Jezri's Nightmare Books

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Do-Over

Continued from Tartarus, Zombies, and Ne'er-Do-Wells
This is chapter 8 in my MG/YA Zombie series, You can read it from the beginning in Death and Zombies.




“Careless, worthless, good for nothing ...” Medusa paused, trying to think of another word to describe what she thought of her son losing his cloak and scythe.
“Ne’er-do-well,” Steve suggested.
“Ne’er-do-well,” Medusa finished. “I can’t believe you. What does this make, three times? What is Khronos going to say? You know he hates zombies.”
“Khronos isn’t going to say anything, because he isn’t going to know about it. I’ve got a plan.”
“He stole his watch thingy,” Jason said.
Medusa grinned at the plump boy and set a plate of cookies in front of him. “Such a sweet boy. Too bad you’re going to grow up into a man.” Then she turned to her son and shook her head. “So you’ve turned into a thief as well. Where did I go wrong?”
“Probably when you turned my father into stone. You deprived me of a good, male role model.”
“You know, Khronos put you on probation after the last zombie outbreak. Giltine is just itching to get her job back.”
“Mom, could you try having a little faith in me, just once?” Death pleaded.
“This is really kind of sad,” Daniel whispered to Darlene. “How old do you think he is?”
“I am 717 years old, give or take a century or two, and I can hear you.”
“Don’t you think you should get your own place?” Daniel asked. “It’s not very becoming for the Grim Reaper to be living in his mom’s basement.”
“I pay rent. And besides,” Death said, turning toward the previously zombified teen, “perhaps you should worry more about yourself and less about me. After all, I’m not the one who tried to make a snack out of the girl I like.”
“Darlene looked at Daniel, who was desperately trying to avoid eye contact. “You like me?” Darlene asked.
“Dude,” Steve laughed, “she likes you too. Trust me, she talks in her sleep.”
Now Darlene was trying to avoid eye contact. Death laughed. “Yeah, I’m the pathetic one. Now, if I could get my robe and scythe back … Halloween is almost over and there will be no do overs if I don’t have it fixed by then.”
“Here.” Steve set his backpack on the table and opened it up. He pulled out the robe and scythe. “I’m sorry. It would have made a great Halloween costume though.”
“So what do we do now?” Darlene asked.
“Enjoy the ride.”Death said.
“Will we remember what happened today?” Steve asked.
Death shrugged. “I don’t know. Probably not.”
Daniel grabbed hold of Darlene and kissed her. If they were going to forget this anyway …
Death opened the pocket watch and began to turn the hands, rewinding time.

Darlene was annoyed. Something was tickling her feet. She kicked her foot and rolled over, clutching her pillow. Darlene sighed, trying to get back into her dream. Daniel had been kissing her. She felt the tickle on her foot again. “Stop it,” she mumbled, tossing and kicking her foot again. This time something grabbed her foot and yanked. “What the …” Darlene opened up her eyes and screamed. Standing over her was a dark figure wearing a skull mask. She threw her pillow at it before she realized what was happening.
“STEVEN! GET OUT OF MY ROOM!”
Steve pulled off his mask. “Come on Darlene, we’re going to be late. You can dream about kissing Daniel Griffen later.
“I don’t dream about kissing Daniel.”
 Steve picked up Darlene’s pillow and buried his face into it, “Oh, Daniel, kiss me again.”
“You better watch it, or I’ll tell Sheila Young that you have a crush on her.”
“Eww, I do not.”
“But she’ll think you do …” Darlene shut the bathroom door, a satisfied smile on her face. She looked in the mirror and frowned.
“Steve,” she called through the door. “Do you feel like we’ve done this before?”
Steve thought about it a second. “Yeah, kind of. Probably just deja vu.”
“Probably.”
 “Who do you think is going to win best costume? It was Johnny Farmer last year. He went as a space pirate, but his parents were rich and put a lot of money into his costume. He had special effects and everything. I’m glad they moved. Now I just have regular kids to compete against. Death is a pretty good costume, doncha think so Darlene?”
“It’s ok,” Darlene said, coming out of the bathroom. Better than zombies. So overdone.”
“Death is the perfect costume for Halloween. I just wish I had more than this dollar mask mom bought me at the dollar store. I saw the perfect costume the other day. If I had that, I’d be sure to win the costume contest.”
“Mom and dad are doing the best they can. Be grateful for what you’ve got.”
The two headed into the kitchen to grab their things and leave. There was a bag on the table.
“What’s this?” Darlene asked. “It has your name on it.”
Steve opened the bag. Inside was a cloak and scythe.
“That’s not real is it?” Darlene asked, eyeballing the scythe.
“I don’t know. There’s a note.

