Mediastinum Impossible: A Zombie Parody

Jay-Z vs. Limp Bizkit – 99 Problems/Nookie mash-up

Several things seem to happen at once. Luke and I both scream, but due to our manacles attaching us to the walls, go nowhere other than to dangle from our chains, while the tiled floor rapidly recedes downward. Carvery drops the chainsaw, favouring to retain the gun in his other hand, and grabs the edge of the toilet bowl to halt his fall, and the metal bunk upon which Homer is still unconscious merely tilts a little, apparently bolted to the tiled surface as well.

“If that’s the Well of Our Souls down there…” Carvery begins.

“Don’t remind me,” I say through gritted teeth, twirling on the end of my one restrained arm. “What are they up to now?”

I look up. There seems to be a commotion in the square.

“I don’t think that little incident was our captors’ fault,” Luke replies. “They’re not happy either…”

To my concern, I see Ace Bumgang being prodded around sharply with sword-points on the glass ceiling above our heads. He skips out of the way, and glancing down at us past his feet, stamps a few times on the glass.

“Look away,” Carvery says, hitching up the shotgun again. “Time for that escape attempt…”

I close my eyes just before he fires, picking up the hint just in time. Chips of glass spray down onto our heads, and a huge crack shoots widthways in turn. Ace does a back-flip from a standing jump, and as he lands, feet together, on the spot above the metal bunk, the great fracture feathers outward abruptly, and he punches through.

His Caterpillar work boots just miss the zombie Homer’s face, scraping his gray ears on either side, as he lands astride him.

Two unwary bystanders from the citadel square plummet by, in the centre of the room – shrieking piteously and scrabbling the air for non-existent handholds.

They seem to continue falling for a very long time…

I gulp.

“What now?” I ask. Other angry city-dwellers are waving their swords at us from the perimeter of the bottomless room above. “Do we have a plan? Are we going up or down?”

“I think the only way we’ll be going up is as dog meat paste,” Ace remarks, and Luke yelps as a cutlass-point nicks his knuckles, still clamped in their restraints. “They think you’ve got voodoo, Luke. Now would be a good time for the old hocus-pocus, if you’ve got any.”

“Do I look like Mister Dynamo to you?” Luke splutters.

“Well, you are wearing a hoody,” Carvery points out.

“And you played Old Harry with the security guards at the University campus all right,” I say, encouragingly. “Do it again.”

“That’s just a load of old tricks and nonsense,” Luke sighs. “Nothing beats the use of good old-fashioned force.”

Unexpectedly, the mechanical grinding groan echoes around us again – and Homer’s bunk, still attached to the wall with no floor, crawls inwards once more.

“What the fuck?” I cry. “We’re STILL getting crushed in this stupid crazy room?”

“Best it’ll do now is scrape us off the walls,” Carvery agrees. “Except Luke, of course. He’s facing it, so he’s definitely getting squished. Unless his secret magic wand that he’s not telling us about works in his favour, of course.”

“Man, if my magic wand could stop that wall, my wife would never have kicked me out of the house forty years ago,” Luke grumbles. “I would be President of Nigeria now, not a taxi-driver for drunk medical students.”

“Oh, God,” I sob. “Where’s a Flying Carpet when you need one…?”

Of course!

I try to remember. What had Justin Time done to summon the flying rickshaw?

“Sarah,” Carvery warns, as I whistle a few bars experimentally. “This is no time to play Name That Tune.”

“I disagree,” Ace counters. “Let me guess… is it Don’t Fear The Reaper?

As the bunk carrying Homer and Ace approaches a few more inches inwards, with an unsteady wobble, all I can do is hope that I was right.

But didn’t it take a while to respond? Like, the distance between two Lounges… with another lump in my throat, I recall there was another apparently bottomless fall involved back then as well…

“Where’s Crispin?” I ask Ace. “What have they done with him?”

“I wouldn’t worry,” says Ace, wryly. “From what I could tell, all this was his idea.”


“Do you remember that spy movie? The re-make, with that short celebrity cult guy with all the sunglasses and teeth. Hanging around in rooms where they don’t have security cameras installed. The opening scene. I think it’s what they call a Mole Op. Weeding out the bad guys from your own team.”

“What?!” I repeat. “He can’t think that! Haven’t we all been trying to help…?”

The three guys exchange looks.

