From the Secret Files of Agent Zee | Writing Warm-Up

Agent Zee, a Russian secret agent turned into a zombie via a super-solider project gone wrong, is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped celebrity musician. The musician is also an amateur sleuth who got too close to the mystery behind the Art Heist of 1989. During the summer of ’89, two unknown thieves stole millions of dollars’ worth in artwork donated to the United States by the Russian government as an act of goodwill. The two thieves were last seen in Florida just before a category four hurricane hit the state.

Soon after arriving at the warehouse where the kidnappers held the musician, Zee spotted three of the ’89 paintings. His gasp altered the kidnappers to his presence; they then shot him in the head. Even though Zee is a zombie, the headshot did not kill him but merely stunned him. While stunned, memories of his life from before his transformation flooded his mind.


Soviet Russia, late 1970s/early 1980s…

The elegant bathroom sparkled like diamonds. The lights reflecting off the smooth surfaces and fancy, glass tables caused an almost blinding effect. The band played a mid-tempo song for the dancers. Agent [REDACTED] entered the hall looking dapper in his tux, tails, and cummerbund. (Just to make things simpler we’ll continue to call him Agent Zee or Zee; his real name has been classified.)

“Agent Zee,” said a soft voice that sounded like it belonged to some noir movie femme fatale.

Zee tore his attention away from the swaying dancers and socializers. His eyes widened in awe of the stunning woman with ear-length black hair that looked like it was treated daily by a skilled beautician. Her short-sleeve dress fit her well. Her necklace and earrings complimented her almost neon green eyes.

“Monica,” said Zee.

She touched his still human skin. The touch brought memories of their time in Peru hunting down a rouge doctor. Intel told that the man wanted to harvest a rare flower that could bring the dead to life. Turned out he was a she, and she was working for a group known only as the Clay Men.

“What are you doing here?” asked Zee.

“Most likely the same as you,” she said making sure her British accent was noticeable. Monica worked with British intelligence. The two met on a mission in Paris. Each were there to sabotage the goals of the other—so much time had passed Zee could not remember what the goals were. The two spent weeks “getting” the other. It was like watching two kids during a prank war. Zee would foil her plans and then she would snare him in a trap. Eventually, the two realized both were after the same thing, which was also about the time they realized they’d fallen for each other. “Cooperation is far better than failure,” Monica said that day.

Zee hoped that Monica was not here now dealing with the same trouble he was…it could jeopardize the mission; or worse, they could be on opposite sides.

The band changed to a slower song. Monica took Zee’s hand in hers. Soon, the two were moving in time to the music, all thoughts of missions and possible betrayal out of their minds. Zee’s instincts screamed, “Distractions get you killed!” but he didn’t listen. He couldn’t.

The other dancers faded from Zee’s vision as everything became her. He placed his arms around her. She took a long inhale of his smell. Some part of Zee knew that she was supposed to smell his decaying, undead corpse. He looked into her eyes. Maybe…maybe it was the talisman. Agent Zee always wore a talisman around his neck that blocked his zombie smell.

What zombie smell? He wasn’t a zombie; he was human. Wasn’t he? Monica’s eyes and lips made his head feel fuzzy.

The two swayed and twirled to the hypnotic music. Monica looked into Zee’s eyes. Could she see his milky, dead eyes? No, she couldn’t; he wasn’t a zombie yet. But, how could he be alive? He’d been shot…hadn’t he?

Zee’s head swam as if he’d been drinking all night.

Monica placed a finger to his lips. “Shhh…” she said. Tears formed along the edges of her eyes. As the two moved, she sang in time to the music.

Don’t be alarmed.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be ashamed.

What happened is fate.

I love you,

My hope.

My better tomorrow.

She stepped back from Zee then held out her hand. Something was wrong. The dizziness increased. Was that blood he felt leisurely strolling down his cheek? How could that be? He has no blood. No, no, he has blood; he’s human…that thing was a nightmare. He’s not a monster. He did not defect to the Americans. The lies, secrets, and abuse from Russia had been propaganda. It was the Americans who created the vile experiments on his comrades.

Comrades…he hadn’t used that term in a long time. They couldn’t trust a turncoat spy. Or could they? The International League of Super-Transbeings welcomed him…even though he was undead and a traitor.

Monica continued to sing in time to the music.

Take my hand.

This is not the end.

My love is forever.

You’ll understand.

Now is your destiny.

My love remains.

The room started to spin. Zee felt short on breath. Was he dying? Could he die? Pulsing veins of dark light tugged at his eyes. At first, Zee thought he was simply feeling the excitement and joy of seeing a loved one again; but no, it was the drugs. Zee never saw her inject him.

