We did the mash, we did the monster mash
If it was any other day, the world might have had a chance. But it wasn’t, it was Halloween. Halloween wasn’t celebrated in every country, but it was acknowledged, or at least some version in enough countries so that by the time humanity realized what the hell was going on, it was too late. There were too many of them by the time we caught on and the only reason that their spread slowed at all, there weren’t many of us unaffected left. They ran out of fresh food, plain and simple. Who would have thought that all the zombie movies would be part of the reason we got caught with our pants down. For over forty years we watched as Romero’s zombies ate Barbara over and over again on tape and DVD, never suspecting that what we were watching could ever happen. Oh all of us zombie fans joked about zombies being the apocalypse, but we never really believed it for a minute. Ok maybe some of the hard core horror freaks half believed it but the rest of us knew it was fantasy. Yeah what a bunch of dumbasses we were. Turns out the freaks were right all along.
By the time the zombies came to town, we all thought nothing of it, after all it was Halloween for God’s sake and we had all seen zombie movies a hundred times. Hell zombies were becoming an in thing much to the chagrin of us hardcore zombites. Right before the outbreak, there was even going to be a series on TV about zombies. I was so looking forward to watching that, now I won’t know how it went. I mean who would stop to think that a zombie is out of place on Halloween? Oh well, anyways Halloween rolled in that grey Sunday with us preparing for our Halloween party. Now let me give you a quick history of my family and Halloween. We are Halloween. By the time our kids were six, they could do the time warp as good as Richard O ‘Brian and knew that a sweet transvestite was about the funniest thing on tape. We loved Halloween…we ate it, we drank it, and we breathed it. I once wrote a self published novel that sold a whole hundred copies. I think this one will have even less readers. Our house had been photographed for the local paper twice for decorations and we frequently had debates as to who was more kick ass, Freddy, Jason, or Chucky. Horror wasn’t just for Halloween to us. It was an all year fascination. My wife Lori and I once rented nine horror movies on a Friday night and watched them all by Saturday night. Get the picture yet? We loved horror.
On that particular Halloween, my twenty four year old son Jason, and wife of twenty five years, Lori had been out getting the liquid refreshments for the night’s festivities. Both of my daughters Courtney and Jessica along with Courtney’s boyfriend were decorating the man fort for the party. The man fort was the basement that I had lovingly built a bar in for entertaining.
Damn… I loved that man fort….fucking zombies.
I was sitting in the living room watching the AMC fear fest on TV and rolling my own cigarettes. I was rolling my own cigarettes because it was half the price of a pack in the stores, and less taxes to the government too. I think that’s what I liked best, less taxes. And yes, they were cigarettes. If it was anything else, it might explain better what I saw. I reached into the bag of tobacco I had bought that day and pinched some between my forefinger and thumb to put into the rolling machine. Although I really don’t understand why it’s called rolling a cigarette, it’s more like the machine stuffs the tobacco into the little tube with the filter on the end. I guess rolling sounds cooler than stuffing. While I was rolling cigarettes I glanced out the window at the common area across the road from our house.
We lived in what was known as the Beebe River section of Campton New Hampshire. Beebe River was a series of old mill houses that had been built for the workers of the by then defunct wood mill. Now they were just houses to rent from a nice fellow named Bob. Hmm, I wonder if Bob made it? The houses were almost identical to each other. They were two story white houses with small porches and one car garages next to them. They lined three roads that formed a loop near the edge of a pond. Little white houses, that stood all in a row. There were common areas in the village that the houses shared. A common area was any area of grass that wasn’t attached to a particular house. The small kid’s park to the left of our house was one such common area, and so was an area three hundred feet long by about one hundred and fifty feet wide, standing across from us that the mailboxes were on the edge of. It was in the common area behind the mailboxes was where I got my first glimpse of the walking dead, otherwise known as a zombie.
My eyes were drawn to a jerking motion, or rather, a person making jerking motions out on the common area. I got up to look out the living room window and at first I was like what the hell is that? In the time it took me to ask myself that, I came to the false realization that it was Halloween and I was looking at what had to be the best costume I had ever seen. I mean this costume looked insanely real. In an instant I was both in awe at the realness of the costume and jealous that someone had created a better zombie than I ever had.
“Holy shit…” I muttered to no one, “That’s an awesome costume.”
The Halloween reveler ambled across the grassy common area with a sort of sideways step. Half dragging, half stepping his way along as his head lolled back and forth like it was on some sort of weird swivel. I remember thinking to myself that this guy was really taking Halloween to the next level. I mean here was this guy, an obvious adult, and he was wandering around our village like a zombie.
