M*A*S*H*E*D: A Zombie Parody

Nirvana vs. Dead or Alive – Spins Like Teen Spirit mash-up…

“Justin Time!” a voice hails, and then, rather predictably I feel: “Traitor!”

“Who have you upset now, Justin?” I ask, struggling to my feet, brushing sand and alien squid-goo from my clothing.

“Bah, it is only my cousin,” Justin grumbles. “Everyone, meet Seymour Time. Seymour, meet everyone. There, introductions made.”

The wiry dark individual, in the combat trousers and red bandana, armed with a crossbow, sidles out of the tree-line at the top of the beach, eyeing us with the sort of suspicion reserved for doorstep salesmen.

“Your wife has been asking after you, cousin!” the newcomer greets our coolie-hatted rickshaw pilot. “She has tortured at least six good men to death already.”

“She is here?” Justin’s voice becomes a desperate squeak.

“Not now, she got bored, went fishing,” Seymour shrugs, and shoulders his crossbow. “Ah, Mr. Dry. A privilege to see you, sir.”

“Mr. Seymour Time,” Crispin acknowledges, straightening up. “Can you take us to the medical facility? My brother Homer needs attention. He has just delivered a pair of bouncing baby Squidmorphs.”

“You’re telling me,” I groan, having just performed service as ‘the bouncee’ – still trying to clean slime from my ears.

“Good man! That would kill a lesser person. Yes, you must come to the field hospital. That blanket will make a stretcher.”

“Of course.” Crispin arranges Homer on the old blanket. “Sarah, call the others, to assist.”

Reluctantly, I shade my eyes to seek out Ace, Carvery and Luke, who have wandered further down the beach to look at the blaze going on in the forest.

“Hey!” I yell. “We’re moving on!”

* * * * *

We trudge along the barely-there footpath through the jungle, the sad ravaged gray sack of skin and bone that is Homer suspended in the blanket between Crispin, Carvery, Ace and Luke. Seymour leads the way, and I follow behind with Justin Time, who is decidedly jumpy, and flinches at every waving leaf.

We emerge from the trees into an open encampment of khaki tents, some haphazardly marked with blood-red crosses. Men wearing a mixture of combat fatigues and Hawaiian shirts are occupied with moving crates of supplies, transporting patients from one tent to another, or playing croquet on the small air-strip.

“Good thing you didn’t choose to land here,” Seymour remarks. “The Colonel hates it when you mess up his game.”

“He’d have been even worse off, trying to catch a hatching Squidmorph,” says Justin wryly.

Seymour shouts in foreign, I don’t know what, and a few others hurry over and guide us to the largest temporary shelter.

As our eyes adjust to the gloom, lamps are switched on, and Homer is lifted and transferred onto a polished steel gurney – far cleaner and more hygienic than the one we just left in the Eight a.m. Lounge.

“Poor guy, he looks like the world dropped out of his bottom,” says Seymour. There is a flurry of activity, as people are lathering up their hands and being tugged into scrubs left and right. “We will need more than one donor, it appears.”

“I have organs here.” Crispin produces the linen bag from inside his jacket, containing the spare pieces of unfortunate Victorian streetwalker.

I blush horribly, from the inside-out. Seymour opens the bag, and sniffs the contents.

“These are lady-parts,” he observes.

“They were intended for another patient,” says Crispin. “But they are all we have to offer.”

“I don’t think Homer will complain,” Ace points out, while Carvery seems to be taking far too much interest in the array of surgical saws on the nearby trolley.

“Proceed,” Seymour shrugs, handing over the bag to a nurse, before turning to look me up and down. “You – Miss Hot-Limps. You are not sterile enough for this environment. Go to the outdoor shower and wash that Squid ejaculate off. Take some clean scrubs with you.”

I’ve seen enough spontaneous surgery already, after my housemate’s revival back at the University, and the streetwalker‘s impromptu dissection. I’m not sure I want to watch zombie quacks perform a sex-change on top of that.

I’d rather be back on the Body Farm, waiting for things to rot in peace. Not watching them get recycled and bounding around ghoulishly afterwards. Privately, I wonder how much of Crispin is original, and if he’s hiding something physiologically hijacked of his own up his sleeve – or anywhere else on his person…

“Now,” I hear Seymour saying, as I turn to head back outside. “Clean this V.I.P. patient up. Someone find the XY to XX re-plumbing diagram…”

“Ah,” Luke joins in, evidently fascinated, in his own cultural way. “I can see clearly now the brains have gone…”

I head back out into the sunshine with my armful of folded clean outerwear, just missing a golf-ball as it zips past my nose.

They seem rather playful for a warring tribe, here in the Nine a.m. Lounge. To my right, a one-legged man in a wheelchair is drinking something out of a cut-off Wellington boot. To my left, two soldiers sit playing dominoes, a wireless playing Barry White’s ‘My Everything’ crackling between them.

The shower is a Heath-Robinson-esque contraption under a large rainwater-collection barrel, shielded only from the world by a curtain rail. A rickety wash-stand proudly features a sliver of enthusiastically worn-down soap, a completely flattened long-handled scrubbing brush, and a bloodstained wire-wool pad.

I gulp. Some quite possibly psychotic ablutions have been performed here.

I step onto the non-slip rubber mat on the bare earth, and turn on the creaking tap. Jungle-tepid, gray-tinted water sputters from the colander overhead. I’m not sure it has the power to move any of this rapidly-thickening sludge from my person, but I pull the curtain around, and strip off the heavy Naval uniform anyway. The stupid clockwork hand, now dormant again, is currently clamped around my wrist, inextricable, like an OTT piece of Gothic bling.

I make the most of the remaining soap. Although I think I’m only making the hard brown bar of goodness knows what cleaner, rather than it cleaning me. I can see why the wire wool pad is here… but I use the matted scrubbing brush instead, vainly trying to achieve the slightest squeak of cleanliness against my own skin. At least the soap smell is surgical enough under the grime… maybe sandalwood, or pine. Perhaps smelling like a tree helps a soldier to hide in the forest…?

