Permanent Ink Writer’s Commentary
One Of My Best Supernatural Books Permanent Ink
I wrote ‘Permanent Ink’ with mostly one message to convey: The price of greed can be astronomical, and most often, it is horribly destructive.
This is the story of a stationers’ company that is on the brink of bankruptcy, but they have an ace in the hole: A new ink that appears almost holographic once it is on paper. Knowing that the kids will love it, Aspen Stationers’ pushes for quick release of the pens, wanting it available for public purchase before the school year starts. But the executives at Aspen have a secret: In the lab, the ink has had an adverse effect on rats, causing them to attack each other to the death, then bringing them back to life more violent and bloodthirsty than ever. Because this only happens when the ink is still wet, Aspen has convinced themselves that the world will be safe, and consumers will be none the wiser. Basically making this novel a fantastic addition to my supernatural books.
Here’s the deal.
In an effort to show how widespread the destruction is, I scattered the storyline around a bit: One particular incident involving the ink takes place in a hospital in Thornton, Colorado. Another, in Aspen, where the company is located, and finally Monte Vista. The viral outbreak is taking place in the suburbs, but the local government is trying to figure things out, and has even called in the CDC. The catastrophe has even reached other areas, but for the sake of the story, I have kept the text limited to areas in Colorado.
First, let’s look at the outbreak at the hospital. When a young girl gets the ink in a scrape, she is soon terribly ill with the infection. Her mother rushes her to the hospital to be seen, and the child is admitted. Even though she is exhibiting strange, and even violent, behavior, her mother is driven to comfort her, which leads to an attack. Before anyone even understands what is taking place, the zombie epidemic has spread like wildfire, and both patients and employees of the health care center are forced to fight for their lives. A pair of physicians are beginning to figure things out, slowly but surely, but will they solve the problem before it’s too late?
This is crazy.
The hospital scenes are fast-paced; it is chaos there, and the panic the characters are feeling should be tangible. I did the best I could to convey this, without giving too much hope to the spreading epidemic, because frankly, I felt the plague situation in Thornton was fairly close to being hopeless.
In the situation with Aspen Stationers’ scientist, Randy Carstens, he is fully aware of the potential for a pandemic disaster, and he is sickened by the complacency of the executives in charge. Randy manages to get himself fired, but that doesn’t keep him from returning and trying to stop the ball, which has already been set rolling. While there, company’s CEO, Roger McGinley, falls victim to the zombie-fied rats while trying to force Randy to comply at gunpoint. Fortunately, Randy is able to escape and notify Aspen Police, but by the time they understand what is happening, they have a pretty big epidemic mess on their hands.
It gets better.
Brian Olson, a soon-to-be ninth grader at Monte Vista High School, his single mother couldn’t afford to buy him the expensive pen, but his best friend Caleb comes through. Brian tests the ink, which is said to smudge easily, with a finger. Unfortunately, he has a papercut, and the ink’s pathogen gets into his bloodstream. Overnight, the boy has died and becomes one of the contagious bloodthirsty undead; his poor, unsuspecting mother is his first victim. Soon, the town is pretty much on lockdown, and the petrified people of Monte Vista are waiting for the CDC to come and save the day.
What’s the bottom line?
‘Permanent Ink’ is a zombie story, plain and simple, filled with the flesh-eating monsters that are all the rage at the current time. It is meant to gross readers out, to a certain extent, but mostly, with all of the chaotic scenes aside, I wanted to really convey a message. Corporate greed is the catalyst behind this horrible zombie outbreak, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting consumers who have been blindsided by their timely marketing tactics. The worst part is, Aspen Stationers’ is more than suspicious of the potential for damage that the ink has; they know full well what it can do, and they just don’t care. This type of manipulation takes place every day in our world, with results just as destructive, only slower and less obvious. This truth is really what is behind the message in this book.
But here’s the kicker.
Of course, things have to be cleared up, and solutions must be found so life can go on. But as I mentioned earlier, I neither saw nor felt any positive resolution to this particular zombie writing, and as a writer, I had to struggle to make a way for the sun to rise on these towns again, with hope. I firmly believe that, if this were a true story, there would be no one left to write about it; the world would be taken out systematically by the undead pandemic, which Aspen Stationers’ created when they released Lumiosa ink to the public.
Want to know the best part?
With all that being said, ‘Permanent Ink’ is, in many ways, just another zombie yarn. It tells the story of something horrible getting into the wrong hands, and it breaks down the possibilities of what could really happen if these things took place. Having done the best possible job cleaning up the mess, it is my hope that readers are able to enjoy this zombie fiction book for what it truly is: A work of fiction that provides yet another take on zombies and how they might come to be walking, and terrorizing, among us. It is meant for entertainment, but I think the moral behind this made-up novel makes it possible to consider other possibilities, and hopefully, it causes readers to think about the items they are willingly choosing to consume.
