Shimmer #16 was just released, which includes my story “The Revelation of Morgan Stern.”
I promise that what follows is relevant.
John and I started dating in the spring of 2010. We were mutually smitten, thoroughly geeked out, and very, very happy, except for one problem: He lived in New Jersey, and I lived in California. 3000 miles apart. Thank the gods for Skype, is what I’m saying.
Zombie Preparedness and Apocalypse Plans are kind of a staple topic when you’re dating a guy who edits zombie stories for a living, and it was only a matter of time before we came up with our own. The nearby prison might be a good bet, counter-examples from the Walking Dead not withstanding. The Air Force base was just a stone’s throw away. It’s an agricultural community, produce would be plentiful for a while. And the local Mission was already set up for a no-tech lifestyle, complete with mill, forge, and looms. Perfect for rebuilding society when the crisis passed.
Food, shelter, weapons, future restoration–check. But those 3000 miles presented an additional problem. What if the apocalypse occurred while we were apart? When the cell networks went down, how would we find each other? Clearly we needed an additional contingency plan.
So employing the magic of Google and Google Maps, we made one. It turned out that Wichita, Kansas was almost exactly equidistant from his home in New Jersey and mine in California. Wichita. Huh. Who knew?
Summer arrived. John’s birthday was approaching, and because of our schedules it was looking like we were going to spend it apart. That made me super-sad, and I wanted to do something special for him, something that would give him a sense of my presence even though I couldn’t be there.
It took me a few weeks to assemble. Originally the plan was to have it arrive in New Jersey on his birthday–at the last minute his plans changed and he ended up spending it here (yay!), so I gave it to him in person.
- Postcard (Photoshopped and trimmed with craft scissors) of our agreed-upon meeting place
- Heavily weathered AAA map (I left it outside for a few nights; the fog and dogs did the rest) with my route marked
- Waterproof matches
- Space blanket
- All-weather notebook
- Mini Maglite
- US Army Survival Guide
- Small, heavily weathered memo book (more fog and critters), filled with writing and two pictures of us
It’s the notebook that was scariest. Because I was the neo-est of neo-pros, and I was dating an editor, and I wrote him a story for his birthday. It felt like an incredibly brave thing to do at the time.
The notebook was part diary, part on-going love letter from an alternate-Christie to an alternate-John. It began on the day the world ended, which was also his birthday, and documented her journey to Wichita, where she hoped that he would be alive and waiting for her.*
And now it’s been published in Shimmer.
* There are no zombies in the story.