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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

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Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 No Zombie for a Neighbor - End of 1

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Number of posts : 1287
Age : 58
Location : Ringgold, Louisiana
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Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: No Zombie for a Neighbor - End of 1   April 15th 2011, 8:21 am

No Zombie for a Neighbor
Day One

End: Late Night News

This is Bruce Williams reporting from the city limits of Shreveport. It is not safe out here, but it is not safe anywhere. The trouble, God bless us, is that we are too nice and have too much hope.

The city, yes, the city is bad. Cemeteries, morgues, just a lot of places for bodies to be about. You would think that graveyards would not be affected. I mean, most people are buried in sealed coffins with those inside having been embalmed. Well, I guess that the coffins are a problem, as not that many bodies actually come from the graveyards. The embalming process however does not stop the bodies from rising. What they have instead of blood seems to have no affect on whatever is causing the bodies to rise. Thus, funeral parlors are not safe. Many there to stay with loved ones are now walking around with them. The same with hospitals and police departments. Places where the dead were placed until being buried are now dangerous places to be with most of those being in the city.

Out in the country things are not better. While the number of zombies might be less, the friendliness of the American spirit has made those places communities of the undead. Just being able to walk into the back door of a neighborís home has allowed some to find zombies in their homes. The bond of country folk to help each other has caused others to walk into zombie groups either because they thought the zombies were friends or to help friends being attacked.

Guns are not effective against zombies. First, you have to shoot them in the head. Shooting them anywhere else will not stop them. Yes, you can break joints, but that does not end their threat. The other problem is that once your supply of bullets is gone, that gun is not much use. A board with nails through it might sound like a poor weapon, but it will be effective after that gun has fired its last round.

My news team has been trying things with zombies, but some things we are still unsure about. Can you become a zombie after only being scratched? We donít know, but the number of zombies says that it is quite possible. Needless to say, none of us have been willing to try it. Our thoughts are that it has to take only a scratch, as those bitten are generally eaten.

The one thing that we can be certain about is that a head shot will kill them. I know that some movies have arms and such still active after being cut from a body. That does not occur. The only theory that we can come up with is that whatever process creates zombies somehow re-ignites the nervous system. Somehow there is a connection to the brain, and removing the operation of the brain stops the zombie.

Note that I have been in contact with the soldiers at Barksdale Air Force Base. They claim that they are maintaining a safe zone, but at present their chain of command is not complete. The President of the United States is dead. Most of congress is dead. They will claim that someone in the line of power is still alive, but I am told that it is someone down the list from even Speaker of the House. The military says that they will do their best to help any that come to them, but at present they are attempting to come up with some response that will restore security. Until that plan is put into action and proven to be effective, they ask that you do what you can to stay alive.

Of course the military claims no knowledge of what caused this problem. They cite the fact that this problem is worldwide. They thus steadfastly maintain that it is not an agent of any one government, especially the United States.

I did ask, and the military liaison replied that he knew of no UFO activity. While he would not deny their involvement, he clearly stated that after the millennia of them observing us it would be odd for them to finally make an attack. He did not rule out space aliens as the cause, but just said that he had no report of them being any more active than usual.

[Screams alerting the news reporter to the presence of zombies has Bruce take up a large pipe wrench. Gunfire is not heard, but the camera turns to see men with crowbars and a couple actually with boards with nails driven through them. The men use rope to trip the zombies by easily moving around them. Most of the zombies fall as they try to turn to the moving men, but others are sent down after the ropes around their legs are pulled up. With the zombies unable to make good moves, the men move in with their weapons. Bruce Williams still holds his pipe wrench as he again picks up the microphone.]

Animals can be affected, but their corpses have not risen in any great number. I can say that them simply being scratched by a zombie will not turn them into one, at least not in any short amount of time. We have a dog and a couple of cats in cages, and they are still normal animals. We are scared of petting them however, as they might be carriers. We have seen dog and cat zombies.

