A Mother’s Sacrifice

And when she made to close the door, this thing my neighbor had become threw its body against it and I unfroze from my stasis to help my mother who was screaming as she grunted, as we both put our back and shoulders into it. For a skinny thing, it was strong though, and got in anyway.

“Run,” my mother shouted, pushing me, and I hesitated.

“Run,” she shouted, throwing herself into its path, and I took off, through our back door, over the back fence, past the date palms and the lemon trees out back, past the mango tree that was just coming to come, and the soursop tree that never would in this perennially thirsty soil. I ran and ran, my mother’s dying screams like a siren in my ears, fear and guilt heavy in my heart.

When finally I stopped, submerged in an old water barrel in somebody’s backyard, breathing through a straw I’d found on the ground if I so much as heard a sound, shivering every time the breeze hit the parts of my skin that were visible above the water, the barrel was half full, I told myself it was what mothers did. But it was small comfort.


That was an excerpt from my story Zombie Island, currently published in Interviewing the Caribbean edited by Opal Palmer Adisa. In an interview also featured in the issue, she asked me this about writing a zombie story,

‘Your story, “Zombie Island,” seems to straddle genres, but more importantly tries to find a “logical” reason to explain the surge of violence in the Caribbean. Speak about the impetus for this story.’

My response?


Zombies on one of my fave TV shows (in spite of the current season), The Walking Dead.

“I love zombie movies and TV shows. I wanted to write one. I like to try my hand at things I’ve never written before. That’s how I ended up trying my hand at noir, and the teen/young adult genre that resulted in my book, Musical Youth, a Burt Award finalist, or the faerie tale, With Grace, that’s shortly due out as a children’s picture book. So, it was that impulse to try something I hadn’t done, to experiment. It was also the reality of violence – everything that happened in that story including a raging man banging down my door happened in life, though none of it, as is always the case with fiction, happened as it happens in life. My irritation with the politics is there as well so it must have been political season when I wrote it. But mostly it was me wanting to see if I could tell a zombie tale at all, and then more specifically a zombie tale in a Caribbean space, not the snarling horror of it but the creeping awareness of it…and then of course the snarling horror.”


Also in the issue are interviews with Mervyn Morris, Kendel Hippolyte, Hope Brooks, Merle Collins, Patricia Powell; poety by Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro and Lou Smith; a story by Ivory Kelly; and more (I’m still reading).


With Grace is no longer “shortly due out as a children’s picture book”; it’s been out.
I also recently did a post on another newly published story The Other Daughter.
You’re welcome to check out my other fiction and, of course, my books.

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “A Mother’s Sacrifice

  1. Pingback: Look, Zombies! | Wadadli Pen

  2. Girl, Joanne this had me totally creeped out…I was running with that child through the bush in my head….

    Can’t promise I’ll read more of it cause am afraid of horror stories!!

    Just realised your notifications are not coming to my inbox but to Promotions….Grrrrr…Hope I have now sorted it out! 😊

    Have a great weekend.


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