Horror-fic Horror Fiction

OR Honestly, There Were So Many Fucking Zombies.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year again where we gorge on sweets and/or alcohol and dress up as things that scare us get us laid, and we reaffirm our collective belief that statistically the scariest thing is a girl in a black leotard with whiskers drawn on her face calling herself a cat. It’s sHallowe’en.

Earlier this year I wrote some deliberately bad fiction for a laugh and it seemed to go down OK, so I’ve done it again because that’s democracy. In the interest of public safety, I must advise you not to read this in the dark, partly because it’s spooktacular and partly because you will strain your eyes and we can’t have that.

Part 1: The Beginning…

It was a drab and drizzly Thursday afternoon, but the forecast or the evening wasn’t looking much better. Our story begins with a bloke in a cloak striding purposefully towards your local library.

Upon arrival, the cloak bloke stood motionless in the foyer, rivulets of water dripping from the apex of his hood. The Librarian observed his hulking frame from her desk, silhouetted against the doorway, his shadow stretching across the greasy laminate flooring. After a few ominous seconds the man waved his arm in front of the faulty motion sensor and the automatic doors slithered open pathetically. The Visitor wriggled through the gap impatiently, composed himself and resumed his looming.

In the less-than-spooky gloom afforded by lacklustre strip lighting, The Visitor bristled with dark intent; he knew precisely what he was looking for. Nevertheless he didn’t know where it was, so he had to ask at the help desk and consult the Dewey Decimal System which completely ruined his air of sinister mystique.

‘I’m looking for the horror book section.’

‘We don’t go in the horror book section…’

‘Why?’

‘Because it’s shit. Have you seen what passes for horror these days?’

The man chuckled, the chuckle became a snigger, the snigger became a guffaw. He leant back to unleash a roar of maniacal laughter but the Librarian shushed him so he stopped.1

He swept away, his cloak trailing like a bin bag in the wind, returning ten minutes later with a hefty tome.

‘I’m afraid you’ll need a library card to check that book out.’

From within the depths of the cloak came the pronounced exhalation of disgruntled lungs. He’d had just about enough of her attitude. Wordlessly, The Visitor opened up a portal to hell beneath the Librarian’s feet. He heard not her anguished screams because he’d already left and put his iPod on.

Part 2: The Rest of The Story

It was now a dark and stormy night. The rain drenched down in an ominous way and the wind was similarly bad. It was also cold and smelt a bit and there was a creepy old cat out by the bins.

Anyway, The Visitor had taken the Occult Book back to his bedsit and had summoned the living dead for a laugh. There were loads of zombies. I mean really loads. Honestly, there were so many fucking zombies.

They killed The Visitor first, partly because he was there, partly because he was tasty and partly to eliminate the risk of any continuity errors later down the line. They ate the book too. If you really must raise the dead, don’t think there won’t be consequences.

From graveyards nationwide the living dead inexplicably found themselves able to move, sense things and tunnel through solid wood and six feet of impacted soil, which was no mean feat. Several zombies fell to pieces after coming into contact with air, but this was largely overlooked. Also; only people who had died recently got to come back – it didn’t work on decomposed people because that would just be silly and if there’s one thing that zombies are famous for it’s for unwavering realism.

There were normal zombies, angry zombies, fast zombies, ‘zoombies’, zombies that can climb, zombies that can’t climb, zombies that transfer zombie virus by bleeding on you, zombies that transfer zombie virus by breathing on you, zombies that transfer zombie virus by having sex with you and zombies that aren’t explicitly referred to as zombies and are instead called ‘the infected’ or ‘necromorphs’ or ‘lurkers’ or ‘roamers’ or ‘night-crawlers’ or ‘biters’ or ‘bleeders’ or ‘weepers’ or ‘z-words’ or ‘living impaired’ or ‘deadheads’ or ‘bleedy-bastards’ or ‘bitey-face deady-dead nob-ends’ etc.2 There weren’t any vampires because vampires have been ruined.

