Undeath on the Nile: A Zombie Parody

Katy Perry vs Rihanna – We Found Love in Vegas mash-up…

The interior of the giant wooden pyramid is quiet, with just the empty pedestal and altar in the centre, and for a moment I take a deep thankful breath.

“I guess we’re safe…” I announce, before spotting a movement from a far darkened corner.

Crispin Dry lurches almost into view, and in one terrible split second, I think he’s injured.

“Crispin!” I cry out.

He staggers out of the shadows – and then I see what’s hindering him. In his arms, is the unmistakeable – if unnameable – body of my housemate, Miss Thingy.

“That’s why you should never trust a brain-muncher,” Carvery sighs, and is about to level the shotgun at Crispin – when Homer squeaks indignantly, pushing the gun-barrels aside.

Crispin advances on the altar, and we hurry over, as he places her body carefully on its surface.

“What happened, Crispin?” I ask.

“She reached into an urn, and was bitten by one of Mother’s pet vipers.” Crispin turns over Whatsername’s left arm, displaying two ugly blackened circular weals on the inside of her wrist. He looks up at me in despair, and his expression changes as he takes in my new turn-out. “Miss Bellummm… you look… you are…”

“Had to change, I know,” I explain, blushing fiercely.

Dressing up in his mother’s clothing probably not the best thing to do, on an almost-first-date…

“You look… most presentable…” he admits wretchedly, at last. Dragging his gaze back to the body of my housemate, he heaves a dejected sigh. Those broad shoulders in the black wool suit slump, at a loss. “I fear she needs more than an electric shock this time, Mr. Slaughter.”

Carvery shrugs.

“I’ve seen worse,” he grunts. “Usually they’re fine by the time I get back from work. Waiting for me with their gimp masks, crotchless aprons and feather dusters… it’s all just a bit of drama for the attention…”

“I reckon she could actually be dead,” Ace remarks. He lifts up Miss Dumbass’s other arm, and lets it fall back onto the altar, with a loud Bonnnk.

“So are most folk around here,” Carvery points out. “No stopping them, though.”

“She can be saved,” Crispin nods, earnestly. “But we do not have all of the required equipment here. We will have to head for the Six a.m. Lounge.”

He pulls a lever on the side of the altar. With a grinding sound, it starts to lower into the floor.

“She will be safe here,” he continues. “It was Mother’s regeneration casket – while she was alive. Once we have the necessary items to activate it, she will be as good as new.”

Am I imagining things – or does Carvery look none too pleased with that idea?

A seamless panel closes over Twat-Face, as she sinks fully below the deck. I wonder if there are air-holes down there, in case she spontaneously recovers. Someone has to pay their share of the rent…

“Who are we missing?” Crispin asks. “Has anyone seen Mr. Lukan?”

“Right here, Mr. Dry!” Luke’s voice calls out. He’s behind us, in the entranceway to the pyramid. “I think you might all want to come and see this!”

*  *  *  *  *

Outside, on the gigantic upper deck of the barge, a strange steady breeze is blowing. And the surface of the river is moving.

Not with crocodiles – but in an oddly geophysical, concentric circular motion.

“I think it’s a whirlpool,” Luke reports.

We look over the side. Crispin’s paddle-steamer, moored on the opposite bank, bobs on its tethers at the edge of the watery disturbance.

“It is not a natural occurrence,” says Crispin, grimly.

The rotating phenomenon dips in the centre – and blinks, revealing a huge, reptilian yellow eye.

“Sarah!” The butt of the shotgun clips the back of my head. Carvery is grimacing, rattling a finger in one ear. “Screaming again, Jeez… control yourself. How many sets of underwear do you get through in a day?”

The eye starts to rise out of the vortex. Scales… and more of those weird alien tentacles around it too…

“What is it?” I whisper.

“Not what,” Crispin murmurs. “More of a who.”

Taller than the masts on the giant barge, it towers over the river. The snakelike head curves downward, and swings around, surveying the surroundings. River weed trails from it, and crustaceans tumble from its sides.

“What does it want?” Ace Bumgang asks. “Is this the part where we hand over a convenient virgin sacrifice?”

“Ssshhhh!” I hiss. “This isn’t Fifty New Ways With Virgins day!”

“Sarah, if you can name fifty new ways with a virgin, and still be a virgin after number one, you’re either doing it wrong – or an incredible liar,” Carvery remarks.

“They’re usually doing it wrong on purpose,” Ace tells him. “Because they reckon it doesn’t count.”

“What?” Carvery scowls. “So you can’t change lanes without indicating?”

“It is Atum,” Crispin says, sombrely. “It means – there is unfinished business…”

An echoing, bubbling sound comes from deep within the massive serpent’s body. Dwarfed alongside, the sides of the barge vibrate, making the timbers creak.

“What kind of business?” Luke asks. He has produced his iPhone, and is trying to take a picture of himself, with the forbidding leviathan towering in the background.

