Depeche Mode vs Prodigy mash-up: Personal Jesus/Serial Thrilla…
I notice the very briefest flicker of alarm in the zombie queen’s iridescent green eyes, before she covers it with a sneer.
But I realise the essential part of a pro-active strike, is to maintain control of the situation…
“I know what you’re thinking, Pump,” I gulp hurriedly, saying anything that comes into my head. I wave the clockwork bejewelled hand in front of me, in what I hope is a threatening fashion. “You’re thinking, does she have a trick shot or just a dive? And do you know what? I can’t even remember my name in all this excitement… But considering this is a clockwork Swiss-movement, the most powerful hand in the world, and could blow you clean off…”
Ace Bumgang looks dubious, but I jabber on regardless.
“…You have to ask your selfish quisling: Do I feel lumpy?”
God, this stupid tassel wedged up my nose isn’t helping my enunciation either. Shreds of silk drapery and twisted retainer cords from my botched ‘surprise entrance’ dangle randomly from the ceiling.
“Well?!” I demand, rather too loudly. Hoping to attract the others, if they’re within earshot. “Do you? Pump?”
“Sarah, I was just going to dose her with Rohypnol, but you carry on if you think it’s helping,” Ace remarks, his eyebrows slightly quizzical.
“Perhaps you would like to join us in the tub, Miss Bellum?” Lady Glandula says, slyly. The weird zombie tentacle appendage curls possessively around Ace’s neck once more, and tightens perceptibly. “No need to be shy…”
“Let him go,” I order, nervously.
Ace doesn’t look too bothered yet, fishing in his overall pockets for something.
“…When I know you’d rather be in here, with him?” The zombie queen gives a knowing smile, resting her elbows on the edge of the marble bathtub. “Why not just indulge your final fantasy – instead of trying to save the world, Sarah?”
I knew it – I knew she’d give something away, without realising… I act as if taking aim.
“I am a virgin, and I am not afraid to use this!” I shout.
“Really?” Ace warns, still rummaging in his pockets. “You don’t know where it’s been.”
“And it’s clockwork,” a familiar voice joins us, attached to the familiar body, stepping through the drapes on the far side. “You’ll have to keep stopping to wind it up. But I kind of want to see you do that with it anyway.”
I’ve never been so glad to see Carvery Slaughter. Well – edit that. I’ve NEVER been glad to see Carvery Slaughter. But right at this minute I’m so relieved, I could pee through a dozen mattresses.
“Be a whole lot better than reading your diary, for a start,” he continues. He points to me with the butt of the shotgun, and scratches the side of his nose. “Er – you got a little something right here…”
“Fuck it,” I say, bravely, and spit out a bit of tassel trying to stick in the corner of my mouth. “You like diaries so much, grab that one belonging to Mr. Dry Senior over there.”
“Weirdo,” Carvery mutters, but goes ahead and takes it, from the other immobile zombie guard.
I don’t understand why the guards are not resisting.
Ace finds what he’s looking for, and grabs the two drinks off the tray, from the edge of the tub. Something drops from his hand into one of them, and he swirls it quickly.
“Where were we?” he says, nudging the Lady Glandula de Bartheline. “Bottoms up.”
“I like my men keen,” she purrs, and accepts the crystal chalice.
It’s then that the four zombie guards seem to wake up, and become noticeably more menacing. They close in on the sunken bath.
And I realise.
They’re here to protect HER – not her property…
“Ace, get out of the tub,” Carvery says quietly, reaching into his own pocket.
“In good time, buddy.” Ace slowly unwinds the tentacle from around his own neck, as she takes a first sip of her drink, now completely distracted.
The zombies step closer, into the puddles overflowing the sides of the tub, and I look down at the rivulets of rose-petal-peppered water approaching my own feet.
“Back up, Sarah,” Carvery warns me.
I see his hand emerging from his pocket – holding the Taser.
And then, right in front of me – the gemstones in the clockwork hand start to glow.
“Ace!” I squeak in fright.
“What, you think Carver’s never zapped me before?” Ace grumbles, tying a knot in the tentacle, which seems to divert Lady Glandula further in a playful way, for a moment. “It’s not only your diary he likes to read in his spare time, you know.”
“That’s not what I’m afraid of right now!” I hiss.
The clockwork hand is acting as if it has a mind of its own. The two middle fingers curl in towards the palm, and the index and pinky extend out straight. The smallest stones along the knuckle joints of the two extended fingers ignite in series, like little blue runway lights.
“Any time you’re ready, Ace,” Carvery prompts.
“Just getting comfortable, dude.”
Ace leans back nonchalantly – and then grabs hold of one of the trailing curtain-cords from the ceiling. Like a gymnast, he hauls himself up out of the water, flipping upside-down as he swings out of the tub.
Carvery fires the Taser – dead square into the zombie queen’s back.
Before she even screams, the clockwork hand has mimicked the Taser current, sending a blue lightning bolt into the same target. But it’s doing something strange – the current seems to be moving in reverse, as if the clockwork hand is absorbing power from her – not discharging it…
The Lady Glandula’s skin darkens, the tentacle retracts, and that oil-slick on tarmac appearance emerges again. The zombie guards, in contact with the bathwater, do a grotesque double-speed Thriller dance as the electricity courses through them, sending every undead muscle into spasm.
But it doesn’t turn them also back into that onyx stone, unlike the queen herself. Once she is cold, dark and solid again, the gemstones dim, and the strange influx of power surging towards me fades, and ceases.
It must be the clockwork hand, I wonder. Can it give her life, but also reverse it?
Ace somersaults over the edge of the tub, as Carvery disconnects his own current. The zombie guards look momentarily disoriented.
“Let’s bust a move,” Ace announces. “Before these guys want to play.”
“Come on, Sarah.” Carvery jerks his head in the direction of the stairs. “Chop-chop.”
Not the best words to hear, coming from him – but I pull myself together, and make to follow.
Before I’ve gone more than a few steps, Ace Bumgang stops me. He reaches out towards my face – and tugs the tassel abruptly out of my right nostril.
“Ow,” I react, as he tosses it over his shoulder into the tub.
“You’re welcome,” he says, and heads off after Carvery. “Don’t dither, Sarah.”
I look longingly back at the tassel floating in the tub, with the frozen black onyx zombie queen. But the zombie attendants are starting to recover, and I daren‘t risk hanging around.
Damn – the one time Ace touches something that was at least temporarily in contact with my own body… and I don’t get to keep it for my Ace Bumgang souvenir box!
At least I have the magical clockwork hand… As I hurry after the other two, I start to wonder what its other powers might be, which are supposedly so important…
The most powerful lines of dialogue in the world: Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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