I had one of my favorite beta readers take a look at the zombie story. Verdict: reads more like an exercise, or an informational appendix to a larger novel about zombies.
Interesting observation, since this piece was spurred by a chain of thought I had with respect to another novel I'm working on. The novel has people's souls being stolen as one of the things the hero has to address & correct. It got me thinking, though. While my hero is off fighting the bad guys(s) and winning the day, what will these poor people be doing in his absence? Sitting and staring at the walls? Obviously, as the author, I can make them do whatever I want - go berserk, shuffle gracelessly, gamble compulsively, whatever. However, what would really happen? What would I do if I were suddenly bereft of intellect and socialization?
In short, what motivates zombies? What do they want?
This is the kind of thing that separates hard sci-fi from soft. In hard sci-fi, you try to obey as many of the laws of physics as you can. In soft sci-fi, pretty much anything is possible, and you just sort of hope that the author is consistent.
The better fantasy books follow the same precept. Just because there is magic in this world doesn't mean you can do whatever the hell you want and explain it all away afterwards with, "Oh, I just used some Powder of Perpetual Wakefulness. Here, have some."
Anyway, I'm going to have to rethink my approach here. This piece is an exploration of some of that. I still want to put it up, but it needs a clearer plot and purpose, more action and it need to be more engaging.