Tennis and a Movie: Thoughts on the 2022 Sundance Film Festival Premiere of ‘Alice’

Good evening to you! I know, I’ve been away for a few weeks—up all night watching Australian Open tennis, which has been full of drama this year! And that’s excluding the fact that the number 1 player in the world (on the men’s side), defending champion, and holder of 20 grand slam titles was (not so) swiftly deported from the country the day before the tournament for not being vaccinated. That whole ordeal by itself was an epic saga. One that may or may not happen again at the French Open… TBD…

But you’re in luck tonight! Because there is no late-night singles tennis scheduled, so I may actually sleep (but Lord help me on semi-finals night tomorrow).

While I have the time, I thought I’d give you a follow-up to my post about the premiere of the film Alice in the U.S. Dramatic Competition of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, which stars Keke Palmer and Common. I watched the film earlier this week (though I almost missed it, distracted by so many exciting sporting events happening at the same time—NFL playoffs divisional round, tennis—I had games playing on my phone, my computer, my TV…it was a wild night), and I must say I really liked it, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

If you recall, I found the plot to be eerily similar to my story “Runaway,” which was written as part of my Twilight Zone New Year’s marathon. Although the film was definitely Twilight Zone-esque, it wasn’t the time travel sci-fi flick I was expecting it to be. And, in hindsight, I realize the synopsis pretty much told us that, I just overlooked that part entirely.

Alice (Keke Palmer) spends her days enslaved on a rural Georgia plantation restlessly yearning for freedom. After a violent clash with plantation owner Paul (Jonny Lee Miller), Alice flees through the neighboring woods and stumbles onto the unfamiliar sight of a highway, soon discovering that the year is actually 1973. Rescued on the roadside by a disillusioned Black activist named Frank (Common), Alice uncovers the lies that have kept her enslaved and the promise of Black liberation.

In her debut feature, writer-director Krystin Ver Linden spins a modern liberation fable that is equal parts earthy Southern Gothic and soulful Blaxploitation. Inspired by true accounts of Black Americans who were kept in peonage for more than 100 years after the end of slavery, Alice is an audacious mix of grim historical fact and exceptional fiction. Moving from a purgatorial plantation overgrown with Spanish moss to the lively landscape of urban Savannah, Ver Linden traces Alice’s breathless journey down the rabbit hole and into the turbulent wonderland of the post–Civil Rights South.

2022 Sundance Film Festival

The twist (and this is not a spoiler because it’s right there in the synopsis—I was just a little slower in catching on) is that the year was always 1973. Alice didn’t jump through time when she ran from her tormentor through the woods and emerged on a highway, nearly getting run over; she, the other slaves on the plantation, the plantation owner, and neighboring plantation owners and their slaves were all anachronisms, living in this surviving pocket of the antebellum South deep in the backwoods of 1973 Georgia.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute/Eliza Morse

And there were hints of this sprinkled throughout the first 30 minutes of the film: Alice’s husband’s grandfather telling the story of a man “like us” (Black) he once saw fall from the sky (paratrooper) who could make fire with his hands (lighter), the foreshadowing that there’s something else out there beyond the woods, the elderly mistress recalling that she was once a dancer in Chicago (presumably during the roaring 1920s), the owner’s son returning home (I originally thought from boarding school, but it was actually from his mother, who has divorced his father and is now living in the real world, but is still an overt racist) with some new toy that makes this strange static sound (a radio), and the fact that the slaves are never actually referred to as “slaves” but as “domestics” (something the writer and director said was intentional).

But what I found more sinister was that this film is actually based on true events! Now, I know what you’re going to say. “Based on true events” is a phrase used loosely in Hollywood. A movie or series can profess that it’s based on a true story, but in reality, 0.0025% of it actually happened.

Again, because I overlooked this revelation in the description of the film, I thought “true events” might have been referring to the true stories of brutal mistreatment of African slaves by white slave owners, which is not a secret in our country’s history (even if our government is trying to ban it from being taught in schools today). So after the movie, I decided to tune in to the live Q&A with the film’s writer and director, Krystin Ver Linden, producer, Peter Lawson, and lead actor, Keke Palmer, to see if they would provide more details on these true events that apparently inspired the film.

The answer, again, was not what I expected, and is truly spine-chilling. It’s true, there were pockets of slave holders throughout the Deep South who continued to own slaves well into the 1960s, one hundred years after slavery was abolished—though, I don’t think these people were as dramatically frozen in the 1800s (period clothing, lack of electricity or plumbing, etc.) as the characters in this movie were.