For a fleeting whimsical moment I thought to myself, “Wow I knew the end of the world would be zombies.” Chuckling at the “funny” I had just made, I continued to watch as the costumed man made his way slowly towards the house across from our own. Just when I was getting bored at this obviously over the top impersonation of a zombie that I figured was meant to scare the two little girls in the house across from us, my attention was drawn another adult who was also dressed as a zombie. Twenty yards or so behind the first one, a woman dressed as a zombie shuffled into view. Now my interest was really piqued, one was a curious enough sight. The sight of two of them was downright strange.
“Girls!” I hollered down at the floor, to the man fort. “Come up here quick!”
“We’re busy” Courtney called back.
“No, you got to see this shit. Something weird is going on.”
“You better not be trying to scare us.” Courtney announced as she opened the door to the man fort.
The girls came into the living room. Jessica followed Courtney and walked over to where I was standing. I pointed out the window indicating that I wanted them to look.
“What the…..”Jessica asked to no one in particular.
‘See I told you it was weird.”
“Well it is Halloween Dad.” Courtney found the need to remind me. She was always pointing out the obvious.
“Thank you captain obvious” Shane, Courtney’s boyfriend said as he came into the living room.
“Stick it Shane” Courtney shot her playful response back at him.
“Nice Courtney, nice” Shane scolded her in a kidding manner.
“Shut up both of you. Look at this shit.” I was starting to get a bad feeling in my gut for no apparent reason as I watched the first zombie reach my neighbors porch.
Something was nagging me… there was something out of place. Besides the fact that at two o’clock in the afternoon it was too early for trick or treat, there was something else wrong I couldn’t put my finger on. The man struggled up the stairs to the neighbor’s porch, almost as if he was having a hard time making the short climb. By now the female zombie had reached the road in front of their house, and ignoring the man on the porch, she aimlessly shuffled down the road, her head lolling about. She had an empty stare in her red eyes.
Wow awesome makeup.
I was just about to leave the window and go outside to praise them on their costumes when I heard the first moan. The woman moaned a low, slow, and lonely moan like none I had ever heard. Not even in the movies. This hollow moan chilled me to the core and I could see by the looks on my daughter’s faces, that they felt something was wrong as well. Courtney inched a little closer to Shane and Jessica inched a little closer to me. My daughters were eleven months apart and at the age of twenty one, Courtney was the older of the two. Both of them had long dark hair like their mother, and if you put the three of them together and it was obvious that they were related. All three were on the tall side with my wife being the tallest one of them at six feet. Just then though, with the look of fear in their eyes, the girls looked a lot younger. They reminded me of the little girls that played in the yard and bounced on my knee.
About the time the female moaned for a second time, the male began to hit my neighbor’s door as if he was attempting to gain access to the house. For an instant I thought about heading out to chase them away as they were starting to unnerve me, but as I contemplated that line of action, my neighbor Larry opened up his door. I could hear him laugh and start to say,
“What a great cost…” his sentence trailed as he went from talking to yelling. “What the f…” the rest of his sentence was choked off.
The woman on the road turned her attention to Larry’s house and she turned around and sped heading in the direction of the commotion. If you could call what she did speeding it was faster than her original speed but not really fast and it was awkward movement at that. Loud screaming from Larry’s daughters and wife came from within the house. I realized this was wrong… very, very, wrong.
I ran out of the living room, up the stairs and into my bedroom. In an instant I found what I had gone up for, my Saturday night special that I kept in my nightstand drawer on my side of the bed. More reacting than thinking, I ran back down the stairs and out the front door, bolting for my neighbors place. It was obvious to me that he was in trouble and I was determined to help.
The front door to Larry’s was open and I could see the feet of a prone body sticking out just over the door jam. As I neared their porch it looked like the two people who had pretended to be zombies were….
They couldn’t be….
They were eating Larry!
Dumbfounded, I stopped in my tracks about five feet from the front door, just off of their porch. Larry’s wife and kids were screaming from the living room. I watched as Larry’s wife Amy grabbed a lamp, and started beating the man, who was eating her husband’s throat, across the back. My mind went to all the Zombie movies I had ever watched searching for what to do.
The head…. that was the key.
“Hey! ....Assholes!” I yelled, trying to get their attention.
It worked because they looked up at me and started to rise. The lamp had broken, and now Amy had taken to beating the male zombie with her fists as she yelled hysterically. I yelled for her to stop.
Too late, the zombie turned his attention from me and onto Amy who was beating him. He grabbed one of her swinging arms in a vise like grip and chomped. He bit her arm with enough force to tear her flesh. She screamed and tried to pull away. The female kept her gaze on me, never taking those red eyes off of me as she got up and came at me.
I fired my .38 right between her eyes and she dropped like a sack of potatoes.
The movies were right!!