Steve,
You can borrow this for the Halloween contest. I want it back after.  Meet me at the tree.

                                                                   Grim


          “The tree?” Darlene asked. She and Steve looked at each other, and then Darlene remembered her dream.
“The tree,” Steve said. They both laughed as they remembered their adventure. Then the two headed out the door, ready for whatever this Halloween would bring. Except zombies. They didn't want zombies.
         And zombies is exactly what they didn't get.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Death Wears Boxer Shorts



 Continued from Finders Keepers.

This is chapter 6 in my MG/YA Zombie series, You can read it from the beginning in Death and Zombies.


“Here,” Hal said, opening a door at the back of the community room. It was a broom closet. Sarah Quincy guided her husband inside, then shut the door. “He should be ok in there,” she said. “Oh, hello Jason. Are your mom and dad here?”
“Nope. Zombies.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Well you’re welcome to stay with us until all this gets sorted out. It will get sorted out, right? Someone will figure out what is going on.”
Steve and Darlene looked at each other uncomfortably. “Mom, what happened with dad?” Darlene asked, rather than tell her mother the grim truth.
“He was like this when I found him,” Sarah sobbed.  “Maybe if I’d gotten to him sooner … you know your dad, he’s a dreamer, not a fighter. Stupid Jeanette though, always getting in my way, and when I got to your dad’s office, the only thing I could find of him was his phone. It was, well, stuck in his boss’s mouth.”
“So where was he?” Darlene asked.
“I figured he went to check on you two, and I was right. He was home, fighting with Bruce Dixon over what remained of Petunia. Poor cat. She was mean, but she didn’t deserve that.  Anyway, I couldn’t, you know … Bruce Dixon, yeah, he was a bully and Cameron and his mom, if they survive this, deserve better ... but your dad … besides, there’s got to be a cure for this zombie stuff. Right?”
“Well,” Steve started to say, only to be interrupted by Darlene’s elbow in his side.
“Yeah, sure,” Darlene said, giving her brother a pointed look.
 “Your son says Death can fix this.” Hal said. “We just have to find him.”
“Death?” Sarah asked.
“The Grim Reaper,” Hal said. “Claims he’s in town and not doing his job, which is why we have zombies.”
“He can’t do his job,” Steve said. “I stole his robe and scythe for my Halloween costume.”
“Steve, you know better than to take things that don’t belong to you,” his mother scolded.
“Well he left them lying around. If I didn’t take them, someone else would have.”
“Then this would be someone else’s problem, but since you did, it’s yours. Return Death’s things so he can set all this right. Your dad isn’t suited for the zombie life. He’s a vegetarian you know. Zombies don’t eat vegetables.”
“I can’t return them, I don’t know where he is.”
“The best place to start is where you found them in the first place.”
“The lake,” Steve said. “But what if there are zombies?”
“Steve, your dad is a zombie and will continue to be so unless you return Mr. Death’s things! Do you want your dad to stay a zombie? DO YOU?”