I’ll save you the trouble of having to look it up (because the director literally just said, “Google it” 😂) and link the Vice article here. It’s a fascinating history lesson, but one that is also tragic, especially when you think about the story behind Juneteenth and realize there were countless others who had to wait even longer. Generations!

Now, I’m not naive. Forms of slavery still exist today, as the author of the above-mentioned article points out, the “school to prison pipeline and private penitentiaries.” Others that come to mind include sex trafficking, sweat shops, child labor. But something as blatant and defiant as the continuation antebellum chattel slavery when the rest of the world has progressed a century is abominable.

Thankfully, our titular character, Alice, has emerged in the era of Blaxploitation films—as was explained by Krystin and Keke in the Q&A, in that lull period post-Civil Rights when hope feels lost after the assassinations of leaders such as Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr, but there’s still a desire to bring progress and freedom to one’s people—and she quickly (perhaps too quickly, though it helps that she can read) realizes she’s been lied to all her life and returns to her personal hell donning an afro and black leather pants with fire and fury to “stick it to the man!”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute/Eliza Morse

Alice’s triumphant words to her former owner, “I am freedom,” in the final act was the culmination of a phenomenal performance by Keke Palmer. Common was a bit lack luster, unfortunately, but I think that had more to do with a weak script; he really didn’t have much to work with. The most I got from his character, Frank, was that he was a disillusioned ex-Black Panther who was still grieving his mother who had died alone in a sanatorium, and his brother, a Black Republican who owned a farm and employed poor, underpaid Mexican immigrants, was a source of great shame to him. For the most part, he merely served as a supporting character to Keke’s more dominant Alice (despite her meekness in the first 2 acts), which made some of their dialogues underwhelming—another possible reason for why it took me so long to figure out that she didn’t in fact travel in time.

This film will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the 2020 film Antebellum (which is valid, though the brutalization of Black bodies is not as graphic as in Antebellum), and some will wonder why stories like these still need to be told. Are we as Black people not sick of this constant bombardment of our traumatic history being glorified in movies and television? Why must they continue to trigger our PTSS (post-traumatic slave syndrome)? And while yes, I agree that I am tired, the reason why I believe a story like Alice is necessary in cinema can be summed up in the words of the Vice article’s author, Antoinette Harrell:

However, I also believe there are still African families who are tied to Southern farms in the most antebellum sense of speaking. If we don’t investigate and bring to light how slavery quietly continued, it could happen again.

The truth behind those words is haunting. There is so much more we just don’t know.

A 2022 Sundance Film Festival Discovery

Today a coworker was kind enough to share that this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival is offering $20 tickets for single films. I decided to browse the website for any movies I might be interested in paying $20 to see. One particular movie caught my eye: Alice, staring Keke Palmer and Common. Here’s the synopsis:

Alice (Keke Palmer) spends her days enslaved on a rural Georgia plantation restlessly yearning for freedom. After a violent clash with plantation owner Paul (Jonny Lee Miller), Alice flees through the neighboring woods and stumbles onto the unfamiliar sight of a highway, soon discovering that the year is actually 1973. Rescued on the roadside by a disillusioned Black activist named Frank (Common), Alice uncovers the lies that have kept her enslaved and the promise of Black liberation.

Okay, am I crazy or does this sound a lot like my story “Runaway“?? What are the odds that I would write a story with almost the exact same premise of a feature film premiering at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, right?

Let me be clear, when I wrote “Runaway,” I’d never heard of this movie, so let’s not throw around the “P” word. Besides, I was high on caffeine and 10 hours deep into a Twilight Zone blogging (and watching) marathon, so any creator not named Rod Serling was far from my mind at the time of writing.

In any case, time travel is not a novel trope in fiction, nor is time travel to or from the antebellum period, for that matter. One book that immediately comes to mind is Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred (high on the recommendation list, if you haven’t read it already). And “Runaway,” specifically, was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode. So, while I can’t call my idea 100% original, it still fascinates me how I and the movie’s writer and director, Krystin Ver Linden, had the exact same setup for how our stories would begin.

Great minds, huh?

Anyway, I think I may buy tickets for this one. Maybe I’ll get ideas for an extended version of this Twilight Zone “episode.” But more than likely, I’ll just relish in the belief (now proven) that my stories are fully capable of becoming Hollywood feature films.

I just gotta write and publish them faster.

Wrap-up of 2021

As we wave goodbye to 2021, I have one request of 2022:

Please be nice to us.

