How Reading Wuthering Heights is as Close To Writing a Zombie Novel I’ve Ever Gotten

One of the things you get while working at a bookstore is a wide variety of interesting conversations.

It was Christmas time in 2008 which meant the store was busy all day. To keep ourselves sane during the stressful season, we would often start store-wide (and sometimes even cross shift) discussions. One conversation in particular interested me: of all the characters in the books we read in English class, who would survive the zombi apocalypse?

Names such as Irene Adler, Natty Bumppo, even Tom Sawyer were thrown out there. It was decided early that Mr Darcy wouldn’t make it through the opening scene.

My input was a single person: Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. If anyone was getting through that, it would be him–the bastard.

From here my mind wandered and naturally a story started forming.

You know that second half of that book, the part about the kids… what if it is actually about ZOMBIES…

So, in the midst of holiday bustle I grabbed a copy of Wuthering Heights, a book I had read as a high school senior–a book I had complained about for years after–and, much to the shock and horror of 18 year old me, began to read it again.

First off, it turns out this book isn’t as bad as I remember. There were some things that I noticed, now older. Like, for one, Heathcliff is no where NEAR the bad guy in this thing. Easily that role is Kathy, though Hindley plays his part as well.

Heathcliff, the totally not white kid Kathy’s dad brings home from London, basically just wants to be happy, live like everyone else. Oh, and is completely in love with Kathy, who strings him along all their youth until they are old enough to do something about it, and then she pulls the marrying for station non-sense, which is a not-subtle, not-polite way of saying she can’t marry the brown kid.

Heathcliff, heartbroken after a lifetime of abuse by her family, decides, fuck this, and leaves. We don’t know where, but it is speculated by everyone else that it is off to war.

Comes back years later with a small fortune and nothing but revenge on his mind. Tells them in a very Shakespearean manner that he intends to ruin them all, and the rest of the book is him doing that.

And somehow remaining the best person of the lot.

Like, Hindley at one point, sloppy English drunk, barks at Heathcliff for some non-sense, SHOOTS at him, like with a gun, in the house, BAM, misses, because sloppy English drunk, and Heathcliff is like: there there, drunk man, it is ok, let me take you back up to bed.

I mean, it is because he wants Hindley to suffer, but still.

Anyway, zombies.

So, the book, which was to be called Wuthering Nights if you must know, and you must know, because that title is rad, was going to pick up in the next-gen era, when Heathcliff is forcing the children to marry because then at least someone will be happy in all this mess… which is not what happens, of course.

So instead of awkward family drama, we drop in zombies. They attack the Heights, and Heathcliff realizes that Kathy 2 is all he has left of Kathy, and by God she’s going to survive this.

I’d even figured out how to get the zombies into the mix.

Of course, I suspect you know where this is going. Shortly there after a certain book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released. There are differences, naturally. PPZ is more light hearted, and intermixed the story inside the original text. I had planned to write a sorta stand-alone retelling of the end of the book. I had also thought to keep it serious and more in the style of the original.

But, as these stories go, as PPZ was announced, my desire to write Wuthering Nights had left. I do not know if the original conversation that sparked the idea came from the ether, or if one of the booksellers had heard about PPZ’s upcoming release.

I do know that Heathcliff would have survived a zombie outbreak.

Zombies, Run! Part 2

Run: 1.58 miles, Time: 21:24

Where was I?

The hospital. I’d grabbed some supplies and some papers, and headed back out towards the tower. Sam is back on the radio. He sees me, and sees I have found something.

Guard it with your life, the Doctor says. I think that means if I see zombies not to drop the papers while i run for my life, but i’ll ask for clarification when I get there.

Maybe I am getting numb, I think, but it seems to be getting easier.

I have a way with timing, I have learned. Sure there are a thousand stories I could related about my poor timing events, but this one should demonstrate it. As soon as that thought was done two things happen. The first is that this pain starts up my left leg. It isn’t quite a cramp, but close. The second is that Sam’s voice comes back over the radio.

There are zombies coming. Great I think. They are catching up, he says. Fast zombies? Great. Fast zombies suck. Run, he says, run, and I do.

Runner 7 comes on the radio, tells me they are sending people with guns to provide cover, but whatever I do, don’t stop. She’s right behind me.

She? I hear Sam talking, through the mumbles and the “oh no”’s and my general panting and hard breaths I catch on who is behind me. The previous runner 5. You know, the one who I was told was really fast?

Apparently the pseudo-afterlife hadn’t taken that away from her yet.

My leg is on fire, and I have a simple realization: i can’t do this much longer. The gate opens and I see my fellow living emerge with guns, bringing me in.

Welcome to Abel, I hear. Let’s hope I’ve made the right choice.

I mention this game is great? Go get running shoes and go for it. iOS now, Android on the way.

Zombies, Run! Part 1

Introduction: Zombies Run! is a game for runners. You start it up and go for a run. While you are running, you’ll get an audio story of surviving a zombie apocalypse. Check out the website, or the ebook for more information.

Also, you should get the app. It, in fact, rocks.

Since I am a writer (or at least pretend to be) I couldn’t help a bit of thinking while I was running and listening. So, a zombie runner’s diary, if you will.

Run: 1.62 miles, Time: 21:40

Call me Runner 5. That’s what the voice on the radio called me, and I think it fits.

My day isn’t going too well. I was on a helicopter ride into Abel township. It isn’t much of a settlement, but is was stable. The chopper pilot was a chatter and talked most of the way there. I was tempted to unplug the radio, but thought again.

Trouble started when we got close to Abel. As we were inbound the light arms fire started. Then someone shot an RPG, hitting us in the rear, taking out our tail. A parachute ride to a tree, and a drop to the ground and I am alone in zombie infested wilderness, with some unknowns out there with an RPG.

Then this voice called over the radio. Go to the tower he said, zombies inbound. I keyed back a reply but it didn’t go through. Transmitter was busted, but at least I could hear him. He says run, and I run.

A few minutes later my body was screaming. You know the first rule? Cardio. Guess what I had been ignoring? But then I see it off in the distance, the tower. Hope will make your legs move. So will fear, but I was saving that one.

The voice is back. Sam, I think. He told me, but i was too busy falling out of a tree at the time. He tells me there is trouble ahead and directs me on a safer path. Then this Doctor comes on the radio.

Look, she says, you need to make a detour and pick up supplies. “We earn our keep here,” she said, and I can pick up supplies or maybe they won’t let me in. I’m thinking: Lady, I was just in a helicopter crash. But I turn, and I go.

Sam comes back on the radio. He keeps talking to me, and unlike the chatty chopper pilot, I don’t mind. He calls me Runner 5 after one of their runners who they just lost. I was going to be offend until he spoke of her.

Alright, I thought, Runner 5 will come back, Sam. Even if it is me instead of her.

More zombies in the way and he lead me through the ground floor of the hospital to get around it. If I find a beer, I’ll be brining it to him. Look for some papers too, he said, and I start thinking this is a scavenger hunt. I grabbed a bag that was left on the nurses station and threw the med packs and papers inside before running again.

The town is close, and I just might make it.