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…’
‘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.
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.