“It looks like Homer will recover, Sarah Bellummmm,” that devastating familiar voice interrupts my thoughts.

“Er, really?” I rub the feeble suds from my eyes to see Crispin standing in the shower cubicle with me, fully-clothed and apparently unaware of the half-hearted cascade of dirty water. But he looks so downcast, I try not to make an issue of the fact. “That is good news…”

“I am not sure that having ovaries and a uterus will benefit him,” Crispin sighs. “It is enough that he goes around dressed in Mother’s clothes, without asking if they make him look fat and getting depressed on a monthly basis as well.”

“Mmmm,” I agree, vaguely. Damn! Why didn’t I pick up a towel beforehand? I try to make myself as small and modest as possible behind the long-handled scrubbing-brush. “Have you, erm, yourself, ever had any – transplants?”

“What?” His head raises from his introspective gloom. “No, Sarah Bellummm. I have only been dead a fortnight. Nothing has fallen off – or fallen out – yet. But Homer has put himself through the wars. This is at least his third alimentary tract replacement. He did himself terrible damage when I first found him in the shed, surviving on broken beer-bottles and hedgehogs.”

“Oh dear.” I try not to picture Crispin reduced to such monosyllabic unsophistication, forgetting his mansion and vending machine empire, chomping on rats and fast-food wrappers at the bottom of some alleyway garbage skip. I shudder, wondering how long such a deterioration took to set in.

“We will have to find other bodily replacements for your housemate, Miss, Er… back on Mother’s barge in the Five a.m. Lounge,” Crispin adds, apologetically.

“Oh yes, her… umm…” I nod quickly. One of these days her name will just pop into my mind, I reassure myself. “Can she be revived?”

“The ambient spells aboard the Great Barge will keep her suspended for a little while, by proxy,” he tells me. “Mr. Slaughter and Mr. Lukan have gone to rummage in the medical waste bins for any identifiable rejects which could be utilised. Although I think Mr. Lukan is convinced the entrails of a goat could be substituted, and Mr. Slaughter does not seem to be enthusiastic at all.”

“What about Ace?” I ask, recklessly, perhaps rebelling against the intrusion onto my al fresco toilette.

“He has been asked to look at a problem with one of the ambulance trucks, since his suggestion that human organs could be substituted with a 50cc water-cooled two-stroke engine,” Crispin sighs. “It is a good thing my Grandfather, Higham Dry Senior, is not within earshot. He’s always on the look-out for alternative technology to clockwork organ replacements. He would shanghai Mr. Bumgang away to one of his surgical sweat-shops in an instant…”

I have no time to respond, as the end of his sentence is drowned out by the low whir of a siren, getting louder and higher, like the whine of a giant hornet.

“Air-raid!” someone shouts. “Incoming rickshaws, twelve o’clock!”

“Quickly, Sarah Bellummm!” Crispin grabs my hand and tries to pull me out of the cubicle. “To the shelters!”

“But…” I make a desperate grab for the clean scrubs, clutching them to me defensively as I am hustled out into the open. “I’m not rinsed off yet!”

Arrows and spears are already thudding into the ground, as we race for the half-submerged corrugated-iron Nissen hut entrance. I am shoved unceremoniously inside, where the pitch darkness makes it impossible to see anything, at first.

The drumming of arrowheads off the iron roof, under its thin covering of earth, is almost deafening, while I attempt to pull on the cotton scrubs. It’s only when I find myself lacking a head-hole that I realise I must have put my legs down the sleeves, and have to start over.

A loudspeaker somewhere outside joins the sound of the siren.

“Camp update: Mr. Crispin Dry and his naked lady-friend, Hot-Limps, have made it to the air-raid shelter in twenty-two seconds,” the announcer says, cheerfully. “No more bets please, and the initial figures say we have only one winner in this morning’s race, not including the sweepstakes… And now, some music. Another track from the walnuts of love, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones – this one goes out to all of you with wives and girlfriends – let’s hope they never find out about each other, so we can all enjoy a little more of that Brown Sugar…”

M*A*S*H movie trailer, Donald Sutherland et al – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

Menopause in Black: A Zombie Parody

Re-Flex v. Bill Hicks v. George Carlin – Politics of Dancing mash-up…

The darkness after the flash is even darker, outlined in red and green, imprinted with the pattern of the blood vessels in my own eyeballs. The air is still rushing past, our flying rickshaw now soaring unimpeded, as straight as an arrow. And the clockwork hand is dull and lifeless, its power absorbed from the Pterydactyl flames completely spent. The only new sensation is a strange tickling, as if the air is full of downy-soft feathers, or warm snowflakes.

There is a mechanical whir beside me, and I recognise the sound of the Trevor Baylis torch being wound up, before the beam clicks on again.

“Great shot, Fuckwit,” says Carvery, grudgingly. “That was one genocide in a million.”

The torchlight bounces back off hundreds of thousands of little white skeletons, scattered over our blanket on the rickshaw, and hanging as if at roost from the ceiling of the cave. Carvery holds out a hand to catch a tiny bat skull as it drifts by. It is perfect in every detail, clean and as dry as – well, dry as a bone.

Carvery blows on it, and it vanishes into a powder.

Halloween snowflakes, indeed…

We exchange a look, and he gestures at the golden clockwork hand still gripped in my own, with the barrel of the shotgun, still in his.

“I’m saving one cartridge,” he says. “So if you ever point that thing at me, just remember that I’ll blow your fucking head off.”

“She’d probably enjoy that,” Ace Bumgang replies. “It’d be the first time anyone’s blown anything of hers.”

Carvery nods wryly, and hands me my torch back. It’s still warm from his hand, and I get a guilty thrill, recalling that Ace handled it briefly as well.

