Stevie Wonder vs The Clash – Uptight/Rock the Casbah mash-up…
I don’t know whether it’s my screaming, or Homer’s lethal feather boa snapping around the neck of a second zombie, rendering its future bow-tie wearing rather precarious – but suddenly all hell breaks loose.
Shotgun rounds fired from behind the upright paving slab where Carvery is hiding immediately take out a few more surprised slave zombies, and running from behind it into the back of the gathering, I see Ace knock down a few more.
Is that an adjustable spanner in his hand?
“Come on!” Luke is still urging me. “Let’s go!”
“We have to wait for Crispin!” I hiss.
Why didn’t he give us a signal? Or some form of safety code?
Bits of zombie are already flying, peppered with lead shot and shreds of white ostrich feather. Homer continues to whip and whirl, like Nureyev – minus the tights.
“We have to do something!” I moan. I look down in frustration at the golden clockwork hand. Why isn’t it helping us? If only I knew how to make it work!
Ace is dodging from pillar to pillar dealing with the enemy, one unsuspecting undead pyramid-builder at a time. Some of the other zombies have figured out where the gunshots are coming from, and converge on the paving-slab. Bits of them splatter around, as their own front line meets line of fire.
“I’m not waiting here to get my brains eaten by my own ancestors, thank you very much!” Luke announces. “It might be traditional – but it’s usually the other way around!”
And he makes one final – and successful – grab for the Dry family heirloom.
“Give that back!” I shout at him. “That was given to me to…”
But he has already gone, kicking up dust, as he runs down another sandy side-street.
“…Fuck!” I shout. Which was not at all how that sentence was meant to end, as it came out of my mouth.
I look back at the others. A huddle of zombies has reached the paving-slab, and Carvery straightens up, kicking it over flat on top of the nearest ones, jumping on top of it with a crunching of distressed bone and skull – giving him a few seconds to re-load.
Homer is holding his own, in the centre of a whirlwind of white feathers.
And Ace… I can’t see Ace…
“Sarah!” A hand grabs my shoulder.
All imminent bathroom requirements immediately dispensed with, I try to dislodge my inhaled tongue and turn to see Ace Bumgang behind me. Yes – it’s an adjustable spatter in his hand. I mean, spanner.
Very spattered, at the moment…
“Where’s Luke?” Ace demands.
“He ran off, that way.” I wave my arm weakly. “He stole the clockwork hand too…”
“Well – he did say he emigrated to seek his fortune,” Ace reminds me. “I guess he’s planning on cutting his losses, having worked as a minicab driver since 1971. Let’s find Crispin.”
“What about Homer and Carvery?” I ask, allowing Ace to drag me along by the elbow.
At least this is more like one of my Ace Bumgang fantasies… without the added zombie-massacre, maybe…
“Let them finish, they’re enjoying themselves,” Ace reassures me. “You know Carver’s never happy unless he’s beaten everyone else’s body-count high-score.”
I look across into the square, as we run behind the pillars. Carvery Slaughter is rapidly disappearing, under a mass of zombies, like bees flocking to subdue an interloping hornet. Every so often a gunshot hole appears in the seething, writhing bundle. I don’t hear any screaming.
I wonder if that’s a good sign.
Homer is entertaining his last few audience-members – a short fat zombie hopefully holding out a bunch of dead flowers – possibly myopic, considering Homer’s ‘qualifications’ as a semi-nude exotic dancer… and a couple of even more hopeful-looking zombies, whose posture and own flamboyant air suggest that Homer is eminently qualified, for their concept of this sort of perfomance art.
“There.” Ace points upwards.
Crispin is crouched on the top of a fallen pillar, resting at forty-five degrees to the ground, on top of some other dislodged masonry. He is apparently still scanning the area, with his little opera-glasses.
Ace and I scramble up onto the bottom of the sandstone block, and make our way up the incline of the pillar to join him, many feet above the paved market-place.
Goodness – the view from up here is spectacular!
But as I look around, I notice the snakelike river-God, Atum, still looming in the distance over the giant barge and the pyramids, examining its domain, and I gulp. That huge, ominous yellow eye looks as though it could obliterate the whole continent with one offended glance…
I look down into the square, and am rewarded with a vertiginous lurch in my gut. Homer is still dancing, in a much less threatening manner – evidently delighted to have found his niche market. Carvery is still hidden in a furious ball of zombie rage. A zombie head explodes sharply out of it, making me jump.
Still alive then, I note – only slightly disappointed.
It would be a waste of good DNA if he was torn to pieces…
“Any luck?” Ace asks Crispin.
“We’ve lost the clockwork hand,” I butt in. “Luke ran off with it – the traitor.”
“He was probably just scared, Sarah,” Ace points out. “I was scared. Look at my hand shaking.”
He’s such a liar. His own dirty blood-soaked hand is as steady as a rock.
“We were probably just a tad early,” Crispin admits, turning to scan another side-street. “The carpet salesman has an established schedule… aha.”
He points into the distance.
“The Oriental gentleman in the coolie hat, with the long whiskers,” he says.
“Where?” Ace and I both squint, into the early-morning heat-haze. The streets seem deserted – nothing but shadows and miniature sand-storms, drifting along them.
“We will need a few more minutes,” Crispin says. “I hope my brother has enough wind in his sails to stretch out his dance routine a bit longer…”
We all look downwards, to check. Still a good effort from Homer – in the distracting department – being put on below us in the quad. And still a mass of exploding zombies where Carvery Slaughter should be.
“Now – what was that about Mr. Lukan and the clockwork hand?” Crispin asks vaguely, raising his opera glasses once more…
Original shoot-out from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ – enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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