Yes, it is November, which means it is National Novel Writing month. Last year I gave it a shot, and that only lasted a week (well, two days). This year I have an idea, and so long as I keep up with The Doctor Who Blog, I will be devoting all other writing time to composing a Christian Amish Romance Novel with Zombies. Yes, I know that the zombie genre is permeating everything. The existence of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a sad thing, calling for the extermination of the zombie genre. Star Wars: Deathtroopers shows us that like the subject-matter, the zombie genre is incredibly difficult to kill. But as near as I can tell, zombies have yet to infiltrate the Christian market, and what better way to introduce them that to start at the heart (in the Heartland) with an Amish romance. Anyone who is familiar with the Christian Fiction Market knows that Amish romance is big, about as big as the current zombie craze. So, it is time for these two genres to be wed in a HOLY union.
The point of National Novel Writing Month is to do just that, write a novel. Up to this point, I have only had the idea. I have not started writing it until today. Quality is also a secondary concern. I don’t make claims to have done any research, accurate or otherwise. I’m sure all depictions of Amish society are based primarily in stereotype and are completely wrong. Please forgive me for this. I will do my best to maintain as high a standard of prose as possible but, given the subject-matter, I’m sure you will understand if sections (if not the entire project) seem under or over-written. It’s all for fun, so please don’t take it too seriously. And really, it is about Amish and Zombies. Why WOULD you take it seriously?
So, here is part one.
Samuel Host was coming home today and Katie Yoder could barely contain her excitement. He had left the community a year ago and, much like the prodigal, was returning after seeking a life among the English. It had been a difficult time as he sought permission to go. Once thought to be a promising young man, Samuel’s reputation in the community took a hit from which Katie feared he would never recover. Yet he was returning and Katie hoped the feelings he had kindled for her before he left would still be there.
“Don’t get your hopes up, child,” said Katie’s mother. “Samuel may not be the same young man you know before he left.”
Katie smiled. “Yes, mamm.”
Katie’s mother glanced sidelong at her, knowing that the words and the heart spoke differently. Young love is a hope that springs eternal, untempered by experience. To be that innocent again, thought Katie’s mother.
But it was that very innocence that Katie’s mother feared Samuel would not share.
Samuel sat next to his father Erik on the carriage. The ten miles from the bus stop had been largely silent, a single handshake and nod being the most meaningful interaction shared by the two men. Samuel had offered no information on his time away and thus far, his father hadn’t seen the need to push. He couldn’t speak his relief that his son had returned.
Samuel grimaced as the carriage hit a bump. “I suppose I’ll have to get used to that again. These things aren’t exactly built for comfort.”
“Yah,” was the father’s reply. The criticism, despite being meant as jest, still sent the smallest fear that Samuel may not stay. When he saw his son again he knew the feelings of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. He felt the desire to jump from the carriage and run to Samuel, grabbing him and never letting go again. But he held back. This was not the time. Samuel may have carried a taint from the outside world. Erik Host had heard stories from men in other communities, stories of children who had left for a period in adolescence. Of those who returned, some had harmful ideas that made re-integration difficult. It wasn’t that re-integration was impossible, but often the individuality that was preached by The Englishers could make adjusting to a community mindset difficult. Erik had an intellectual interest in the outside world, one that compelled him to study sociology texts as he found them. It broke his heart that the society beyond the community was so fragmented, so broken. The technology that was used to communicate seemed to create a largely illusory community, reinforcing the values Erik had grown up with. Sadly, Erik’s interest had sparked the curiosity of his son and Erik still blamed himself for Samuel’s departure. He had cried out to God one night, asking for forgiveness and pledging to give up his hobby if God would only return his son. Erik knew this to be a silly gesture, one borne out of emotion rather than reason, but it was his son.
“Daed,” said Samuel, the foreignness of the word dripping from Samuel’s tongue. Had he lost his language after only a year?
“Do you think I will be welcome back?”
Erik swallowed. He knew that Samuel’s departure was a point of contention and that his return would be equally questioned and debated. He had no idea how his return would be handled.
“You are home,” said Erik. “That is all that matters.”
Samuel nodded but did not smile. “Is Katie still unmarried?”
Erik chuckled. “Yah. I believe she awaits your return and has done so since you left.”
Samuel smiled and Erik could not quite put his finger on why the smile unnerved him so much.