Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Beginning 437

The Wileys birthed a zombie last week and tried to hide it. I'd known about the baby, of course. I could smell its nature during Elizabeth's rather skittish pregnancy-- when the Wileys had obviously suspected but hadn't had the amniocentesis done. A history of undead in the family was my guess, and either shame or hope kept them playing ostrich. I probably should have told them before the birth; but I kept my mouth shut, having a few things to hide myself.

It was Arthur Tanner who told me about the intervention yesterday. I'd been at work and hadn't heard about the social workers and cops descending on the neighborhood. Arthur is my neighbor, second house down across the road, and he likes to stop and chat in the mornings when he's out walking his dog and I'm outside, drinking coffee and trying to feel human. A bit of an ambulance chaser, our Arthur. Likes tragedy. Me, I try to keep off such topics and for good reason. But there's no stopping Arthur when there's juicy gossip-- juicy being the key word.

"You should have seen it, Meggie," he says to me as I sip my coffee. His pomeranian, Fitzi, busies himself licking his crotch. "Lizzie's screaming and crying, all the while that thing is snapping at the EMTs like a rabid dog. Took three guys to get it in the cage. Can you imagine what would have happened if the cops hadn't twigged before it sprouted fangs?"

"Mmmm," I say. "Would've been messy."

"They called for backup, you know. Just in case."

"Just in case?"

"In case the twigging didn't take."

"Well, they've got twigging down to a science. Birthing zombies ain't what it used to be. It's mostly clean now."

"You call this clean?" Arthur scoops something from his pocket and puts it under my nose.

"What the . . . ?"

"Zombie nature. Scooped me up a bunch so Fitzi would stop licking his crotch. Rubbed it all over his doggie dick. Hell, can't find nothing that'll work."

Arthur looks over at Fitzi licking away. "You need weredingo nature," he says. "You know anything about twigging weredingo birthlings?"

Opening: Writtenwyrdd.....Continuation: Church Lady


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Fitzi was getting serious in the crotch area. Arthur turned his head to one side so I couldn't see his face. 'It was the Grandma, you know,' he mumbled over his shoulder.

'Hm. Grandma what?'

'Cross-bred with a zombie.' Arthur's shoulders were twitching now, but he kept talking. 'One kid and boom, fangs out, end of Granddad. Harder, Fitzi, harder. And Grandma. EMTs got her.' His shoulders are jerking; he's spitting the words out. 'Don't stop. Those cross-breed things. Never work out.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.' His shoulder slump. Fitzi drops to the ground, shakes herself, then extends her giraffe neck over the Bateman's fence to steal some cat food from the dish by the back door. Arthur leans against the wall, breathing deeply, with a satisfied look on his face.

Apparently some cross-breed things do work out.


Tanner looked at me like I was stealing his thunder. "I suppose you would know, sitting in your house all day, huh?"

"First, the creature would have bit the doctor's hand off or latched onto the mother's ankle. Either case, blood would have been flying like water off a wet dog. Newborn, untrained zombie kids are starving when they're born, all that time being fed food that's not nutritious to them. A normal kid wouldn't have survived the ideal. When the zombie brat launches into the world, it's like the whole human race is a big old boob, just waiting to be nursed."

"How the _hell_ would you know that, Meggie?"

The muscles in my neck began to knot up and I knew I was in trouble. "Who saw you come over here, Tanner?"

"No one, I guess."

I could feel my brain shriveling. Training and drugs can only control the urges so much. Zombileptics will have their episodes. I moved over to Tanner's chair on staggering knees and lifted him up by his neck and took a healthy morsel out of his throat. That quiets them down quickly after the initial shock. Then...brains!

--Bill H.

"Messy ain't the half of it. Can you imagine what would've happened when it got to school? Them zombies can't keep to the books like the rest of us do Always making trouble for everyone. Better off doing manual labor, is what I always say."


"Well, we gots to move along. Tonight's a full moon, and you know what that does to us."

I nodded. It's good to be among your own kind.


So you see? All hell was breaking loose and and I couldn't possibly have come into work yesterday and anyway Maureen said she'd cover my shift and, no really, a zombie, it was in the papers and everything and...