Don’t be alarmed.

Don’t be afraid.

This is meant to be.

Take my hand.

This is not the end.

Now is your destiny.

My love remains.

Nothingness soon followed.

***

When Zee finally opened his eyes, he was once more in the laboratory of Dr. Trimble, the man who began his transformation into a zombie. Zee tested the chair’s restraints and found them not lacking in the least.

The Russian government, or at least the part working with the Xacians, ran may experiments and projects during the Cold War. The Xacians wanted the perfect soldier so they could rule this universe and one day every reality. The Russians wanted a perfect solider so they could beat the Americans. Ironically, the Xacians were also working with the Americans.

Zee was the Project [REDACTED] prototype. As you can guess, it didn’t go quite as expected.

After the first treatment, Zee discovered the real intent of the Xacians. He reported it to his supervisors; they already knew.

“Why are we not fighting them?” asked Zee.

“We don’t care,” said a general. “Our main purpose is to destroy the United States; once that is accomplished, we will deal with these invaders.”

And it wasn’t just the alien invaders the supervisors didn’t care about; it was the volunteers. Some of the men in charge didn’t care about Russia; they believed with the United States destroyed, the other nations would fall into line.

Agent Zee fled.

Now years later, Zee learned of Trimble’s latest plan. He created enhanced super-locusts; he planned to unleash them upon the world’s crops. Once there was no food, the populace would come to him, and by extension the Xacians.

Zee soon located Monica standing behind a nearby desk. Her eyes were cast to the floor. Just as Zee feared, Monica was with Dr. Trimble. Members of the British government wanted the locusts to attack the US and weaken it. They were still mad about the Revolutionary War and were easily seduced by the Xacians. The rogue officials believed that once the US surrendered its independence, the other ex-British colonies would do the same.

Zee nearly spat venom at Dr. Trimble. “Was there ever a locust plot or was this merely a lure to finish my treatments?”

“Of course, there was; I am a genius,” said Trimble. “I can multitask.” Trimble leaned closer to the electric chair-like machine which imprisoned Zee. “You will be the first in a new line of soldier: quick, strong, loyal, and indestructible. You will never hunger or thirst. You’ll never need to sleep.”

Dr. Trimble was right on a few things. Zee is virtually indestructible even to the point where he can operate his severed limbs; he is slightly stronger than the average person; and he can be quick when he wants. He’s also an excellent digger.

As for the “loyal” bit…just wait.

“Once the transformation is complete,” said Trimble, “you will lead the locusts across the world. All will bow to me!”

“Except for the UK, right?” said Monica.

An evil glint appeared in the eyes of Dr. Trimble. “What part of ‘all will bow to me’ did you not understand?”

“But we agreed!”

Dr. Trimble laughed. “Foolish woman!” He reached for the machine’s lever. It would begin the process. Monica grabbed Trimble’s wrist. “Vile child!” He slapped Monica; she let out a yelp and stumbled. “I’ll teach you to betray me!” He slapped her again. She stumbled again and fell against the table; she went silent.

“You psychotic slime!” shouted Zee. His face turned red, the last time his skin would have any color. He strained against the bonds.

Trimble reached for the lever. “Don’t worry, my child, in a moment you won’t care…about anything.”

The lever was pulled. Multicolored lightning coursed through Zee’s mortal frame. Liquid fire, which looked similar to the northern lights, flooded his DNA and mind. It felt like an eternity, but it was only a couple seconds.

Once the device was off, Zee’s head dropped. Trimble approached the chair confidently and unhooked the restraints. “Rise, my creation,” he said.

Zee stood, but it was reminiscent to watching a marionette stand.

“Look at me, my darling slave.”

Heh-heh, Zee looked at him all right. Trimble reeled backwards, arms pinwheeling. Zee’s face was decayed. You could see bits of bone and muscle along his cheeks and mouth. His skin was pale. And boy, did he smell. Zee spoke gibberish as he reached towards Dr. Trimble.

“This is not right,” said Trimble. “You are supposed to be a mindless slave—obedient to me alone!”

Zee inched closer to the slowly retreating doctor; he mumbled something again before clearly saying, “Monica,” in a half-dead voice. Then in a flash of speed, Zee had the doctor on the ground. It’s unclear if he attacked the doctor out of revenge for hurting Monica or simply because Zee was a mindless zombie.

I, ahem, think you can figure out what happened next.

“Braaaains,” said Zee.