The news networks did a broadcast thing where they said ‘WATCH OUT: ZOMBIES ABOUT’ or some such and everyone in the world immediately went BATH SALTS LOL because that was the ‘in’ joke of the day, but nobody actually laughed this time. (Well, one bloke actually laughed out loud but that just alerted the zombies to where he was and they got him.)

In the midst of all the fear, sense prevailed and many people barricaded themselves indoors through the use of walls, doors and locks. The zombies tried to get in through the windows but glass is difficult to smash at the best of times, let alone when hampered by decayed tendons and less than adequate hand-eye co-ordination,3 so the zombies just sort of smeared up against the glass like an eight year old or an excited dog and it actually looked quite funny. Oh how they all laughed! (The people not the zombies.)

However, despite very sound advice to stay indoors because zombies have lost the ability to use door handles from lack of dexterity, everyone who has seen a classic zombie film, or an ‘it’s a zombie film with a modern (shit) twist’, or read a classic novel that someone put zombies in for a laugh, or played a churned-out first person shooter video game, or spent any length of time on the internet4 thought they had what it takes to be a zombie troubleshooter. I’ll spoil to for you now: they didn’t. They died in droves.

Of course one side effect of a zombie epidemic was an increase in the amount of inexplicable unwarranted sexual tension. Love was in the air, alongside screams and flying limbs. Two particularly good-looking people locked eyes amidst the fray. He; tall, muscular and with a jawline you could hew rocks with, she; blonde, skimpy and irrepressibly bouncy in a way that sells cinema tickets. They hit it off immediately. I mean really immediately. So immediately did they hit it off, that they’d probably started hitting it off before they’d even met, just to save a bit of time, the filthy buggers.

As the cacophony of death and/or undeath reigned around them, they experienced a joint moment of contrived romanticism, and, recognising an opportunity when they saw one, got down to business.5 They died, not because the author thought they deserved to but because they stopped running away for a bit. The sex was at best moderate-to-fair because as well as humans, zombies are experts at killing both erections and the mood.

As the zombies claimed more ground, the surviving humans began to give up hope of ever being rescued, but then, conveniently, an emergency broadcast went out detailing a place of safety at a nearby army base. The survivors steeled themselves for the literal and figurative roads ahead. It would be a Last Stand, except they’d be moving, so it would be a Last Journey, which didn’t sound like the most appealing of ventures. Someone had to leave a dying friend behind and it was a sad. His mate had to promise him everything would be OK but it wasn’t OK because the zombies had got him.

Time passed, as did distance; that’s physics. As the remaining humans approached the Army Base, a hush fell over the group. ‘Did you hear that?’ said someone. ‘Sounds like someone saying ‘Did you here that” chimed in some Smart Alec. It was then that the zombies descended. In a moment of high dramatic tension, one bloke made a noble self-sacrifice to allow the others to escape. It didn’t work and he was killed needlessly because the walking dead don’t care about your self-imposed narrative arcs.

Part 3: The End Bit

The early hours of the morning saw about a town’s worth of people comparatively safe behind the walls of a heavily fortified army base, waiting for the dawn, which was a metaphor for rescue. Serf and Celebrity alike huddled together; people from all backgrounds and walks of life bonded as humanity took comfort in itself.

That said, there was a conspicuous lack of people of African descent. This is not because the author is racist, but because zombies are racist. Perhaps a brain with innate white liberal guilt doesn’t taste very nice. It was an unfortunate phenomenon, but one thoroughly ingrained into horror fiction convention, and zombies are notorious sticklers for that sort of thing. Similarly, a quick glance over the perimeter wall showed predominantly previously-white zombies, as if crafted by the hand of a casting director who hadn’t thought it through.

