I can’t remember how I came across Jennifer Hudock’s work online, but I’m glad I did.
Her stories are interesting to read with intriguing character development. She has podcasted Goblin Market which you can listen to free on her website. But it’s her newest project that has me really excited for her work.
She has started self-publishing a collection of her short stories, Dark Journeys, in ereader formats. Each story in the collection is released individually, with previews on her website. So you can check it out and pick the story up at Amazon.com or Smashwords.com. And the best part of the deal is that most of the stories are only 99 cents with none of them being more than $2.
Jennifer Hudock is taking online writing and publishing into her own hands and in new directions. She’s made the cover art and excerpt available so that people like me can blog about it and share the fantastic. And so I am covering it here; I love watching what new ideas she and her fiance/fellow podcaster/author, James Melzer.
So here is the newest story in the collection, and it’s actually a 2-for-1 deal. If you like Jennifer Hudock’s work, you should let her know!
I know it’s stupid, but I wish I had a backpack full of brains instead of a week’s supply of granola and dried fruit. Unfortunately when you’re packing for a big hike, the last thing you really worry about is how you’re going to fend off the walking dead. I’m more or less convinced that a backpack full of brains would be a good distraction, allowing me to climb down from this tree while they were feasting and run away.
So far, the tree has been a pretty safe haven. The dead aren’t smart enough to climb trees; they’re clumsy. These last two hours though, their focus seems to have gotten sharper, and I know it’s because I’m the only meal within a ten mile radius. And that is where the brains would come in handy. I’d only need to throw one or two of them and then watch them all stumble after it like broken dogs fighting over a bone.
Instead of brains though, I have granola bars and banana chips and enough water to choke a horse in the desert. I don’t even have a gun, and even if I did, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to use it. I’m just a girl, and before you say, “Well I guess that was your first mistake,” I’ll have you know that I survived the first attack. I swung my way through a wave of hungry, dead campers while my boyfriend Keith was overwhelmed and torn limb from limb like a Thanksgiving turkey at a homeless shelter.
The last thing I heard him say was, “Run, Laura! Run!” That second “run” was wet, and it gurgled in his throat like hair in a clogged drain.
I didn’t ask questions. With a heavy branch in my hand, I picked up my feet and booked outta there Olympic-gold-medal-track-runner-style.
Keith’s garbled screams echoed off the canyons, and I ran until I couldn’t hear them anymore. By the time I stopped to catch my breath and shed a couple of tears, I was lost.
When we were attacked, we had already hiked about two days from the state park parking lot. Silly me left Keith in charge of both the compass and the GPS, which meant I was more or less screwed, and I wasn’t going back for either one. I didn’t even realize just how badly I was screwed until I circled back around the same rock formation the fifth time, stifling my own screams of frustration.
That was then I saw them. There were five of them staggering toward me in dusty clothes, their gore-crusted mouths gaping, innards strewn like gutted trout. Three of them were pretty badly decomposed from the smell of them, and the other two looked more like recent victims. Possibly even victims of the rotting corpses leading the way.
For a second I was scared that Keith was right behind them, but so far there’s been no sign of him.