I wonder how much viable DNA I could recover from either of them touching it? I wish I had an evidence bag, or a surgical swab on me…

“Not far now,” Crispin’s deep voice intones. “Remember – the clockwork hand’s power can be renewed – always.”

“I think I see the light,” Luke confirms.

We stare into the distance, the endless reams of skeletons now starting to thin out a little. Ace clambers back up from the foot of the rickshaw for a better view, brushing white bone dust off his distractingly muscular arms and bare chest.

Oh – what I wouldn’t do for some of that DNA…

“You missed a bit,” Carvery says. “Looks like you’ve done whiz.”

Ace checks the crotch of his Naval uniform trousers, bemused.

“Not that kind of whiz.” Carvery points at his nose. “You got a go-faster speed stripe right there.”

Ace’s brow unfurrows in comprehension, and he rubs his face with the back of his arm.

“If I did snort this stuff,” he says, between wipes, “would I turn into a vampire?”

“You could try, Mr. Bumgang,” Crispin ponders, mildly. “I am sure, after the blast, all traces of rabies and other diseases will have been eradicated.”

Ace shrugs, looks at the remaining white residue on his hands, and tests it out on his tongue.

“What’s it like?” Carvery asks.

“Bit like a fart in an old people’s home.” Ace rubs a finger around his teeth, into his gums. “Menthol and Werther’s, with a hint of coffee and dead thing.”

“Sounds like the secret ingredient for brewing Guinness, that they might be missing in the Six a.m. Lounge,” Carvery remarks.

“What, old people?” I repeat.

“We’ll just tell them to substitute menthol, Werther’s, coffee and dead thing,” Carvery reassures me. “Although knowing Crispin’s Grandpappy, most likely they’re already using dead thing, of one species or another.”

“And old people,” Ace agrees, dusting the last of the powder from his hands. “Speaking of old people and dead things, Homer’s not doing too well down there, Crispin. He keeps trying to pull bits of himself off. And not for fun.”

Crispin immediately crouches down by his brother’s side, to check his current state.

“He still needs medical attention,” he announces, grimly. “We must hope that the Nine a.m. Lounge residents are amenable today…”

“Nine a.m. Lounge?” a strange, muffled voice cries out in alarm.

“Who said that?” Luke yelps.

“I can’t go to the Nine a.m. Lounge!” The almost-familiar voice sounds like it is shouting through… layers and layers of wet carpet…

“Ah, Justin Time,” Crispin greets the stowaway. “What treason have you committed now?”

The disgraced roll of carpet thrashes around in the footwell of the rickshaw, and bursts open, to reveal the whiskered, runaway, bounty-hunters’-most-wanted rickshaw pilot, Mr. Justin Time.

“You left me in the Seven a.m. Lounge!” he practically broils. I’m not sure he’s even close to sober either. “Do you know what they did to me, in their cold stinky little gaol cell?”

“I’m sure you will elucidate us anyway,” Crispin encourages, concentrating on his brother’s position and seeing that he is comfortable.

My heart seems to heave a sigh of empathy. Oh, if only Crispin hadn’t been so keen on the idea of me taking up his job offer… he really is the nicest corpse any woman could wish for…

…If she wasn’t also being constantly distracted by the thought of arrogantly good-looking live male genetics, I remind myself, as Ace wipes his hands clean on my sleeve.

“Don’t,” Carvery mutters. “You’ll only get your hands more dirty. You don’t know where she’s been.”

“They gave me A Nice Cup of Tea,” Justin Time fumes. “And asked if they could contact my wife for me! If my wife ever finds out where I am, I am a dead man! No offence, Mr. Dry… But we are not talking about an unreasonable woman here! We are talking about a homicidal maniac! Have you ever been married to a homicidal maniac?”

The men all shake their heads. Both Carvery and Ace pointedly step away from me, as if denying any such detailed association.

“No,” says Carvery. “But we’ve met Crispin’s mother.”

“Yup,” Ace grimaces.

“I’ve been married, but not to a homicidal maniac,” Luke says, gloomily. “To a sex maniac.” He sighs. “Just not when I was around, sadly.”

“You see?” Justin splutters. “That’s the sort of woman I would be a happy man to be married to! But what do I get? I get the Medusa, the Furie, the Siren, the witch-beast from Hell… and the pasty desk clerk with the badly-made suit at the gaol, is sitting there offering to send a singing telegram to tell her where I am and inform her that I am quite well enough to collect! Hah! To collect my bones and suck out my soul and flay my skin into a sail for her Ship of Doom!”

“Are you sure that you and Crispin aren’t related in some way?” Ace says, quizzically. “Does she ever turn herself into stone at all? Or keep pet zombies in red leather pants with no ass to them?”

“I wish!” Justin Time rages.

“I bet they offered you Marriage Guidance as well, bro,” Luke sympathises. “The elders at my village told me I’d have to sacrifice a white cock to satisfy my old lady. I told them she was getting plenty of that already, from what I’d heard… And not the sort I could afford to sacrifice and get away with.”

“Unfortunately, Mr. Time, we are most definitely heading for the Nine a.m. Lounge,” Crispin tells him. “But perhaps you could remain under cover until we have disembarked.”

“This is costing you, Mr. Dry!” Justin snaps. “I want Christmas and New Year off!”

“But you don’t celebrate Christmas and New Year, Mr. Time,” Crispin points out.

“No, but my girlfriend in New York, it a very big thing for her,” the rickshaw pilot wheedles. “She puts on this little frilly negligence with all tinsel and flashing lights in, and a strawberry liquorice rope instead of a…”

“I’m actually starting to like him,” Carvery grins.

“Yeah, me too,” says Ace.

Suddenly, the darkness fades to misty gray. I switch the flashlight off. Instead of bare rock and desiccated skeletal matter, evidence of creepers and other greenery indicates that we are nearing more hospitable depths.

