Big Knobs and Broom Closets: A Zombie Parody

Iron Maiden vs. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Ancient Mariner/Relax mash-up…

No, Homer…” Crispin sobs, as his brother wobbles a little, sliding off the plinth. He gets to his feet, to confront Homer. “You aren’t strong enough – you haven’t even been a woman that long! Let her take a younger body!”

Homer looks offended, and drawing himself up a little straighter, slaps Crispin across the face.

Stunned, Crispin holds his jaw in silence. Pom-pom tinsel dangles from his ear.

“I think you asked for that, Crispin,” I remark.

A projectile from the aircraft carrier takes out the main ornamental pedestal beyond Luke and Beneficience, still lost in their starry-eyed romantic reverie, a leader into the second round of fire.

“I did not ask to be blown up, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin says, rubbing his chin.

He already sounds more like his old self.

“You deserve that too,” I snap, crawling over to Whatsit, my housemate, and giving her an experimental prod. The resulting whine is more telling than an electrocardiogram result would be. “If Homer wants to be a zombie queen, he’s entitled to be the top Queen, wouldn’t you agree?”

Goood,” Homer approves, but does give his old gray body a rather regretful glance.

“Um, barge is still under attack, people!” Justin Time points out, from under his tenacious captors. “And Atum is still hanging around out there!”

“Maybe he wants a sacrifice…” Crispin ponders, and shrinks as we all glare at him. “I was only going to suggest the goat – maybe the donkey…”

Something golden roars up out of the whirlpool between the two ships, and lands with an almighty boom in the middle of the damaged deck.

“What did I miss?” asks the prodigal clockwork cyborg, Higham Dry Senior.

“Grandpappy?” Crispin exclaims.

“Higham Dry?” I cry. “You’re alive!”

“Not just alive,” he chuckles, like an inkjet printer with the hiccups. “Look what I found.”

And he raises his injured arm.

Or should I say, previously injured.

Where there had only been a scraggy, bony stump, there is now a complete and seamless sleeve of golden armour adjoining the rest of the Swiss watchmaker’s body of invention, at the end of which is mounted…

The bejewelled clockwork hand!

“Turned out this thing mighty useful,” he says, flexing the fingers. His eye-slits gleam red, bright and powerful like lasers. “It grow back rest of armour and everything. Don’t even need special key for Mister Whizz now…”

Ooh – maybe too much information…

“What happen to dirty great squid?” he asks.

Hoooome,” says Homer, patting his belly.

“Really?” Higham Dry strides over for a closer look. His eye-slits change to blue, and scans Homer up and down. Alarmingly, the X-ray effect certainly does reveal the outline of the squid impossibly coiled in Homer’s insides. “Wow. Well, you can wear her clothes all of the time now, my boy! She not going to come out and play for a long time after all that that exertion. Hold out your hand.”

Homer offers his ragged zombie hand, with the chewed fingertip inflicted by the donkey earlier, and Higham Dry Senior raises the special clockwork hand to meet it.

The tiniest, briefest spark passes between the two.

Ouuuuch,” Homer acknowledges.

And then he changes.

The fingertip grows back. His raw wounds close up. His patchy old skin granulates, and unwrinkles. The hollows between his bones fill out, and teeth reappear in the gaps in his jaw. And finally, perhaps more worryingly, his recent surgery apparently prolapses.

“Whoops,” says Higham Dry. “Maybe give you a bit too much help downstairs.”

“Ah, there’s the old boy I remember,” Luke observes. “Still doesn’t look right on a dead white fella, but I think it suits you better than trying to pull off a high-C, Homer.”

Homer shrugs, apparently pleased with the result either way.

Can’t say I blame him. He definitely has the Dry family good looks…

“Now you, Crispin,” Higham Dry says sternly. “You need to go home and have a good long look at your boots. In the naughty corner.”

“Grandpappy…” Crispin begins, and is interrupted by the altar exploding, in another battery of fire.

“Oh yes,” I interject, timidly. “I kind of declared war on the Nine a.m. Lounge.”