“Well, forgive me for saying, but Luke’s a Nigerian jewel thief compensating for the fact he can’t satisfy a woman long enough to keep a roof over his head,” Ace continues. “And Carvery has been leaving big dents in anything female crossing our path since we started. Madam Dingdong didn’t need a tip after we went to her Sauna And Spa, put it that way. And I basically humiliated the zombie guy’s mother. Apparently it’s rude not to give a four thousand-year-old zombie queen a seeing-to when she’s asked nicely, and I should have spiked my own drink and taken one for the team instead of the other way around. Who knew, right?”

I can’t believe it. I must be desensitized from living around all these psychopaths and abusers.

“All sounds perfectly normal to me,” I grumble at the wall, which I’m currently facing on the end of my wrist-chain, at the back of the sink.

“Yeah, zombies have morals and ethics, what a bummer that turned out to be.” Out of the corner of my eye, Ace sits sideways across Homer’s stomach and swings his feet over the precipice, evidently unconcerned about about potential squid hatchlings. “And you – well, you summoned Atum, so of course they’re going to be pissed at that.”

“Atum?” I exclaim, nose still to greasy ceramic tile. “I had nothing to do with that great mythical monster turning up!”

“They don’t see it that way. What they see is a male-DNA-motivated obsessive female virgin, who works with dead bodies. According to them, that makes you a necromancer.”

“Necrophiliac,” Carvery corrects him. “Nothing romantic about it, buddy.”

“And Atum – well, basically, he’s… er…”

“The spirit of the first gamete,” Luke interjects, in sombre tones. “I warned you, Sarah Bellum – be careful what you wish for.”

“Great.” Carvery is nodding, as red-faced, I rotate on the end of my chain to face into the shrinking room once more. “First, I thought it was bad enough being trapped in a room with a hormone-riddled idiot necrophiliac. Now it turns out, it’s a hormone-riddled, sperm-jacking idiot necrophiliac, who’s haunted by the gigantic vengeful manifestation of the first ever spermatozoa.”

“Yeah,” Ace says, sourly. “That’s the last time I knock one out to internet snuff porn.”

“I told, you, Ace – that stuff’ll give you nightmares,” Carvery tells him. “Sometimes while you’re awake. Making you do stuff that you’ll want to deny later.”

“If you want to know what denial is, it’s a big river that you should be floating down, in a large padlocked packing-case,” I snap at him.

“Oh, I’m just as pissed off as you are,” he remarks. “I’m hanging by one arm from a toilet in an underground torture-chamber, on the basis of some speculation by superstitious zombies, and the failure of a taxi driver with persistent erectile dysfunction to come up with a miracle.”

“That’s what she said,” Ace and Luke both agree at once.

I heave a sigh.

“Well,” I begin, annoyed that I’m twisting back around again to face the wall, “we do have what they want. We’ve got the clockwork hand – even though it’s not doing much other than scratching my ankle at the moment. We’ve got a copy of Mr. Dry Senior’s diary. Do you think they’d let us fall to our deaths?”

We all look up at the threat from above. Hmmm. It does appear that most of the prodding with swords and shouting is for appearances’ sake.

Luke tests his chains, which squeak against their metal rings in the wall.

“Carvery Slaughter,” he says at last. “How good is your aim, with that shotgun?”

Oh. Shit

Mission Impossible (1996) fan trailer – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

ParaNodule: A(nother) Zombie Parody…

White Zombie vs. Billy Idol – White Wedding Zombie mash-up…

“Cut us free,” Luke suggests.

For a moment, I actually wonder if there’s a Squidmorph concealing itself in my own lower intestine. Everything below the waist threatens to explosively migrate, as Carvery looks from the chainsaw in his hand to my arm chained up at the back of the sink, speculatively.

“I think I might be able to amputate your arm at the ear,” he agrees.

“Er, let’s not rush things,” I squeak, hurriedly. Why isn’t the clockwork hand helping us?! Stupid thing, running and hiding up my trouser leg like that… “What plan do we have?”

Carvery sighs, bored once more, and goes back to sit on the edge of the lavatory

“If you cut us down, we might be able to brace that moving wall between us,” Luke continues, nodding towards the metal bunk and the unconscious zombie Homer N. Dry against the – presently static – deadly tiled wall, opposite him.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” I worry, squinting up at the dank glass ceiling, where the dwellers of the Eight a.m. Lounge are still watching our predicament from the town square above. I’m sure I see some cash exchanging hands as well, and as I seek out and find Ace Bumgang looking down on us from overhead as well, I notice something else. “I have a feeling any cutting that happens down here as an escape plan, is going to be replayed out there as well. They’ve got Ace at sword-point!”

