Hey 3.5 readers.
How the West Was Zombed was my first finished book draft, the one that started it all.
Finally, I’m getting it a cover.
So, vote for your favorite.
Hey 3.5 readers.
How the West Was Zombed was my first finished book draft, the one that started it all.
Finally, I’m getting it a cover.
So, vote for your favorite.
The members of the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk struggled on the palace steps to hold back the zombie invaders. Several of them had fallen victim to the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.
Junjie observed the carnage, then looked to the Staff of Ages. The ruby glowed red once more.
“The Staff of Ages has been freed of Dragonhand’s influence,” the Infallible Master said. “It belongs to its true master once again. Wield it freely and it will know exactly what you wish it to do.”
Junjie closed his eyes and raised the staff high into the air. Thunder claps sounded overhead. Multiple bolts of lightning tore through the sky and zapped their way into the staff, until the ancient device began to glow bright white.
Once more, the handsome hero pointed the staff toward the sky and a colossal lighting bolt of unfathomable size lit up the night sky. It pulsated in the heavens, dancing and flickering about until it separated into hundreds of smaller lighting bolts. Each bolt found a different zombie brain to pierce. Soon, every last brain biter in the Forbidden City was destroyed, while the remaining humans survived unscathed.
The clubbers cheered. Junjie cheered. “Master, I can’t believe that….Master?”
The Infallible Master was nowhere to be found, except in Junjie’s mind. “There is no more that I can teach you now, my son. It is time for you to become the master, and time for me to wile away many a year in Diyu.”
“Diyu?” Junjie asked out loud. Those in the handsome hero’s general vicinity might have thought the young man had gone mad had they not seen so many other frightening wonders that day. “I thought you said you would never be able to pass on to the other side.”
“A Master has his ways,” came the Infallible Master inside Junjie’s brain. “The older we get, the more realize what we once thought is impossible is, in fact, quite possible.”
“There’s something you aren’t telling me,” Junjie said.
“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master said. “But the task of rebuilding the devastated kung fu clans is ahead of you now. The last thing you need to do is to worry about me.”
“Wait,” Junjie said. “Will I ever see you again?”
The master’s voice laughed. “Yes. It will seem like an eternity but remember, time is but a trick of the mind. We shall have our reunion one day, if not in the gloomy abyss of Diyu, then surely in the warm embrace of Heaven.”
“Can I talk to you?” Junjie asked.
The master’s voice laughed again. “Oh my son. I spent so much time with my master that I hear him even when he does not speak to me. You will see me and hear me in everything you do, regardless of whether or not we actually speak again.”
“That’s very cryptic,” Junjie said.
“Meh,” the Infallible Master said. “I am a kung fu master. It is what I do.”
“Goodbye, Master,” Junjie said.
“No,” the Infallible Master said. “Not goodbye. Never goodbye. I will see you later.”
A tear streamed down Junjie’s cheek. “I will see you later, Master.”
And with that, the voice inside Junjie’s head was gone.
Junjie looked to the Infallible Master. “There is no more Bohai, is there?”
“There is not,” the Infallible Master replied. “There is only Rage Dog. Do not make the same mistake I did.”
Rage Dog held up the squirmy bag. “To eat the last brain of an imperial dynasty, to obtain the knowledge that comes with countless generations of leadership…all of China will be mine.”
Junjie picked up one of the golden swords and pointed it at Bohai. “Release the Emperor, monster. Do so now and I will clap you in chains and lock you away where you can’t hurt anyone anymore. I will then spend the rest of my days searching for a cure, for some method of restoring Bohai’s soul to his former body.”
Rage Dog’s eyes traveled to his missing hand, then to the various holes and marks that permeated his body. “What makes you think Bohai would even want it now?”
“You are repeating my mistake, my son,” the Infallible Master warned. “No more negotiations. Finish him.”
Junjie studied Rage Dog’s face. “I know my brother is in there, somewhere…I just can’t…”
Thunk! The tip of General Tsang’s sword pierced its way through Rage Dog’s eyeball. The creature uttered a few last gaps then dropped the bag, only for it to be caught just in time by the general’s hand.
Rage Dog collapsed to the floor. He was no more. Once he was out of the way, the full figure of the general was revealed. The veteran warrior was soaked in the blood and brains of the many zombies he defeated out in the rain.
“You kung fu fighters are a sentimental lot, aren’t you?” General Tsang asked as he looked down at Rage Dog’s corpse. “Good think I didn’t know him that well.”
Ever so gently, the general placed the bag on the floor and opened it up. A very scared little boy popped out and attached himself to his protector like a barnacle on the hull of a ship.
“Yes, your majesty,” General Tsang said as he ran his hands through the boy’s hair. “Tsang is here now.”