“The business of the fabric of the Universe.” Crispin glances meaningfully at the golden clockwork hand, tucked into the belt part of my gown. “If he is disturbed from his waters – it means the world is not yet finished.”

“What do we do?” I ask cautiously.

“We try not to get in his way,” Crispin confirms.

“Abandon ship?” Luke suggests.

“Yes,” Crispin nods. “But in an orderly fashion. Walk, do not run, to the nearest exit.”

*  *  *  *  *

It feels strange without Miss Fuckwit, as we set off inland away from the monstrous barge, and the even bigger sea-monster.

Could she really have been bitten by a viper? I mean, it did look that way, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen an actual snake-bite before – but what if Crispin’s not being completely honest?

Could it have been a zombie-bite?

Or even – I risk a glance at Carvery Slaughter – a Taser-burn? He definitely didn’t look too happy at the thought of her being revived ‘as good as new’

The serpent-thing, Atum or whatever it is called, is preoccupied with the land around the pyramids, behaving as though something is mislaid – as it scans every surface, nook and cranny, with its huge yellow eye, on the top of the apparently endless prehensile neck.

“The Six a.m. Lounge will give us a chance to review our situation,” Crispin announces, leading the way, in his rolling zombie gait, along another avenue of palm trees. “But the route from here is not the most straightforward…”

“Not more tunnels…” I groan, wearily.

“Not at all.” Crispin pauses, and surveys the silent sandstone side-streets. “We merely need to find the travelling carpet-salesman.”

“Oh, is that it?” I say. My voice sounds oddly high. Is this what they call hysteria?

“Almost,” Crispin continues. He seems to sense my unsteadiness, and takes my arm reassuringly, with his cold zombie one. “He also enjoys a good barter, and drives a hard bargain.”

Why do I get the feeling that the word ‘virgin’ is going to be brought up again imminently?

We turn a corner into a pillared square, perhaps an empty market-place.

“This place is dead,” Ace remarks. “No offence.”

A large sandstone block pitches abruptly into the ground from high above, right in front of us. It’s big enough to demonstrate that a direct hit would have made our journey to the Six a.m. Lounge completely unnecessary.

We all look up, and spot the disappointed gray zombie face at the top of a pillar briefly, before it abruptly withdraws.

Suddenly, it seems that every shadow in the square is occupied by other shadows…

“None taken, Mr. Bumgang,” Crispin replies. “I think your estimation of the populace here is entirely accurate.”

‘Death on the Nile’ trailer, featuring Peter Ustinov and star cast – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

Drool of the Nile: A Zombie Parody

Sasha & Digweed remix of Leftfield’s ‘Song of Life’…

The palm trees form an avenue at the bottom of the broad stone steps, leading to the water’s edge. My brain is trying not to register the pyramid-shapes on the far bank. It’s an optical illusion, I tell myself. Some sort of ultra-modern virtual reality art installation…

Carvery is crouching on the sandy flagstones, testing the groutless joins, with a strange-looking Swiss Army kind of tool, full of identically-shaped blades. He squints at the thinnest one critically, as it barely slides in and out of the gap.

“Thinking about how many bodies you could fit under a patio this size?” I observe.

“I think it’s fully-booked already,” he remarks, straightening up. “Now where’s the little gray tranny off to?”

The zombie Homer N. Dry (trailing grubby white crochet and bedraggled locks of blonde Sunday wig) has made it down the steps – only falling on his face twice – and is scampering lopsidedly towards the riverside.

As the sun clears the pyramids on the horizon, the shadows in the water reveal a ship moored. Very similar to the one in the painting, but it looks as though it has had some work done since the original. The demonic totem at the figurehead is still there, and the prow is the same – but instead of the sails, it now features a raised houseboat deck – and a paddle-steamer propulsion system.

“I hope they’re expecting him, whoever it is,” says Carvery, as Homer lives up to his name, homing in on the vessel. “Or this is going to turn into Death on the Nile real fast.”

“There they are!” a distant figure shouts, from the same direction. “Carver – Sarah – down here!”

It’s Numb-Nuts, my housemate. Waving at us, from the deck of the ship.

Of course, she would still be alive. Seeing as she hasn’t spent at least the last hour in the company of girlfriend-batterer-in-denial Carvery Slaughter. A couple of zombies, an immigrant taxi driver, and a drunk Ace Bumgang wouldn’t pose any comparable risk to her safety…

Homer leads the way up the rope-suspended gangplank, and once aboard, I’m cannoned aside by Miss Fuck-Tart launching herself at Carvery, making weird abandoned-stray-cat noises as she burrows into his arms.

“Whatever…” he sighs.

Could he sound as though he could even care less?

“Glad you have made it, Sarah Bellummm,” says that zombie voice, which makes my spine tingle, and I turn to see Crispin approaching. With a tray of drinks! It seems like hours since that last Gin Sling… “Welcome to my Five a.m. Lounge.”