Carvery and Luke look up to confirm. Yes – Ace’s hands are now bound roughly with rope. He’s a prisoner as much as we are, and as his captors see us looking, they make threatening motions with various knives and cutlasses towards him.

“So?” Carvery grunts. “Less dead weight for us.”

The plumbing gurgles again, and this time seems to come from the toilet.

“God – flush, man!” Luke groans.

“Wasn’t me.” Carvery raises his feet and swings his legs. “Maybe this wall moves as well…”

But instead of a grinding of invisible cogs and the traversing of deadly chamber-ware menacingly into the room, there is another gurgle, and a splosh. A fountain of acrid water spurts out of the bowl between Carvery’s legs, and bubbles across the slimy floor.

“Eeeww!” Carvery jumps up. “They have some crack cowboy plumbing in here.” He hisses as he tries to brush the water from his trousers. “Ow…”

“What?” Luke asks.

“I think they’ve overdone the Toilet Duck.” Carvery wipes his hand on the wall. “It’s burning through my trouser-leg.”

Alarmed, I look at the pool of water trickling over the tiles, as it creeps towards me.

It’s black. It smells of battery acid. And it’s fizzing

“The plumbing in here must lead to to the Well of Our Souls,” I whisper. “Carvery – that’s not Toilet Duck. It’s Squidmorph ink!”

“What do we do?” Luke moans, rattling his chains hopelessly.

“Whatever you do,” I begin, “don’t let it…”

A massive tentacle whips out of the bowl, showering the interior of the cell with burning droplets – and whips straight around Carvery’s ankle, turning him upside down and shaking him.

“Don’t let it what?” he jokes, as his head is bounced repeatedly off the disgusting floor. “Ow… ow… ow…”

“Don’t let it…”

“…GET HOLD OF THE CHAINSAW!” Luke shrieks for me.

The chainsaw, on cue, flies out of Carvery’s hand as he is pounded deliberately against the wall, and spins wildly across the tiles. It hits the wall close to Luke, and with a squeal he snatches both feet up off the floor, grateful at least for now that he is suspended higher up the wall on his manacles.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Carvery snaps, as the tentacle drops him unceremoniously and flails around instead to find the escaped weapon. He leaps back onto the hooked appendage, trying to hinder its attempt to arm itself further. “Bad calamari!”

“Luke!” I shout. “The chainsaw – see if you can slide it over here…”

“You’re crazy!” Luke squeaks.

I reach out encouragingly with my free hand.

“If I can get free, we can beat it,” I say, beckoning. “Just nudge it over this way. And, er, try not to switch it on. Or this escape attempt will be over very quickly…”

Luke nods, and with one eye on the ongoing battle between Carvery and the tentacle, stretches out carefully with one foot.

“Yes!” I urge, patting the floor in front of me. “Over here…”

Luke times his soccer touch perfectly. The perfect speed, the perfect curve, the perfect amount of spin…

…And the tentacle, with a whip-crack, detaches Carvery violently, sending him flying backwards onto the bunk on top of the unconscious Homer, and barrels towards me like an express train…

My hand closes around empty air – as inexplicably, the chainsaw rears up above my head. With a flick of its hooks the giant tentacle switches on the whirring blade, with a roar…

I close my eyes.

The second roar echoes around the cell, and I’m suddenly swamped in a coating of tepid, sticky, oozing, suffocating slime.

Oh, God – I’m like the bad magician’s glamorous assistant. Sawn in half… drowning in my own entrails!


But surely I shouldn’t be able to cry out? Or to still feel that stabbing in my ankle, from the tenacious golden clockwork hand, hiding up my trouser-leg?

I open one eye, tentatively. Just in time to see Carvery walking over to flush the toilet.

The last remnants of scaly, blubbery skin vanish down the pan. Carvery turns back to look at me, and I see Mrs. Frittata’s shotgun in his other hand.

“Gun must have dried out properly,” he remarks. “Just in time.”

“You had the gun on you all along?” I exclaim, shaking now more with rage than with fear and revulsion. “Where were you hiding it?”

“Down my pants,” he scoffs. “Right behind my knob.”

“Well, that’s reassuring,” I snap. “Knowing that you can conceal an offensive weapon behind the one you already have.”

