Metallica again, vs. Britney – Enter Toxman mash-up…
One of the small boats, piloted by a weatherbeaten zombie in a loincloth and red leather chaps – I don’t ask why, just wonder what Ace Bumgang would look like in them – transports us to the giant barge, when it anchors alongside.
This is where it really does get intimidating, up close – the upper deck is the size of a football field, and I’m sure those sail masts are hundreds of feet high. The blood-red sails attached to them must measure at least an acre each.
The deck succumbs to red-tinted darkness, in their shade.
“Mother’s weekend dinghy,” Crispin announces, with a vague gesture around the miles and miles of mahogany-coloured timber. “She doesn’t get about much these days, but when she does – one could say she ‘pushes the boat out‘ so to speak.”
A gigantic flight of stairs leads up to the doors of a pyramid-shaped construction in the centre, and flanked by leather-chapped zombies, we go inside.
The walls are lit by burning torches, which smell faintly of sandalwood and incense, and at the end of the passageway, in the very middle of the pyramid, is a full-height shrine.
In the centre, a very beautiful black onyx statue of a woman stands on a pedestal, in the headdress and typical adornments that Hollywood and history books would have us believe denotes ancient regal status. The decorations feature the usual collection of beetle and bird motifs, modified eye designs and snake heads.
One of the red-chapped zombies strides ahead of us, the leather-bound diary belonging to Mr. Dry Senior in his hands. When he gets to the pedestal, he kneels, and places it reverently on an altar at the foot of the pedestal.
“What is this, Show and Tell with Mother day?” Ace asks.
“No,” Crispin says, shaking his head, asymmetrically. “I think she always just wanted to know what Father was writing about in that diary, all those years. Maybe hoping to uncover an illicit affair.”
“Makes sense,” Carvery remarks, nudging me unpleasantly.
I swear – I’m never keeping a diary again…
The zombie returns to stand in front of Crispin, and seems to be expecting something.
Reluctantly, Crispin produces the golden jewelled clockwork hand from inside his jacket, and relinquishes it. The zombie nods, and turns back to face the altar and pedestal.
“One never really knows what to say in these circumstances,” Luke whispers in my ear.
“What do you mean?” I ask, of the Nigerian cab-driver.
“Well, when you’re in a foreign country, being introduced to someone’s parents, the protocols are usually completely different to what you’re used to,” he remarks. “I mean, are we expected to bow? Or kneel down and touch our foreheads to the ground? Or are we intended to arrive bearing gifts of Asda sparkling Chardonnay and copies of Woman’s Weekly? I remember one young lady in the past whose parents didn’t even acknowledge you until you’d delivered a full fish-and-chip supper.”
The zombie in the red leather chaps, his back to us, does some minor adjustment to the clockwork hand, and holds it aloft in front of him, pointing it at the statue.
Another zombie swings a hammer at a gong in prompting, vibrating my eardrums just to the point of discomfort, and a brilliant, blinding light shines out of the gemstones on the mysterious ornamental hand, illuminating the statue as if under a disco-ball.
“Is my tie straight?” Crispin asks me, anxiously. I notice that Homer is fluffing the feathers on his ostrich boa self-consciously.
“Ooh, pretty,” is all my housemate, Miss Air-Head, comes out with.
Gradually, the black onyx under the beams of light starts to change. Rainbows of colour appear, like in an oil slick on tarmac, and they move in the same way, shimmering over the surface.
“Reminds me,” Ace mutters to Carvery. “I need about eight tons’ more builder’s sand at the breaker’s yard.”
“No problem,” Carvery replies.
The moving rainbows start to split, and the statue moves, as if freed from a waxwork museum.
When the echoes of the gong finally die away, she opens her eyes, and casts an icy green gaze down onto our motley party.
She scans each of us in disdainful silence, as if judging individually. A flicker of fondness appears around her full lips as she espies Homer N. Dry, in his Diana Ross sequins.
“This is quite a gathering,” she says at last, and accepting a nearby zombie’s hand in assistance, she elegantly steps down from the pedestal, descending towards the altar. “Is it my birthday?”
The original waking of the Queen of the Damned – enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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