“Pirates vs. Zombies” — Amelia Beamer

Amelia Beamer works as an editor and reviewer for Locus Magazine. She has won several literary awards and has published fiction and poetry in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Interfictions 2, Red Cedar Review, and other venues. As an independent scholar, she has published papers in Foundation and The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University, and attended the Clarion Writers Workshop in 2004. Her first novel—a zombie tale called The Loving Dead, which she describes as “a darkly humorous story of sex, relationships, and zombies”—was published this summer. Our next story is set in the same milieu.

Many people dream of owning a yacht. Who wouldn’t revel in the freedom to sail the seas while enjoying all the amenities? Problem is, yachts are kind of expensive—the world’s largest yacht, the 525-foot Project Platinum, owned by the Crown Prince of Dubai, is estimated to cost upwards of $300 million. In 2004, a former child actor named Skylar Deleon (who once starred on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) took a yacht out for a test drive, then tied the yacht’s owners to the anchor and threw them overboard. That’s one way to get a yacht—at least until you get arrested and sentenced to death.

If people are willing to do stuff like that to get their hands on a yacht now, just imagine what they’ll be doing when boats become the only way to put some distance between you and the zombie-infested mainland. This strategy may not always work out, of course—just take a look at the ending of Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, in which the survivors forsake the safety of a shopping mall for the freedom of the open seas, with unfortunate results.

As the title implies, our next story is a tale of piracy (and zombies) on the high seas, a warning about how, in a disaster, empathy is often the first casualty, and a reminder that though a plague of zombies may sweep away the world you knew, the person you are and the problems you face often stay depressingly the same.