Even while retaliating, I’m aware of consciously trying not to picture the implied scale of the aforementioned deadly Carvery Slaughter attachment… Stupid traitorous hormones!!

We all look up. Some more cash is grudgingly exchanging owners above us in the street, but Ace is still upright. Thank God…

Homer’s bed grinds another three inches inwards, across the floor.

“I don’t understand,” I whimper. “We’ve got the diary – we’ve got the clockwork hand. What are they waiting for? Why are they torturing us?”

“I think they’re still waiting for the heathen magic,” Carvery reminds us. “Sure you don’t have any voodoo on you, Luke? They‘ve even provided you with a half-dead zombie to start you off.”

“They’re crazy!” Luke yelps. “You’re all crazy…”

I start to get pins-and-needles in my ankle, at the location of the clockwork hand. And as the wall inches closer inwards again, evidently working now over shorter consecutive periods – like the road-markings approaching the end of a freeway – the tingling starts to heat up. It feels as though a candle has been lit under my foot.

“I don’t know about you,” I mutter, “but something hoodoo is happening down here…”

The tiles on the floor around me start to click rhythmically, and seem to slide against one another like a picture-puzzle. The walls bulge, organically this time.

“Dude,” Carvery remarks. “There’s a weird light shining out of the toilet…”

Before he finishes speaking, the room revolves ninety degrees.

The light gets brighter, gradually outshining the daylight from above. The onlookers in the citadel square overhead back away, covering their eyes.

“Fuck!” Carvery suddenly exclaims, still looking into the toilet-bowl, like a lightweight freshman on his first Rag Week night out. “It blinked!”

Luke’s shaking stops. As he breathes out calmly and the light in his own eyes changes, it is apparent that perhaps he does have a little knowledge of the occult…

“It’s a scrying bowl,” he states quietly. “It’s Atum. He’s keeping his Eye on us. And on the clockwork hand – and on the little book.”

“From the toilet?” I can’t stop myself from scoffing. “If he’s the most all-powerful god of all creation, surely he’d find somewhere better to watch us from?”

“Careful what you wish for, Sarah Bellum,” Luke warns.

And the entire floor suddenly drops away, beneath us…

Toilet scene from ‘ParaNorman’ – a must-see, zombie-fan family fun! 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

Fermat’s Womb: A Zombie Parody

Britney vs. Bloodhound Gang – Unusual Uhn Tiss mash-up…

“It’s a trick,” Luke gasps, before I can open my mouth to protest. “They still want the information on the clockwork hand. He’s here to deal with Homer – or any alien squid-monster that pops out – if it looks like there’s any chance I can tell them what they want first.”

Carvery just grins.

“One possibility,” he agrees. “What do you think, Sarah?”

I pull ineffectually on the chain securing my arm behind the dirty sink.

“I think you’d jump at any chance to be the only armed man in a room with two restrained prisoners and an unconscious zombie,” I reply. “It’d give you the opportunity to live up to your name, Carvery Slaughter.”

“Could be, could be,” he nods, turning the page of the tiny diary. “Could be all of the above. Where did you get this copy of Mr. Dry Senior’s diary?”

“That was given to me to look after!” I hiss through gritted teeth, half-truthfully this time. “And you shouldn’t be reading it – as usual…”

“It’s all in code anyway,” he shrugs. “Code and little drawings. Like he was playing Draw My Thing online. On his own, in a little notebook. Or Hangman. Anyway, you missed one. I might be down here to defend Homer, in case you two manage to get loose.”

“Still sounds like a win-win for Carvery,” I grouch.

“Well, unless you’ve got anything on either of you that beats a chainsaw, it’s not exactly an evenly weighted contest, is it?” Carvery sighs, and sounds almost bored. “They could have let me down here unarmed and I’d still have the upper hand, no pun intended. I think they gave me the chainsaw just because they like a bit of theatrics. Plus it deters any onlookers considering a bit of treason after breakfast.”

Luke starts to twitch. It’s slight at first, but gradually becomes more spastic and uncontrolled. I wonder if he’s being bitten.

“Are you okay?” I gulp, wondering about the size of fleas or body-lice that might be encountered down here.

“Maybe he got the Ex-Lax treatment after all,” Carvery remarks. “You might want to turn your head away, in that case. And maybe tuck your feet in.”

“Let me out!” is all Luke screams. “It’s not what you think!”