And as the last remnants of the human race mourned their humanity and contemplated their future, the director M. Night Shyamalan ventured forward, clearing his throat for attention. “What if…’ he began, in a manner that was at once ominous and depressingly predictable, ‘… we were the zombies all along, and that this plague was a message to make us repent out vacuous selfish ways?…’

The director M. Night Shyamalan was randomly selected to be forcibly ejected from the camp as a peace offering, with the ceremonial raw meat hat of peace atop his oh-so-brainy head.

And as the director M. Night Shyamalan stood at the brow of the hill, awaiting the receipt of the peace offering, the sun came up, and he was cast in silhouette in a way not dissimilar to how that bloke in the cloak was at the start, which is prophetic imagery and is hence clever. A tranquility seemed to exhume itself from the Earth; as shafts of sunlight rent the boughs of trees and glinted in each dew drop on each blade of grass, fragrances of life and nature greeted the greedy nostrils of the living,6 and the dead conveniently crumbled to pieces.

And just like that, the word count was reached, and Paul McCartney turned up and played Hey Jude and everyone realised it was The End and they all went home for tea.

And then they woke up and it was all a dream.

And the zombies got them.

Happy Hallowe’en!


1 Just to be clear, he was laughing ominously, because he was about to redefine horror for the SmartPhone generation, not laughing sardonically at the writing quality of the recent glut of bandwagon shiterature.

2 In colder climes, the zombies were referred to as ‘Icy Dead People’, but this excellent pun went unappreciated amidst all the chaos and that.

3Seriously, try sitting on your hand for five minutes and then try operating heavy machinery. It can’t be done.

4 There’s a slight possibility that the internet’s zombie fascination has lead some stray viewers to this post. If so, this is for you: bacon, The Avengers, the sound of masturbation, cats with dreadful grammatical skills, two-punch observational comedy expressed in the ‘Impact’ typeface which may or may not preclude the accompanying picture.

5 Sex, not accounts or anything.

6 With the exception of the director M. Night Shyamalan, who could only smell the stench of his ceremonial raw meat hat.

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A Callous and Brazen Attempt to Drive Traffic to This Blog

Rated R.
Big time.

I have tried writing proper fiction. I have read about the sort of thing you women like and I have had a go myself, with the apprent-requisite level of contempt that the authors and publishing houses have for their readers. Just call me Stephanie E.L. Shitty Bastard Biscuits. Here goes sod all.

Blanche Canvasse was just an ordinary girl, which was fortunate. She had a relatable fault, such as clumsiness or a weird mole, which, she mused, would probably make it easier for readers in need of some escapism to identify with her. She was also a virgin because apparently that’s important.

Despite there being plenty of penis in whatever town she lived in, most of it attached to men who were sane and healthy, Blanche Canvasse found herself attracted to an unhinged man who lived in the woods/bins/a swanky apartment. His name was Dick Metterfore, and he liked Blanche back for no adequately explained reason.

As soon as she saw him, Blanche’s heart/lady-business erupted in a glut of positive adjectives. She assumed she wouldn’t be good enough for him because a) she was just an ordinary girl and b) because of her relatable fault, but Blanche had forgotten that she was the only woman in the book who had been talked about at all, and thus a relationship of some kind was in the narrative interest.

Blanche wrote in her diary/talked to her subconscious about some necessary inner turmoil she had going on.

‘Dear Diary,’ she wrote, ‘can I just make it absolutely clear now that Dick Metterfore is superlatively excellent in every possible way? I don’t want to have to keep repeating myself over and over and over and over and over again, or else I shall doubtless go a bit insane and compare him to a statue or let him tie me up and abuse me or something. He is dreamy. End of.’

As Blanche closed the diary/repressed her subconscious with her prescribed medication, Dick Metterfore himself showed up unannounced like a sex criminal. Something was in the air. Was it lust? Was it pheromones? Was it carbon monoxide poisoning? Only time would tell.

Dick undressed her with his eyes, but he didn’t have that power, so he did it properly with his hands. Then they had sex. It was moderately okay. Nothing to write home about.1

With a thick wedge of book still in the reader’s right hand, Blanche and Dick had an obligatory wild adventure, during which their love was questioned, tested and pushed to its conceivable limits, and also much sex was had.

