Thursday, February 20, 2014

There are no Zombies

I've never attempted this genre before, although I'm an avid reader. So, when the writing group I belong to set the exercise of 'spooky', I though I'd give it a decent bash.  It's a short story. Very very short. But as they say, baby steps. I do hope you like it.


“But Amma, it’s true! Raj Mamoo said so.” Insisted Arnav. Like that should end all arguments to the contrary.
“Raj mamu was pulling your leg, Arnav. Zombies will NOT be out roaming the streets today because it happens to be a full moon.” Insisted amma as she stirred her subzee.  There was a wonderful aroma coming from the kadhai, and normally Arnav would have been curious enough to peer into the kadhai to find out what he’d be having for dinner, but this was far more important. It wasn’t just any full moon, it was Friday the 13th. Which meant come night time it was going to be Zombie central. And Amma and Appa just wouldn’t believe him. Well, what did they know? He’d seen it happen in that ‘thriller´ video that mamu had shown him. And it was best to be prepared.
Arnav grabbed the phone on his was up and dialled a number as he shut the door of his room. “Hello? Mamu? How do we kill Zombies?”  Arnav listened intently to the instructions being given.
“Oh. So salt? Any salt? You throw it at them?” … “But how can you get them to eat it?” “Right, so you’ll call me as soon as you figure it out? Pucca? Okay bye.” So mamu hadn’t quite gotten that bit sorted yet. Maybe he should think about it too.  What if you put a fake body and put some salt on it and the zombies eat it thinking its real? That could work. But where would you get a fake body? And would they fall for it? Were zombies also stupid?
He was still mulling over this problem when amma called him for dinner. He wasn’t particularly hungry, but if he didn’t head down now, he’d have another 30 lines added to his punishment. That would take his tally up to 50 this week. Not something he wanted to spend his weekend doing.
“Anu, there’s no salt in this subzee” complained appa. Appa was busy on his iPad, and only occasionally glanced up as if to reassure himself that he was still on planet earth. “Nonsense, Sree. You’re permanently wanting more salt in everything. You really should cut down on it. Bad for your heart” 
“This lady will suck the flavour out of everything!” mumbled dad as he reached for the shaker and liberally doused his subzee with salt. Mum glared at dad and then looked at Arnav. “Babu, amma has to go out tonight for some work. Will you be a good boy and go to bed on your own?”
“No, Amma, don’t go! It’s not safe…! “ says Arnav, alarmed. “They will get you too.”
“Who?” Asks appa, setting down the iPad “who is brave enough to face this woman? Especially when she’s in a bad mood?” jokes appa, with a wink.  Why weren’t they taking him seriously? This was so not good.
“Raj has filled his head with some Zombie nonsense. Now he can’t stop thinking about it. There are no such things, Babu” Amma says, snorting.  “Zombies, Arnav?”asks Appa “what do they look like? And why today?”
“They’re dead people, appa, only, they don’t know it, you see. And they eat people, see?” says Arnav, abandoning his roti. He had to make at least one of them see reason.  “So why just today, Arnav? What do they do the rest of the days, and er, nights?”
Arnav thought about it. He started chewing on the roti and subzee again. Dad was right, there really was very little salt in the subzee.  “Maybe it’s something about the combination of Friday, 13th, and full moon. Maybe you need something powerful like that to make them come alive?” “And maybe they can’t help themselves? They’re hungry after not eating for so long?”
“Can we please stop taking about all this Zombie nonsense now? I’ve had enough of this. Babu, remember, straight up to bed. Right, Appa?”
“Hm.” Says appa and whispers “Don’t worry. We’ll have a little ice-cream before you brush, after amma leaves.” Arnav was now torn between his love for ice-cream and his desire to keep amma off the streets. Amma wasn’t about to listen to him. Might as well have the ice-cream. “But I’m not going to bed until amma returns” he thought to himself.
Four hours later, Arnav was snoring softly with the torch resting on his chest, when something woke him up. He wasn’t sure what the noise was, but he heard a shuffling downstairs. Maybe Amma was home! He crept downstairs and saw a shadowy figure outside the door. Did zombies come in uninvited? Arnav wasn’t sure if it was zombies or vampires that needed an invitation. But he wasn’t taking any chances. “If you’re anyone apart from Amma, you’re not invited” he whispered.  The front door was now being opened, slowly, silently. Arnav's heart was now thudding in his chest. He wanted to run upstairs, but was scared that he might alert the zombie/ intruder to his presence. Oh he could scarcely breathe now... the figures was now inside. He wanted to run upstairs to appa, but it was too late now. The figure continued advancing towards the stairs. The moonlight from the window suddenly threw the figure’s face in sharp relief.
It was Amma! Thank God! “Amma!” cried Arnav as he raced down the stairs. He almost stumbled in his haste to get to her, and hugged her legs tight. Amma’s pallu fell over him like a protective blanket and he felt safe again.
“Did you have a good time, Amma? Who did you meet? Appa went to bed looong ago…” said Arnav as he continued hugging her. “What are you doing, amma, that tickles!” said Arnav as his mum as she nuzzled his neck. “And you’re so cold. It must be freezing outside! Amma, really, stop! Amma, AMMA, AMMA, stop, it’s hurting me, STOP amma, WHY ARE YOU BITING ME, AMMA? NO, AMMA, nooo” screamed Arnav, until he was too weak to scream anymore.  The last thing he remembered was amma’s glazed look and sharp fangs dripping with blood. His blood. Raj mamu was wrong after all, he thought. There are no Zombies out there. It was Vampires.

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