Higham Dry turns, in time to see several large warheads launching skywards from the aircraft carrier.

That doesn’t look good…

“Oh, well – no rest for the rickets,” sighs the zombie cyborg. “Okay, boys – let’s go and spoil their sports. Put Mr. Time down, we catch him again later.”

The three bounty hunters get to their feet obediently, leaving Justin spreadeagled, head still under doormat. One by one, they each summon a lightning-bolt, and disappear into the skies, on the trail of the warheads.

“Before I go…” says Higham Dry Senior, and he turns back to face me, unscrewing the clockwork hand.

“No…” I try to stop him – but as it detaches, a new armoured hand grows in its place, out of the sleeve of armour. I can see the tiny cogs and ratchets and springs slotting into place, as it rebuilds itself.

“This belong to other Higham Dry,” he says, and an eye-slit flares, in an approximation of a wink. “You remember where you found it, yes?”

“Yes,” I say, accepting the clockwork hand once more. Feeling around in my pockets past the Trevor Baylis torch on my keyring, I produce the long-forgotten scrap of felt plush that used to be a toy rabbit.

“That’s the one,” he nods. He flexes the new hand, as the joints close over the knuckles. “Clever men, these Swiss watchmakers. They succeed where ancient Pharoahs and their old spells fail. Make something that live for ever.”

He takes a step away from me, with almost a salute.

“And you boys…” he says, waving vaguely at the zombie Dry brothers. “You clean up this mess before you leave, hmmm?”

Flames burst from his back-plate, and he soars away after the bounty hunters, leaving a glowing vapour-trail.

“You should go on ahead, Sarah Bellummm,” says Crispin, and seems unable to meet my eyes. “Justin Time can take you both back to the house.”

“What about Luke?” I ask. “And…”

I don’t even know whether I should mention Ace and Carvery.

“Mr. Lukan has plenty to catch up on with Mrs. Lukan,” Crispin assures me.

Already, I can hear how that is getting on…

If he wants to be a librarian, he can damn well BE a librarian!”

Over my dead body!”

“Mr Time!” Crispin summons the rickshaw pilot. “Take the two young ladies home, if you please.”

Before Justin is even on his feet, the still-burning side of the Great Barge falls away into the whirlpool, dragging the rest of the rigging with it.

“It not that simple,” the rickshaw pilot grumbles, hugging the innocuous doormat to his chest. “This only special prototype…”

As I look at him, a harpoon streaks between us, embedding deeply in the deck. Its cable, leading back down into the swirling, bottomless depths, tightens.

The barge tilts even more steeply over the abyss.

“Quickly, Mr. Time…!” Crispin prompts. “There may be an Easter holiday in it for you!”

Over the noise of roaring water and creaking timbers, the sound of an ethereal singing reaches our ears – but it isn’t Luke. It’s the same singing I last heard in the Well of Our Souls – and other voices are joining in, forming a mysterious and beautiful choir…

“Cover your ears!” Justin Time warns, pulling his torn coolie hat down, and tying it under his chin. “It feeding-time!”

“Crocodile feeding-time?” I ask, pulling my housemate Frankenminky to her feet.

“Pardon?” he says, pointing to his ear, and I mime snapping jaws with my outstretched arms. “No, not crocodile feeding-time. Baby Squidmorph feeding-time!”

I look down at the churning river, to see dozens of thin pink tentacles, like angel-hair, flying up out of the water and attaching to the ruined deck of the barge, with their little juvenile grappling-hooks. The surviving attendant zombies cling to anything still nailed down, in mortal terror.

Justin kneels on the little doormat and beckons for my housemate and I to join him. We squeeze up, in an uneven trifecta.

“Why have they come here?” I ask. “Was Lady Glandula – I mean, the squid part – their mother too?”

“Hmmm?” He adjusts his coolie hat. “Oh no. The babies stay in underwater creche for years, herded by mermaids. Occasionally with visiting rights by their Daddy.”

And he waves a hand upward, at the looming shape of the river-god, Atum.

