21 Oct Zombie Month: Zombies on a Plane
Dead North is out this month! You can purchase it at Chapters and Amazon.com. To celebrate, several of the authors in the anthology are guest blogging about…zombies! Today, brings us anthology contributor Brian Dolton discussing the inspiration behind his short story.
By Brian Dolton
“Dead Of Winter” was not my first attempt to write a story for “Dead North”.
My initial intention was to write about Dead Man Flat. Yes, it’s a real place. And the origin of the name led me to a true story that included fratricide, invisible machines, and a mental asylum burning to the ground.
Sounds awesome, right?
Story never came together for me. It still hasn’t. So for a while I thought I wasn’t going to be able to contribute to the anthology; until a chance conversation with a fellow writer here in New Mexico. Her father, Frank Barr, had been a bush pilot in Alaska and the Yukon, back in the 20s and 30s (there’s actually a book about him). Bush pilots flew anything and everything. They were a lifeline to the scattered communities of these wilderness territories. Food, fuel, equipment; anywhere a plane could land and take off again, they could collect or deliver. And, of course, they could take passengers, too.
The passengers weren’t always alive. It was a tough place and from time to time bush pilots like Frank had to transport bodies from remote campsites or communities back for a proper burial.
On one occasion, the dead body was frozen solid; the guy had been laid out in the cold and he was, frankly, a corpsicle. The only place Frank could fit the body in his plane was in the passenger seat. So there’s Frank, up in the air, flying back home with a dead man stretched out beside him.
And then the dead guy moves.
Perfectly natural explanation. Heat from the engine was blasting back into the cabin. The body was, quite simply, thawing out, and thus losing its rigidity. Perfectly natural.
But hey, I heard that story, and I thought the same thing any writer would if he had a deadline coming up on an anthology of zombie stories.
And “Dead Of Winter” was the result.