It Won’t Stay Dead. A Chuck Wendig ‘Dead Body’ Challenge MkII.

First, there were werewolves:

Now there’re zombies.

This is v.2.0 of the Chuck Wendig ‘Dead Body’ Challenge.

Here’s It Won’t Stay Dead.

“It won’t stay dead, fuck it!” Sean said as he broke a baseball bat over its head. “Shit!” said Maggie, “Did you have to hit it so hard?” she whined as she scrubbed at the blood and brain that had just landed on her freshly laundered Walmart ensemble. Sean looked at her, and looked at her, as if he was weighing up the benefits of applying baseball bat diplomacy to her.

Like all Zombie Apocalypses, this one had started from fairly humble beginnings. Sean and Maggie had arrived just minutes ago to assess the value of the home Maggie’s uncle had left to her in his Will. It was a complete pit. “If it was as good as a slum that’d be a civic improvement,” Sean said after they’d done a cursory inspection. “Uncle Chuck was a weird dude,” Maggie said. So that’s where she got it from.

They’d decided not to stay the night, but as they made their way to the car the first of the zombies arrived. Well, technically, she was already there, sitting on the porch in half darkness, drooling and making odd moaning sounds as her right forearm twitched up and down. Sean and Maggie stepped back silently, turned, and ran back into the house, just as silently slipping the bolt on the thick timber door.

“Fucking great,” Maggie said, with that pissed off look on her face that Sean had come to know and loathe. “Zombies. I’m probably going to get my face eaten off,” she said. Sean rolled his eyes. “Yeah, and I’m probably going to get the shit raped out of me. I’m too pretty to kill outright,” he said. They spent the next few minutes debating the likelihood of either scenario happening but, as with most things, they couldn’t agree.

It was then that the pale-skinned zombie, her eyes a washed-out blue, peered at them through the window they’d forgotten to close. She smiled, displaying the kind of broken and splayed teeth dentists dream of getting rich from. In one of those confluences of incredible good luck, Sean had his trusty baseball bat with him. Sure, he’d thought more along the lines of using it on his step-sister lately, but all the experts say you should never go into a dilapidated old house out in the middle of Bumfuq, Nowhere, unless night is falling, you have a ready supply of baseball bats, a mobile phone with a dying battery, and you’re accompanied by someone you really hate. So, he was good on all counts.

The experts didn’t get that way by being overly dramatic, flowery, flamboyant, high-flown, high-sounding, magniloquent, grandiloquent, ornate, fancy, baroque, orotund, rhetorical, oratorical, bombastic, laboured, strained, overwrought, elaborate, over-elaborate, overblown, overripe, overdone, convoluted, turgid, inflated, highfalutin, purple, tumid, pleonastic, euphuistic, aureate, Ossianic, fustian, or hyperventilated. They were writers who needed to be heeded!

Sean raced to the window and beat the living-but-not-living shit out of the zombie. The smell was terrible. “God, that scared the shit out of me!” Maggie said. Sean gave her a withering glance, sniffed the air, and said: “So that was you. I was just about to blame it on the zombie.” As it turned out, Maggie really did need to use the bathroom, so Sean thought he’d let the air clear by phoning home.

“Hi, Mum. Yeah, pretty good, I suppose. Hey, listen, has a zombie apocalypse started near you? No? Oh, nothing. Must be a local thing,” he said. He listened for a few seconds before answering: “Dunno. In the bathroom. Yeah, probably just having a massive shit.” It was at that point he heard a blood-curdling scream. “Yeah, well, look Mum, I’d best be off.” The phone beeped and went dead in his hand.

Another scream spilt the air. He knew Maggie was really constipated so it could be that, or it could be … that fucking zombie again! Oh, for fuck’ sake! He’d had to use bathrooms after Maggie so he figured she was pretty safe from attack. Zombies might be dead but they’re not stupid. “Can zombies even smell?” he wondered aloud. He’d have probably tested it, if the zombie hadn’t snuck into the room while he was daydreaming. Bat, meet head.

“What the fuck is going on?” Maggie yelled as she came back into the room. Sean nearly took a bat to her head. She glared at him. “How was I supposed to know? You smell dead!” he said, sniggering. Their repartee was interrupted by another zombie attack. “It never fucking ends!” Maggie said, grabbing the bat and turning the next zombie’s head into pate.

“We could do with some light,” Sean said. “Got a match?” Maggie smiled and said: “Sure, my arse and your face.” They spent an enjoyable few minutes trading ‘my and your’ jokes before the next attack came. From out of the shadows that same fucking zombie they’d already beaten the shit out of lurched at them. “Look, I’m getting pretty sick of this,” Maggie said. Sean made a passing comment about ‘your face’ but this time it just didn’t seem appropriate to go off into more wasted minutes of jokes. “We need light if we’re going to survive this,” Sean said. “Okay,” said Maggie, and she flipped a light switch. Good God, this place was messier than his mum’s room after a big night with her swinger’s club.

They had light, which meant they had power. “So, rock, paper, scissors for who goes to the car to get the phone charger,” Sean said. Maggie pulled it out of her pocket. “Good thinking, half-Sis!” Sean said, thinking she wasn’t a complete and total retard after all. “Lucky break. I thought it was my vibrator charger,” she said. He took the charger with the tips of his fingers only, grimacing as he did.

As soon as he plugged the phone in it rang. “Hi Mum, sup? No, not much. Oh. Oh. Oh, okay then. No. Yes. No. Maybe. Okay, bye,” he said, ending the call. “Oh-oh,” he said as he looked at Maggie. “Mum just asked if we’d met Uncle Chuck’s quads. Yeah. Lookalikes. Pale skinned girls, light blue eyes. Hillbilly types, like you and your uncle, so they can’t speak; just sort of moan and gurgle.”

“You know, one day we’ll look back on this and laugh,” Sean said as they swept the last of the brain matter under the rug. They stepped outside, straight into a real zombie apocalypse. Maybe someday they’d look back and laugh about that, too.

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