“Come,” the Infallible Master said to Junjie. “There is more work outside.”
Hey 3.5 readers.
Yeah, it’s unfortunate I ended up taking a little hiatus on Zom Fu. Ironically, I did so right at the end.
When last we left our epic tale, Junjie had just defeated Dragonhand, the Master of the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.
It’s pretty much cleanup from now on, just the the final chapters where we learn what happens to our heroes after the story concludes.
Good news! That means I should have another draft of a novel done within a month, perhaps sooner depending on how much time I can put into it.
Yeah, so this happened.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing a running gag on this blog where I take Mark Twain quotes and add stuff about zombies to them…i.e. “When it comes to zombies, there are lies about zombies, damned lies about zombies and zombie statistics.”
I thought, hey, why not pack these all up and make a quick and easy quote book.
So I commissioned a cover contest thinking I can bang a quote book out really quick, but then after a a while, I began thinking about it, doing some Twain research, and I came up with a pretty sweet premise as to how Twain could have been a zombie hunter while he wasn’t busy writing.
So, downside, one more cover for a book I haven’t written yet. But, oh well, I think my addiction is ok. When I start giving hand jobs in the subway bathroom to pay for more book covers for books I haven’t written yet, then I will know I have a problem.
The Mississippi Rive will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise. Zombies are equally stubborn and foolhardy. Only a ball peen hammer applied liberally to their rotting craniums can persuade them to do anything else but eat your brain.
In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. In like fashion, few men are made of the stern stuff necessary to attack a marauding zombie head on. Instead, they cower in corners, concerned only with their personal safety. Once a man of great bravery steps up and murders all impending zombies in the vicinity, then, and only then, will a sniveling reprobate remove himself from his corner of cowardice and boldly declare, “I supported zombie killing this entire time!”
None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. A fountain-pen can help a man translate his thoughts onto the page and also, it works well when plunged into the brain of a zombie.
Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword. Fire and swords are also good weapons against filthy zombies. I’ve always found that if a zombie won’t burn, it’s best to chop its vile head off with a sword. Don’t forget to plunge the sword in the beast’s brain for good measure.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Whenever you find yourself on the side of a zombie, it is time to jam a sharp object into its ear canal, as that is the quickest way to destroy its brain before it eats yours.
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything…except to stay away from zombies. Always remember to stay away from zombies. Write a note that says, “STAY AWAY FROM ZOMBIES!” and pin it to your shirt collar if need be, but in any event, dear reader, do stay away from zombies.
I have never let my schooling about zombie anatomy interfere with my education of zombie slaying tactics.
Total abstinence is so excellent a thing that it cannot be carried to too great an extent. In my passion for it I even carry it so far as to totally abstain from total abstinence itself. Hell, sometimes the only way a man can come down off a high after spending a night’s worth of vigorous zombie fighting is to get all up in some Mississippi boo-tay.
What ought to be done to the man who invented the celebrating of anniversaries? Mere killing would be too light. It is doubtful that would even be effective as most likely this man would revert to the undead state of a wretched zombie. Anniversaries are very well up to a certain point, while one’s babies are in the process of growing up: they are joy-flags that make gay the road and prove progress; and one looks down the fluttering rank with pride. Then presently one notices that the flagstaffs are in process of a mysterious change of some sort–change of shape. Yes, they are turning into milestones. They are marking something lost now, not gained. From that time on it were best to suppress taking notice of anniversaries, especially the anniversary of the first time you ever witnessed a close friend getting his brains devoured by a zombie. No one needs to remember that shit.
To ask a doctor or builder or sculptor for his autograph would be in no way rude. To ask one of those for a specimen of his work, however, is quite another thing, and the request might be justifiably refused. It would never be fair to ask a doctor for one of his corpses to remember him by, seeing as how that corpse is likely to turn into a zombie, leaving you with no choice but to make an utter shambles of the doctor’s office when you bash the zombies brains in using little more than the closest blunt objects in your general vicinity.
I don’t like this thing of being stripped naked & washed. I like to be stripped & warmed at the stove–that is real bully–but I do despise this washing business. I believe it to be a gratuitous & unnecessary piece of meanness. I never see them wash the cat. However, I wash myself anyway, for many medical doctors in good standing with the board of medicine have assured me that regular baths are the only way to rid one’s self of the various germs that can infect a man with a zombifying virus. Wash your bum or become an abomination, as my old spinster aunt used to say, and she wasn’t kidding.