2020 was rough. 2021 literally started with a bang, and not in a good way.

(I’m still holding my breath for what chaos may erupt on Thursday…)

But I remain hopefully for 2022, despite all the doom and gloom, and I attribute that hope to how I ended my 2021…

Returning to writing!

I wish I could pinpoint the exact cause of my loss of inspiration over the last few years. Look, 2020 was a horrible year, for everybody, but truthfully, I started to fall off around mid-way through 2018, which is funny because 2018 was actually a good year for me. I’d just gotten a new job, moved to a new city, started a new relationship. I was feeling myself and finally feeling like a grown woman.

And maybe that’s why… I couldn’t think of any cursed love stories to write, because I was happy. I was in my Taylor Swift cycle.

Then, without revealing too much, 2019 came with a lot of hard decisions that, in hindsight, began a very long period of depression and then denial of said depression. By 2020, I was on the verge of a total meltdown. At some point, toward the end of 2021—when it started to sink in that 30 was quickly approaching and baby fever was coming down hard—I realized I needed to get my stuff together. Because no man would be happy with me if I wasn’t first happy with myself. So I turned to the one thing that’s always brought me peace and solace and picked up the pen again, metaphorically speaking of course.

In that last month and a half of 2021, I published 82 posts, garnered 1,446 views and 341 likes, and embarked on my most ambitious blogging challenge yet: 25 Twilight Zone-inspired stories in 25 hours, midnight to midnight, leading up to the New Year (technically 24, because one of the stories was a short film I reshared).

Though the stats aren’t close to the numbers I had three years ago, I’m hoping this upward trend is a positive sign of more to come for both myself and those of you who follow or choose to follow as the year progresses.

So let’s look at some of your favorite posts since the comeback:

  1. Parting Gift
  2. Get Lost with Me in the Twilight Zone
  3. Would You Like to Hear My Voice?
  4. Morning Inspiration: Writing Prompt No. 17
  5. Morning Inspiration: Writing Prompt No. 24
  6. Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | Ep 1 | Hell
  7. Realities of Long Distance
  8. Morning Inspiration: Writing Prompt No. 15
  9. Therapy Session
  10. Morning Inspiration: Writing Prompt No. 2

Going into 2022, I hope to bring you more 100-word stories, more poems (including Black Poetry Writing Month, which according to blog stats, continues to live on despite my absence), longer stories, a new serial story, THAT ONE BOOK(!), your favorite posts as podcast episodes (recently bought a microphone, so that’s cool 😉 ), and last but not least, your Morning Inspiration (but I’m switching that to weekly prompts on Mondays so I can be more consistent with posting).

So are you ready to have a brighter future in 2022? I know I am!

Get Lost with Me in the Twilight Zone

Hello, folks! Can you believe we’ve reached the end of the year? It came so quickly!

(And yet, so much has happened that January feels like three years ago. Quite the conundrum…)

To close out this very long year—which feels like a continuation of 2020—I’m going to try something a little ambitious in an effort to continue to push myself to return to that prolific writer I once was in 2015–2017.

And hopefully I won’t talk myself out of it…or burn myself out…

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know I absolutely LOVE The Twilight Zone. And no, I’m not talking about Jordan Peele’s short-lived reboot, but the original series from the 1960s. And I don’t want to hear that I’m too young to know anything about The Twilight Zone. Sure, my mom may have been a little tot when the series first aired, but I promise you I have seen every single Twilight Zone episode there is at least twice.

Here are just a few Twilight Zone-inspired stories I already have published on the blog:

Some of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes include:

From The Twilight Zone episode, “When the Sky Was Opened”
  • Time Enough at Last
  • Perchance to Dream
  • When the Sky Was Opened
  • The Hitchhiker
  • The Last Flight
  • Mirror Image
  • The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
  • Long Live Walter Jameson
  • A Stop at Willoughby
  • The Howling Man
  • Nick of Time
  • Back There
  • The Odyssey of Flight 33
  • Shadow Play
  • Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up
  • The Arrival
  • The Mirror
  • The Grave
  • It’s a Good Life
  • The Midnight Sun
  • Still Valley
  • In His Image
  • The Thirty-Fathom Grave
  • Death Ship
  • Passage on the Lady Anne
  • Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
  • Living Doll
  • Night Call
  • Spur of the Moment
  • Queen of the Nile
  • I Am the Night, Color Me Black
  • Stopover in a Quiet Town
  • Garrity and the Graves
  • Come Wonder with Me
  • The Fear

The Syfy channel has definitely spoiled me in that every New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I am glued in front of the TV watching the annual Twilight Zone marathon! This year will be no different, but I’m going to take it a step further…

While I am watching The Twilight Zone episodes, I will be writing them as well. Yep, to ring in the new year, I’m going to have a Twilight Zone marathon of my own right here on the blog.

