“I’m Dext… and I’m a runner.”
Although there are plenty of free online zombie stories out there, few portray the visceral nature of a zombie apocalypse as effectively as Diary of a Runner. Started by Steve Kuhn in early 2012, the story is in first person journal form, chronicling one man’s survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Rest assured there are plenty of zombies.
It’s clear the author intends for the story to portray the average man. Not an action hero who can rush into any situation with guns blazing and amazingly return unscathed, but the average, untrained, scared, unprepared human being who was disturbed from his mundane office job by the end of the world. Although many of us might like to think we’d be prepared in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the reality is likely very different and the desire to show this is one of the main inspirations I see behind Diary of a Runner.
It’s important to note that this story is as much about the survivors and their humanity as it is about the zombies. We as people like the familiar. We like knowing that there are laws, societal norms and that food, water and other commodities are so ubiquitous for the most part, and we take it for granted that they will be there tomorrow. What if all that was stripped away? What if tomorrow your phones didn’t work, your power and water were out? What if people were killing each other in the streets over food and water, looting stores and completely disregarding the laws they used to abide by? Diary of a Runner explores those what-ifs and doesn’t shy away from showing humanity at its most basic level. The message is clear: take away the familiar and turn off the lights and you’ll soon find out how ruthless humanity can be. Add zombies to the mix and, well… things turn from bad to worse.
The story is written in an easily-accessible style and doesn’t spend large amounts of time describing needless detail. It’s intended to be a journal and generally sticks faithfully to the formula. New entries are posted a few times a week at the time of writing and it’s clear a great deal of effort goes into the story. The characters are well defined and enough detail is provided to give them substance. The author doesn’t shy away from gore either, with graphic descriptions of the many ways of despatching zombies. Steve Kuhn is evidently a talented author who relishes the writing process, and that’s something that shines through when reading, which is great to see.
Diary of a Runner is available to read for free on its website, so check it out and follow Dext as he attempts to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.