I try to concentrate on downing the drink, keeping my nose in the glass, and not on devouring him with my eyes. And what a sight for sore ones he is…

“It’s very impressive,” I say at last, replacing the empty glass again. “You have a great home entertainment set-up here.”

He waves a hand dismissively.

“Just the basics, just the basics,” he moans. He gestures for me to join him on a couch, in the prow of the ship. Wading birds dart in and out of the reeds on the riverbank, and delicate insects skate across the water’s surface. “Mother insisted that we drop in regularly, so it was necessary to make visiting arrangements as simple as possible.”

“Oh – she’s still alive?” I surmise. I swat a mosquito as it lands on my arm, settling into the satin cushions.

“No. Just demanding,” he sighs, and turns towards me, leaning in. “I seem to remember that the last time you and I were on a couch together, we had some unfinished business, Sarah Bellummm…”

Oh, my…

But before that thought can be followed by any action, a shadow falls across us – and Luke, the Nigerian cab-driver, slumps onto the end of the sofa.

“You know, my ancestors probably built those things,” he announces, pointing towards the pyramids.

“There is a certain resemblance, indeed,” Crispin agrees. “Perhaps we can introduce you to them later…”

“Home… Gooood…” a familiar zombie-groan interrupts.

Homer emerges from a door to one of the suites in the houseboat section, changed now into Diana Ross red sequins and trailing a feather boa, and waddles away to the bar. Carvery and Whatsername have disappeared somewhere else on the ship. I’m wondering how long it will take for bits of her to start floating past.

But also – isn’t there someone else, that should be in our group…?

“Ace Bumgang!” I say in recall, far too loudly, as Luke spills his Tequila. “Is he here too?”

“Sure, sure…” Luke brushes himself down. “He’s being ill over the starboard.”

I get quickly to my feet and hurry to the far side of the boat, overlooking the water. Ace is leaning on the railing, forehead on forearms, groaning as much as any zombie.

In fact I have to check as I approach, that he still looks comparatively alive. A bit pale, perhaps…

“Seasick?” I greet him, timidly.

“Hangover,” he replies. “I yacked up in the water just now, and a crocodile ate it.”

Crocodiles?

I join him and look over the side of the ship, greeted by the yawn of another giant reptile. A number of them float lazily, treading water in the slow current beside the boat, like bad-tempered logs set adrift.

Well – I guess they give the monitor lizards a bit of healthy competition…

“Did you have any trouble in the tunnels?” I ask. “I lost you guys quite early on, I think.”

“Don’t remember a whole lot,” Ace admits. “Just that it was really dark.”

“Makes it more fun that way,” Carvery butts in, thumping each of us in the spine, as he appears from behind.

I start at the intrusion, bumped roughly against the railings – and Mr. Dry Senior’s leather-bound diary jolts loose from the waistband of my loaned-from-Crispin, silk Paisley pyjamas.

“No!” I gasp.

Before I can make a safety-grab, it slips under the wrought metalwork, tumbles downwards – and lands with a faint slap, in the middle of a crocodile’s back.

“What have you dropped?” Carvery wants to know, looking over the side. “Still hiding stuff that might be interesting? Where did you steal that from?”

“It was given to me to look after!” I hiss through gritted teeth, echoing myself from earlier.

“Then I think you ought to be looking after it a bit more carefully, don’t you?” he remarks. “Hop over and pick it up.”

“I’ll never reach that far!”

“We’ll just hold you by the ankles – right, Ace?” Carvery looks across at him, and grins. “Won’t be the first time today.”

The crocodiles shift menacingly in the water, and the leather-bound diary gives a tantalising wobble.

“All right, but not for too long this time,” Ace agrees, straightening up. “I’m gunning with all the power of runny custard this morning.”

I look from one to the other, with obvious concerns.

“I haven’t dropped you yet, have I?” Carvery teases. “Saved your life more than once already.”

“That’s because he’s saving it for later,” Ace adds. “You haven’t had a ride in the trunk of his car first. You wouldn’t want to miss that.”

My housemate, Twat-for-Brains, would think this was all so much delightful flirting. Probably how she spends most of her spare time in Accident and Emergency, between abusive boyfriends…

“Hurry up, Sarah.” Carvery grabs the back of my waistband, and I shriek, scaring myself, as he tilts me over the side. Ace takes hold of the scruff of my collar at the same time, angling my head down towards the water, and I find myself succumbing quickly to the forces of gravity. “Before your borrowed book swims away by itself.”

I look down at the spiny scales and jaws of Death, the blood rushing in my ears and pounding in my temples, as I’m lowered gawkily below the railings.

“It’s all right, Sarah,” Carvery calls out, and gives an evil snigger. “You can see if you’re any good at Croc-Whispering, while you’re down there.”

I gulp.

Keep still – nice crocky

Another great trailer – ‘Jewel of the Nile’ the original – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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