So, let’s fast-forward to after the Trimble appetizer and even past the part where Zee returned to the party…still hungry. Luckily, the party was for some not nice people who wanted to purchase the mad scientist’s toys.

It wasn’t until the drug cartel dessert platter that Zee realized his wits were returning. The all-you-can-eat brain buffet changed him from a slow, mindless zombie into a slow, super-spy zombie.

With his previous intelligence restored—and the collective knowledge of some of the worst people on the planet—he returned to the laboratory. He found no sign of Monica or any sign of the genetically altered locusts.

Copyright 2020 Joe Rover. All rights reserved.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


Smashwords End of Year Sale Dec. 18-Jan. 1

How to Kill a Zombie with a Spoon

MarcusCVance ‬on Twitter started a thread about killing a zombie with a nearby weapon. ‪NoahElowyn ‬responded by saying cereal or soup. I made the joke about knowing 41 ways to kill a zombie with a spoon. NoahElowyn responded with a request to for me to list them all. I started by replying on Twitter but soon realized that would end in way too many Tweets and I didn’t want to spam anyone’s account. (sorry about the bad editing: I only had about 30 minutes to do this in)

Here you go:

  1. eye stab
  2. brain scoop
  3. forehead flick/tap/smash
  4. launch a rock between the eyes
  5. spoonful of poisoned brain
  6. hang spoon on nose make them laugh to death
  7. use spoon to play “Thriller” on your knees
  8. fake fetch throw into a pit (zombies aren’t smart)
  9. taser spoon (make sure you wear rubber gloves
  10. get them to stick spoon in light socket
  11. flick vulture chow on them
  12. hand spoon to zombie, tell werewolf that the zombie wanted to attack it with the silver spoon
  13. ice cream brain freeze
  14. use spoon to dig a hole (desperate times…)
  15. number 15 was redacted by the government
  16. pretend to be a doctor, tell them to open wide, shove spoon down throat
  17. saw (takes a lot of time)
  18. place spoons at top of stairs, let zombie trip on them
  19. spoon sword fight
  20. spy spoon that is really a laser
  21. have them collect limited edition spoons and hide the last so that their collection is never complete
  22. magnetized spoon in a room of sharp objects
  23. use the spoon force, luke (aka spoon bending)
  24. entertain them with spoon magic
  25. highly complicated deathtrap involving spoons, twine, and shaving cream
  26. make them listen to a 3 hr lecture on the history of spoons
  27. spoon machine gun
  28. fancy dinner party but the main course is another set of zombies
  29. tell them it’s a legendary weapon in an IRL zombie battle royale game
  30. get them to believe the spoon is a god that demands zombie sacrifice
  31. puppet show (you don’t wanna know)
  32. colonoscopy (you really don’t wanna know)
  33. drop the spoon, ask them to pick it up, when they look down attack
  34. really hot spoon
  35. confuse them with that spoon line from The Matrix
  36. start a line of designer spoon accessories and charge too much
  37. when there is a zombie group, point to one and say they’ve won the zombie Oscars and present them with the spoon, the other zombies will soon get jealous
  38. use spoon to drip acid on them
  39. use spoon to reflect a bright light at them and let them wander into traffic
  40. tell him the spoon is a symbol of their friendship then a month later betray him by making out with his girlfriend, he’ll die from a broken heart or kill himself with the spoon
  41. make them come up with a list of how to kill a zombie with spoons then follow it

Until the next wormhole…. thanks for reading.

Fear the Skeeter | COW Oct 19

Welcome to another “Confessions of a Writer” (or COW for short–FYI, I totally didn’t plan it to work out like that, maybe it should be COAW).

Halloween continues to inch closer. And then the real horror begins…National Novel Writing Month (but that’s a post for another day). This post is about Halloween and how every year it makes my thoughts weirder than normal. Take this one that woke me up at the Witching Hour this morning.

I woke up thinking about all the bloodsucking and/or biting creatures of the night. We’ve got vampires, zombies, werewolves, and even more. They all turn you into one of them with their bit or scratch. Suddenly, I became very thankful that mosquitos are not on that list. Could you imagine if that happened? You get bit by a mosquito and you become one! We’d have shows like The Walking Skeeter (though flying could work I suppose). And a half human-half mosquito creature…*shivers.*

So, what do you think would be the most disturbing thing people could turn into thanks to a bite? What would be the most hilarious? What would be the weirdest? Personally, I think a banana. That’d just be weird if people started to turn into bananas. I’m not sure how a banana would bite someone, but then again there have been killer tomatoes.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at most online retailers.