“Ahhh…” I say. “Now I think I know what her problem was…”

“Put clockwork hand here,” says Justin, tapping the middle of the small mat, which has a woven geometric pattern. The deck of the barge lurches sickeningly. “Now – just got to turn it in direction of home…”

The index finger uncurls and the little gemstones light up, as the rickshaw pilot rotates the clockwork hand.

The gray clouds in the sky billow outward suddenly with the distant whump of aerial explosions. Either the demise of the warheads, or of Higham Dry Senior and the bounty hunters…

I check Crispin and the others who are remaining behind. Homer has stuffed his pom-poms into his ears against the Squidmorph-song, and Luke and Beneficience have done the same with what’s left of the dried flowers from the altar – but it hasn’t stopped them arguing. Carvery Slaughter is still an immovable onyx statue – damn it

Crispin is tugging on the harpoon in the middle of the deck, trying to remove it. Unwillingly, I feel the hot guilty blush creeping over me, knowing exactly how a merman Squidmorph nursery-nurse would have got his hands on one of those…

“Ah, that seem to be working!” announces Justin Time, pleased.

I look down at the mat. The clockwork hand is alight, with a full spectrum of colours.

“So pretty!” says Frankenminky. “Like Somewhere Over The Rainbow…”

I throw her a suspicious glance.

“Oh,” Justin Time nods in approval, as the beam of rainbow light arcs up out of the clockwork hand. “You travel this way before, young lady, yes?”

And we leap into the sky, just as the timbers of the deck fall away beneath us.

I’m aware of passing by Atum’s giant paternal eye, and then we’re above the scudding clouds. Distant lightning bolts and vapour-trails show where Higham Dry Senior and his men are still battling any Nine a.m. Lounge fighter jets that have managed to take off.

The little high-speed mat chases the rainbow, as it arches above the Earth.

“So…” Justin says, crossing his legs more comfortably and steepling his fingers. “You come here often? What your name, young lady?”

A passing Boeing jumbo jet aircraft with the Iron Maiden logo drowns out the answer. I nearly fall off the mat, as a loud belch in my ear out of nowhere is followed by a friendly nibble on my newly-chopped hair.

“Don’t mind him.” Justin pats the billy goat, who has managed to join us with only one forefoot on the mat behind me. “Maybe we celebrate with goat curry later!” His face turns hopefully back to my housemate. “Can you cook?”

We dip below the clouds again, once we pass the zenith of the rainbow. Rising up to meet us, I recognise the huge mansion on Crispin’s estate – his Cadillac outside – Luke’s taxi – and yes!

My little Pizza Heaven scooter!

Slightly less reassuring, is the way the rainbow seems to end at one of the chimneys on the crenulated rooftop…

“Hold on!” says Justin. “Turbulence! It going to be bumpy landing!”

Everything is suddenly coughing and spluttering and Guinness-burp scented darkness.

God… how Father Christmas does this five billion times in a night is beyond me… it must be something in the sherry…

We land with a crunch.

“Everybody okay?” says Justin. “We nearly took wrong turning! Old fireplace bricked up back there. Don’t want to end up like Santa Claus. Now, where is door?”

I put out my hands tentatively, and feel splintered wooden sticks.

Are we in the kindling store?

“Here it is!” Justin kicks open the door, and the billy goat, now quite sooty and blackened, trots outside happily.

I crawl out into the daylight, onto gleaming parquet flooring.

It’s Crispin’s entrance hall. Behind me, the door to the vast cellars is locked, alongside our own escape door…

“Oh, look at the poor things!” says Frankenminky, holding up a snapped broom handle, shedding birch twigs.

The broom closet?

Hmmm. I’m going to have to keep an eye on her…

Fan re-edited trailer for ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

The Ridicules of Chronic: A Zombie Parody

Peter Gabriel vs. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy in Your Eyes mash-up…

He’s not wrong about that. Lady Glandula as a human zombie Queen was intimidating enough. Minus the corporeal shroud of Crispin’s mother, into which her mantle had somehow been squeezed, she’s just a giant evil-looking cephalopod.

