Outbreak In Oakland

Over the past two years, I’ve been working on a zombie novel that’s equal parts horror, romance, and dark comedy titled “Outbreak In Oakland.” I finally completed the novel in March and, after recieving feedback from a diverse group of 10+ friends and coworkers, I’m making the final edits and searching for a publisher. With any luck, it’ll be out in the world soon... 

For funsies, I’m providing a short synopsis and a pivotal scene from the book below.


A husband and wife are struggling to achieve the American Dream while living and working in the Bay Area. But the dream becomes a nightmare when the wife becomes patient-zero, the first and only zombie. At first, the husband thinks of killing her since she’s now a flesh-eating zombie, but he soon realizes that he can’t kill the woman he loves. Eventually, he begins to understand how much she, as a zombie, needs him. So, he begins kidnapping people to feed his wife’s insatiable appetite.

From The Chapter “In Sickness & In Health”

In this early chapter, the husband recalls an previous conversation with his wife when they jokingly talked about what they would do in the hypothetical event that one of them became a zombie. Obviously, the husband amends his initial plan....

The first time we talked about the zombie apocolypse started innocently enough. She began the conversation by asking me, “What would you do, if god forbid, I was a zombie?”

            “Let me make sure I understand,” even then, this was a serious matter and I needed more information, “You’re a zombie. And I’m what…? I’m just me? Like a normal dude?”

            “Yeah. But I’m a zombie,” she reiterated.

            “Like Night of the Living Dead zombie or like Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later zombie or… like Weekend at Bernie’s 2 voodoo-style zombie?”

            “Does it matter?” She asked.

            “Does it matter!? Of course, it matters!” Then on second thought, I admitted, “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter too much…. I assume in your scenario that you’re a zombie and you’re trying to eat me.”

            “Uh huh.”

            “Are there other zombies?” I wondered.

            “Ummm…….,” she thought for a long while before answering, “No. Just me.”

            “You’re the only zombie…”

            She pressed, “So what would you do?”

            “I don’t know…” I replied. “What would you do if I was a zombie?”

            “If you’re a zombie, I’m a zombie,” she said matter of fact.

            “What?” I stammered.

            “If you’re a zombie, I’m a zombie.”

            Trying to understand her answer, I replied in worried disbelief, “If I was a zombie, you’d let me eat you?”

            “Yes.” She paused. “Honey, I love you. I never want us to be separated. If you’re a zombie, I’m a zombie, and then we can be zombies together,” she stated lovingly.

            “But, but, but….. But I would no longer be the man you fell in love with!” I clamored. “But I wouldn’t even be capable of human emotions! I would never love again! Not as we understand love now…. I would have no memory of you! Or our love! Or our marriage! It wouldn’t mean anything. I would think of nothing but eating the flesh and brains of the living night after night for an eternity!”

            Still, she insisted and even turned my argument against me, “But if you’re a zombie then I want to be a zombie too. Didn’t you mean it when you told me that we’d always be together?”

            “Yes. But that was different…”

            “How so?”

            I couldn’t believe it, “Because I thought we’d be together forever as humans!!!”

            “I don’t think it’s any different,” she said offhand. “So, what would you do if I was a zombie?”

            “And I’m a human?”

            “You’re stalling…”

            “I don’t know…” then, without a second thought I said, “I’d probably shoot you.”

            She went silent.

            I began to explain, “Honey, I don’t know. I mean, this is a crazy question. Zombies aren’t real but if you were a zombie, you’d be trying to kill me…”

            But I stopped myself from digging into a deeper hole. It was not the answer she was hoping to hear. I wanted to elaborate further. I wanted to tell her more but I thought better of it. Obviously, she was upset.