As you may have seen, since returning to the blogging world, I’ve been challenging myself to write at least 100 words a day (check out the A Drabble a Day tab)—or if not 100, at least something (see Morning Inspiration). This will be similar, except instead of a drabble (100-word story) a day, you’ll get a drabble every hour for one day only!

Whew! Can I do it? It sounds easy enough, but creating a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end in 100 words is actually quite challenging! Maybe I’ll give myself some wiggle room—100 words, more or less, depending on where the story takes me. Thankfully, I’ll have an endless stream of inspiration coming from my television set. Add to that the fact that we’ve been living in the twilight zone for the last 2 years, I think I’m covered as far as ideas go!

So, starting at midnight EST on December 31, I’ll be giving you a marathon of Twilight Zone-inspired 100-word (more or less) stories every hour, on the hour, taking you all the way up to midnight January 1, 2022! Twenty-five stories in all! Some based on my favorite Twilight Zone episodes; others, creations of my own.

A massive conquering, but with your support, I think I can do it! See you New Year’s Eve!

 from The Twilight Zone episode “The Hitch Hiker”

Are you a fan of The Twilight Zone? Let me know in the comments below. Maybe I’ll feature one of your favorite episodes in a story.

Podcast Frustrations and a Flashback Friday Episode

Alright so I have to be honest. I’m reconsidering this podcast idea. Because this episode, which is just under three minutes, took entirely too long to create. Six freaking hours to be exact. For a podcast episode that’s two minutes and 28 seconds.

Between apartment noises at inopportune moments (leaf blowers, trucks revving their engines, dogs barking nonstop, and neighbors dropping things and slamming doors), fumbling over words and struggling to read my own dang writing, and realizing the story desperately needed editing (because it was written at a time in my career when I thought lots of pretty words equaled great writing), what was originally supposed to be a “Throwback Thursday” post is now going up on Friday, and I’m still not 100% happy with it.

Plus, that is six hours of writing and editing that I won’t get back. Six hours I could’ve spent on writing a drabble for the day or editing my novella (which I’m determined to finish by the end of December).

But as frustrated as I am, after all this time I spent trying to perfect this episode, somebody is going to listen to it dang it!

So, a couple things to remember before I attempt to record the next podcast episode…

  1. Nortina, you are a writer first. Don’t take on any more endeavors that’s going to further distract you from your writing, especially after you’ve been away for over two years.
  2. The podcast should be a special treat for your blog followers, not another job. You wanted it to be fun, right? So keep it fun, but understand your limits. Weekly episodes? Not feasible. One episode a month of a top post from the previous month? That could work. Getting frustrated to the point of mental breakdown over a story written seven years ago. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So, although I’m not going to give it up completely, for the sake of my own sanity, it might be a few weeks before another episode goes live. While you wait, here’s “A Cold, Gray August,” an eerie story that was originally published on this blog January 9, 2014. It saw a few revisions as I was working on the podcast, so if you’ve been here since the beginning, why not have a revisit?

If you don’t have Spotify, you can also listen to the full episode here.

What are your thoughts on this new podcast feature WordPress has? Me, I’ll remain optimistic, but to be honest, I prefer typing to speaking.

If We Were Having Coffee…

Good morning! It’s finally September, right? Then I’ll have a pumpkin spiced latte. Hold the whipped cream. Almond milk, please. I’m taking a break from dairy.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m not becoming another one of those nondairy, plant-based, “eating animals is bad,” basic, valley, vegan chicks (just a basic pumpkin spice chick) flooding the interwebs…

But, I may be going… lactose intolerant.

I don’t know, can someone suddenly become lactose intolerant when they’ve never had an issue before? All I know is I’ve been having some major digestive problems whenever I eat or drink anything with dairy in it. Noticed it mostly with the butter I put in my food because I actually don’t drink cow’s milk anymore… unless it’s in coffee…or mac and cheese.

Haven’t noticed a problem with cheese yet, but if that happens, I think I will literally die.

There is no vegan substitute for cheese. Period.

With a “T.”

PERIODT!!!

It’s like tofu. I don’t care how you dress it up, I know it ain’t chicken. And no matter how much cashew milk and nutritional yeast you put in your little witch’s brew…IT DON’T TASTE LIKE CHEESE!