Its purple iridescent eyes seem to zoom in on me as it slides back onto the deck, crushing the already-rotting remains of its former human hermit-shell unheeded, leaving a trail of vile slime.

“Yuck!” I struggle, trying to free myself from Crispin’s grip on my hair. “Crispin, that’s not your mother! It’s a Squidmorph!”

“She has been my mother as long as I can remember,” he says distantly. “I have to save her.”

“Well, why don’t you volunteer?” I suggest, and managing to free an arm, flap around wildly until my hand closes around the hilt of the last, smallest knife on the altar.

Yes! Even though it’d barely core an apple…

Reaching behind my head, I make one desperate slice.

My ponytail of hair bunched in Crispin’s grip shears off. Suddenly released, and sporting a new asymmetric bob, I run.

The giant Squidmorph moves to block my path, and I jump over Justin Time and the bounty hunters – far less nimbly than General Lissima did, getting a groin full of billy goat forehead for my efforts – aiming for my one and only hope.

“Higham Dry!” I call out, finding the elderly zombie in his clockwork armour still suspended from the crocodile-feeding platform. I grab the railings in one hand and reach out to him with the other. “Let me help you!”

“That very sweet of you, young man!” says Higham Dry, his bionic transformation evidently stopping short of improved optometrics. “Crispin still making crazy philanthropist talk up there? Trying to Save the Squid, and not for dinner?”

“I’m afraid so,” I reply, straining my arm to reach him.

I risk a glance over my shoulder. The Squidmorph, lumbering and ungainly without its human carrier, slithers towards the altar, where Crispin is waiting to greet it with outstretched arms.

“She won’t last long without a body,” Higham says, coughing. “But they get very angry the longer they wait. Pump out lots of adrenalin, move like bolt of diarrhoea! Better to run away first. Not have to outrun squid – just have to outrun all of your other enemies. Any port in a storm for squid!”

“You can help!” I plead. “Crispin is your grandson! You can talk some sense into him!”

“You flatter an old man, my boy…” Higham Dry Senior’s robot grip slides a little – the wrong way. “But sense is all just a matter of perspective.”

He looks down into the swirling darkness.

“No!” I shout.

Too late.

The golden armoured figure vanishes silently into the abyss.

I look up angrily at Atum, blotting out half of the sky.

“Why don’t you do something?” I yell. “You’re a god! I thought gods were omnipotent!”

Under his alien gaze, I feel very small indeed.

It occurs to me that the meaning of ‘omnipotent’ is not necessarily the same as I’m important

“Screw you!” I snap, and turn to size up my chances.

One giant hermit squid – check; one Oedipally-fixated zombie entrepreneur and his pole-dancing transvestite zombie brother – check; one formerly-estranged and now reconciled couple serenading one another (aahhh) – check; one housemate, name as yet unremembered – check; one renegade rickshaw pilot coveting a doormat – check; three bounty hunters that it would be unwise to touch without rubber boots on – check; one drunk billy goat – check; one albino donkey – check; one girlfriend-battering psychopath turned to stone (damn it) – check…

I look down to see what I’m armed with. A knife that wouldn’t give blade envy to a teaspoon. A Trevor Baylis wind-up torch in my pocket. No clockwork hand, and no little diary full of special symbols. They both went overboard, with Ace and General Lissima.

“Do not worry, Mother,” I hear Crispin telling the Squidmorph soothingly. “She will not get away.”

Both look at me, and my grip tightens on the knife.

They must have a weak point – an Achilles’ heel…

I wish Ace Bumgang was here. He’d know. He seems to have time to spare, looking up strange wildlife on Wiki.

I look sadly back down into the bottomless whirlpool, and across at the Nine a.m. Lounge aircraft carrier, tilting in towards us on the far side. Another fighter jet slips off its chocks on the upper deck, pitching into the blackness below. A brief fireball denotes its demise before it is swallowed up.

