Zombie FairyTale: Part 2

NOTE: I left off from part 1 in kind of an odd place, sorry about that. Also, I know the title says it’s a fairytale, but I’ve decided to go in a different direction. I hope you enjoy it!         

 There’s plenty I’d like to never see again, but some things are inevitable. Death, heartbreak, struggle, injustice, loneliness. The list is as never ending as it is depressing. But I manage to keep my head up and keep moving along. I’m preparing. I will not go easy. In my little cupboard of a room I’ve got a whole arsenal of knives, guns, shields, and even a sword I stole from the armory. It was one of the prince’s finest, but he won’t even notice it’s gone, it’s three season’s old and his father’s had him about six swords made since. Although I couldn’t help but notice the armory was looking a little sparser since I was last there before the invasion. I can’t be the only one sneaking protection here and there. But like I said, I’m safe in the castle. For now anyway.

            But as soon as those brain-hungry zombies start to attack the village I’m out of here. I will die before I see my family turned because no one is willing to step out from the cushy castle to help. I’ve been practicing too, with Prince Cameron. Not with his stolen sword of course, that would be beyond stupid. But he’s actually a pretty nice guy, not nearly as vain and ignorant as his sister, if he was he wouldn’t be caught dead helping a servant in his free time. He’s a bit of a geek actually; he tutors at the little school house and spend his extra time reading. But like all good princes he knows how to fight. He was practically raised with a sword as his teddy bear.

            The King and Queen aren’t the most loving parents around. I started working for the royal family six years ago, when I was only eleven, and their third child was seven years old. I saw how they raised Princess Catherine, and I could see why Cameron would cling to a sword before he would confront his parents. Catherine was groomed into a perfect princess, even though that meant missing out on a childhood and friends, and that’s not something that can be regained during a zombie war. She’s thirteen now, but you wouldn’t know it if you sat down to tea with her. She’s much more mature than her older sister, although that’s not saying much.

            One might expect that after six years of working with Princess Cornelia we might actually be friends, but sometimes I wonder if she even knows my name. No doubt something she learned from her parents who still call me “servant” every time they address me. But I don’t think it will be too long now until the castle is overrun by zombies, then they will have to learn to fend for themselves. I’ve heard the other servants talking, I pretend not to listen and I’m pretty good at being invisible when I want to be, so no one watches what they say around me and I hear all the best gossip. The others are out of here the second the walls are breached, some even plan to leave early and get a head start.

            I’ve also heard the knights talking, their defenses are strong but the zombies are growing in numbers each day. There’s also word that peasants on the outskirts are organizing and plan to break through. I don’t blame them for wanting the protection of the kingdom, there is no reason why everyone on the outskirts can’t cross over the moat and enter the small enclosed city. There’s room enough for everyone and resources for at least a month. But the King and Queen are very strict about their decree that no one gets in and no one gets out. I expect that I’m one of only a few who’ve been on the outside in months. When I’m practicing with Prince Cameron he tells me of the knights’ great frustration that they are locked within the kingdom walls and unable to fight the evil in the world. He jokes that if the zombies don’t break in soon, the knights will break out. I wish he was right.

            I want someone out there protecting my family and all those families on the outskirts. Over the past few weeks there have been three attempts by zombies trying to get into their boarded up cottage. The groups are small now, but even zombies don’t take long to figure out that they are stronger together than apart. I just wish the rulers of this kingdom were as smart, because I don’t know how much longer my family has until waiting is no longer an option.

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I couldn’t blog… becuase a tree fell on my house

So, I was trying to get better about posting regularly. And I’d finally gotten in a pretty good routine, but then I came home from college and our home internet wasn’t working. We were going to get it fixed, but a 150 foot tall tree fell on our house and almost killed us and destroyed our house. My parents, two brothers, dog, and I all managed to get out with only a few scratches. We stayed with family for a few days, now we are staying in a hotel until we can get a rental house. I’m so happy that we are all alive, but living in a hotel with my family for up to two weeks is going to be a challenge. But at least the hotel has internet access!

In the next few days I’ll post a blog about what it was like to be in the house as it was falling apart all around me, I wrote it only hours after it happened. Anyway, I hope everyone is having a less eventful Christmas break than me. Happy holidays!

3 Semesters Down, 5 To Go

            I’ve just finished my fall semester of my sophomore year! I still can’t believe how fast time passes in college. Maybe it’s because the real world is getting so close. In just a few years I will be getting a full-time job, working toward my future career path, maybe I’ll be renting an apartment in a city, maybe I’ll have a dog; the possibilities are endless. Life is moving too fast. I can’t imagine myself anywhere but right here in my cozy dorm room… but then again, a few years ago I couldn’t image myself anywhere other than my small town.

            I always said I’d make it to college one way or another, but deep inside I wasn’t sure I’d ever get out of my dream-crushing high school and town full of people who know me a little too well. Even as I accepted my college’s offer, even as I signed the financial aid papers, even as I shopped for dorm supplies and packed to move out I couldn’t imagine myself in college. It wasn’t until I spent my first night in my new dorm-room bed that it all felt real. And even then, when I woke the next morning I was surprised not to be in my familiar bedroom.

            Every time I’m having a negative thought about a professor or stressing about a group project I remind myself how lucky I am to be here. Other kids dream of being an astronauts or a doctor, but my biggest dream was to get out of town, go to a college, and live in the dorms. And now I’m living my dream. Sometimes it still feels unreal.

            Now I’ve finished my third semester; it was my toughest yet, but I still can’t believe that I’m only one more semester away from the halfway mark. My experience here so far hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been more than I ever really believed I’d have. I’m so excited for the next two and half years, and ready to make it the best I possibly can. I’m not always a positive person, but in the new year (and new semester) I plan on working on that and working on taking more initiative in my life to get exactly what I want, because I’m finally realizing that dreams can come true.