We all shade our eyes, at the first flash of daylight…

The flying carpet decelerates as we burst through the foliage, disturbing unseen birds and animals by the noise of their cries and squalling.

“Stupid rug!” Justin Time dives to grapple with the harness, reining in its enthusiasm for the outside world. “Not above the jungle canopy! This is a war zone!”

“A war zone, Crispin?” I repeat, aghast.

I recall those two strange planes that had flown low over the Eight a.m. Lounge, and what Sandy had told me. Damn! I need that diary, out of Carvery’s pocket…

“You’d barely notice,” Crispin shrugs, but I recognise his look of discomfort. “Most of the folk here just go about their usual business…”

A whistling in the air is punctuated by a rapid succession of thuds, and our rug and blanket bristle with acquired arrows, in a passable porcupine impersonation.

“Dude, your trousers are on fire,” Ace tells Carvery.

“Quick!” I say, leaping at any opportunity to rummage in those pockets. “Take them off…”

Carvery looks down at the burning arrow sticking out of the steel-lined toecap of his boot, at an apologetic angle.

“Why do I get the flaming arrow?” Carvery wants to know, twisting it free and tossing it over the side of the rickshaw, in flagrant disregard for the local ecology.

“…Their usual business being, shall we say, a gung-ho approach to home security,” Crispin finishes. “Mr. Time! We need somewhere safe to land! My brother will not last much longer in the air!”

All of us hunker down as more arrows arc overhead, and I crawl downward, to be with Crispin at Homer’s side.

“What is it?” I ask in a low voice. “Should he be that colour?”

Homer’s deteriorated skin seems to be uniformly weeping a strange, purplish sweat or mucus, accompanied by a smell not unlike a blocked drain. His consumptive belly is distended, as if inflated by a surgical pump.

“No bump to the head has caused this,” Crispin tells me, to my private relief. “We need to be near salt water. Mr. Time! Take us to the shoreline!”

“Ohhhh, no!” Justin Time shakes his head and purses his lips. “I’m not going near any open sea! Straight into the jaws of Death for me, that is!”

“What would you rather risk?” Crispin asks him. “A possible chance encounter with your wife? Or a very definite encounter with an adolescent Squidmorph, in need of immediate liquid sustenance?”

I try not to recoil in horror, knowing what Homer means to his brother.

All that time, it wasn’t my own hysteria for once, bringing up thoughts of the dread larval sea-parasite – here it is, festering in the most obvious incubator it could find…

We break cover from the jungle, and the sunlight is too painful at first to reveal our new surroundings.

But as the rickshaw churns up bleached white sand and driftwood, and the salt spray from the surf smacks me in the face like a dissatisfied pizza-delivery customer, I can make a rough guess.

I’m not prepared for the view, as my eyes adjust to the glare.

“Whoa,” Luke gasps.

It is a picture-postcard tropical beach – deserted, almost pristine. Sprouting coconuts are washed up on the damp sand. Emerald-green islands of all shapes and sizes stand like sentinels in the sapphire-blue sea.

Only a forest-fire burning cheerfully perhaps a mile to our right, pumping the perfectly still blue skies full of black smoke, spoils the scenery.

“Hmmm,” Ace remarks. “Smells like Guinness napalm to me.”

“Do not wander far,” Crispin warns, as Luke, Ace and Carvery disembark to explore, and Justin fusses over the rug, plucking out arrows. “These are indeed times of hostility between the Lounges. Nine a.m. is of particular umbrage to many.”

I ignore the others, and help Crispin to lift Homer into a more level position.

“What do we do?” I ask. “What does he need?”

“Nothing, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin says, taking his brother’s hand and patting it. “We just have to ensure that the first thing the young Squidling sees is the ocean – and that we do not get in its way…”

Homer’s belly starts to squirm and rumble in an unearthly fashion. As I look down, a trickle of black ink appears down his bony thigh, followed by a whiff of battery acid.

“How long does it…” I begin.

There is the sound of a champagne cork popping, and a glistening white streak across the sand.

Far out to sea, a thunderclap records the breaking of the sound barrier – only then followed by the waterspout of an entry-point, on the horizon.

Homer’s belly subsides, like a deflating Whoopee cushion.

“…Wow,” I say, because there doesn’t seem to be anything else suitable.

And then, because Crispin is there, I move to officially check the state of Homer, the patient.

“Careful, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin warns. “Sometimes there is…”

An insurmountable force throws me backwards off the rickshaw, and I land flat on my back in the very edge of the surf.

Warm slime seems to envelop me, and I blink it away to stare directly into the flat iridescent eyes, and anemone-like pink tentacles, of a newborn Squidmorph parasite.

“…A twin,” Crispin calls out, unnecessarily.

I gulp, as the parasite arches its spine, revealing a scorpion-like tail.

“Hello,” I say, wondering where this ranks in Famous Last Words.

It freezes mid-poise and stares back, then blinks obliquely.

“Hello,” it says, quite clearly. “Mother.”

And shoots from my hands, like a bar of soap in a gym shower.

“I’m not your mother!” I yell.

Only the distant thunderclap answers me.

Great, I think. That’s going to take some explaining, when it comes looking for me in sixteen years’ time…

Alien giving birth scene from ‘Men in Black’ – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

Death Face: A Zombie Parody

Yello vs. Death Race – The Race/movie montage mash-up…

The cliff-face approaches with terrifying speed, and our flying rug seems to gird itself for further acceleration, as the gap closes.

“Well, that’s only a million vampire bats per mile,” says Carvery. “In Chiroptera terms, for that size of cave, it’s practically deserted.”

I’m stunned. Carvery can do division – without a calculator? And did he just use the species terminology of the bat family?

“Don’t you mean Desmoda Rotunda?” Ace queries. “I read online that they roost with up to nine other species of bat. That’s potentially ten million Chiropterae per mile over all, with only one in ten being a blood-sucker.”

