Shortly into writing the manuscript for my second book Gidion’s Blood, I joined several other writers to release an anthology that could cross-promote our various series. The theme chosen for the anthology was carnivals. No matter how much I rolled around the idea in my head, I kept coming back to the same idea for Gidion’s short story: the Richmond Zombie Walk.
First an explanation as to what the annual Zombie Walk is all about. Every October on a Saturday, people dress as zombies and shuffle down the sidewalks of Carytown. People go nuts with it, too. Some keep it simple, but others get elaborate. Some even go for variations on popular characters; I saw one video of a guy dressed as a zombified Superman.
So the idea that kept playing in my head was simple: What if a vampire dressed as a zombie and participated in the Zombie Walk? Could he get away with abducting a victim and feeding in public without anyone being any the wiser? The more I played with the idea, the more I decided to really go crazy with it. This story is set between the events of my first book Gidion’s Hunt and the sequel Gidion’s Blood, so my teenage vampire hunter is starting to build confidence in his abilities. That meant I needed to complicate things as much as possible. Not only did I decide to make it two vampires in the Zombie Walk instead of one, but I added the wrinkle of having one of Gidion’s friends taking part in the Walk.
The friend I chose isn’t the one most of my first book’s readers would expect either. I chose to go with Andrea, his best friend’s girlfriend. Andrea comes across rather poorly in the first book, something that bugged me. She falls victim to the book being told entirely from Gidion’s point-of-view, and at that time, he doesn’t like her at all. By the time of the events in Zombie Walk, he’s started to warm up to Andrea, and their banter is possibly one of my favorite things about the story.
The biggest liberty I take in this tale is the time of day. My vampires are the “sunlight-kills-them” variety, and the Zombie Walk always happens during the daytime. I even acknowledge that in the story and make it a plot point that the annual event in this story is taking place at night for the first time, which is part of why it’s drawn the attention of these vampires.
Just because it’s a short story, I still needed to do a lot of research, and to make sure I got the atmosphere of the event right, I contacted one of the organizers Anthony Meñez. Much to my relief, he not only gave me a thumbs up for accuracy in how I describe the event, but he also loved the story. My editor shares his love for it. You might recall last week that I pointed out The Light Well was one of my editor’s two favorite stories in the collection. Zombie Walk is the other story in that pair, and I also have a soft spot for this one. Gidion is a blast to write, and Zombie Walk provides a perfect example of why.
Zombie Walk provides a useful and entertaining bridge between the first and second books in my Gidion Keep, Vampire Hunter series, but it’s not essential reading to enjoy the books. Even so, I think reading this short story adds something to the experience of reading Gidion’s Blood. If you don’t want to wait until the short story collection to read this, you can get it as an ebook from the usual suspects (Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Kobo).
Part of me is in shock that only six weeks remain until the release of The Deadlands: And Other Stories and Gidion’s Blood. They’re almost here!