Steve wanted to explain to his mom that there were no do-overs in the Z.A., but he also didn’t want to incur her wrath. When she got into these moods, there was no arguing with her.  He also didn’t want his dad to be a zombie. He was a pretty cool dad, unlike Cameron’s dad. He never yelled at them and would play board games, and laugh with them over silly TV shows. Maybe if he found Death, he could talk him into one tiny do-over.
“Come on,” Darlene said, “we can get to the lake through the camp grounds. Maybe if we hurry, there won’t be any zombies there.
“Wow, your mom is upset,” Jason said. The three kids were headed to the lake, armed with a variety of head bashing weapons. Steve was still in disbelief that his mother had actually sent him out there. His argument that he was only 9 and not old enough to battle zombies, was met with her response that if he was old enough to steal from a mythological being and start the zombie apocalypse, he was old enough to do what needed to be done to set it right.
“What are you going to say when we find Death?” Jason asked. “Sorry doesn’t seem to be appropriate.
“I don’t know. I’ve got to think about it a bit.”
“How did you know what he was wearing?” Darlene asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You asked Jason if the guy looking for you was wearing a robe. He said , ‘No, boxer shorts,’ and then you said it was Death looking for you. You have his robe, so how did you know he was wearing boxer shorts … with hearts on them. That’s kind of a specific thing to know.”
“Just a lucky guess.”
“There’s something you aren’t telling us.”
“Okay, okay, I saw him. He was at the lake, fishing. He was waded into the water, which is probably why he’d taken the robe off. Then some grumpy old dude showed up, they got into an argument and then, whoosh, they were gone.”
“Whoosh, they were gone?” Darlene asked.
“Yeah, but he’d left the robe and scythe. I thought he’d come back for them, so I waited … he’s Death, man, I wanted to talk to him, but he never came back. So I thought I’d keep them safe for him. I left a note, but then a few days went by and he never came … I figured he had a backup outfit and really, it would have made a super cool Halloween costume.”
“Yeah, what’s Halloween without a few zombies,” Darlene said.
“Here we are,” Jason said. The three came to a stop at the edge of the lake. “What do we do now?”
“Maybe if we wait, he’ll show up,” Steve said.
“Well he better show up quick,” Darlene said. “Look.”
Steve looked where his sister was pointing. Zombies were approaching the other side of the lake. They saw the kids and began heading toward them. Some were taking the long way around, but others were diving head first into the lake in their attempt to get to them … and it appeared zombies could swim.
They turned to leave and discovered that zombies were coming at them from behind.
“Where did they all come from?” Darlene yelled.
“There’s too many,” Steve said.
“Over here!”
“Who said that?” Steve looked around. There was a hollow tree nearby with a hole in it. A bony hand reached out of the hole and motioned them over.
“What do you think?” Jason asked.
“I think it’s a trap,” Darlene said.
Steve thought about what his sister said. It could be a trap. The zombies continued to approach from both sides. There was no where to run. He made up his mind. “I think we are already trapped, and there’s nothing to lose.” He ran for the tree with Darlene, Jason, and the Zombies close behind.