Fight me.

But we’re getting a bit off topic. Let’s talk about the real reason you’re here…

Where the frack have I been?

I know, I know. It’s been about three months since my last post—five months since the last time you saw a post from me daily (April A to Z Challenge). Do I have an explanation for my absence?

Nope.

Well, I do… but I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. (Still dealing with the inner trauma of an ex calling me a nagging complainer… *cue uncomfortable laugh*)

If you really must know, let’s just say computers have not been a friend to my eyes lately. The whole office environment, really. Have you ever notice how bright those florescent lights are? Geez, would it kill ya to put in a dimmer??

But seriously, I think I’m finally learning how hard it is to balance a day job with my creative passions. Because let’s be honest, at my last job, I hardly did anything. Just sat at a desk and answered a phone that rarely rang. The highlight of my day was organizing some files, okay?

Now that I’m in a world of deadlines and production spikes and ever-changing style guides and meeting an editing proficiency of four pages per hour (which can sometimes be difficult when the material is really dense, poorly written, or God forbid, ESL!) all under too bright florescent lights and computer backlights, ya girl is T-I-R-E-D.

There, I said it. There’s your explanation.

When I come home from work, sometimes I just want to lie in bed, in the dark, with a cool, wet compress over my eyes. Getting back on a computer is furthest from my mind, unfortunately for you guys. Though, I appreciate those who still come back to visit my old posts.

And especially on those occasions when I do muster up the energy to write something and post, I thank you for giving me a second chance at entertaining you…

Like today…

Even though it’s with less than 600 words…

And it’s not fiction or poetry.

Hopefully, that will come back soon. When I’ve emptied my mind of all my work-related obsessions and stresses and have left them…at work.

And hopefully, it won’t be another three months before you hear from me again.

But for now, I have to say goodbye. I must rest my eyes.

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Pocket-Sized Love Poetry (#AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal)

So . . .

I’m sure you’re wondering . . .

Where the hell I’ve been . . .

The short answer . . . Getting my life together.

You’ve got to check in on us millennials every once in a while, you know. We’re quickly approaching 30, and we are not okay. 

The real answer . . . I really haven’t been writing much of anything lately. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s been so hard for me to write. Call it fear of failure, fear of success, lack of fresh ideas, writer’s block, an aversion to reading words on the computer because it already consumes my days at the 9-to-5—honestly, I don’t know why. I tried to figure it out in this post, but still, there’s really no straight answer. So, I’ve just been away.

But the good news is I’m back. And it’s no coincidence that it’s just in time for the A to Z Challenge, either. I’ve always enjoyed participating in this challenge, and if anything is going to force me to climb out from underneath my rock, it’s being challenged to write a new post every day (except on Sundays) for 26 days for each letter of the alphabet.

So, without further ado, let’s get into this very late theme reveal, shall we?

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Pocket-Sized Love Poetry

Maybe you’ve noticed my love haiku and love tankas that I post periodically on this blog?

I’ve always loved the Japanese poetry form, and the short love poem is something I’ve always enjoyed writing. Like a little note you’d write to a lover and leave for them to discover on their desk, or chair, or pillow just to surprise them and show how much you care for and cherish them.

So I had an idea, a few years back, of publishing some of my favorite love haiku and tankas in a chapbook . . . a chapbook of short love poems—pocket-sized ones, as the title suggests. I think the idea of A Kiss in Your Pocket was first inspired by my studies of early African American poet George Moses Horton, who sold personalized love poems to students for 25 to 75 cents apiece. I imagined him walking the streets around campus, a pocket full of scribblings of short love poems on paper. Passing them along to lovesick students for a couple of cents, who would then share them with loved ones and friends.

So here is my pocket full of love poems to you. However, to make things a little interesting, I just don’t want to write a poem to a lover, I want that lover to respond. So, I’ll be experimenting with two different kinds of Japanese poetry forms, ones specifically meant to be written between lovers: the sedoka (a pair of 5-7-7 or 5-7-5 syllable katauta, or half-poems that act as a question and answer conversation between lovers) and the somonka (two tankas written as two love letters between lovers).

Starting tomorrow, I’ll post the first half of the sedoka or somonka (the call), and the next day, I’ll post the lover’s response, continuing from A to Z. At the end of the month, I’ll have 13 pairs of pocket-sized love poems!

