Today, I’m welcoming C.A. (Christine) Verstraete, author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. Also be sure to stop by her Girl Zombie Authors blog, to see what my character from Infection, A Pandemic Survival Novel has to say! Double the scariness!
About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?
Who is Lizzie Borden?
If you don’t know, you surely have heard the rope skipping rhyme:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
According to the autopsy reports, the number is actually 10 and 18 hits … but did Lizzie do it?
Let her tell you:
I cringed every time I heard that awful rhyme. It was so cruel… and untrue.
I had to do it, you see. When Mrs. Borden came after me that August 4th morning, what else could I do? As incredulous as it seemed, she was as cold as death. And yet, she kept coming at me.
How did you get involved in your recent situation?
I never expected my life to change so drastically and dramatically. I never expected to find my mother acting so strangely, either. And then, when Father came home, that was only the beginning. It was horrible, simply horrible. He tried to bite me! How is this so? How can this happen?
The Author’s Turn: What inspired this book/story?
The author, C.A. Verstraete says one look at the autopsy records and photos hints as to why the victims were so viciously attacked and hit in the head. Why else would that be necessary but that they had become zombies?
Do you think this kind of scenario – the dead coming back to life – could happen in real life? Why or why not?
There are certainly all kinds of odd things occurring that could make such a thing somewhat feasible—synthetic drugs, viruses, even scientists saying that bodies can possibly be brought back to life in certain circumstances, under certain conditions, of course.
But drugs and psychotic episodes aside, that leaves the question of what about the soul? I lean more towards it being too “out there” to ever really happen. Dead is dead, or at least dead won’t be undead… For now.
About the Author:
Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call and more. She is the author of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and her latest, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. Learn more at her website, and her blog, GirlZombieAuthors and see my book, Infection, over there for a special Halloween blog post.
Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom
August 4, 1892
Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten o’clock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?
For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?
“Mrs. Borden?” Lizzie called. “Are you all right?”
She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror, clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was. The sixty-seven-year-old woman’s hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasn’t the worst. Dark red spots—Blood, Lizzie’s mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older woman’s dress and sleeves.
Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?
She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abby’s square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.
“Mrs. Borden, Abby!” Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”
Her stepmother shuffled forward, her steps slow but steady. She showed no emotion or sense of recognition. The only utterances she made were those strange low moans.
Lizzie moved back even further, trying to keep some distance between her and Mrs. Borden’s grasping fingers. Then her foot hit something. Lizzie quickly glanced down at the silver hairbrush that had fallen to the floor. Too late, she realized her error.
“No!” Lizzie cried out at the strange feeling of her stepmother’s clammy, cold hand around her wrist. “Abby, what happened? What’s wrong with you?”
Mrs. Borden said nothing and moved in closer. Her mouth opened and closed, revealing bloodstained teeth.
“No! Stay away!” Lizzie yelled. “Stop!”
She didn’t. Instead, Mrs. Borden scratched and clawed at her. Lizzie leaned back, barely escaping the snap of the madwoman’s teeth at her neck.