“Maybe he’s got a Squidmorph too,” Carvery suggests. “Keep your legs crossed, Sarah. It might look for somewhere new to hide after getting flushed out prematurely…”

“Why are we chained up anyway?” I ask suddenly, as something occurs to me. “In a completely inaccessible underground room, beneath a glass floor in the public square above, with everyone watching? Surely there’d be no need to chain us up – unless it’s ‘torture by withholding use of nearby toilet’…”

Carvery looks down between his own legs at the offending piece of bathroom furniture, which he is currently employing as occasional seating in our stinking, subterranean tiled cell.

“Maybe there’s a way out, is what I’m saying,” I continue. “Maybe they’ve had people escape before.”

“Maybe it’s fear of whatever imaginary magic they think Luke himself is withholding,” Carvery replies, nodding towards the spasmodic Mr. Lukan. “He doesn’t look too happy now. I can picture them placing bets on something exploding out of him fairly shortly, laxative or no laxative.”

The worrying silence seems a bit more hollow for a moment, and I’m sure a sense a distant rumble. Like an earthquake.

“Did you feel that?” I ask. “I’m sure the Earth just moved.”

“Sarah, I’m nowhere near you,” Carvery grumbles. “Control yourself, for God’s sake.”

Before a retort comes to mind, there is another judder, closer this time. It has a mechanical edge to it.

And then a horrible fingernail-on-slate noise – and Homer’s metal bunk scrapes two inches inwards into the room.

“That wall just moved!” I exclaim.

The scraping sound is still echoing away as Carvery gets to his feet, crosses the cell, and crouches to inspect the floor under the steel bed.

“There are scratch marks here,” he reports, after a moment’s dark silence. I can see his eyes follow the direction of the scoring, across the width of the room. “It looks like it’s been moved before…”

“It’s their Joker,” Luke pants, rejoining the conversation from his current delirium.”Or their ace – whatever you want to call it. If the zombie fails – or the squid-monster – or the psychopath in the room – the room itself is the final device…”

“Ah,” Carvery muses. “And there was I, thinking that being stuck in a room with a hormone-riddled idiot necrophiliac was going to be the definition of Hell. And what an incredible smell you’ve discovered down here, Sarah? I can see that not improving, over the next hour or so…”

The distant rumble vibrates along the plumbing again.

“We have to do something!” I cry, trying to suppress some very real hysteria now creeping up on me. “And God – what’s wrong with him??”

Luke is shaking again, and suddenly lets out a stifled scream – this time with no words.

Carvery clicks his tongue disapprovingly.

“That’s what happens when you don’t breathe through the contractions, dude,” he warns. “Take your time, and let the suspect chocolate-flavoured medicine do the hard work for you…”

“I think he’s really sick!” I interrupt, but a new scraping sound joins in – this time a metallic, hurried skittering noise over the tiles. “Oh, no – what’s that now?!”

“Where?” Carvery asks, reaching for the chainsaw.

“Something’s running around on the floor…” I begin, and the noise increases in volume.

And then I scream in turn – as something hard and unyielding snaps around my ankle like a clamp!

“It’s got me! It’s got me!” I shriek, kicking out at first, not brave enough to reach down with my free hand – not wanting to risk losing that as well.

“Great!” Carvery enthuses, cheerfully. “Which bit of you do you want cut off?”

But it doesn’t feel like a Squidmorph tentacle. Not this time. Homer is still supine on the metal bunk. Luke is shuddering on the end of his manacles, his violent spasms now reduced to a trembling shiver, as if from non-existent cold.

The Thing seems to latch itself shut around my right leg.

“I can’t see what it is,” I moan.

“Pull your trouser-leg up, Dumbass,” Carvery says, leaning down to look – chainsaw at the ready.

Shaking in fear, I tweak the sweat-drenched fabric up a little. And something glitters…

“Cover it up,” Carvery snaps. “Quick. Before they see it.”

“Why?” I squeal, dropping the fabric from my fingertips at once. “What is it?”

“Well, it’s not an electronic tag,” he grins, tapping his own ankle in indication and winking. “Looks like Luke was hiding the clockwork hand on him all along.”

“Like I said,” Luke manages to whisper. “It doesn’t belong – to anyone. It chooses you.”

What? What does he mean?

“It’s chosen you, Sarah,” he adds, rolling his bloodshot eyes towards me.

“Maybe it knows you were meant to be looking after it.” Carvery squints up at the glass ceiling. “I wonder if Crispin guessed that too, and threw you in here for that reason?”