My mouth is open at this point, which in less than a minute, might be inadvisable.

“Ace – you can read?” I repeat, disbelieving. “In Latin?!

“Remind me of this conversation, if I ever agree to join these two for a dudes’ night out on the town,” Luke says aside to me. “That kind of careless talk can close a woman’s legs, before she’s even had so much as a sniff of the Rohypnol.”

“There is room for speculation about the exact number of vampires in the cave,” Crispin concedes. “Considering particularly that it is pitch black in there.”

And with that, the pitch black engulfs us, like a giant, stinking shroud of tar. My mouth, still agog, snaps shut just in time.

The air vibrates with the flutter of membranous wings, in every direction. As one, we all dive under the tattered blanket, which had previously held us captive.

“Can’t this thing go any faster?” Luke demands.

“You are joking, I hope?” I say, the sour wind stripping tears from my eyes, like a cheese-grater against my face. “How long until we reach the Nine a.m. Lounge, Crispin?”

There is a distinctly surprised silence.

“Nine a.m., Sarah Bellummm,” he replies. “Of course.”

Of course. Stupid stupid girl…

The rolled-up rugs beneath us press deeper into my spine with the gravitational forces, as the lead rug pulling our flying rickshaw cranks up another gear.

But that implies that we’re going over five thousand miles an hour… assuming he means, Nine a.m. today…

Something bounces off my knee, and I hear Homer squawk indignantly.

“Did you feel that?” I hiss, desperately. “They’re dive-bombing us!”

Yesss,” Crispin agrees. “Stay under cover…”

The squawk is echoed, deeper and hollowly, somewhere behind us – and repeated twice more.

“They aren’t the only ones,” Ace points out. “Sarah – pass me the torch.”

I hand over the Trevor Baylis, and Ace points it briefly into our slipstream.

“Here they come,” he reports.

“What?” Luke asks. “The bats?”

“Nope.” Ace passes the torch to Carvery, who takes a look in turn. “Three zombie Pterydactyls on our six. Big ones.”

Braaaiiiiinnnssss,” Homer moans, clamping both hands over his frayed ears.

“They’re not going to get your brains, Homer,” Carvery says calmly, putting the torch between his teeth and re-loading the shotgun again. “If they’re fast enough to catch up, they’re fast enough for target practice.”

I risk a look over the seat-rail, and see the formation of three giant winged pursuers, against the dim light of the distant cave entrance behind us.

The view is suddenly blocked by a frenzy of fluttering, and an evil, snub-nosed snout with beady eyes appears over the railing. Before I can even gasp, a needle-lined yawn lunges directly for my face…

“Fuck off,” Carvery grunts, and with a crunchy squeak, the hungry critter disintegrates messily under the butt of the shotgun. “She’s ugly enough already, without a vampire bat beard.”

“Thank you,” I remember to say, after what seems like quite a few moments of waiting for the shock to wear off.

“Don’t mention it,” he remarks, turning the gun around to point the muzzle outwards, over the back of the seat. “I mean it. If you ever mention it to anyone, I’ll kill you. And Miss Fuck-Tart, your housemate.”

Oh yes. Why do I keep forgetting about her?

Idly, I wonder if she’s starting to smell, and if anyone back on the Great Barge in the Five a.m. Lounge has noticed…

The leading Pterydactyl opens its beak in another yammering, jabbering caw – and then belches flame.

The blast of heat almost cooks my tongue onto the roof of my already terror-dried mouth.
In the afterglow, frazzled bats shower from the air, trailing smoke, like dud fireworks dropping out of the sky.

“My God, they’re armed,” Luke whispers.

“And fully operational,” Crispin acknowledges. “Their teeth have turned to flint after so many centuries undead – and they make a spark by agitating them, which ignites the methane created by the bats in the cave. It protects them from the blood-sucking, burns off excess gas before it can reach critical underground levels, forms a light-source for them to hunt by, cooks their prey, and also de-louses them in the process. It’s really quite fascinating.”

A second Pterydactyl clacks its jaws a few times, and sears the cave wall with another billow of incendiary fumigation.

“Remind me never to go out on the pull with him either,” Luke adds.

“Maybe they fancy a bit of fast food?” Ace suggests, as a third flame almost passes right in front of us, covering our blanket with lumps of squeaking, furry charcoal.

“Burger van’s closed,” says Carvery, and takes a shot at the nearest Pterydactyl, to the left.

A gaping hole appears in one wing, and it pinwheels out of control, bouncing off the walls and disappearing under an avalanche of peckish, bloodthirsty bats.

Meanwhile, another flaming belch from the middle pursuer lightly singes one of our rolled-up rugs on the back of the rickshaw, which promptly starts crying.

“I’m pretty sure floor coverings shouldn’t soil themselves,” Ace comments, and tries to switch places with me. “Sarah, you can have the wet patch.”

I hear the sobbing emerging more loudly as I shuffle reluctantly along the bench. I try a conciliatory pat or two.

“There, there,” I murmur, meaninglessly.

How do you reassure a captive flying carpet?

Another fireball explodes overhead. A flaming bat plummets from the roof, straight through the hole in the middle of our blanket. Homer screams.

“Why do I smell Crispy Chicken Balls?” asks Luke.

“It’s just Homer, saving himself the trouble of going for the full operation,” says Ace, and crawls downward to try and beat out any remaining flames. “Pass the wet rug, I’ll see if I can damp it down.”

Gratefully, I roll the sodden carpet towards the foot of the rickshaw, which hisses as it traverses the groaning Homer.

Carvery fires again, but the Pterydactyls are learning, and take evasive manoeuvres.

Braaaiiiinnnssss,” Homer pleads. “Sarah BraaaiiinnnsssGoooood…”

“I think Homer wants to eat your brains, Sarah,” Ace reports back.