            I wanted to tell her that I probably would only hesitate for a few minutes because anyone who hesitates to kill a loved one in a zombie movie always ends up getting eaten by their loved one. You have to take the emotion out of the situation and realize that shooting your loved one is an act of love. It’s a release. It puts an end to their misery and suffering. I wanted to tell her how it would scar me forever to have to kill her and how I would never be able to live down the memory, but in the end, I wouldn’t feel remorse because the moment she began to turn into the flesh-eating-living-dead would be the moment she ceased to be my wife and everlasting soul mate.

            My actions would be justified.

            I also wanted to tell her that if I were a zombie, I would want her to do the same to me. That her response to the question was completely irresponsible. That by letting me munch on her jugular, she would only promote the propagation of the undead. That her actions could propel the end of humanity itself.

            But in the end, I thought better of it. I realized that love itself is a bit irresponsible. Reckless in fact. Because when you’re really, truly, madly in love, you start making decisions with your heart instead of your---

            “BRRRRRRAAAAAAAIIIINNNS!!!!”  My wife called out from the bedroom and however cliché it sounds, that was the first thing my wife said to me when she transitioned into a zombie.

From The Chapter “The Dying Undead”

Here, the book takes a dark turn as the husband realizes that he’s starving his zombie wife and she must eat humans to live. This passage is when he makes a fateful decision to kill a random homeless man to feed his wife.  

Suddenly, dark thoughts swept over me and my soul matched the blackness of the sky above… and I lost my mind completely, and I began pounding the man with my fists, my arms swinging violently, uncontrollably, crashing down upon him. His arms shot up and his head descended below his shoulders, turtling in defense of himself. I continued undeterred – pummeling the top of his head, his arms and body, hitting any soft space I could connect with my clenched fists until he fell to the ground, and then I was trampling him, smashing and crushing him under my plunging feet and legs, not even knowing what I was doing or why, not even realizing I was uttering a primal hoarse and meaningless cry – ‘Unhh! Unhh! Unhh!’ – grunts of animalistic urges, a rage at the powers that be, an inner Neanderthal intrinsic desire to kill in order to survive, to feed and protect my family. This man must die so that my wife may live.                                                                                                                                                      

In the flood of light from the yellow streetlights mixed with green hues from the buzzing N&A neon sign, I saw a giant dark shadow – mine – stretching to the size of twenty-feet across the pavement, twisting and dancing in an insane frenzy, wildly attacking, the entire nightmarish beastly scene illuminated as shadow puppetry, bathing in the mad mixture of light emanating from the urban landscape.  

The man squeezed out unintelligible murmurs and mumbles, muted whines of agony while the 40oz bottle of Colt 45 dropped from his hand, clanking to the ground and rattling as it rolled on the concrete, spilling out and emptying. Grabbing the empty bottle off the ground, I teed up his head and delivered a fierce, final blow. Glass exploded, fracturing into thousands of tiny diamonds splashing across the sidewalk, scattering in every direction. The sound of broken glass snapped me out of my crazed manic state and I stood over him, catching my breath while his chest struggled to rise and fall.

His head was bleeding profusely, and he curled himself into the fetal position, protecting his beaten and broken body. Finally, I came to grips with what I had done. Sweet Jesus! WHAT HAVE I DONE!?! I asked myself again and again in repeated whispers of quiet disbelief. My own hands looked foreign to me and yet, they had done this damage – they had hurt this man, this human being. Was this real life? Was this really happening? Or was this just a dream? And as reality returned, I was presented with an entirely new nightmare, had anyone noticed or witnessed my crime? Onlookers became my biggest concern and immediate priority. Did anybody see what I’d done?                                                             

I felt a strong  inclination  to just leave. To walk away. Pretend it never happened. Abandon this bum and distance myself from him as fast as possible. I wondered, how long would it be until someone would even notice this man was not passed out, but that he’d been beaten to within an inch of death’s door? How many people would just walk past him without helping him? But I needed him. No. My wife needed him. I couldn’t abort this mission. Not now. Not after what I’d done. That would defeat the purpose. My wife is starving and she must eat.