A Rose is a Rose?: A.J. Brown and Pax

As I said yesterday, A.J.’s choice of the name “Pax” for his unstable zombie killer intrigued me, especially when I looked up the meaning of the name. Does the meaning of “peace” for the name Pax indicate that a character can truly be named anything and still be made to do what we want him to do? Or is there more to the character Pax than just a violent zombie killer? Maybe Pax is trying to restore a peaceful order to the world that has been ripped apart. I don’t know yet as A.J. is still writing the story, but I do know I’ll look forward to reading it when he’s done. Speaking of which, when I asked A.J. for more information about Pax, he was very accommodating, and so I have a little treat here, at least if you’re a zombie fan—which I am.

AJB: Pax is not an emotionally sound guy. He tends to hold things in which causes him to be quite volatile. He has little patience with people, other than the ones he loves. The problem is the ones he loves are all dead, ripped away from him by the living dead. Pax has a bitter hatred seething inside of him and nothing is safe with him around. Not the living and certainly not the dead…

Excerpt from The Dead Reaper

“Alright, boys. Lunchtime is over.”

One by one, the dead fell, parts of their heads missing, until only the man on the base of the statue was left. “Get indoors,” Pax said. “They’ll be coming in droves now.”

Pax walked off, reloaded. He focused on the handfuls of zombies coming out of the alleys and pockets left in empty buildings. “Damn, they’re everywhere.”

From behind him came footsteps, hurried and heavy on the concrete. Pax pivoted, pointed the pistol at the man.

The man ducked, put his arms over his head. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don’t shoot.”

“What do you want?”

The man lowered his arms, stood up straight. “I need help.”

Pax looked around them. The dead were moving in. He shot the two nearest them. “Don’t we all?”

“No, I mean, I need help. Those things… they bit me and—”

“Then I suggest you put a bullet in your head and get it over with.”

Pax hurried away, not quite running. He used the machete on several of the dead, splitting their heads in half, saving on as much ammunition as possible.

“You can’t leave me here,” the man said.

“Sure I can.” Pax rounded the corner, stopped. “Shit.” A wall of undead staggered toward him, moans in their throats, faces without expressions, milky eyes seeing without really seeing.

He searched the area, settled on an alley that led to a side street. With any luck he could circle back and get to the van. He passed the man on his way to the alley, paid him little attention.

“Please, don’t leave me here. I’ve been bitten by one of those things and—”

Pax gritted his teeth, took aim at the man, “You’re a dead man. Understand that. Accept it. I can’t help you. No one can. The only real help for you is to put a bullet in your head or whatever. You’re going to die and I have no time for you.”

Up close Pax could see the fear in the man’s face, see the bloodied close. He was missing two fingers and looked like he hadn’t eaten in a few days.

“But, I’m still alive. I can help you until…”

“You’re not alive, not for long,” Pax glanced around, nodded, “but you can be of a little help to me.”

The man’s eyes lit up as he followed Pax into the alley. “Really? How?”

Pax ignored the question and went to the opposite end of the alley, looked both ways. Only a handful of zombies trolled about, possibly not hearing the many gunshots.

“What’s your name?”

“Joel,” the man said, “How about you? What’s your name?

“It doesn’t matter, Joel. I just wanted to thank you.”

“For what?”

“For slowing them down.” Pax lowered the pistol, squeezed the trigger. The man’s knee shattered and he dropped to the ground, his screams echoing in the confines of the alleyway.