“Don’t see why not,” says Carvery. “It won’t exactly spoil his dinner later.”

“I think my brother means, you should use your brains, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin says, quietly. “Trust your feelings…”

Use my brains? I boggle, momentarily. All my feelings are currently telling me, is I’m starting to recall that I was rather violently air-sick on this rickshaw earlier… and the similar self-control by the captive rugs isn’t helping…

“Heads up, Carvery!” Luke shouts.

Carvery swings the shotgun like a club, slamming an enormous bat into the wall, and to the voracious mercy of its own kind.

“You have to watch the bats, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin guides me. “They are a hive. They work as a unit, if you observe…”

I strain my eyes into the darkness ahead of us. There seems to be a swirling ahead, a gyroscopic sensation in the air – a corruption of the horizon… a tilting…

My eyes adjust to the vortex of skin and fur awaiting us, deeper into the cave.

“Oh my God,” I breathe, “They’re going to try and flip us over…”

It’s a whirlpool of wings and teeth, creating a deadly torsional slipstream. And as I stare in horror – under the blanket, something runs straight up my leg.

“Baaa…” I begin to scream, but it is already skittering past my chest, and to my utter shock, clamps over my mouth.

My second thought is even worse than ‘Bat’.

Squidmorph!

But there is no battery-acid odour, no larval tentacle looping around my neck… and as my mind frantically tries to reconnect with the petrified paralysis in my limbs, I see the glinting, and recognise the scrape of warm metal against my lips and teeth.

The clockwork hand!

I peel it away from my face and stare at it, while Carvery drops back down onto the bench to re-load.

“These are the last of my cartridges,” he says.

I barely hear him, my thoughts racing.

How did I make this thing work before? I remember getting angry – something about a curtain tassel…

Yes!!

“I am a virgin!” I shout, gripping the clockwork device in both hands, like a .44 Magnum.

“You’re going to die a virgin,” Carvery nods sagely, still slotting in cartridges.

I let his words go over my head, and sit up. More bravely, I try to raise myself higher, up on my knees. I point the golden clockwork hand into the deadly darkness ahead of us, at the danger as yet unseen by the others…

“I am a virgin!” I yell, more deliberately. “And I am not afraid to use this!”

“God, Sarah – get a room,” Ace groans, still somewhere further down. “No, Homer, I’m not going to look after it for you. You get your own pockets…”

Why won’t it activate?

“Come on!” I urge. “What do you want from me?”

“Have faith, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin says, soothingly.

The vicious vortex of conspiring, co-operative Chiropterae gets closer – closer…

A shriek from one of the last two Pterydactyls behind me freezes my blood, and I feel its intake of breath at the nape of my neck, hear the clicking of its flinty teeth as starts to summon a spark…

…And suddenly everything seems to slow down. We are still hurtling along the tunnel, still surrounded by whirling bloodthirsty bats – but my mind is now at the eye of the storm, seeing everything, thinking clearly…

…I drop back on my haunches, and raise the clockwork hand high above my head.

The fireball erupts, and every gemstone on the clockwork hand lights up, again akin to a disco-ball. Instead of turning into a flying rickshaw barbecue, the flames shrink as rapidly as they exploded, sucked into the unknown potential of the clockwork device.

Carvery shoots the startled Pterydactyl, and it takes a direct hit to the sternum, barrelling into its remaining wingman, sending them both crashing into the depths of the cave.

I point the clockwork hand in front of us, hoping now for a miracle.

“Go ahead,” Crispin whispers. “Make my day.”

“Ummm…” I murmur.

The pinky and index finger of the clockwork hand uncurl, and pause, as if awaiting instructions.

It can’t possibly be that obvious…

I clear my throat. The stones in the clockwork hand are glowing malevolently red, like lit-up fire-opals. The roar of the circling bats is almost deafening.

The rickshaw starts to tilt and struggles to right itself, lopsided by the angular updraft.

“Fire?” I suggest, timidly.

And then it seems that the world explodes, as everything at the end of my arms flashes a blinding, brilliant white…

And of course, the Death Star final destruction, Star Wars: A New Hope – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

Jurassic Prick: A Zombie Parody

Duran Duran vs. Was Not Was – Notorious Dinosaur mash-up…

“Where will it take us?” Luke demands, now trying to hold the small rip in the blanket together, having extricated his buttocks from it. We are swinging rather dangerously around in the bundle suspended from the Pterydactyl’s neck, and I’m currently hoping that Carvery’s trigger-happy shotgun has a safety catch on it.

“Not to its nest, I hope?” Ace adds.

“Most likely it will try to dislodge us first,” Crispin replies. “Possibly by finding a nice flat rock to pound us against.”

“Well, of course,” says Carvery. “If it’s going to eat our brains, it’ll want to get us out of the wrapper first.”

Braaaiiiiiiinsss,” Homer agrees, mournfully.

Luke suddenly yelps.

“Hey, who’s got their tongue in my ear?” he hollers.

“Sarah…” Ace warns.

“It’s not me!” I say indignantly.

“Hard to tell in this tangle,” Carvery grumbles. “There’s at least two dicks poking into my lughole.”

“They’re not mine either,” I snap.

“I think Homer’s appetite may be returning,” Crispin ponders. “He has been a zombie a while longer than me – and his deterioration will be more advanced. I will need to get him back to the house for further treatment.”

“You’re talking about more organ transplants?” I ask.

“Yes,” he says. “And there are certain psychotropic drugs which will subdue his natural appetites.”

“Un-natural, you mean,” Luke replies, and there is a shove somewhere in our collected mess of limbs. “Homer! I am not a popsicle!”

“Who’s trying to feel up my leg?” Carvery adds. “Someone’s groping around my electronic tag.”

I recall the golden clockwork hand currently clamped around my own ankle, and try to tuck my legs underneath me, making them inaccessible.

