking suspicion that quarantine really means rounding up and killing the infected.

As resilient as a cockroach, Zed gets himself and his cohorts out of quarantine and finds refuge in a building with Jerome, a CDC employee caught in the chaos. Sure, Zed thinks things are on the upswing. Unfortunately partner Jerome is more useless and self-centered than Zed. Yep. Things are on a downward spiral here.

Though it sounds grim, Slow Burn is a fun read. If Zed’s to be believed, he truly had a horrific childhood and can’t be blamed for numbing the world with booze and pot. Still he retains a spark of decency that is ignited when Murphy and Earl drag him along on their prison break and look out for him. Like a stray dog responding to a caress while expecting a kick, Zed discovers feelings he didn’t know he had, including the courage to risk his life to save others, rather than putting on his sunglasses and heavy metal and drowning out the world.

Bobby Adair’s Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1 is a quick fun read and it’s perma free on Amazon. You have nothing to lose by downloading it to your Kindle and giving it a try. If you like it, show Bobby some love and purchase the rest of the series, available both in paperback and Kindle. Currently Slow Burn boxed set Books 1-3 is only 99 cents.

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Wednesday’s Child: Cara The Caregiver

On Wednesday, the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization likes to spotlight one child to demonstrate that our residents are children first, and zombies second.

Cara, a sixteen year old girl from New Hampshire, had dreams of becoming a nurse prior to her zombification. She volunteered twice weekly at a local nursing home, spent her Saturdays doing clerical work at Big Brothers – Big Sisters, and participated in a reading program at the local elementary school.  While some teenagers fill their schedule with activities destined to look good on college and scholarship applications, Cara’s interest lay not in what the volunteer work could do for her, but in what she could accomplish with her volunteer work.  Her plans included applying to a local community college to obtain a nursing degree.  Whether she focused on geriatrics or pediatrics was still up in the air.  A true asset to her community, her human life was cut short during a Big Brother – Big Sister outing when one of the boys turned. In order to protect another human life, Cara sacrificed hers.

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little s...

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little silver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course there is no medal of bravery for those who turn into zombies. Cara’s parents found that in spite of all of the help Cara provided, no one was willing to return the favor. Her parents confined her to a cellar room and hoped that vigilantes would not arrive to finish her off. It was a grim existence for a family that had lived such a purpose-filled life.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization has a cadre of dedicated volunteers who scour the internet and local newspapers for reports of recently turned zombie children. The weekly newspaper of Cara’s small hometown lay at the bottom of a reading pile for several months, but when we heard of Cara’s plight, we immediately offered her housing. Her grateful parents accepted our offer and three months after her zombification, Cara became a full-time resident here.

Since then she has blossomed in our facility and her natural desire to help has become a blessing for which we are grateful. She assists with new arrivals, walking beside them for hours in quiet companionship and solidarity. She volunteers in our daycare  area. She even works in our medical unit, assisting the surgeons and seamstresses by helping to position and calm other residents as repairs are made.

Contracting a dread disease did not change Cara’s desire to help make this world a better place. In some ways, it has made it stronger.  The next time you see a zombie child, look past the decomposing skin and gnashing teeth and picture the child within.  Perhaps she’s the girl who once sold you Girl Scout cookies or made the winning goal on your daughter’s soccer team. Maybe it’s the boy who mowed your lawn or was in your Boy Scout troop.  Their past is gone, but you can help make their future a better place by showing compassion.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

We feed the zombie children so you don’t have to.

Death of a Zombie

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization is saddened to report that one of the children featured in our Wednesday’s Child post, Luigi, has succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident.

English: Grave stone at St Mary's

English: Grave stone at St Mary’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luigi was not the poster child for zombie child rehabilitation.  He was our youngest resident and only toddler. Initially hopes were high he could be mainstreamed with the rest of  our children. Unfortunately his emotional development remained stuck at 18 months old. His tantrums, mood swings, and stubbornness tried the patience of staff members, but they never stopped trying.

They didn’t stop trying after the first staff member infection nor the second and third. Before he could infect a fourth, we instituted strict protocols for dealing with Luigi. These included wearing protective equipment adapted from bomb detonation units and lockdown procedures taken from a Super Max prison. There was a deep divide within the staff members between the belief that every zombie child deserves to be saved, and the knowledge that if you had to kill one zombie child, Luigi would be the one marked for death.

Regrettably, his impulsive toddler nature triggered the tragic event that took his life. When a small circus performed at our sanctuary, we couldn’t risk letting Luigi interact directly with the performers or the other children. Instead he watched the show via webcam. The act that most interested him was the sword-swallower.  We suspect the shiny knives caught his attention.  Afterwards, Luigi gravitated to any bright metal object in a knife-like shape.

Last night during Luigi’s evening walk around the play yard, he happened upon an area of the fence that was under construction. As part of a larger project, the  fences were being reinforced with metal spikes along the top rail.

Old metal fence post, Uptown New Orleans

Old metal fence post, Uptown New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fence panel had fallen and lay sideways, propped up by a rock. When Luigi saw it, his eyes lit up. He sped away from his caretakers and to the shiny metal. Once at the fence he put his mouth up to the spikes and attempted to “swallow” them. Unfortunately they were angled toward his brain and his forward momentum pushed the spikes into his brain. He died shortly afterward.

At the request of his grandparents, there will no service or calling hours. Donations may be made in Luigi’s memory to the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.