I hope you’ll enjoy them. And if you think I should definitely move forward with that chapbook idea, please leave me a comment below. Encouragement is the best motivation. 🙂

Nortina

The Struggle Is Real

I’m struggling, y’all. Struggling to find inspiration. Struggling to write something worth reading. Struggling to write anything that won’t get decimated when my trigger-happy finger presses the backspace key. I can’t even think of a good Monday’s #1MinFiction prompt. Hence why there hasn’t been one for the last two weeks.

I guess I’ve been busy. I got a new job editing “science-y” articles. I’m not a “science-y” person, and the “science-y” lingo is frying my brain. Who knows if that’s the true reason for this current bout with writer’s block, but that’s the excuse I’m going with for now.

Then again, I don’t really want to use it as an excuse, because I actually like my job… A LOT. Some nights, I sit up and think, “Wow, I actually made it. I actually found a job in my field. And it has benefits. Paid vacation. Paid holiday. An optional work from home week for the Fourth of July! All that money I wasted, er, paid (am still paying) for a degree actually means something now! Shoot, maybe I’ll get my degree framed. Maybe I’ll hang it up on the wall!” And it’s nights like those when I feel most inspired to write again, and I post encouraging tidbits like this.

But the fiction has been few and far between, the poetry even less. I don’t know why that is, I don’t know why the creativity in me is so spent, especially when the ideas have all been there. It’s the writing, the writing . The turning it into an actual story or poem, a piece of art (because what are writers if not artists?) that just can’t come together for me.

Recently, I received an email from Camp NaNoWriMo. Yes, camp is starting again, and I want to use this year’s camp to find my drive for writing again. Writing something, anything, even if it’s just 100 words a day, even if those 100 words are total rubbish, at least they’ll be rubbish that I wrote and rubbish that I was confident enough about to hit publish for. And no, I won’t wait until to July to get started. Any more waiting, and I’ll just talk myself right out of doing. I’ve been talking myself out of doing a lot of things for far too long. That ends today…

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Conclusion – X, Y, and Z

X Marks the Spot

Mel

“I think, therefore I am.” Five little words to explain human existence. It’s become my mantra as I meander down the empty road.

I am still flesh, blood, bone; still mind coherent; still…human.

Carol didn’t give me a chance to explain. But she will. I saw a man in the car with her before it sped off, which can only mean Mr. one-night-stand with the Victorian era house is real.

See, I remember. Humanity still exists in me.

When I get there, I’m not alone. Others like me—humans still—surround the house, all interested in the treasure hidden inside.


YOLO

They’re chained to the wall—mere inches from each other—Grace and the woman I thought I saw him murder…

Except, they’re different. Pallid, rotten skin. Moaning incoherently…

“I thought I could use Grace to save the ones that don’t turn back in the day…” he says.

Is that what Mel has become? I wonder.

He points to the woman. “What you saw me stab her with was a serum.”

At the restaurant, she was beautiful—flushed cheeks, hair the color of sand, deep brown eyes—I was envious of her. “So it works!”

He shakes his head. “Only temporarily.”


Zombie Apocalypse

Mel for only half a day? Can our friendship withstand it?

No time to wonder. There’s a clawing and ripping at wood. The drain of color from his face and eyes tells me what we both fear, and when the basement door is ripped open and flung to the bottom of the staircase, he slams the door to our tiny room and locks it.

But are we really safe? Confined in this tight space with two hungry zombies while an army beats tirelessly on the other side.

Hours from morning, and even then, only two of them will become human…

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is over, and today is actually reflection day, but I still have to finish my 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

Today’s conclusion was brought to you by the tags, “X marks the spot,” “Yolo,” and the tag that inspired the whole story, “zombie apocalypse.”

I hope you enjoyed! I left the ending open ended intentionally. Do they survive to the day? Interpret it how you will.

#AtoZChallenge A Drabble for a Tag: Werewolf

“I was a doctor before Grace,” he says.

Grace, who is real. An elderly woman who came to his office one day with a dire problem.

“I thought it was an advanced form of dementia. Then she invited me down here—” We stand in front of the obscure door at the back of the basement, where he finally acknowledges the knocking that has haunted me since I was last here.

“I watched her transform.”

“Into what?”

“They’re like werewolves,” he says, “except instead of a full moon, it’s every night. And they’re still—”

“Human?”

He nods. “At least, a version…”

—Nortina


The A to Z Challenge is back, and this year, I’m giving you 26 drabbles (100-word stories) using some of my favorite unused or underused tags.

OK, so I fell behind, but I won’t leave you hanging! Thursday’s tag was “werewolf.”

Stay tuned for the conclusion, “X,” “Y, and “Z” tomorrow!