Then someone else turned up that demanded both Blanche’s affections and a decent amount of narrative attention. Much jealousy happened and there was some big climactic event and –

You know what? Fuck this. I have some pride.

Normal service will resume forthwith.


1I think this is my favourite paragraph of anything I’ve ever written.

Old Blog – Issues with Tissues

First written February 2010. Rated R.

Last week I jumped on the illness bandwagon and got me a common cold. They’re all the rage – everyone’s wearing the puffy eyes and red nose look.

I’ve suffered many an illness in my time, and being the fastidious hoarder that I am my drawers were already stuffed to the gills with pills and potions and placebos to banish most ailments. My medicine cupboard was full, but my nose was running like a bear was after it, and I was out of tissues. Now the average man would have used toilet paper, but like the true average man, I’d just about run out of that as well. After a quick root through all my pockets for old scrunched up bits of soft paper proved fruitless, I realised I’d have to brave the outside world and buy something.

Determined to knock this disease on the head, I wrapped up warm and shuffled into a well-known chain of chemists, which also does a spectacular Meal Deal offer. I don’t know why I’m being so coy; it was Boots. Figuring I’d kill two birds with one stone, I grabbed lunch as I passed, selecting a smoothie and a fruit bar, in order to fool other customers into thinking I ate this healthily all the time, the gullible fools…

I then spent what must have been a good five minutes wandering around the shop looking for the desired tissues. Being an aforementioned bloke, I was not accustomed to the layout of shops that sell things like make-up, and was also not going to ask for admit defeat and directions if I could help it. I wandered up and down each aisle in sequence, perusing, browsing and ultimately wasting precious minutes of a finite and rapidly passing lifetime.

I found myself towards the back of the shop in the section that deals with the sexual items and other downstairs departments.1 From here, I had a good view of the rest of the store, and was also well placed to hear some steady reggae rhythms being emitted by a nearby speaker. I bobbed my stuffy, gloopy head in time, and shortly spotted a convenient, obvious and truly massive sign saying ‘TISSUES’.

Here I had a quandry. Many of the tissues appeared to be scented, or laced with something (chloroform for all I know) and encased in exquisitely flowery boxes. Already out of my depth in a sea of beauty products, some innate male foolishness in me decided I needed to overcompensate. Anything feminine looking was immediately written off, and I selected a big black box; the one that looked most like a sports car. There was even a pattern to suggest carbon fibre.

Suspicious Package

My Suspicious Package

Not content with this however, I also picked up an also-needed pack of razor blades for my invisible, cactus-like facial hair. I contemplated a packet of prophylactics, but no-one would be coming near me in my condition, and in any case, I am well versed on forgoing the need for contraception, as I spend almost every evening working myself into unconsciousness instead of going out and meeting girls. That word was working. Go back and read it again.

At this point, dear reader, you may be giving up hope on this ramble ever becoming amusing, and instead writing it off as a glorified shopping list, and you’d be right to think that, because it is dull, but it’s about to pay off; I wouldn’t let you down like that.

***

I approached the cashier, and handed my selections over to the pretty young thing behind the till. As she beeped them through, I reviewed my soon-to-be purchases. Sandwiches, good. Apple and banana smoothie, healthy. Fruit and nut bar, doubly so. Razor blades, with no actual razor – odd, but unremarkable. Tissues. I caught a look in her eye as she scanned them. To my horror I noticed they were ‘man-sized’. ‘Man-sized,’ as in ‘for filthy business’.

My mind raced. What must she be thinking? What had she seen me do? I had entered the shop, wandered up and down the aisles suspiciously, as if I was trying to find something, stopped near the sexual lubricant, NODDED TO MYSELF, THEN GONE STRAIGHT FOR THE MAN-SIZE TISSUES. God knows what she thought the razors were for AS I CLEARLY DIDN’T HAVE A BEARD. Maybe she thought I was into auto-erotic-asphyxiation or other branches of onanistic self-harm, or maybe – yes, that must be it – I was so disgusted at myself and the hideous wanking monster I had obviously become I was going to tug my way through this box of tissues, climb into the bath and end it all.