Seb Jenkins, author of Life After Death

Recently I had a chance to interview Seb Jenkins, author of Life After Death–a story about a man in his late 30s who is “plunged into an apocalyptic world of the undead” (quote taken from Life After Death description).

Let’s start with a little background.

(Photo courtesy of Seb Jenkins)

Seb Jenkins is a 20 year old student from Bedfordshire, England. His recent works are described as dark, gritty, and atmospheric which he attributes to a lifetime of immersing himself in endless horror books and gore-fuelled tv shows/films. When he isn’t writing, you can find him banging his head slowly against a brick wall, or desperately trying to think of that best-selling idea he came up with at 3am last night.

As of 2015, Seb is currently attending the University of Kent to study journalism and hopes to carve a career out of his passion for writing.

Why did you start writing?

It kind of just happened after time. I grew up reading series like The Maze Runner, Cherub, Darren Shan, and young teen books like these. I’d always wanted to have a go myself. After reading/watching a load of zombie type stuff, I just made some random notes and ideas, kept adding to them over a few months and eventually had this really detailed idea for a book.

Do you consider yourself a writer or an author? Why?

I consider myself a writer rather than an author as most of my work is unpublished. I think you make that step between the two once someone picks you up and/or you start making some money off your work. At the moment I just do it because I thoroughly enjoy it.

Who’s your favourite author? What’s your favourite genre? What’s your favourite story/book?

It’s impossible to choose one favourite author or book, but studying Brighton Rock by Graham Greene is something that leaps to mind. Usually picking a book apart and writing essays on it kind of kills the enjoyment side of things, but I loved that book from start to finish. My favourite genres are horror/thriller, so obviously anything by Stephen King is always a good shout. At the moment I’m reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I’m not a big fan of “picking a book apart” either. I like to keep the enjoyment alive too.

How did you get people to know about your stories/books?

I pretty much just upload my work to Wattpad and talk to other authors on there. Eventually you find people who want to read your work, or they just stumble across it.

How do you judge if you are successful?

Personally, I would consider myself successful writing-wise if I could ever make a career out of it, but different people have different goals.

How did you find Wattpad? Why Wattpad over other sites? Are you on other writing sites?

Wattpad is the only writing site I use really, after a friend recommended it to me. I love it just because there are so many similar writers, in similar positions, with similar problems, all in one place. It’s a great tool to swap tips, improve your writing and read some other great work.

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so where can people find you books?

I have self-published my first book Life After Death, however it is currently going through an extra stage of editing before I re-launch it. People can find all my work by following the links on my website, or checking out my Wattpad account.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes I have to just put my laptop away and go do something else for a few hours. I find that torturing yourself over details that just aren’t coming to your mind in that moment is extremely annoying. Usually I’ll just go watch some Netflix, or hang out with some mates and often the idea I was looking for kind of pops into my head eventually. Forcing writing never works.

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

I would say finishing Life After Death was probably my proudest moment. After a couple of years of writing and editing, finally finishing the final chapter was so satisfying. Then once started getting amazing feedback on Wattpad, it just amplified this even further.

What book/story has been the most fun to write? Which was the least fun to write?

So far, Death After Death (book two of Life After Death) has been the most fun to write. I’ve kind of found my groove with the story now, and added some really cool, fun characters to the second book. I’m really happy with where it’s going so far, and there’s so much less stress after the first book in a series is done. My least favourite would probably be There’s Been Another One, purely because sticking to a maximum word limit was so incredibly difficult.

What character would you want to be and/or what world would you want to live in?

I’d love to have a crack at the apocalyptic world in Life After Death, and I’d probably choose JJ from book two as the character I’d most like to be. I think he’s the one I modelled on myself most.

Imagine you could do anything you wanted—“in the real world” (you had enough money, time, etc), what would you do?

Unlimited food would be nice. If I had enough time and money I would love to create a huge immersive world like George R R Martin has done so beautifully with Game of Thrones.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers?

Don’t be put off by negative comments, or bad reviews. Just take what they say on board, go back and edit your work, often they will be making good and honest points. Your writing is always going to be a bit crap to start with, you just have to improve as you go to be honest.

What advice do you have for other (or new) writers on Wattpad?

Join some kind of group or book club to get you started. You’ll meet new people straight away, and find readers for your work. It’s the best way to get involved in a variety of circles on there. Don’t be afraid to message someone and say hi, or ask for help, or whatever. Most of the time they will be friendly and helpful.

Thank you for your time Seb Jenkins. Good luck in your future endeavors.

You can learn more about Seb on his website or contact him here.

You can purchase the Joe Rover ebooks at Barnes & Noble or Amazon