There might still be a potential thief among us…

But that thought subsequently reminds me – Mr Dry Senior’s micro-diary!

The little tiny leather-bound copy that Sandy al Dj’eBraah gave me, to take to the Nine a.m. Lounge! Carvery has it in his pocket!

Hmmm. In all the dimness, elbowing and confusion, this might be my only chance of recovery.

Surreptitiously, I test each of the limbs around me. Old frayed denim – that must be Luke’s knee, up by my left ear. Down between my legs… aargh! My probing fingertip goes straight through old desiccated skin, like ancient baking parchment. Some portion of Homer, although I dare not guess what, and I withdraw hurriedly. Against my right shoulder, the familiar heavy wool cloth, which at least three of us are wearing, in the form of our borrowed Naval uniform trousers – only the trousers, in Ace’s case.

Idly, I poke a little higher, knowing that if I find shirtless abdominal muscle, these aren’t the trousers I’m looking for. Every part of me tingles at the thought of actually sneaking a touch of his bare skin… but I control my trembling excitement and try to focus on the mission at hand.

A little higher…

It’s only a jolt of the blanket, but I’m almost disappointed, as I feel the scratch of a jacket hem against my knuckle. But my heart leaps with renewed vigor as I realise that I have identified the wearer. Carvery.

Target acquired, I tell myself. A deadly target, but the right target. Now – just to pick that pocket.

Strike like a cobra, my subconscious guides me. I picture my hand as the head of a serpent, penetrating without sound or detection… yes. It’s almost as if I’ve done this sort of thing before…

“Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin’s voice interrupts my concentration. “Thank you for checking again, but I can assure you it has still not dropped off.”

“Oh.” I withdraw my hand abruptly, as if burned. I just find the nerve to add in a small voice: “Good.”

No wonder it felt so familiar! I had forgotten all about our encounter in Cramp’s University Hospital elevator. And his black wool suit – not much difference in texture to the Naval uniforms.

“But, if you have concerns, you may undertake a more thorough examination in private later,” he adds, closer to my ear.

Ohhh, my

Before I can respond, there is a tearing noise from the corners of the blanket overhead.

“Quickly, Mr. Lukan!” Crispin commands. “What does our exit look like?”

There is a scuffling, as Luke checks the hole in the bottom of the blanket.

“Nothing!” he reports. “No – wait… it can’t be…”

“What is it?” Ace demands.

“There’s a… a rickshaw flying beneath us!” Luke gasps. “Being towed by a dirty old rug!”

YES! It worked!

I summoned the rickshaw!

“That’s what we must aim for!” says Crispin. “Everyone hold on!”

“To what?” Carvery states the obvious.

Crispin cuts the rope from the Pterydactyl’s neck. After a split second of inertia, the whole bundle of us plummets.

Our fall is broken by rolled-up rugs on the back of the rickshaw, some of which yelp piteously. We arrange ourselves as quickly as possible, with only a small complaint from Luke, who has not encountered the flying machine before.

“Little help back here, folks?” he suggests.

We find him hanging grimly by one arm from the back, and Carvery and Ace haul him aboard. Above us, the Pterydactyl squawks as it soars away, disappearing into a distant cave high in a rock wall.

For the first time we get a clear look at our surroundings. There is light still, from the strange fluorescent fungi, by which purple-tinged plants flourish, and the glint of water flows down endless precipices.

I draw my breath sharply, as I spot a herd of beasts on a distant hillside. They jog along on their two turkey-like legs, balanced by elongated reptilian tails and small bony-crested heads.

“It’s a whole new world!” I gasp, leaning out over the side of the flying rickshaw, to get a better look.

“An old world, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin corrects, almost sadly.

“Evicted from the surface by the arrival of humans,” Luke agrees. “They would not have survived, were it not for the zombie curse…”

“Not a curse,” Crispin counters, his stiff-upper-lip tone returning abruptly. “A disease. An illness. The reason they were interred. One which I am working to cure.”

“You’d bring all these monsters back to life?” Luke says, incredulous. “Back to the surface?”

“If a cure is found, it most certainly should not be selective,” says Crispin, philanthropically. “Leaving anything undead and untreated would only preserve the opportunity for another catastrophic outbreak in the future.”

“Like smallpox,” I nod.

“Exactly.” His confirmation brings a little warmth to my heart. “No-one and nothing will be discriminated against having treatment – for any reason.”

Gosh. He’s better than Bob Geldof. He really does just want to save the world…

“Well,” Ace remarks. “At least the Creationists will be pleased.”

“Let’s hope they’ve also got the secret as to how we co-existed with all these ugly fuckers,” Carvery remarks.

“Who do you think gave the dinosaurs the zombie curse in the first place?” Luke mutters darkly.

We watch as the creatures scatter, foreshadowing the arrival of a much larger hunting carnivore, causing them to stampede.

“Is this the Nine a.m. Lounge?” I query, still worrying about the diary in Carvery‘s pocket, and who and where my unknown contact might be.

“No, Miss Bellummm,” Crispin reassures me. “This is merely a byway. A subterranean route.” He clicks his tongue a number of times at the rug, which deftly changes direction. “There are many junctions here in the cliffs between the Lounges, rather like Bank Underground Station in London. But I must warn you about our most direct route from here…”

“What?” I ask, immediately feeling an imminent need to cross my legs, to prevent the inevitable.

“It is through the Five Thousand Mile Cave,” he says, as we hurtle towards a large, dark aperture in the cliffs. “The home of the Five Billion Vampire Bats.”

Fan trailer for 1993 original ‘Jurassic Park’ – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

A Town Called Pancreas / Pancréas au Village: A Zombie Parody

Tom Jones vs. Ram Jam vs. C&C Music Factory – Black Betty mash-up

“Homer!” I exclaim. “You said ‘brains’!”

“He’s a zombie, Numb-Nuts,” Ace tells me. “Of course he says braiiinsss.”

