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The Cost of Living

I was in a bad place ten years ago. One of the ways I dug myself out of the hole I’d fallen into was by writing a few stories with absolute freedom – no pressure, no ideal length, no pre-planned release. The first thing I completed was THE COST OF LIVING. It was a story I’d written a couple of times previously, as a short story first, then as a piece of flash fiction. I hadn’t been completely satisfied either time. It needed to be longer, but I also knew it wouldn’t stretch to novel length. So, I started again with the same concept, and just wrote… 38,000 words later, it was done. A spritely edit from my old pal WAYNE SIMMONS, a striking cover design from another pal, DAVID SHIRES, and I took a deep breath and clicked publish.

The Cost of Living by David Moody (Infected Books 2014)

Releasing THE COST OF LIVING was the unexpected boost I needed at a pretty shitty time. My horrible, tragic, grubby little story seemed to resonate with a lot of people. In the years since, of course, we’ve had a pandemic – albeit not one that reanimates the dead – and it’s been interesting to go back and re-read the story now that we’ve lived through lockdowns and prolonged periods of isolation.

The world is dying. An abhorrent epidemic is sweeping the globe, destroying everything it touches. Contact with even a single drop of contaminated blood or saliva is enough to spread the disease. Within hours even the healthiest people are transformed into hideous, germ-spewing creatures. They hunt out the uninfected in their tens of thousands, their sole purpose to continue spreading the infection.

On a recently-built housing development on the outskirts of a large city, one man will stop at nothing to protect his family from the coming storm. Stuart has been one step ahead of the game from the beginning. His garage is stocked high with supplies, the doors and windows of his home fortified, weapons held ready in case of attack.

With each passing minute, there are more and more infected surrounding the house. With each passing minute, Stuart and his family have less food and water available. Some time very soon, the balance of power will inevitably shift.

But Stuart won’t give up on his family, no matter what the cost.

Fun fact – the germ (no pun intended) of the story came when we were buying our current house back in 2012. I’d just finished writing the original AUTUMN series, and I hadn’t realised how much of an impact spending a decade thinking about the undead had had on me. I had zombies on the mind. When we were looking at houses I genuinely had ‘suitability for survival in the event of the zombie apocalypse’ as a requirement alongside number of bedrooms, size of the garden etc. Needless to say, that didn’t go down well with my wife and kids. For the record, our house IS relatively zombie proof, and I have a fully scoped-out survival plan is in place.

All joking apart, though, apocalypse preparedness is the crux of THE COST OF LIVING. Because it’s one thing being physically able to stay alive, but whether it would be worth all the effort is another matter altogether.

A decade later and THE COST OF LIVING continues to go down really well with readers. It’s now available as a permanently free eBook from all major retailers, and as a superbly narrated audiobook (by BRIAN PORTSMOUTH) from AUDIBLE. You can find it in print as part of LAST OF THE LIVING. A German translation – LEBENSHALTUNGSKOSTEN – is also available.