There’s nobody for me to attack in this matter even with soft and gentle ridicule–and I shouldn’t ever think of using a grown up weapon in this kind of a nursery. Above all, I couldn’t venture to attack the clergymen whom you mention, for I have their habits and live in the same glass house which they are occupying. I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time. In summation, good readers, I can only assume that my most revered book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has been banned from your local lending library as it contains a wealth of information vis a vis anti-zombie warfare. Also, it features use of the “N” word like 9,454 times.
Among human beings jealousy ranks distinctly as a weakness; a trademark of small minds; a property of all small minds, yet a property which even the smallest is ashamed of; and when accused of its possession will lyingly deny it and resent the accusation as an insult. Jealousy can even be found among dirty disgusting zombies. Why, I have seen many a zombie pick a fight with an associate zombie over the size of a pilfered brain,
Junjie screamed as he came to his senses. He looked around. He was back in the Emperor’s throne room. The ghostly apparition of the Infallible Master stood before him.
“He…he killed my parents?”
The master looked away. “Yes, my son.”
“You knew!” Junjie shouted.
“I did,” the master said.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Junjie asked.
“Because a mind locked in rage can never be truly focused on a higher purpose,” the master said. “You already despised Dragonhand for turning your beloved Mei-Ling into stone. You would have lost control had you learned that he killed your parents as well. You would have fought with fury, rather than skill…with anger, rather than cunning. You would have…”
“I would have known the truth,” Junjie said.
“You would have died,” Junjie said. “Dragonhand would have defeated you. Of that, I am certain.”
Junjie stood up.
“I intended to tell you,” the master said. “After…all of this.”
Junjie wiped a tear from his eye. He leaned in to hug the master, put his arms passed through.
“I forgot,” Junjie said.
“I know,” the master said.
“Dragonhand never realized I was the child?” Junjie asked.
“An undead man’s brain is a swirl of confusion,” the master said. “Most of the time, Dragonhand believed he was his own man, separate from Longwei. That is true, for Longwei’s soul resides in Diyu. However, Dragonhand possessed Longwei’s brain and with it, his memories. At times, the creature was perplexed and puzzled, confident that he was a champion, free from a sense of right and wrong that a soul provides and yet, burdened by all the petty jealousy and aggrieved feelings that were stored away in Longwei’s mind. He claimed he was better than Longwei and yet, a part of him longed to prove to me that he was my best student.”
“Am I your best student?” Junjie asked.
“Well,” the master said. “I’ve never had a student who defeated a foe such as Dragonhand, so I’d say yes.”
A few seconds of silence passed.
“Don’t let it go to your head,” the master said.
“I won’t,” Junjie replied.
“And now you know my great shame,” the master said. “I could have destroyed Dragonhand all those years ago, at the very instant he became one of the undead. I could have saved everyone – the kung fu clans, the masters, the soldiers, so many innocent villagers – I could have spared so many so much pain had I just brought myself to extinguish him but I could not.”
“Why couldn’t you?” Junjie asked.
“Because every member of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw is my child,” the master said. “Their pain is my pain. Their suffering is my suffering. A father doesn’t stop loving a child just because he has done wrong. I loved Longwei too much to snuff out Dragonhand, but I realize now that I selfishly put my own emotions over the lives of so many.”
“I don’t know that I can blame you,” Junjie said.
“We all make mistakes,” the master said. “For centuries, the master of our clan has been called, ‘the Infallible Master,’ but I assure you, your master is very much fallible.”
The conversation between master and student was cut short by the sounds of the Whirlwind, struggling under the strain of a massive weight. He entered the room. Niu had come to and he was in his feet, but resting most of his bulk on the Whirlwind’s shoulder.
“Hergh!” cried the Whirlwind as he eased his hefty charge down onto the steps.
Once free of Niu, the Whirlwind choked and wheezed as he caught his breath. “It’s nothing but vegetables from hereon out for you, baldy!”
The Whirlwind collapsed on the steps next to Niu. “I will hurl myself from the highest cliff in all the world before I carry your giant ass around, that I can guarantee!”
Junjie and the master rushed to Niu’s side.
“My son!’ the master said.
Niu was speechless.
“That bag of filth took his peepers,” the Whirlwind said. “But I bravely carried his carcass all the way here, putting myself…and my back…in great danger.”
No one appeared to be all that concerned with Niu’s well-being. Junjie ripped a strip off of Dragonhand’s robe and handed it Niu. The big man held it over his eyes to sop up all the blood.
“Niu?” Junjie asked. “Can you hear me?”
Slowly, Niu nodded his head up and down. His voice was hoarse. “Yes.”
The master turned around. “Watch over my son, Whirlwind. Junjie, come, we must save the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk.”
As master and student walked towards the door, they were met by Rage Dog. His hair and clothing were sopping wet from rain. He held up a big, brown sack. Inside, a little boy wiggled around and whimpered.