Continued with Tartatus, Zombies and Ne'er-Do-Wells.

Tartarus, Zombies, and Ne'er-Do-Wells

Continued from Death Wears Boxer Shorts

This is chapter 7 in my MG/YA Zombie series, You can read it from the beginning in Death and Zombies.



‘This is insane,’ Steve thought as he headed for the tree. ‘Darlene is right, this is probably a trap. Smart zombie or something like that. Even if it’s not a trap, where are we going to go; it’s a hollow tree. We’ll be trapped. Wait, there’s not even enough room in there for all of us …’
His realization was too late though. He’d reached the tree. He tried to come to a halt, but Darlene, who was close behind him, ran into him and shoved him through the opening. He fell forward, expecting to feel dirt and bark against his skin. Instead he found himself falling down a deep hole. Above him, he heard Darlene and Jason yelling. He looked up to see that they were free falling with him.
‘I hope the zombies aren’t coming along too,’ he thought, and then he landed on something soft. He bounced a few times, before rolling off onto the ground.  Looking around, he realized he was in a bedroom and that it was a bed he had landed on. Before he could process anything else, his sister and then Jason, bounced on the bed before bouncing off and onto the floor. Then the zombies. Two of them. His bat was in his hand still, and Steve pulled back, ready to bash some zombie head, but Darlene yelled for him to stop.
“It’s Daniel,” she said.
“So? He’s a zombie.” Steven prepared to swing the bat. His sister would thank him for it later, crush or no crush on the guy. Zombies did not make good boyfriends.
“Steven, I said no!” Darlene put herself between the bat and Daniel.
“Hold up, hold up,” another voice said. “There will be no zombie bashing in my room. Blood is a too hard to get out.”
“Death?” Jason asked the … person? … in front of them.
“The one and only. And you are the ne’er-do-well that took my cloak.”
“And your scythe,” Jason said, “he took your scythe.”
“That too. So where are they? Hand them over.”
“What’s a ne’er-do-well?” Steve asked, eyeing the two zombies in the room. Daniel and the other one who resembled Josh Tieman, only shorter, were just standing there. Steven thought the second might be Josh’s brother.
“An idle or worth less person …  good for nothing louse.”
“That’s a little unfair …”
“A thief.”
“I left a note. You never came for them.”
“You never should have taken them.”
“Finders. Keepers.”
“HAND THEM OVER!”
“If he gives them to you, will you fix this?” Darlene asked, interrupting their argument. “Will you turn all the zombies back into humans?”
“It’s the Z.A.,” Steve said, “there are no do-overs.”
“I can totally turn everyone back to human,” Death said. “I can even do one better than that. I can start the day over, before this all started.”
“Whaaaa?” Steve and Jason both said.
“Sure, here, watch.” Death reached out and touched Daniel. He blinked, his eyes cleared from the hazy, glazed zombie look, his arm, which had been hanging limp by his side, straightened out and the wounds on his face healed. Daniel jumped back yelling something about zombies.
“It’s okay,” Darlene said, touching his arm. She blushed when he looked at her, and then let go.
“Where are we?” Daniel asked.
“What do you remember? Darlene asked.
“I was at home and my mom said she was hungry. Then she tried to eat my arm.”
“What about you?” Steve asked the boy who looked like Josh.
“My neighbor. She’s always been real nice, only today she wasn’t.” The kid looked at his fingers, counting them to see if they were all there.
“Wait a minute,” Daniel said, “we were chasing you, and then we fell down this hole …”
“Yeah, I didn’t get the opening closed in time, but really, you were cutting it kind of close there, kid.” Death shook his head at how close he had come to having several dozen zombies in his room.
“What’s this about you can reset the entire day,” Steve asked. “I didn’t think there were do-overs. I mean, dead is dead.”
“I’ve got this.” Death held up a pocket watch. It didn’t look very special. It didn’t even look like it worked. “It belongs to Khronos. He doesn’t know I have it.”
“So you stole it?” Steve asked.
“Borrowed. It’s either that, or I have to go and collect half your town and I don’t really like collecting zombies. They slobber, and the last time this happened, it took me three days to get all my fingers back, and I never did find all of my nose.”
“This has happened before?” Darlene asked. “How often do you lose your cloak?”
“I didn’t lose my cloak. Your ne’er-do-well brother stole it, along with my scythe. I can’t collect souls without my scythe”
“You could have come and got them,” Steve huffed. “I left you a note.”
“You didn’t tell me where you lived.”
“Oh”
“Yeah, I had to go around town asking people where you were. It doesn’t help when they tell me that you left and are living on the planet Zar now.” He glared at Jason when he said that. “I went to Zar. You weren’t there.”
“Zar’s real?” Jason asked. “Go figure.”
“Yeah. I try not to go there. That guy, Gah is a real weirdo. Now seriously, kid, give me back my stuff so I can clear up this zombie mess.”
“What’s this about zombies? And who are these people? Grim, you have some explaining to do.”
“Don’t look,” Death yelled, putting his hands in front of Steve’s eyes. “It’s my mom. She’ll turn you to stone.”
“I’ve got the snakes covered,” Medusa said. “Grim, why in Tartarus are there people in my basement?”
“Wait, your mother is Medusa?” Darlene asked. Next to her, Steve and Josh snickered.
“Dude,” Steve said, “you live in your mom’s basement.”

Continued with The Do-over