“Not Homer – he only says ‘home’ and ‘good’ usually,” I point out. “Maybe that bump on the head has fixed him…”

“I’m less concerned with his vocabulary, than his answer to ‘What does the Pterydactyl want?’ being ‘braiiinsss’,” Carvery cuts in.

We all look at the giant perching bird-lizard on the head of the metal gurney, as we squeal precariously onwards down the underground tracks.

“It’s how they survived for so long,” Luke mumbles.

“You mean, how they failed to die out,” Carvery replies. “Zombie dinos. That’s all we need.”

My bladder contracts to the size of a pea at his words.

And yes, I do mean ‘pea’. Not the alternative spelling, or meaning. I wonder how long it’s been since I last went. And if I can hold it this time.

“You mean, there could be others?” I whisper.

“You know, on this tin bedstead, we look just as though we could be in a dino-sized take-out carton,” Ace pipes up cheerfully. “Chef’s Special Noodles.”

“Don’t you mean Brain’s Special Faggots?” I say sourly, and get a clip around the ear.

“Chicken Balls in Cowardy Custard?” Luke suggests.

“We’ll be Crispy Sitting Duck in a minute,” says Carvery.

Spaaare Riiibs,” Homer agrees, and pokes me in the right mammary, with a bony gray knuckle.

“You are improving, Homer,” Ace observes. “Although I don’t think there’s much going spare on Sarah.”

“You wish,” I mutter, aping Carvery Slaughter’s most typical comeback – only not loud enough to be heard, of course.

“When we’ve all stopped discussing Tit Wings and Brain Crackers, it might be an idea to figure out what to do about not becoming a buffet,” Carvery reminds us. “Like she says, how many of those things are likely to be out there? And if we shortchange this one, will it piss them all off?”

An eerie hooting and cawing echoes around us, in the darkness.

“Okay,” Carvery continues. “There are lots more of them. That answers that question.”

“This is all my fault!” I bawl at last, unable to stop myself.

“No, really?” Ace snaps sarkily.

“Really!” I blub into my sleeve. “Crispin was trying to make me a job offer to be his new secretary, and I mentioned someone – well, a corpse – at the Body Farm, and it made him cross. And it was me that knocked Homer out as well, earlier. I’m so sorry. And now we’re hurtling into the middle of the Earth on a gurney to be eaten by zombie Pterydactyls, and it’s all my fault!”

“This is happening because you turned down a job?” Ace says, incredulous. “Wow. How big does your head feel on a normal day, Sarah?”

“Not nearly as big as yours, when you figure out it’s only because she’d rather stalk you with a pizza,” Carvery remarks. “I’m going to shoot this bird in a minute just because I’m bored, you realise…”

There is a sudden whoosh, and another thud in the middle of the bunk, between us and the monster.

Only a brief impression of a tattered black suit and a rope tell us anything…

“Crispin!” I gasp, raising the Trevor Baylis torch, to confirm who has unexpectedly dropped in.

He turns, and his black eyes seem to flash.

“We will need this,” he says, tonelessly – and extends the rope, with the noose at the end.

With a flick of his wrist, he lassoes the unwary Pterydactyl.

“What are you doing?” Luke shrieks. “Are you crazy?”

“There is an alternative, if you prefer.” Crispin nods behind us, in the direction we are heading.

We look.

Funny. Molten lava does appear exactly the same as Hollywood would have us believe…

…And every ledge on the way down seems to be lined with teeth…

“Is that a…” Carvery begins.

“Zombisaurus Rex,” Ace grins, as we fly past, its ash-white jaws closing just short on the burnt air in our wake. The torchlight shines right through its battle-scarred ribcage, its heart a pulsating blackened mess, dribbling clotted opaque slime.

Oh my God… it’s like wishing you’d never peeked into the back of the ambulance… and those jaws alone could contain a whole dormitory, never mind one lonely narrow metal bunk…

“Pull up the corners of the blanket,” Crispin orders, taking charge once more. “It should be able to hold us all.”

We scoot to the middle and bunch up the corners, like a hastily-grabbed picnic cloth in the rain. Standing in the centre, Crispin secures the end of the rope around the scrunched-up hem, so that we are enclosed in a tight, sweaty bundle – a hobo’s worldly possessions.

“Mr. Slaughter,” Crispin says, after checking the tension in the knots. “Please fire a shot to alarm the beast. But not to hit it.”

“There’s a lot of it not to hit,” Carvery grumbles, but manages to lean out of a fold in the blanket anyway, to check his lack of aim. Ace and Luke each grab hold of one of his legs to weight him down, and Carvery hollers, his voice slightly muffled. “Tell Sarah if she goes near my ass, she’ll lose her teeth!”

“Yeah, I heard that about your ass!” I shout back, and clap a hand over my own mouth, horrified.

Did I say that out loud?!

Being below sea-level must be having a serious effect on my self-control…

But fortunately for me, everyone seems to have other concerns right now…

“Here we go,” Crispin announces, grimly.

The gun roars.

And with a shriek, the Pterydactyl protests, and apparently flaps free of the head-rail.

We all crack heads as we collide in the bottom of the blanket, and I taste Pirelli-flavoured vulcanised rubber as Carvery’s heel catches me in the mouth.

I remember thinking, Ahhh – so that’s what he meant about teeth

But then the ominous sound of tearing from below, and a squeak of terror from Luke indicates something else…

“We’re caught on a spring!” Ace calls out.

“Mr. Slaughter!” Crispin shouts. “Shoot us free of the bunk!”

“Watch it!” yells Luke. “My ass is hanging half out of that hole already!”

“Better clench then, buddy!” Carvery’s voice warns.

There is a second resounding boom from outside. The Pterydactyl screams indignantly at the noise. And a sudden sensation of weightlessness, as we are catapulted into the air…

Original trailer for ‘A Town Called Panic/Panique au Village’ en Francais – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords