Techno Zombie throws a beach party
Here's a silly little stories for you to welcome the lovely sun in with.
Techno Zombie throws a beach party.
He often felt that it was something that wasn’t said enough, but the life of a techno-husk was a tough one. Once the Nanorabies plague got a hold of you, you found that almost all of your friends and family are no longer your friends or willing to see you and be there for you. In fact it seemed that once the infection had finished its annexation of your nervous system, very few people wanted to know you at all.
Sure he had made some acquaintances through his work with the other members of the horde, but having meaningful conversation with them was a difficult proposition. Whenever he went out on a limb and tried to strike up a conversation, all he got in response was a string of monosyllabic grunts and moans. If he was lucky. He thought it was almost as though he spoke another language to everyone; it’s like no one knew he was alive. The others tolerated him shambling along whenever they hit the town, but he thought it was like none of his fellow infectees had any clue what to do. Were they just all shy, he wondered on a regular basis.
To be honest, he wasn’t entirely sure if he was doing himself justice either. Whenever he thought he could break the cultural silence; he got all tongue tied and muddled. He had never been particularly good at making new friends. He wished his companions could try a bit harder though. He knew that his existence before infection had been somewhat interesting and that there were stories and anecdotes he could use to breach the silence, but he couldn’t remember quite what it was. Ever since he had been bitten by the strange rugged looked man with jet black eyes and luminous green flecks running under skin where the veins were; he had struggled to remember much of the... before times.
He tried to remain optimistic about things though, and view his exile from mainstream society as an opportunity to make new friends. He was getting to travel quite a bit too; albeit on foot. He did all the things the others in his horde did. He painstakingly rambled along somewhere towards the back of the group, shuffling along with the others (although he suspected that whoever was leading the group had no clear path laid out for them and no idea where to go). He noticed that the others all seemed to be on a mission to give a big friendly bear hug to all the non-infected that they came across, even try to give them a kiss and playfully nibble their necks; he supposed that this was just a normal part of the horde’s cultural exchange program and all entirely platonic in nature. So he joined in. He found it amusing just what peer pressure could make one do. He had little success making friends that way however; the non-infected seemed repulsed by him and ran away, often whilst crying. It was crushing for his self confidence.
One day the horde was passing through a beach side town. The letters on the town sign looked vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t quite process them. He concluded that it must be a foreign town that he didn’t know of. He was surprised that the horde had walked so far, especially given the sedate pace that they moved. He did sometimes want to hurry them all up and start jogging or even running, but none of the others ever seemed to want to do so too and he was too self-conscious to start it. Besides, his legs were far too tired to run in the first place. He always seemed so tired these days. He could only trust that those at the front of the pack knew what they were doing.
It looked to him like the town had recently hosted a party. There was debris in the streets, clouds of smoke billowed from impromptu celebratory fires and there were shops and home windows that had been boarded up. He imagined that they must have had a parade of some description. There was no one to be seen on the streets. He thought he saw the odd face at a higher window, but they were quickly gone when he went to bang on the building’s door and ask how they were. It must still be too early for everyone as they slept off the party.
He couldn’t tell if it was his heart soaring or if a conglomerate of nano-particles was clogging up his decaying cardiovascular system, but he felt a surge of something when is feet stumbled on to the sand of the beach. A trail of a hundred infected husks led out down the beach by the town’s pier. He tried his best to follow quickly but stumbled a few times and struggled to get back up. His fears of being alone and cut off from his crowd was allayed somewhat by the sight of a few other stragglers. Something had changed however; he was now the leader. He knew that this was his big chance. He had to take it and do something. He spotted a beach house in the opposite direction to the horde’s tracks. They were slowly moving away, yet were far enough away that any chance of catching them up was a hopeless task. He would have to get them to come to him somehow. He turned and started off towards the beach house; the other stragglers content to follow his lead.
The beach house seemed nice. A wooden hut on supports, with a few steps leading up to it and a collection of surf boards resting against the side. It was obviously open house too as some kind soul had left the door open. He climbed the stairs slowly and thoughtfully; not wanting to startle anyone who was inside. Pushing the door open, he was greeted with the sight of a cosy open plan lounge and kitchenette, with a few closed doors leading off to the rest of the house. He uttered a greeting but then realised that being in an apparently foreign place, his greeting would probably sound like a load of moaning gibberish to anyone inside.
