It has been thirty years since England was plagued by zombies. Humans fear for their lives while the dead kill the living.
By the cover of night, a man known only as Aeron hunts these creatures. On one foggy evening he finds Lucille Knight’s life in jeopardy and Aeron’s interest is instantly peaked when he saves the young lady.
But Aeron will have competition when Lucy meets Lord Garrett Ashdown, son of the Inventor, Earl Thomas.
Lucy is drawn to the masked man and equally mysterious Lord. With one concealing his true identity and the other hiding a ghastly secret, she does not know which one is less dangerous.
Will she be able to be with the man she chooses when she learns the awful truth?
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Excerpt from Gravely Inanimated
I was being rescued by some pale stranger with long black hair hiding behind a mask. Thoughts turned into a jumbled My father never talked about what happened when the zombies first rose, but I knew he had been through a lot. A vast majority of England had been wiped out when they first showed up.
The zombies appeared to favor the night when partiers and drinkers were susceptible. From watching several during the day, it did give the impression that they were much weaker when the sun was up.
If it had not been for the famous inventor Earl Thomas Ashdown and all of his automatons, England would be nothing more than a feasting ground for those disgusting creatures. When more time passed, his steam-powered inventions became more advanced and helped us build an army that could at least defend England from the zombies. However, with one dead, it was as if three more emerged. As of late, it seemed that more automatons were in need, and it had been over a year since a new model was made.
Many stories about how the zombies came to be floated around. The most popular story became the gossip of a voodoo queen who obtained the souls of unsuspecting humans. It had been said that she captured the victim’s shadow, and then, little by little, took hold of their body until she possessed the entire person. The person would die, and the voodoo queen would raise them from the grave later that night to put them into a comatose trance. Which turned them into a slave, needing only human brains, flesh, and blood to survive.
After that, the voodoo queen’s curse passed from the zombie to whatever human it drew blood from. One would become nothing more than an animated corpse soon to haunt the streets in tattered rags without any memory of whom or what they once were…or, at least, that was the rumor. Soldiers searched for the queen behind the wreckage, but not much was found to prove it.
There was no other explanation, and the Royal Family was known for their secrets and keeping their people calm…well, calmer state by never acknowledging such a person existed. I could imagine the riots that would ensue, people searching any house they pleased to find out where she was.
For a moment I stopped brushing my hair. I do wonder if their soul was trapped inside their body, and they realize everything they are doing even though they don’t really want to do it. They’re just remnants of a person who once was, dreaming of death as their flesh rots, entirely subservient and bound to the ascendancy of that wicked queen.
People had whispered that they have seen her. She was said to have on a ball gown made of spider web and goblin silk, dirty matted hair twisted into dreadlocks, wild eyes that flashed red when looked into directly and dark skin that was no smoother than that of an alligator. Or so people alleged. I wasn’t sure anyone could see such a woman and not fall over dead where they stood! How ghastly it would be. I shuddered at the thought and put my brush down.
The idea was less speculation since the outbreak began in London instead of somewhere else around the world.
After I rubbed my temples, I felt my bay window beckoned to me. Sitting on the thin cushion, I pressed my finger against the glass filled with condensation and pushed open the French-style window. Zombies had yet to climb trees to get to anyone so I didn’t fear my window being open.
“I see you are home safe.”
I covered my mouth before a small yelp came from me. When I scanned the street, I noticed Aeron leaning against a small tree. “Go away.” I tried to keep my voice low so my father wouldn’t hear.
“I only wanted to make sure I had not gone out of my way for you to get into trouble a few steps from your house, Miss Knight.”
He must have read my surname off our plaque. Shaking my head, I pulled the window shut and took to my bed, raising the covers high over my body. “What an annoying boy.”
Still, he did save my life, the little voice in my head said as I stared up at the canopy above.
Why did I treat him so harshly when he only wanted to keep me alive? I turned on my side and hugged my pillow tighter. Maybe it had been the suddenness of it all. I became caught up in the moment, truly upset with myself for being so naive and using him to take my anger out on instead of berating myself. I was such a clever girl. He was still a stupid boy though.