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Being Different

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Being Different

Left to right: Stephanie Hutton, Debbie Voisey, Sarah Akhtar, Adam Boustead, Jason Smith and Richard Branson in a Simon Cowell outfit.

The 6x6 Reading Café was great fun. The place was packed and the standard of the readings was as excellent as always. It was a deliciously dark collection - we had a disturbing, sado-masochistic yarn from Adam Boustead. It ended as bloodily as anyone could wish, and provided a satisfyingly nasty counterpoint to Sarah Akhtar's BFG. Adam set the tone for an evening of battered wives, Internet stalking and opinionated zombies.

The opinionated zombie was my addition to the proceedings. I don't do zombie stories. Never have, never will. Well, all right, just the one...

Zombies have got to be the least dangerous supernatural baddies since vampires. At least the chaps with the waiter suits and a bad orthodontist stand a chance of getting you if you sleep with the window open and don't have any garlic, a sharp stick, a torch or any two items that can be formed into the vague shape of a cross¹. With a zombie, as we've seen on The Walking Dead, you can walk through the middle of them, poking anything stiffer and pointier than your finger through their blotting paper skulls. Or you can smear yourself with a few drops of ghoul juice, avoid whistling and they'll ignore you completely. If all else fails, just stroll away at a brisk walking pace. It's not easy being dead.

All of which led me to wonder what the zombies themselves think about it. They're a section of society that has oozed through the cracks, and I felt it was time to give them a voice. So I wrote Different. It'll be one of the tales that makes my upcoming release, Discollection, such a random assembly. The book's launch will be accompanied by a video animation of the story. It's barely started and it's still in a very rough form, but you can see an early snippet by clicking the picture below.

The Talking Dead

¹ ...and if you invite them in, of course. Which might involve waking up. Then they're buggered.

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