Note that becoming a zombie does not change oneís appearance. The blood does stop flowing, but that does not mean that it leaves the body. A zombie can have the rosy glow of being healthy. The look should fade as the zombies will not do anything to care for their appearance or hygiene, although the same might be said about the rest of us as well.

While I said that the disease, or whatever it is, seems to work on the nervous system, it does not seem to affect any high order thinking ability. Zombies are very stupid. They do not hide in bushes or behind trees. Simply being alert will enable you to be warned of their coming. It is the old story of donít run away from the car by running ahead of the car. Dart to the sides, and you can find the zombies to fall as they lack any coordination in their bodies.

Note that they donít seem to see. Some do see, but zombies react mostly to hearing. Just making this report puts me into harm. I however have good men and women around me, and they are watching out for me as I send this report to you. I want all of you watching to understand that we really do want to earn your place as a responsible news team. We want you to know. We have seen zombies move past us, then turn when we made a sound.

Well, that is about all that I can say. Beyond that, there is just basic information. Stay in your homes. Zombies are not a threat only at night. They have been active all day. I donít expect them to sleep at night, but I also donít expect them to go away at dawn. Of course, we can all hope.

Donít play music. Really, people, they can hear. They react to sound. I know that you want to talk. I know that you want to hear what I have to say. Seriously, I am placing myself and my crew in danger by being making this report, and I am putting you in danger by giving you a reason to hear it. Use head phones, ear phones, put the sound down real low. Honestly, the zombies hear. Those of you that snore, sleep in a central part of your house.

Oh, donít go to the news station. We really donít want you to call us. The phones are presently working. The microwave dishes and satellites are still in operation. The electrical plants are also in operation. The infrastructure however is collapsing. The electrical plant gets fuel through a pipeline, but any breakdown in the system will cause everything to cease. Those of the news station do care, and have tried to help, but at present the place is packed. I left not only to make this report, but simply to breathe fresh air.

Do I feel that God has left us? I will not say that he has left me. I am a Christian, and I believe that Jesus still loves me. Why has he allowed this plague upon us, I cannot say. Maybe our world has gone so far from his way that he feels a need to punish us. Perhaps we have done so much to fight for the right to continue in our love for God that Satan has felt the need to petition God for this one horrendous tragedy to further test us as he tested Job. We have no way of knowing. He is God and his ways are not ours to understand. Keep praying. Those of other faiths, I hope that you keep praying as well. We all want answers, and maybe those of us that survive this crisis will finally get some.

Oh, if anyone is seeking a safe place, I cannot promise that. I know of no place safe. Even if you find a place of safety, food and other necessities will be problems. My news team will leave from here to a barn about a mile off. We will not drive there. I have said over and over that the zombies hear. When I finish, we will walk as quietly as we can to a barn. We will secure it, then rest up in the rafters. We will bathe in a water trough. We will do what we can to survive, then tomorrow at this time we will hopefully return to our van and make another report. Remember us in your prayers.

Oh, we have not been to any churches. I hope that those are safe havens. I know that many of you do have food. I know that many of you will also do what you can for others. I however fear that the same kindness will cause you to not kill those you need to, so that you become victims to this malady. I will try to contact some churches tomorrow.

We have been to schools. Well, okay, we have been to one school. I am sorry. I am so sorry. The outbreak occurred after school had started. Your child might have survived, but we had to leave seeing the multitude of children zombies coming upon us. We did not go to another.

This is the first day of the tragedy. The human race has survived, so I expect that we will continue to survive. I cannot believe that the zombie anatomy allows for healing. I thus suspect that this threat cannot last. We have not seen any of the movie zombies with overly rotten bodies. Time should thus be on our side. We all know the story of Lazarus, and how they mentioned after four days he stinketh. Well, maybe in four days the zombies will stink letting us know that decay has set in. We can only hope. We also have to survive for four more days to find out. Right now, I am certain that many out there are wondering about tomorrow.

This has been Bruce Williams. I have done my best to tell you what I know. I have also done my best to give you some sense of hope. These are dark days, but I hope to be here reporting through them. I wish all you Godís grace. From me and my news team, good night.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market. †"Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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