Finished a new short story today, His Pale Blue Eyes. Despite the title it's a zombie story, though the undead are not the main feature, but a ten-year old girl looking for her parents in a post apocalyptic world. Perhaps that's one of the enduring strengths of the zombie trope, that it creates scope for placing people in extreme situations and seeing how they react to them. In that sense, yes, the zombies are little more than a convenient macguffin.
Anyway, whether anyone else likes this story or not, I enjoyed writing it, especialling creating the main character.
These are the opening paragraphs:
"Her parents had told her to stay indoors. But it was dark and scary. She could hear them, the things she thought of as zombies, even though her parents forbad her to use that word. They were outside, groaning, shuffling, sniffing at the walls. They were nearly always there, especially at night. Allison wondered what they looked like. She had only ever seen them from a distance or on the monitor screens of the CCTV cameras that surrounded the building, but the pictures were monochrome and blurred. Her parents always hid her eyes from the creatures when they took her outside. The last time had been weeks ago. That was before her father found the new place. Allison missed their old home, though. She had lived there almost as long as she could remember. The new place smelt musty, and its walls were damp with growths of fungus. It was boring in here. Every room was the same, what windows it had bricked up with breezeblocks. Her parents called it The Bunker. They tried to make it a joke, but it didn’t seem funny, even if they were safe inside its thick walls and the stainless steel doors her father had installed front and back.
Allison stared at the monitor screens. The creatures were still there. Some of them were staring at the sky or across the grass that surrounded the bunker, where every shrub or tree had been burned by her parents so there was nowhere for them to hide. Allison glanced at the twenty-four hour clock. Her mother and father had been gone for hours now, scavenging for supplies. They were not usually gone so long and Allison had begun to feel worried. She knew that accidents could happen. They had happened to others. They could happen to anyone.
They could even happen to her parents, she knew."