I opened my mouth to say something. I thought about telling her how ‘I spend almost every evening working myself into unconsciousness instead of going out and meeting girls,’ and rejected it immediately, because it would only prove her false assumptions. I thought about arguing that if I – or anyone else – was planning a lengthy stint of unmentionable activity, surely I would have taken an item from the lubricant aisle I spent so long standing and nodding in. I though about arguing that if I was going give my bucket a good kicking surely I wouldn’t have opted for such a healthy last meal, and then explaining to her how much I would have preferred the steak and onion crinkle crisps, but didn’t want people to think badly of me. I even thought about saying ‘WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME!?’ but that might have caused a scene. God forbid.

Then I realised I had a panicked look in my eyes and illness-begotten clammy, pallid skin. The look of a chain-masturbator who’d been caught.

I looked the girl straight in the eye and did a very loud and deliberate snort. There was no doubt to her, the other checkout girls, the nearby security guard and the rest of the queue that I had a runny nose. I shoved a tissue up it and left the shop with head held high.

Whale Tissues from Etsy

Why can’t all boxes be as friendly as this guy? Via GnomeSweetGnome on Etsy.


1 Not to be confused with the downstairs department of the shop, which sold hair-care products, electric straighteners and those funny plastic jellyfish skin things ladies put on their heads in the shower.

A Bit of Admin #2 – Old Blogs/New Tricks

I recently dug out my old hard drive, and found a bunch of old blogs. For those who aren’t aware, I started writing two years before I started publishing. This, it turns out, was a damn good thing, as of the eight completed blogs I found, six of them were dreadful beyond salvage. They were mean, snarky, and badly written, so I binned ‘em.

Two of them, however, were perhaps worth another look, so I’ve spruced them up and given them a lick of paint. They are, as I say, two years old, so they’ll be a bit rickety on their spindly legs, and they come from a place of less confidence and security. That said, it would be churlish of me to deny you them; hopefully they’ll still be funny, and will tide you over whilst I work on a much larger series of posts.

The first one details an illness and a misunderstanding, but takes a while to pay off. It’s also vaguely smutty, if you like that sort of thing. (It would seem that the WordPress community does.)

The second involves another awkward situation with a pretty girl on public transport, not to be confused with previous entries.

Also, whilst I’m dealing with Admin, may I just say how excellent you all are? The WordPress community has been good to me and for me, so to readers and followers old and new; high five!

Thoughts on a Bigoted Tree

I think that I shall never see

A racist poem ’bout a tree

Bugger me! How wrong I be!

(Extract of ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer, bastardised by me)1

Racism is a serious subject, and not be laughed at or made light of, but I’ve blogged twice about cancer, (and once about trees) and no one seemed to mind, so bugger it.2

Last weekend, I went to visit Best Friend Dan to do some work on our sitcom-that-will-never-happen. I travelled up the country by train to meet him at Peterborough station, and I passed through the town of Loughborough. Now I’ve seen many alarming things on trains. I’ve seen a man arm wrestle himself for a laugh. I’ve seen a boy flirt with the girl unlucky enough sat next to him by drawing a picture of her face, and then when she didn’t reciprocate, add a mane and pretend she was meant to be a lion all along. I’ve tried not to see a girl with her hand down her boyfriend’s trousers, pumping like a plumber for all the world to see.

But last weekend, I saw something that (arguably) trumps all of them. There is a tree just South of Loughborough train station onto which someone has graffitied a big yellow Swastika.

