Why thank you! It's a bit tough for me to sit down and make an idealized feminine beauty without balking a little, but part of the point of her story and personality is the impact those looks have on her (and how people have used her based on them). My other female characters I try to give a better balance in terms of idealized notions of attractiveness. Their tales are meant to run contrary to notions of what women should look or act like. While this woman tries too hard to stuff herself into culturally accepted roles. oh ya and she eats keeds, but hey zombie gotta eat
(the snake is a hallucination btw brought on by the worms that infect human brains and make em undead. When they reach a certain saturation point, they restart higher brain functions and become sentient themselves. However now you got two folks in one brain, so that's a pickle...)
Cuz I wanted to do a zombie story where the zombies were more than just metaphors for consumerism or the commies or how-much-you-wanna-punch-a-guy.
So my zombies are metaphors for psychological disorders. Which means blisteringly huge amounts of research and psych texts and delving into painful memories of a lifetime with psychologists and really really REALLY fucked up people who fucked up your life OR made it awesome.
So my zombies, after a certain point, start thinking. But they gotta share their brains with a worm colony (with bizarre notions of reproduction...seriously they eat other hosts to absorb colonies to maintain their saturation level but don't personally see it as cannibalism because, hey, one worm is the equivalent to one ant). And the worms want you to eat so they can make spit-eggs and make more colonies/zombies. So they peel through your mind trying to find whatever way they can to manipulate you into going along with their alien sensibilities.
Some are real dicks about it. Snakey (Lamia's wendigo worm brain colony hallucination thingy) acts like that gurlfrand who always gave you the worst advice but with the best intentions. And you accepted it because, hey, they're well traveled. They must know what they're talking about, right? Even though your gut tells you otherwise, they gotta be right because they're your friend.
While Sugarbell, The Cat's wendigo, is a manifestation of his innate childishness. They get into screechy fights over whether his or "her" (gender being nonsensical for a worm colony, the label is only what its host calls it) decisions are more right. Their arguments generally devolve into who's a bigger tool: the person running around in retro-chic fashion trying to charm men and women to bed and control-freak their lives OR the vicious predator who views intimacy as a tool to get close enough to something to rip its guts out (and then roll lovingly in them). They are both terrible people.
Yep, although is the worm that's known as the "Wendigo Parasite" (it doesn't identify that way, it's just the colloquial name for it among the public and researchers). It was named after the mythical wendigo, a kind of sasquatch meets werewolves meets vampires monster that eats people and those it bites retreat into the forest to become enormous, giant hairy monster creatures. Native north eastern myth, it fits with the setting (Umbagog Lake in NH). Whether it was the original source of the myth (being that it mutates undead past certain stages) was a topic of debate among researchers studying it.
It's just easier to refer to the hallucination as the wendigo rather than go "manifestation of the second parasite brain attempting communication with its host brain". It needn't even appear as a auditory/visual delusion. One Half-Dead (what ascended undead, those that have achieved sentience, are called) is a 6 year old who sees the whole world as her own fantasy candyland. The harsh nature of the new world is completely lost on her. Another experiences a perpetual fog that clears to show targets or focus its host's attention. Yet another generates a feeling of painful itchiness beneath the skin of its host to encourage him to seek masochistic treatment so it gets close enough to infect (a backwards method of infection...but then this particular wendigo has le brain problems).
The psychological problems are mostly the domain of the host brain rather than the wendigo colony's own problem (beyond the inconveniences it causes it). Death did hard things to the brain, resulting in some broken bridges. The colony might attempt to fix that bridge best it can, but the end result is a Half-Dead with psychological problems that are usually exaggerations of already present mental quirks (ranging from normal to destructive) that a person experienced in their lifetime.
So Lamia, a woman who spent her life trying to bend over backwards for people and wavering quite a bit on what she wanted for herself, bottling a lot of emotional issues, exhibits borderline personality disorder with masochistic tendencies now that she's a Half-Dead. She wavers between major emotional highs and lows and these mood swings can last anywhere from hours to days. Something that she was fine with one minute can make her freak out the next, and when she encounters a trigger, she can become near catatonic as she flashes back to hyper intense memories and experience prolonged anxiety or rage attacks. And yet the very next minute, she'd be confused why you're suddenly upset or frightened of her. Because she's fine now, what's the problem? Understandably these wild moodswings (which she recognizes as abnormal, and yet can do nothing about) cause her intense distress. And she'll be all too ready to align herself with powerful personalities as both a form of guidance (since she views them as stabilizing influences) and as protection should she get herself into awkward situations.
Unfortunately that means she's the perfect victim for a pathological Narcissist like The Cat, who LIVES to enforce his personal vision of how things should be on those he can manipulate. And considering Lamia's dramatic self-esteem issues, she's an easy victim before his ego-tearing. He can shit on her all he likes and she'll ask for more.
So basically, the archetypal abusive relationship.
Oh yes, several of our members even use the concept as a way of exploring facets of themselves. Most the npcs in this world at tie back to people I've known plus aspects of myself I'm not always entirely comfortable with.