Wednesday’s Child: Luigi, Toddler Terror

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization dedicates this space to one special child each Wednesday to help people look past the zombie form and see the child within. None of our zombie kids asked to be zombified. In most cases they were bit by those they loved the most, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, who succumbed to the disease and then spread it. Others were the victims of contamination at Cratchit Nutraceuticals, a company that made pituitary-derived human growth hormone. Seeking only to be as tall as their classmates, their hopes were dashed when they became flesh-eating monsters.

Zombie Walk in Edmonton

Zombie Walk in Edmonton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second wave of zombies, those bitten by siblings, include remarkably few infants and toddlers. Strange, in that infants and toddlers are less able to escape when attacked and they have over-sized heads, presumably making them a more attractive zombie target. For some reason, though, the number of surviving zombie toddlers is miniscule. In fact, Luigi is the only toddler at our facility.

Pittsburgh Zombie Walk 2011 - 95

Pittsburgh Zombie Walk 2011 – 95 (Photo credit: cory.cousins)

Luigi, our best guess puts him at eighteen months, was left at a Safe Haven drop off site at a local firehouse. Imagine the surprise of the firefighters, when they returned from fighting a 5 alarm fire and found a 3 foot tall, 30 pound infant flailing about in a large, duct-taped box. Actually, the firefighters were first surprised to find a large, reinforced box blocking their doorway. They were startled when it began to rock back and forth and they realized something was inside. They were shocked when they opened it and saw the child, a small bucket of frogs next to him. The squirming legs of a frog dangled from his cupid bow lips.

Luckily, one of the firemen had seen a news report on our organization and he convinced his coworkers to turn the child over to us, instead of using a fire ax on him. We’ve had several confirmed reports of Safe Haven sites executing zombie children dropped on their doorstep.

We wish we could say we’ve successfully acclimated Luigi to our facility, but we feel compelled to share the truth about our charges. Raising a zombie toddler is hard work. Luigi has not developed past the mental capacity of an 18 month old and that means he’s permanently stuck in the terrible twos. He can be stubborn.  Sometimes it takes three of our staff members to safely remove him from the common area when it is time for bed and he wants to stay up late. There is no sharing in his world and he covets every shiny thing he sees. When denied, he melts down into temper tantrums. Though hitting and biting is expected at his age, the transmission potential of zombie virus is high. Our staff members must wear full padding and face masks whenever they are within hand or mouth reach of Luigi.

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Normal toddler coping behaviors, such as thumb-sucking or hair twirling, aren’t possible due to Luigi’s chronic decomposition. This leads to increased tantrums and physical acting out. Working with Luigi is a high stress job, as nerve-racking as working for a bomb disposal unit. It’s also as dangerous.

Imagine the destructive nature of a toddler with a deadly bite and you can understand the reasons we treat Luigi as we do. Luigi is denied hugs and other physical signs of affection. He isn’t allowed to participate in group activities. Our physicians don’t believe he will ever grow past this stage, physically or emotionally. Though we try to give him as normal life as we can, we realize many would find his isolation and treatment barbaric. All we can do is try to keep everyone safe.

On that somber note, we remind you that we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Free Stuff Sunday: The Physics of Zombies

We at the ZERO organization have a small confession to make:

We’re nerds.

Staffed by nurses and scientists, at ZERO we believe the second best thing to being curled up by a roaring fire with a good zombie novel is sitting in an enclosed, windowless laboratory reading scientific journals. Which is why we were so excited to find Necropology and proudly present it as our pick for Free Stuff Sunday.

Written by the internationally acclaimed zombie experts David and Robert Madore, The Physics of Zombies is a five part scientific report on a variety of topics, including zombie decomposition and visual acuity. With stunning insight and rigorous investigation, The Physics of Zombies should be read by everyone in the scientific community.

Check it out and prepare to have your mind blown. http://necropology.com/

 

Wednesday’s Child: Smiling Jack

Here at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization we believe in the power of children, even when they’re zombie children. Our Wednesday’s Child spotlight attempts to erase the stigma of zombification and introduce our readers to the amazing children we share our lives with.

Popular stereotypes paint zombies as unfeeling, uncaring, dour-appearing creatures of gloom. They shuffle along like aging inmates going to their last meal while moaning as if they’re getting a root canal without anesthetic. They flail their arms and drag their legs and generally act in a manner that causes wise people to flee. For those of you who think of zombies in these terms, you don’t know Jack.

jack smiling

Jack, an exuberant nine-year old, takes his smile everywhere he goes. His favorite activities include dance-dance revolution and karaoke. Before his zombification he took voice and dance lessons with the dream of eventually starring on Broadway.  With the help of his older sister, he developed an act that he performed at small fairs, senior centers, and strip malls throughout his home state.  Nicknamed “Little Mr. Entertainment,” he was auditioning for a reality tv show when he was stricken by the Infection. As soon as the producers heard of his affliction, they broke off contact with the family and left Jack heartbroken and mourning the opportunities the zombie virus had stolen from him.

Shortly afterwards, his parents were killed by vigilantes intent on destroying all victims of the Great Infection.  Luckily, his parents had entrusted Jack to out-of-state relatives who knew of our organization. We welcomed Jack with open arms and he thanked us by putting on our first all zombie revue. Since then, he has appeared in most of our print ads and television commercials as well as continuing to dance and sing for our community get togethers. Jack’s working portfolio continues to grow and, who knows, someday he might get a chance at Broadway after all.

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The ...

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The Color Purple 1681 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)