My foot slips on the Squidmorph’s trail of slime, and I glance back again to confirm, seeing Crispin chanting and splashing her with water from a terracotta jug, evidently to ensure she doesn’t dry out before finding a new host.

They need access to the Deep Ocean Trench… We just have to ensure the first thing the young Squidling sees is the ocean… Maybe these tentacle chicks have something against dry land…

Nothing. I’m getting nothing from this. No ideas at all…

“You had better come here, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin calls. “You will require lubricating as well.”

“Yes,” I agree, absently. “A large Guinness WD-40 would be about right…”

I look at the aircraft carrier. No longer running on Guinness.

Running on napalm.

I take out the Trevor Baylis torch and wind it up. Is it dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash? Or the other way around? I flash the light a few times at the other ship, half-heartedly.

Still nothing. The net of captive flying rugs on its deck flaps, trying to escape.

“Hey – Justin!” I call out.

“I never touched it!” Justin Time cries, slightly muffled under his captors and my housemate.

“How do you declare war on another Lounge?”

“Oh, that easy!” His nose appears from under the crush, his coolie hat somewhat crumpled around it. “You just make first pre-emptive strike!”

Fucknot the easiest thing done from a wooden barge with apparently no firepower. I need something to make the occupants of that dirty great military ship angry…

“As you wish, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin’s zombie monotone alerts me again. “But it will be much more painful this way.”

A tentacle lashes out towards my foot, and I jump. Higham Dry was right about something else.

They DO move damn fast when they’re desperate…

“Do not exhaust yourself, Sarah Bellummm!” Crispin cries, while I do laps of the deck of the Great Barge, dodging the slapping and groping tentacles. “You must conserve energy to survive the transition!”

“Not number one on my list of priorities!” I shout back.

“You will see immortality through her eyes!” he adds.

“She’s going to see tempura batter and hot chilli dipping sauce through mine!”

The giant Squidmorph lassos itself around the mast and tries a belly-flop from a great height, scattering the remaining zombie attendants – and eating one or two which get too close.

I only avoid her by grabbing part of the sail rigging Ace had swung from earlier, and slashing it with my little knife, so that the rapidly-ravelling rope hoists me up into the air, as the sail unfurls again in turn.

Swinging from my new perspective on things, I spot something down on the deck of the Great Barge that I had completely forgotten about…

I look out over the crocodile-feeding platform. Ace’s own rope still dangles there.

As the Squidmorph lunges up the rigging and hauls herself higher up the mast once more, I let go, and try to land in a professional stuntman’s tuck-and-roll, only succeeding in getting one of my feet caught around my ear. Meaning I scrabble, strained and crabwise, across the deck towards Justin Time and the others.

“Help!” cries my housemate. “This donkey keeps eating my hair!”

“Jolly good, carry on, Dobbin,” I pant, and snatch General Lissima’s peaked Naval officer cap from the floor.

“Um, Sarah…” she asks, managing to angle her head under the tussling heap so that she can see what I’m doing. “Why are you stabbing that hat?”

I thrust the tiny knife into the crown as many times as it takes to make a deep, ragged rip.

“I am declaring war!” I announce.

And just as the Squidmorph hits the deck again behind me, I run for the railings, and jump onto the crocodile-feeding platform.

My momentum means I skid the rest of the way, and have to make a desperate, split-second leap – grabbing the rope…

I pirouette outward, over the yawning, watery abyss, and I judge the apex of the swing – the point of zero acceleration in either direction – then spin the General’s ravaged officer hat across the gap.

It flies – and as I swing backwards, it dips. My heart sinks in unison.

Atum moves, turning to watch its progress.

Just as the backs of my heels crack painfully back on the crocodile-feeding platform, a sudden updraft of air from the whirlpool lifts the declaration of war just high enough – to skim over the railings of the Nine a.m. Lounge aircraft carrier, and vanish aboard its upper deck.

Either they’ll respond – or I guess they might celebrate. Hopefully with fireworks.

Depending on how popular she was.