“I was planted in here?” I conclude, shocked. “To get the clockwork hand back?”

The metal bunk scrapes further inwards on the tiled floor, with another mechanical groan. Homer stirs flatulently and mutters again, in his convalescent slumber.

There is a sudden whiff of battery acid in the fetid air…

“I don’t think they’re going to let us off that easily,” Carvery grins.

Fermat’s Room, trailer – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

Sore: A Zombie Parody

Adele vs. Bloodhound Gang – Rollin’ In mash-up…

My thoughts are scattered though, as Crispin Dry suddenly stalks out of the surgery doorway, his gray zombie countenance as dark as any thunderstorm. My inexperienced libido immediately starts cooking me from the inside-out, making my already too-hot, sticky Naval uniform feel like an Uncle Ben’s Rice Boil-in-the-Bag in the desert heat.

Damn these hormones!

I bet he’s still in a stupid mood with me as well, over that mention of Mr. Wheelie-Bin…

“They have the errant Mr. Lukan, Mr. Slaughter?” he asks Carvery coldly, sparing me not a glance.

“Looks that way,” Carvery replies. “Are they going to torture him? Do we get to watch?”

“Better,” Crispin concurs, with a nod.

Sandy emerges beside him, and claps his hands loudly, in a rhythmic sequence. He announces something to the city at large in a foreign tongue I don’t understand, although I’m sure the name Amiira is mentioned, and possibly the word ‘infidels’ – although I wouldn’t want to offend anyone even by thinking such a thing around here…

My heart leaps sideways, as I most definitely hear the words ‘Ace Bumgang’ and ‘the Stig’ in the same sentence – and I’m sure it isn’t my imagination furnishing my ears with the roar of response by nearby gossips and traders.

“What was that about?” I ask, timidly.

Crispin finally rewards me, with the stony flicker of one jet-black eye.

“The morning News summary,” he replies, shortly. “It is the responsibility of whomever the grapevine determines shall broadcast it.”

I’m suddenly aware of a great horde of people, all in a strange shade of pale blue or green approaching us. There is great excitement, and shouting of orders and instructions, and we are quickly relieved of the camel reins and hustled forward at the crest of the crowd, as it rolls along the dusty street. Sandy disappears briefly back inside the surgery with a number of others, and Homer N. Dry is borne out on a stretcher, carried above the heads of many.

Poor Homer – his withered gray skin is almost white! Like the ash, coating a slow-burning cinder…

“Where are we going now?” I cry, hurrying ahead to avoid being trampled.

“To the trial,” Crispin says, his tone still as flat and as brusque as before. He so doesn’t want to talk to me right now! “At the Tank.”

The Tank? What new horror is this?

The new horror is soon illustrated, as the crowd herds us to a square, filled with people, all jeering and braying and barking further orders to one another. At the centre is a deep square pit, under glass strong enough for a man to stand on.

The pit is lined with ceramic tiles, and contains nothing but a sink and lavatory, and an old metal bunk, each item against a separate wall. Iron rings are screwed into the fourth wall, and from these rings is suspended the miserable figure of our taxi-driver, Luke, fully chained.

Ace is standing thoughtfully at the edge of the Tank, waiting for us.

“This is a trial?” I ask. “It looks more like he’s already been imprisoned…”

“And that is his trial, Miss Bellum!” Sandy announces, as we gather alongside Ace. His words struggle to find any foothold between my ears when I notice the beads of sweat glinting on Ace’s bare torso, and promptly all thoughts of zombie infatuation are drop-kicked out of the ballpark by both of my ovaries at once.

“A witch-hunter trial,” Ace remarks. “If he escapes, he’s guilty. If he dies, he was innocent. That sort of thing.”

“You mean there’s no such thing as luck?” I demand. “Or a fair hearing?”

“Just a demonstration of either his reliance on heathen magic, or his defiance in death,” Crispin agrees by my left ear, unexpectedly. My thoughts of Ace Bumgang run and hide, in an equally guilt-ridden fashion. “But there is more to it, Sarah Bellummm…”

I notice that Homer is being lowered into a shaft beside the pit, and shortly a steel vault door opens beside the sink in the underground cell. Homer’s stretcher is placed onto the bare metal bunk, and the bearers leer at Luke, before departing again.

I notice Luke’s eyes rolling in terror, and searching the audience above, seeking out our gaze in an appeal for mercy.