Rage Dog gazed upon Dragonhand’s corpse. He thought about this development for a moment, then laughed hysterically.
“I suppose I should thank you for dispatching my master,” Rage Dog said to Junjie. “Now the Emperor’s brain will be mine!”
Crunch, crunch, crunch. Junjie’s teeth chewed through veins and gray matter, then swallowed. The taste was abhorrent, yet the anticipation of the knowledge to come took his mind off it. Something had drawn him to this brain and he had to know what.
Junjie closed his eyes. When he opened them, he felt big, bold, strong…and angry…oh, so very angry. He was in the sanctuary of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw, walking hurriedly toward the courtyard. Honghui stood up ahead, next to the Infallible Master, who was holding a baby.
“Junjie?” the master said as he looked down at the infant. “That means ‘handsome hero,’ you know. An awful lot of pressure to put on one so small.”
“Yes,” Honghui said. “But I have no doubt he will live up to the name, master. Ling felt the same way.”
“And where is Ling?” the master asked.
Honghui looked down, sullenly. “Gone.”
The master frowned. “How?”
“Longwei,” Honghui said. “When he learned that Ling and I were leaving the clan so that we could be married, he went mad. He somehow saw it as offense to him, that he was your greatest student and that we could not leave until he’d bested us in a fight.”
The master sighed. “That sounds like Longwei.”
“I declined,” Honghui said. “As did Ling. But Longwei’s words were so cruel that I lost control and called him a fool. That enraged him so much that he laid in wait and as soon as I left, he…he…”
Honghui’s eyes teared up. “…took the brain of the woman I loved.”
The master gasped. “Took her brain?”
Longwei finally reached the courtyard. “Yes! And it was delicious!”
The master pointed the Staff of Ages at Longwei. “Longwei! What has come over you?”
Longwei chuckled. “Destiny,” Longwei said. “That is what has come over me.”
“Away with you,” the master said. “You’ve gone insane.”
“No, master,” Longwei said. “I assure you, I’ve never had a better understanding of the world.”
“I will hear no more of your drivel,” the master said. “You’ve already taken one member of our clan today. You will not take another. Look at what you have become!”
“You have always resented the fact that I was better than you, old man,” Longwei said. “My feet were faster than cheetahs. My muscles were stronger than those of an ox and my hands?”
“Enough,” the master said.
“My hands are swift and dance through my opponents like a graceful dragon twirling through the air,” Longwei said.
The master pulled the baby close to his chest and held the staff high in the air. Clouds formed in the sky. “Enough.”
“You always favored Hongui and Ling over me,” Longwei said.
“A lie you told yourself over and over until you believed it to be true,” the master replied. “I love all my students equally, even you Longwei…even after the evil you have done.”
Longwei drew closer. He gazed upon the baby.
“Give me that child, so that I might snuff it out and spare it a life of knowing what a pathetic weakling its father was.”
Honghui lost control. He charged at Longwei…only to have his brain ripped out by Longwei’s tiger claw.
The master’s heart sunk, but he wasn’t just a master of kung fu. He was a master of his own emotions and buried them down, refusing to cry as Honghui’s lifeless corpse hit the ground.
Longwei bit into Honghui’s brain as if it were an apple. He swallowed, then tossed the rest over his shoulder. He returned his attention to the master.
“Give that child here.”
A lightning bolt shot out of the sky and into the staff. Thunder rolled as the staff glowed bright.
“Do not make me do this, my son,” the master said.
“No one is making you do anything, old man,” Longwei said. “You do what you wish. I know from hereon out, I will do as I wish. I will never be held back by you ever again.”
“I was never holding you back,” the master said. “I was trying to contain your boundless ego, to get it under control before you did…something like what you have just done.”
Longwei reached for the baby. “And I’m just getting started.”
Thok! The master kicked Longwei with such force that he was launched into the air. The old man then took aim with the staff and sent the lightning bolt into Longwei’s body, killing him instantly, even before he hit the ground.
Darkness. Longwei saw nothing but darkness. Seconds later, he opened his eyes. He looked up at the master, who was standing over him, still holding the baby.
“Longwei?” the master asked.
Longwei looked into the master’s eyes, and caught the reflection of his face in them. In that reflection, Longwei was able to see that his own eyes had gone blank – pure white, devoid of anything else.
“There…there is no Longwei….there is only…Dragonhand.”
The master pointed the staff at Dragonhand’s face. “Leave here at once, creature. Do not darken this sanctuary’s doorstep again, or that will be the end of you.”
Hey 3.5 readers.
Dragonhand is dead! Again! Huzzah!
So now its just a matter of wrapping it all up. That will still take awhile, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I may be on my way to finishing another novel draft.
Thank you to the 3.5 of you who have been reading.