“I don’t understand your reluctance at all, Sarah Bellummm.” Crispin is rolling up his shirt-sleeves – although I don’t see the point, they’re already stained beyond Cillit Bang guarantees. “You looked so at home in Mother’s clothes earlier today…”

Oh, boy. Does he have issues…

Hoooome,” says Homer indignantly.

“Yes, yes,” Crispin replies, exasperated. “They suit you too, Homer… but no matter. There is still the first option.”

The first option? What does he mean?

“Help!” shrieks my housemate again, as a tentacle latches around her ankle and tugs.

Oh – crap.

I vault back over the railings from the platform, and dive across the deck, catching hold of her wrists.

“Let her go!” Justin Time snaps. “Shameless hussy!”

“I thought you wanted a new girlfriend, Justin?” I huff, trying to brace myself against the donkey.

“Maybe…” he sulks. “But… she need a boob job first…”

“They’re in the wheelbarrow over there,” I promise, truthfully. “Help us!”

Justin sighs, and kicks out at one of his bounty hunter captors, who promptly delivers a small warning lightning bolt which each of us feels, and makes a real mess of my underwear this time. The donkey brays, the goat bleats, and the Squidmorph squeals, and retracts her tentacle.

“See?” says Justin. “Never mix water and electricity.”

“First rule of home D.I.Y…” I echo vaguely.

“Carvery used to say that,” says my housemate, looking past me at Justin with admiration.

Blimey, she moves on fast. What happened to ‘Where’s Carvery?’

He’d have finished off this fat old squid in a jiffy… so depressing…

The fat old squid in question doesn’t seem to be affected by electric shocks for long, and has its tentacle around my housemate’s leg again before our own pins and needles have worn off.

“Get your suckers off my girlfriend!” shouts Justin Time, as we both make a grab for her arms.

I hear Crispin’s voice, now sounding agitated.

“I am sure she will still let you borrow them, Homer…!”

The tentacle performs the whip-cracking manoeuvre, and my housemate is wrenched out of our hands.

“No!” Justin and I both shout. The bounty hunters pin us both to the floor.

The Squidmorph dangles the screaming Miss Numb-Nuts triumphantly in the air, high above the sacrificial altar.

“Now, Mother!” cries Crispin, his black eyes strangely aflame.

My housemate is slammed down onto the wooden plinth.

“Ow!” she yells, annoyed. “I bit my tongue!”

Crispin responds by drenching her with another bucket of the lavender-scented water, and while she splutters and coughs indignantly, the Squidmorph appears to coil itself, like a tensing spring…

I can’t look – I turn my head away. How could Atum allow this? Or did he already collect his dues, with Lady Glandula’s human body?

“Soulless…” I murmur unhappily, and wonder why the sky has suddenly, silently, without warning, turned from gray to blinding white…

The great mahogany-coloured planks of the deck splinter deafeningly beneath us, as the whole side of the barge explodes.

The central mast pitches into the river, every blood-red sail burning like the flags of Hell.

More gun turrets aboard the aircraft carrier swivel to face us after the first deadly assault, across the void.

“Holy ship!” Justin tries to burrow deeper under the bounty hunters. “Who piss the wife off now?”

But even more horrifying is the scream that comes from the altar – but it’s not the scream I was expecting.

“NOOOO!!” Crispin shrieks hideously.

Unwilling, I follow the sound of the cry with my scorched eyes, dreading what carnage I might see…

Miss Knobhead is on the floor by the altar, her nose bloody, her consciousness debatable. Crispin is on his knees alongside, clutching his hair in shock. And upon the plinth itself…

What?

Homer – clutching his pom-poms to his nearly concave gray chest. Smiling.

No squid… I look everywhere. Was she indeed blown up, as I had hoped?

Homer sits up slowly, and surveys us all with a regal – slightly smug – air.

“Oh, I see,” Justin Time scoffs. “He in too much of a hurry to wait and inherit his Mother’s wardrobe.”

“You mean…” I begin, and spot the telltale trickle of black squid ink down his skinny leg again. “Homer – you volunteered?

2004 trailer for ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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