Okay. I got pissed, had a hangover and couldn't be arsed to get out of bed. Happy?


But what I was thinking was, 'Zombies don't have fangs, especially not baby zombies.'

I thought about it all day. Vampires, were-beasts, snake folk, they all have fangs. Did I really want to live near people like that? No!

Decided, I collected my gas can from the garage and strolled the moonlit street to the Wileys' house, four doors down. Zombies are one thing. Who doesn't have at least one dead relative? Even most of my ancestors are dead. But vampires? I mean, enough is enough. Hadn't I forgiven them for voting for John Kerry? Did I say anything when they sent a 'Merry Christmas" card instead of 'Happy Holidays'? Hell, they were smokers for God's sake and did it right out in the open.

As I lit my Bic lighter, I shook my head. Fangs indeed.


pacatrue said...

I like this one, wyrdd. Can we assume it's a short story?

PJD said...

McKoala's continuation illustrates the need to clean up the pronouns a little bit in the crotch area.

I thought definition of a zombie was a dead person reanimated? If this is true, then birthing a zombie is a non sequitur. But I'm willing to give you some leeway here because the image of an infant zombie being born is so compelling.

WW, I thought this was well done as all your stuff has been. I think you've done a good job of introducing us to this strange place without dumping jargon on us or leaving us confused. I love that social workers routinely engage in zombie birth interventions in this world. Sounds like a fun story.

Evil Editor said...

I like it. I think I might remove

His pomeranian, Fitzi, busies himself licking his crotch.

from it's current position to avoid any possiblity that readers will confuse "that thing" in the next sentence with the Pom.

Besides, I can't imagine the Pomeranian paying so little attention to a creature that's snapping like a rabid dog.

Dave Fragments said...

I laughed my butt off reading this the first time. It's really creepy, though. And a little awful! This only works if it's YA of the flaky fantasy type.
It's hard on the credulity when a newborn is described as "snapping at the EMTs like a rabid dog" and sprouting fangs.

There ain't goin' ta be no unsuspectin' reader openin' and buyin' dis here book!

Does it work as an opening? Yes in a ghoulish sort of way. Yes, in a comic tone. EE's right about the dog line. It's such a distraction
(ask me why?)
(OK, why does it not work, Dave?)
Why, you ask? Because it's too normal.

There's really two openings here - the first paragraph and paragraphs #2 and #3 together. Either would do to hold the would be reader. SO I'm thinking that you want to pick one or the other. If you use all three, tighten up the wording by cutting out a few words. It is a little flabby.
one might even say that its got butt wordage, or cellulite (possibly). It needs a diet ...

Word verification: CDCRN

writtenwyrdd said...

It's a short story in progress. I knew the minions would have fun with that unfortunately vague crotch reference.

Stacia said...

Written, I LOVE this!!!

talpianna said...

The giving-birth-to-a-zombie thing bugged me, too, since AFAIK zombies are ALWAYS reanimated corpses. I know of one excellent fantasy in which a baby was born without a soul--could you maybe work on some variation of that? Only do it with genetics?

writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks for the kind comments, folks.
I know that movies generally have the zombies being dead/alive, but I was thinking about what would enable me to have a different protagonist form the vampire or werecritter. So I preferred it to be a bit more civilized, with use of cutlery and napkins for dining.

So the zombie nature only pops out when they don't get human flesh and/or drugs. Thus, without being fed properly, the baby was going to get hungry very rapidly.

Robin S. said...

Hi WW and CL - what a team!

I kind of like the Pomeranian bit, to be honest. Maybe a tad of normal in a nuts world works there.

This is funny - I'm just not sure where you take it, or where you publish it. Make a good opening scene, physically.

Dave Fragments said...

The opening begs the questions:
(oh my!)
What kind of woman marries a zombie?
Who knew zombies have sex drives?
Was this a planned birth or an accident?
If it was an accident, what kind of zombie forgets a condom because I can't imagine a zombie with rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Good gosh wyrd, this is great.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a scene in the remake of Dawn of the Dead where the pregnant woman's unborn child was already a zombie inside her?

So it's not without precedent.

Logically speaking, one doesn't need to be born to die and, consequently, one doesn't need to be born to, uh, un-die.