“The Surgeons are hoping that my cousin Homer will awaken with an appetite!” Sandy nods in approval. “Another challenge for our prisoner’s foreign wizarding skills!”

The crowd certainly approve as well, applauding as Homer stirs lethargically.

“Did Luke have the clockwork hand on him?” I ask Ace, who shakes his head.

“He says it’s somewhere safe, but won’t say where,” Ace replies. “So I think they’re hoping this will scare it out of him.”

“If he’s put it up there, that shouldn’t take too long,” Carvery agrees. “Especially if they gave him Ex-Lax first.”

“But they’d torture him anyway, from what I gather,” Ace continues. “Whether he’s got it on him or not.”

I tear myself away from the spectacle and go to the shaft beside the Tank, where the stretcher-bearers have just emerged. A hand-cranked metal elevator is the only means of accessing the underground cell, and the operator grins toothlessly at me.

“Hoping for a closer look, Sarah Bellummm?” Crispin’s voice says beside me again, and I jump. I turn to see him looking past me into the elevator shaft, his manner still quite cold and distant. “I’m sure it could be arranged…”

And suddenly I see nothing but the inside of a hessian sack, smelling strongly of chemicals…

*  *  *  *  *

The light is murky and greenish as I open my eyes groggily, the chemical smell now mixed with a dank mildewy scent, and a suffocating, stagnant silence – compared to the racket of the citadel. But as I look up, I can still see the dozens of bearded and excited faces looking down through the thick, mould-spotted glass.

“Must be soundproofed,” I mumble aloud, and my words echo back to my ears painfully, from the stained ceramic tiles.

Oh God – I’m in the Tank as well!

My right arm is chained to the pipes under the sink. To my left, Homer is still unconscious on the bunk. To the other side, Luke is upright, chained to the rings affixed to the wall.

The opposite wall is in shadow, as the sun is not yet high enough to illuminate it.

“What happened?” I ask, woozily.

“My guess is, someone wants to know if you’re the kind of girl to harbour more than one lover,” Luke croaks, and to my great offence I realise he’s laughing at the idea, even through his pain. “That if Homer wakes up hungry and decides on a little Sarah Bellum starter course, any sign of my heathen magic being used to save your life will condemn you as a scarlet woman.”

“Ah,” I say, gloomily. “So if I die I’m innocent, if I live I’m guilty, yes?”

“Yup,” Luke grins. “And I don’t have any magic, so it was nice knowing you.”

Homer’s stomach gurgles, on cue, and he mutters something in his sleep.

It sounds like Goooood

“Where’s the clockwork hand?” I demand, grasping for the one thing I know that does have special powers, which I’ve come across recently.

“In a safe place,” Luke replies, suddenly brittle.

“Because if it’s where Carvery thinks it is, now would be a good time to start thinking about prune juice.”


“Well, at least we might have a chance,” I snap. “They are intending to leave us here to die, you realise? Because if we don’t die, we’re guilty of something – which means more torture and possibly death will follow.”

Homer’s stomach rumbles again, and I glance nervously at it.

“And it might be more than just a zombie with an appetite in here with us,” I continue. I try to define the horrible mixture of smells in our subterranean prison, wondering if one of the contributing aromas might resemble seawater mixed with battery acid. “There might be a zombie-harboured Squidmorph as well…”

“A squat what?” Luke demands.

“A kind of sea-parasite,” I explain. “It hides up your bottom like an alien space-probe when you skinny-dip, and eventually grows to the size of a battleship. So if you have anything useful hidden up your bottom to fight one of those with, make like a supermodel and flush out that colon!”

Luke looks from me to Homer in horror, and then rattles his chains.

“Let me out!” he screams. “I’m trapped in here with a zombie and a girl obsessed with probing my ass!”

But before I can protest, I notice that the sunlight is starting to reach the far wall, where the lavatory is installed. And as the light quality in the shadows changes, I spot another familiar shape.

“What are YOU doing in here?” I gasp, astonished.

Carvery looks up from the little tiny leather-bound book in his hands.

Oh, shit – the micro-diary that I was given, to look after!

But how did he…?

“Well,” he says, uncrossing and re-crossing his legs from where they rest up on the chainsaw, at his feet. “Just in case Homer fails to hatch a squidling, or to wake up at all, the Surgeons decided I was the next best thing to a wildcard against you two.”

I stare at him, open-mouthed. He finally looks up from his – typically stolen – reading matter.

“I volunteered,” he grins.

‘Saw’ trailer, original – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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