Add this novel to your best supernatural books list.
Permanent Ink Character Profile
Randy is a thirty-something lead project scientist for Aspen Stationers’, and one of the main developers of Lumiosa ink. While his research and testing have shown that the ink is not at all safe for public release, the heads of the company insist it is. In an effort to stop the release and expose the lies, Randy is fired, but his involvement in the spreading disaster is inevitable, and soon he finds himself joining forces with the Aspen Police to try and stop what has been started. Randy is a family man who loves his kids and his wife; he has solid moral fiber, and he is willing to sacrifice his own comfort to do the right thing, no matter what the cost.
Roger is the CEO of Aspen, and he is determined to see Lumiosa hit the shelves in time for school kids to get it, regardless of its danger. He is the one who fires Randy in an effort to cover up the truth, and he also falls victim to the infected rats in the Aspen lab. While his appearance in the novel is brief, it is vital. His character is a prime reflection of what is wrong with corporate business today.
Captain Eli Hertz
Head of the Aspen police force, Captain Hertz teams up with Randy Carstens once he witnesses the effects the deadly ink has on the rats. He is an upstanding officer with great concern for the infectious situation at hand, and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in the process of trying to stop it. Hertz is a very logical, down-to-earth man who understands the depth of what is taking place, and he is horrified that it has been allowed to go so far.
This young grade-schooler is one of the first to be infected by the Lumiosa pathogen. After coming down with a high fever and being rendered unconscious, Melanie is admitted to the ER at Suburban Medical Center in Thornton. Soon, however, she attacks her mother, and before anyone even realizes what is happening, the entire hospital is overrun with zombies.
Fourteen-year-old Brian is being raised by a single mother who cannot afford such an expensive ink pen, but his friend Caleb’s grandmother picks one up for him. Before the night is over, Brian has gotten the poisonous ink in a papercut, and by morning, he is eating his loving mother. The Olsons reside in a town called Monte Vista, and the close proximity of the homes in their neighborhood makes others easy pickings when it comes to the spread of the zombie apocalypse. Before long, town officials are forced to offer refuge at the school, and they are hiding in offices as they try to figure out what is going on with the sickness. They manage to get the CDC involved, but all they have to do to see the level of damage being done is look out the window; zombies are running amok everywhere.
The older sister of Melanie seems to know deep inside that the ink has something to do with the fact that her sister is a zombie. When chaos breaks loose at Suburban Medical, Megan is one who is in the group with Dr. Hilliard and Moss, though she is scared to death. Megan is a strong girl with brains, and this is what keeps her alive, though the luck of escaping to the basement with the others definitely doesn’t hurt things. It is because of her that the physicians are able to piece together the fact that the ink is causing the zombie outbreak.
Dr. Kyle Hilliard
Dr. Hilliard is a handsome physician in his late thirties, and he is in charge of Melanie Casperson’s case. Right away, the quick-witted man picks up on the fact that the toxic ink may have something to do with the ‘sickness’ he is trying to treat, but he doesn’t catch on fast enough to stop the horror. Together, with the Casperson’s pediatrician the beautiful Diana Moss, Melanie’s sister Megan, and a small group of other players, the doctors try to figure out what is going on and exactly what can be done to stop the zombie virus. Dr. Hilliard is not married, nor does he have children, but he is a very good doctor who cares for each of his patients. He is stunned beyond belief at what is taking place, and he finds that pulling together is the only solution to such a horrid problem.
Harold is a janitor for Suburban Medical Center, and he is the head of the maintenance department as a whole. He is a very likeable man with a down-to-earth personality; best of all, he is not afraid to do what he has to do. When considering the group as a whole, it is easy to say that Harold would be a shoe-in to keep around if you are in a group of people who are trying to survive a zombie attack. Harold is a fighter; whether he lives or dies, he is going to go down fighting to the bitter end.
Dr. Diana Moss
Dr. Moss knows her patients, and when she gets word about the new ink pen and its possible connection to Melanie Casperson’s ailment, she hits the stores to buy one. Upon her arrival at Suburban, it is obvious that the hospital has been taken over by monsters, and she hooks back up with Hilliard, Megan, and the others only by the skin of her teeth. Her intelligence and logic, along with her motherly instincts, make her one of the strongest and most caring of the group, an invaluable asset to those trying to survive the crisis at Suburban until authorities can figure out a way to stop the madness that is going on in the facility. Dr. Moss has children of her own, so this makes her a perfect candidate to care for Megan Casperson.
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