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines -and- Paper Towns by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines: John Green

I was so excited to finally read a John Green book. I started watching his and his brother’s videos on Youtube a few months ago and I’ve become an instant fan. He seems like the most awesome person ever and if I was a little kid I would say I want to be John Green when I grow up (except a chic). So the fact that I could kind of see who he was as a person before I read his book made me like the book even more. As far as I can tell it seems like among his readers this is their least favorite book of his. But it’s actually my favorite. Granted I’ve only read two of his four (I think four) books. But I liked it more than Paper Towns, which people rant about (not that I didn’t like Paper Towns, I just liked Katherines better). I thought this book was fun and creative and it kept me interested. The characters were fascinating and likable without being one dimensional. Plus I’m a fan of happy endings.

Paper Towns: John Green

I really liked this book. It didn’t exactly live up to my expectations, only because I heard a lot of hype about it, but it was still a good read. At times I felt it was too repetitive and I thought the ending was a bit anti-climatic. But the book was really rich in metaphors and while I didn’t love the ending I felt it was the appropriate ending. This book kind of made me think about metaphors differently. This was the first time that I thought that I might be able to write a story with metaphors. Before reading this I thought I just didn’t have that skill, but I was able to identify the metaphors in this book whereas I usually have to have them pointed out to me. So while it didn’t have me smiling like a loon at the end it really inspired me. I will definitely read any book by John Green that I can get my hands on.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 1

            These are hard times. My cousin was just turned last week and it’s starting to feel like the whole world is doomed. Every day the zombies are getting closer to infiltrating the castle. I guess I’m pretty lucky to be the servant to the royal family. I get about as much protection as the princess herself. Granted, no one really cares if I get turned, but it matters quite a lot to me; so I’m happy for the default protection. I only wish I could do something other than smuggle armor to my family’s cottage just beyond the safeguard of the castle. Although it does make me worry: if I can sneak out through a secret passage how long will it be until the zombies can figure out how to sneak in? It’s a mad world out there beyond the stone walls and moat; but heck, it’s a pretty mad world in here too. Somehow I still manage to hope and dream.

            My dreams manifest in the form of Sir Nesband. I guess sometimes it’s hard to give up on something you’ve wanted for so long, no matter how unattainable that thing may be. But maybe that’s why I can still hold onto that dream. It’s so out of my reach that I’ll never actually have to confront the harsh reality; I’ll never show Sir Nesband my feelings, so he’ll never be able to reject me. Well, not properly anyway. It kind of feels like he rejects me every time I look his way and he sees right past me, and every time he kisses Princess Cornelia in front of me, which is far too often.

            My job is to tend to every whim of the princess. This girl has no idea what a state the world is in! She is chauffeured around in her purple convertible all over the kingdom, shopping at all the upscale boutiques and playing polo every Sunday on her thoroughbred. I’ve got my hands full dealing with her day and night. It’s only on nights when she’s had a few too many glasses of vintage wine and passed out on the couch that I’m able to sneak out and see my family.

            Mother says I shouldn’t risk it. She’s always begging me stop coming, but I know she’s secretly waiting by the door for me every night, Papa’s told me so. He doesn’t even bother to cover up his joy when I come around. I bring protection and food, both highly valued commodities on the outskirts. And my little brother Phillip tries to act cool about it, but I know he misses me. Every time I come home I’m just happy to see that they’re all still alive, fully alive. Not like those half-zombies who look like there are among the living, but before you know what’s happened they’re reaching for your neck, teeth bared and body trembling with struggling desire. Part of them still so human, but the zombie starting to emerge. It’s strange to see someone familiar, someone who shows no signs of being anything other than who they’ve been all their life; it’s so strange to see them commit an act so inhuman. I’ve seen it once and I don’t care to see it ever again.

Dazed: A Poem

Chairs scrape noisily,

and I come out of my daze.

I’ve been there, in that chair,

for who-knows-how-long.

I’m not even sure what I’d been thinking

as I sat there

and stared at my desk,

stared at it, but did not see it,

I was thinking about

who-knows-what.

I sure don’t…

or maybe I do,

I search my brain

for who-know-what

only to find it blank and empty.

But, perhaps that is it,

perhaps I was thinking of emptiness.

That big black emptiness

the kind that grabs you

when you realize you’re alone

when you realize how long you’ve been alone,

and how long you will be alone.

That emptiness that sucks you in

until you have no other option,

but to be alone

in that cold, black, emptiness.

Book Review: Burned by Ellen Hopkins

            I have passed many Ellen Hopkins books in the library thinking “I will rent that next time”, and I just finally got around to it. I actually picked up Burned thinking it was an entirely different book, but once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down.

            This book is a very quick read, but that doesn’t mean it’s lighthearted or simple. Throughout the whole book emotions are stirred and beliefs are tested. Honestly, I’m exhausted after just finishing, but I don’t want to go to sleep right away.

            This book is heavy, to put it modestly. At parts I love the main character for her boldness and ability to be strong in the hardest of situations, but at other times I cringe at her bad decisions. But that’s part of the reason this book feels so real, everyone has faults.

            I’m not exactly good at delving into books and finding hidden meanings and metaphors, but I would venture to say that one theme this book explores is how people are molded by their surroundings. Whether those surroundings are family members, peers, nature, or government testing of nuclear bombs.

            I really enjoyed Burned, even though it’s left me shaking. I liked the realness and honesty, and the always questioning protagonist. I can’t say I liked everything, but not everything is meant to be liked. I would whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something that will leave them thinking (and possibly crying). However, I cannot honestly say that I will ever read another Ellen Hopkins book. Maybe it’s just too heavy for me.