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.
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
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