Over the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time explaining who Bunny is, and why I write her the way I do, as well as exploring the various themes of the series. It is my hope that people who have read, or may yet read, the books will gain a greater understanding of what it is I am trying to do.
I'm not trying to change the world. Bunny is the lead character, but I don't think of myself, or her, as feminist role models, or LGBT heroes. Bunny is a person, deeply flawed, broken, and struggling to find her sense of self.
She's an angry person, as I am, and many people in this world are. That isn't how it has to be, though, and we can all learn to leave that anger behind, become better people, and maybe find some peace in our lives.
I am making a statement, about a lot of things. Things that will either be understood, or won't. Bunny will be called strong, or I will be called a weak writer. That appears to be the only two options, though I'm hoping for that third, mystical view, of just being seen as realistic and believable.
I'm not trying to fool myself into believing that I've done something unique. I don't know for certain there is anything unique left to do in the world of fiction. Nor am I so silly as to think I am somehow the Next Big Thing. There are much better writers out there than me, and Bunny, for all that she is, is still a zombie tale.
For all that I've said over the last few weeks, there's one thing left to say still. One small thing, that I still feel I need to say. It is something I've said before, something I've lived before, and something that I've managed to, for the most part, overcome. It is the essence of Bunnypocalypse.
Hardship makes people hard. Painful choices callous the soul. The more we force people into a corner, the more angry they become. The less they care. The easier it is to do things they never would have considered before. The more inhuman they grow.
We live in a world that is growing cynical, hard, and cold. More and more, the very idea of helping others is being overtaken by the credo of “I've got mine”. The idea of calling others things like takers and mooches has become acceptable, even politically safe. The viewpoint that there are those who are less than us, and don't deserve respect, or help, because we don't want to give it, has gained popularity.
On the other side of that, however, is a world that is growing ever more hard. People forced to make decisions some of you will never be able to understand, much less face. Those decisions will harden these people even further, creating a vicious cycle that will only in end in more suffering for everyone.
Certainly, there are those who take advantage and game the system. There always will be, on both sides of that line we create. Those at the top are every inch as guilty of doing so as those at the bottom, they just get to look better doing it, so we don't mind as much. They are pretty, and wear nice clothes, drive fancy cars, so we let them slide.
The decisions they make, to be hard, to be callous, to not care, are just as devastating as the ones made by parents desperate to feed their children. There is no lesser evil here. Cruelty breeds only cruelty, despair breeds only despair, and hate breeds only hate.
That person doesn't vote the way I think they should, so they are bad. That person doesn't pray the way I think they should, so they are bad. That person does love who I think they should, so they are bad. That person doesn't spend their money the way I think they should, so they are bad. That person doesn't have the skin color I think they should, so they are bad.
This is the world we create. One of darkness, born of our own hearts, passed down to our children, who make it only that much darker, because we teach them how. With each generation, it gets that much easier to say these things, and to believe them.
Hardship makes people hard. Filling the world with hardship makes the world hard. Dismissing the value of others lives because they aren't exactly like us creates nothing but anger, resentment, bitterness, and rage.
I said last year around this time that Bunny was an example of this, and she remains so. The result of years of cruelty, hardship, pain, sorrow, and anger, she has become a raw nerve, lacking in empathy or kindness. The only way she can show her own humanity is through actions that are almost cruel in and of themselves.
Because that's the world we are making now. That's the world we are living in, and raising children to believe is acceptable, and even normal. One where kindness is not kicking people who are already down, but not offering a hand to help them up, either. One where we simply walk past, no longer able to care, because we've killed that part of ourselves.
That world is fine for fiction, but to live in it? Is that what we really want? Is this who we really are?
If it is, then the zombie apocalypse may as well happen for real, because we're not living in a world that is any better really. Not if kindness, compassion, mercy, empathy, and decency are no longer virtues. If that isn't who we want to be, the ideals we want to uphold for this and future generations, then bring on the hungry dead, because we've already died as a species.
Bunny's story takes her down that road, but it will bring her back, as well. We need to come back, too, while we still can. Before being humane is considered revolutionary.
Bunnypocalypse: Dead Man's Hand will be available in five days. See you then.