Last week, I posted parts 1-3 of a Chuck Wendig’s collaborative flash fiction zombie piece called “A Real Live Corpse.” Ken Crump had written part 1, Mandy Webster had written part 2, and I added part 3. Kirsten Bruce took up the challenge with part 4 and posted it to her tumblr. This is a re-blog of her post with all 4 parts so far – one more part to go. Can’t wait to see where it ends up!
I am continuing “A Real Live Corpse” started by Ken Crump with additions by Mandy Webster and Joanna Horrocks. The 200 piece parts are separated by ***
A Real Live Corpse
Karen had never seen a corpse before. Not a real live corpse. The thought made her giggle nervously.
A real “live” corpse? She snickered.
At first she didn’t know it was a corpse. She saw a man slumped against the wall by the door to the bar when she stepped out for a smoke. She glanced disgustedly at him and sat in the Throne to light up. Nathan had put an old spindle chair by the door so the staff could sit to enjoy a smoke. He’d sprayed it gold and proclaimed it a Throne, because smoking in public had become such a royal pain in the ass.
After a few minutes, she threw a pebble at the man slumped by the door. “Hey! You can’t sleep there, asshole,” she shouted. But no response. So Karen flicked her half-finished cigarette into the street and stormed over to stand in front of him.
“This ain’t no outdoor drunk tank,” she snarled. “Get off your ass and get on the road!”
Then she kicked him hard. And that’s when she thought he might be a corpse. She’d kicked more than a few drunks in her time, and none of them felt like this guy.
“Shit,” she said. Her foot registered the man’s condition seconds before her brain did. She jumped back, falling over the Throne and tumbling onto her ass. “Shit, shit, shit.”
Karen’s hands shook. She fumbled for her smokes in her vest pocket and pulled one out. She could hardly get the cigarette to her mouth. So much for sneaking out early, dammit. She struggled with her lighter, but finally the end of the cigarette flared. She inhaled, then blew out. She clutched the lit cigarette between her lips and pulled herself up on the Throne.
Maybe the man wasn’t really dead, just out cold. Karen inched toward him and touched the toe of her boot to his side again. He fell sideways, slipping down the wall at an awkward angle. His body was otherwise stiff and unmoving. How long had he been out here?
Karen considered her options. There was no helping this guy now. If she called for help, she’d be here all night talking to the cops. Then she’d never make it on time. Dane would be pissed. When he told her to be somewhere, she’d better be there when he said. He didn’t much care for her excuses, dead man or no…
“Jeez, don’t smoke. Doncha know those things’ll kill ya deader than a crack on the head with a baseball bat?”
Until that moment, Karen hadn’t known how high she could jump. She also hadn’t known it was possible for a real live corpse to be…well, you know. Alive.
She fell back on her ass again and scuttled backwards like a crab, trying to get as far away as she could from the corpse – yep, that’s what it was, all right, the whole back of its head bashed in like a boiled egg – as it righted itself and leaned back against the wall at a jaunty angle, kind of the way Dane did when he was smoking a joint.
The dead man reached around to the back of his head, wincing as he felt the jagged edges of his broken head. He dipped his finger into the cavity and came up with a finger full of grey goo. He looked at it, then held it out menacingly toward Karen, who was watching from across the alley, frozen in fear.
The dead man laughed, then held his finger up to his mouth, stuck out his tongue, and took a quick taste. He spit it out again.
“Gaah. That’s awful.”
The real live corpse looked at Karen with its real dead eyes.
“Got a beer?”
Karen was coming unglued. Her old man, Dane, was expecting her within the hour. She still needed to close up the bar and now she’d just kicked a surly dead guy that had chastised her for smoking, ate a finger full of his own gray matter and then casually asked her for a beer. Was this what they referred to as a flashback? she thought. She had only done LSD once in her 20’s but she could not come up with any other explanation for what was happening.
“A beer?” Karen asked the undead guy.
“Yeah, you’re the bar keep, right?”
“Then yes, a beer. A beer would be swell.”
“You got a name, brain eater?” Karen asked the guy.
“I did, it was Dennis. Shit’s changed now, sugar. Still waiting on that beer.”
“Ok, zombie formerly known as Dennis, wait here…” Karen felt stupid for the request but he was talking to her and she could not chance him actually coming in after her…
As she re-entered the bar, Karen was ambushed by a group of patrons yelling “Surprise!” and throwing confetti at her. As she cleared the confetti and paper streamers from her hair and face, she realized that the celebrating crowd all had mortal wounds, just like her new pal Not-Dennis. The next thing she remembered was hitting the floor.
Zombie Bar, Mugla, Turkey, courtesy of TripAdvisor