Daddy’s Little Girl by Julie Frost is a short zombie tale. The story is short, not the zombies. The cover is interesting. These are the words a reader will encounter on the cover. “Daddy’s Little Girl Digital Horror Fiction Short Story by Julie Frost A Largely Deceased Short Story.” This is a very busy cover for such a short, 25-page story. I thought I had discovered a new genre, but no, Digital Horror Fiction is the name of the publishing house; it is repeated at the bottom of the cover. It is free as a Kindle Unlimited download and, at 25 pages, it should not crowd your KU download limit of ten books at any one time.
Susie is seventeen-year-old shotgun wielding backup for her father in a race to find a cure for a zombie virus. Failing that, maybe the father-daughter team can at least relocate to an area safe from zombies. Theses zombies could be human or animal. That turned out to be one of the biggest threats because pet owners who trusted and loved their pets were being attacked and, yep, turned into zombies. Pet owners trusted their pets. Neighbor trusted neighbor, also a mistake. One of the cool lines in the book is on the first page. Susie, after dispatching a neighbor, says to dad “Sweet old Mrs. Henderson. She made me cookies. Zombie. Not okay.” (loc 18-19)
The next line that might attract a reader’s attention is an observation offered by Dad. “The news anchor killed and ate the weatherman on live television last week, and the power failed not long after that.” (loc 24-25). Dad is a medical examiner. He feels a responsibility to try to do something to find out what’s going on and, hopefully, fix it. Dad drags his unwilling backup, Susie, to the morgue where Dad will do an autopsy on his neighbor and her dog to find a cause for the virus. Dad finds a clue, there is an absence of cerebrospinal fluid in the turned-zombie population. This visit to the hospital would have been a success except daughter Susie was bitten by a zombie rat. The rat died after discharging a lot of black blood, the sure sign of a zombie state. Dad’s first concern is to get Susie into a safe place before she turns into a zombie and while he is working the cerebrospinal fluid angle. The two return home where Susie is confined to a cage while Dad goes back to the lab for more experiments.
And he finds a cure, sort of. The dead zombies had no cerebrospinal fluid. Dad found that if he replaced it with the fluid of a living human, the zombie effects would reverse. There was a slight problem. The donor would die. Where to get a donor? Dad solves the problem in a way that doesn’t quite fit with the Hippocratic Oath, but he has no choice if he wants to save his daughter. Dad does what he has to do, Susie is saved but is not grateful to Dad for the source of the saving fluid. Dad is sure she will come around later.
And she does come around later.
Short stories are difficult to write. This one keeps reader interest even during times the reader anticipates what must come next. This is another story I will use to encourage reluctant readers to read interesting stuff.