Bang Out Of Order

Bang out of order.3

***

At this juncture, I’d like to point out that I am no way condoning racism; arboreal or otherwise by including its presence in this blog. I hate racism. It is rubbish. However, in this progressive day and age, no opinion should be dismissed out of hand, no matter how morally objectionable, and the best way to combat prejudice is to educate, and to sympathise to an extent to help the individual to improve themselves. Unfortunately, the dickhead in question appeared to have promptly fucked off, so in his absence, we must get analytical:

Firstly, why? For God’s sake, why? What on Earth does the racist vandal hope to achieve? Is this a method of venting hatred, of releasing the prejudice pent up inside like a politically incorrect timebomb?

Plausible Thoughts of a Racist #1:

‘Agh! Ethnic minorities wind me right up, for some reason! If only I could tell some of them how I feel, but I won’t, because society thoroughly frowns upon it, and quite rightly so. If only there were some passive entity around here for me to share my bigotry with. Ah! A tree! Prepare your self for some racial abuse! FEEL MY WRATH YOU TWIGGY BASTARD!’

If it’s simply a release of prejudice then, in a way, good on him for finding an outlet which doesn’t involve abuse or violence, even if it does damage perfectly innocent vegetation. Perhaps this is even a form of therapy or outsider art; imagine all the aggression and hate crimes that could be avoided if wankers were encouraged to go to the forest and daub the trees with racist symbols rather than oppress minorities… On the other hand, this might make for a very uncomfortable place to stroll through of an evening.

But this doesn’t answer why he or she4 chose to daub that particular tree. We can assume it was to draw the attention of passing commuters, as it is clearly visible from the tracks. In principle it works; the message can easily be seen from the train, and the yellow paint does catch the eye, but why?

Is it to deter incoming commuters who might be of an alternate nationality or religious persuasion from entering Loughborough? If so, in order to see the swastika they must already be on the train; a vehicle out of their control which travels in only two directions; you can’t turn around and flee the city limits whilst on a train. You can run it’s whole length to avoid entering an unwelcoming racist town, but you’ll only get as far as the buffet car.5

Or is the motive altogether more sinister; does the arboreal thug hope to convert passing train passengers to his cause? If this is the case, I must ask what kind of person is so easily swayed by what is only a single icon? Must they already be teetering on the edge of bigotry?

Plausible Thoughts of a Racist #2

‘Are you there, God? It’s me, a racist.

I come to you in my hour of need; I have these latent prejudices, but society frowns on active discrimination… I just can’t decide!

Should I, or should I not, become an racist? Please, give me a sign!

…Oh hang on, a fascist tree! Thank’s God, I’m off to go and scowl at an ethnic café.’

Of course, there is the possibility that the tree itself has grown some moss upon its trunk in the shape of an offensive emblem because it has developed sentience and is itself a racist. If this is true – and it isn’t – then the tree could simply be dismissed as being barking mad.6

In conclusion, there’s a lesson to be learnt from all this: if you’re stupid enough to daub a fascist symbol on an innocent tree, you are in no fit state to offer any thoughts on foreign affairs. Racism is bad. Pack it in.

NOTE: Changed the name of the blog because it seemed needlessly confrontational.


1 That’s a poem. I am officially deep.

2 I do worry that I’m being insultingly flippant about these serious issues, but I hope that readers will realise that I’m dancing around the edges for comedic purposes, and I mean no malice or trivial disregard. That said, if you’re going to have a cruel laugh at someone, it might as well be a racist. Who actually likes racists? Not even their mums.

3 This is an image I obtained from a stock-photo site and photoshopped a swastika onto. I just want to make it perfectly clear that the tree featured in that picture has no moral agenda, although if he did, he’d definitely be a progressive liberal. I looked at pictures of trees for ages, trying to find one that didn’t look too lovely to photoshop a racist emblem onto, and that fella drew the short straw.

4 Statistically, it’s probably a he. Probably with a shaved head and a football shirt and an sub-average wang.

5 I must point out that Loughborough is not a hotbed for racism, and everyone I’ve met from there is lovely. Admittedly I’ve met one fellow who is an exceptional bassist, but he is 100% cool, because bassists ain’t racists.

6 So happy right now…