Just thought this was in need of some academic discourse.

Brenda said...

How fun is this? I love it!

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm glad this one's here now. I loved reading it when it was waiting for continuations.

I say go for the zombie birth. What the hell does anyone really know about zombies except what's been written in fiction. Take the idea, twist it and have fun.

I love it!

Chris Eldin said...

I loved this Writtenwrdd! I would definitely read on.

Anonymous said...

Besides, I can't imagine the Pomeranian paying so little attention to a creature that's snapping like a rabid dog.

Oh... I though the dog was bollock-licking while Arthur was telling Meggie the story; not while the Zombaby is being removed...

I could smell its nature during Elizabeth's rather skittish pregnancy-- when the Wileys had obviously suspected but hadn't had the amniocentesis done.

I'm faltering over this sentence but not completely sure why. I think maybe "when" (specific moment in time) is conflicting with "during" (period of time)...

This is a fun read and I like the originality of it. I like the contrast of normal life and surreal life. I would certainly read more.

Bernita said...

Blogger ate my comment.
I really like this.

Giving birth to a zombie is perfectly feasible, think reanimated in the womb of an otherwise stillbirth.

Anonymous said...

This is a catchy beginning. Even though it's not my genre in the slightest, I feel morbidly curious about the baby zombie.

I felt the paragraph which starts "Arthur Tanner told me about the intervention..." could have been condensed, as my attention started to wander at this point.

I was, however, snapped awake by the dog licking Arthur's crotch. However, from the comments here, I am led to understand that the dog is licking its own crotch. Yes? Is it therefore necessary to mention it at all? Dogs behave in this manner, we all know, but for an author to make pains to point it out suggests there is something meaningful about it... which I guess is why I assumed the dog was licking Arthur's crotch, because a dog licking a crotch is only noteworthy if it's licking a crotch other than its own or that of another dog.

Aside from that, you do well in this passage in implying a wider world and a tone where strange phenomena are known to exist and yet association with such phenomena is considered shameful and something to hide. It would intrigue a non-genre person such as myself to read on a bit further.

McKoala said...

Ewww, Church Lady! First continuation I write in forever and you come up with one that's even more win.

I liked this, other than the crotch confusion which I found disturbing.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Hey, WW - sounds like a fun story! And well written. Vampires have been reinvented like a thousand times, so why not zombies?!

For the nits:

I'm with Iago on "when" -- nix it and the sentence reads fine. Except for "skittish." I just didn't like that word in context, but I'm willing to admit it may be a personal thing.

Wasn't fond of the dog-licking-crotch visual. I think maybe having Arthur, rather than the dog, doing something normal while talking about the intervention would make the point more effectively. I think the reader will concentrate on the crotch reference and not really get the supernatural-in-the-natural effect you're going for.

The change in tense was jarring for me, but if there's a reason for it beyond this 150-word snippet, then I'm sure it'll play out fine. I trust your style.

Well done!

jjhalloween: good one! And with a name like that how could you not be a continuator on this one? (Is that really Goblin in disguise?)

writtenwyrdd said...

I appreciate all the comments on this one. I rather like the oddness of it, and it's supposed to be in present tense -- a bit of a challenge for me there. And I guess I'll either remove or shift the dog reference. Seeing as I'd already mentioned the dog walking, I was trying to include the dog, and got this particular visual, then worded it badly...

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention the continuations are hilarious. I think Bill H's is my fav, but they're all funny.

Whirlochre said...

There's no easy way to tease zombies into respectable society without all that arms-poking-from-graves business and the inevitable flesh-rending "oh no, not the family pet" scene - but this submission mixes covert undead goings-on with suburban inanity to the point where I could gladly withold my urge to witness ferocious tearings of flesh till at least page 168.

Rider: by page 169, there'd better be beaucoup de human goulash.

talpianna said...

While I was trying to be all scientific about zombies, I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed the sample. Not sure if I'd read on; I tend to be put off by the promise of gore, but the promise of satire is very attractive. I'm a big Esther Friesner fan, and I can imagine her writing this.

Word Verification: vngcv
Vampire: not good (in) curriculum vitae