A Zombie Walks Into a Bar…

Yeah, I don’t really have a follow-up on that title. I’m the zombie, but I’m not walking into a bar. I’m crawling into bed.


This past weekend I participated in a weekend flash fiction competition that required me to write a 1000-word horror story that takes place in a prison. It wiped me out more than I expected, and the last two days of work have turned me into a walking zombie, so for this week’s 99-word story, I’m just gonna drop it here. It actually stems from some of my prison research.

EDITED TO ADD ON JULY 18: As I delve into a new writing project, I am exploring characters that I do not understand or have much sympathy for. How do I present them in a way that readers can/will connect to them? In order to help me hone the skills I will need to create these characters, I decided to try to step into others’ shoes to see how they react to situations. 

One such issue for me is how abuse survivors defend their abusers after the relationship is broken (i.e., the survivors are no longer controlled in the here and now [although in their minds they likely still feel controlled]). I’ve read deeply on this subject. I’ve completed training to help survivors of abuse…well, survive, but no matter much I cognitively understand the logic and rationale behind defending their abusers, emotionally I just don’t get it. So this week, I attempted to understand it. [end edit]

This week’s Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an unexpected landing. 


We were together six months, so tight from day one. I knew we’d be together forever.

Then a million knives struck my heart—both our hearts. We mourned our daughter.

When his fist landed in my chest, he was still hurting. I couldn’t breathe. He’d kill me, he said, then himself.

The cops asked how it started, what I did. I wanted to explain, make them understand. He was in pain. But they just wanted facts.

I needed him gone. But now his life’s ruined. What have I done?

I love him. I just wish I’d never met him.


  • Hope you got some sleep. 99 brilliant and touching words.

    Jules DixonJuly 19, 2017
    • Feeling a little more human today. But that might be the allure of Vietnamese food I promised myself for my “day off” (bwahaha…as if I have those).

      C. JaiJuly 19, 2017
  • In some ways, your compassionate take resonates because there’s no judgement for the survivor’s conflicting emotions and irrational response. In other ways, it’s irritating. So I know you got it right! I’m impressed with all the words you are wrangling this month and do set up grounding rewards like Vietnamese food when you have pushed yourself hard. Good luck with the contest!

    Charli MillsJuly 20, 2017
    • I tinkered with this piece for several days — and am still tinkering with it, which is unusual for me and has me a little off kilter. But the Vietnamese food was delicious and forced me to go out in public (which means I had to shower, get dressed — the whole shebang). I have to force myself to do that at least once a week. 😀

      C. JaiJuly 20, 2017

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