Sure enough, there were people who responded to his arrival. Two young women appeared, both looking tired and wide eyed at him. They must be recovering from the town party, he thought. One of the women held what he recognised as a cricket bat in a shaking hand and yelled something at him and his fellow stragglers. He couldn’t tell what they were saying, but he wanted to assure them that he meant them no harm and just wanted to wait somewhere for a while whilst he tried to figure out how to attract the rest of the horde. He took a step forward. The women took a step back. His foot scuffed the floor and kicked something that had been left discarded and forgotten in the grime that had collected on the ground. He picked it up and stood staring at it in his hands for several minutes trying to remember what it was. Eventually it came to him. A Frisbee! He remembered these. He remembered playing with one of these with his old four legged furry creature. Now what were those called? As he thought about it, something in him stirred and his instincts took over. He threw the Frisbee at the girl not holding the cricket bat. She caught it and looked surprised. One of the other stragglers entered the house. The girl shrieked and threw the Frisbee at the latest arrival. It tried to catch the plastic disc, but in doing so lost a few fingers as the Frisbee sliced them off. The newest arrival also took a few minutes to examine the object before throwing it back to their leader.
Unfortunately he missed the catch, by several seconds, and the Frisbee disappeared off behind a table to the side of the lounge. He went to collect it whilst the rest of the stragglers entered the house. As he searched for the downed Frisbee, he knocked the table and jostled the blocky device that sat on top. A layer of dust, or maybe soot, billowed up from it. Curious, he decided to temporarily abandon his search for the Frisbee and further examine the object on the table. He tried to wipe away more of the residue that had built up on it, but was slightly embarrassed when he only managed to thump it in a rather cack-handed way. A strange pounding rhythm erupted from the device as it lit up upon contact with his fist. It was a banging of something with lots of wheezing and whirring noises that seemed strangely pleasant. Yes, this sounded familiar. Something he recalled from dulled memories of the before times. The stragglers also seemed to have recollection of it. One of them shuffled involuntarily. Its right leg fell off but the straggler continued to shuffle on the floor when he fell over. Gradually the beat resonated around the other stragglers’ turgid synapses and soon they were all shuffling along to it.
He found the Frisbee and returned it to the women. Although still looking alarmed and surprised by the arrivals, one of them took the Frisbee. She didn’t seem to know what to do with it. She looked quizzically at her cricket bat wielding friend, who shrugged. He knew that he needed to encourage her to throw it. He tried to say it too, but his nerves got the better of him and he could only moan vaguely. One of his fellows looked up expectantly; the girl twitched and threw the Frisbee at them. His fellow caught it and groaned in pleasure before throwing it back.
Slowly, the gloriously bright warm yellow disc in the sky gave way to the pale glowing disc in the darkened sky. One of the girls had gone to check if the house’s back door was locked and boarded up; no doubt to secure it in case of unwanted marauders. Besides that brief interlude the Frisbee antics and pounding beat sounds from the odd object on the table continued apace. One of his fellows managed to knock over a lamp; it blew into life as it hit the floor; beaming out across the lounge and illuminating the bodies of the mini-horde. The nano-particles housed within their cold bodies began to glow green and gently blink, pulsing a sickly green effervescence that radiated around the room. Following the beacon of light and sound, a drip feed of other stragglers began to arrive, followed by the main horde.
He was pleased to see that his fellows had come to find them and join the festivities. He was slightly dismayed to see some of them make a pass at hugging the two women, as they would have to other non-infected whilst out on the town under normal circumstances. He could see that the women didn’t appreciate such advances. Apparently it was not their custom and he felt that they should all respect their host’s wishes not to partake in hugging, kissing or playful nibbling by the hoard members. So he kept close by to the women and pushed anyone away that got too close. The girls seemed grateful for it and remained close to him, even when he went to mingle. He was learning that actions can transcend language difficulties and that even the horde’s biggest personalities were beginning to respect the girl’s personal space.
The coolness of total darkness enveloped the beach outside the house. Only the lamp and the green glow illuminated the interior. He was pleased to see that so many of his fellow horde members had chosen to join them all, and more were arriving every so often. Groups of them congregated both inside and out, losing themselves in shuffling or playing Frisbee. None of them were particularly good at the game, but all seemed to enjoy it. Suddenly the crowds parted to reveal a group of worried looking non-infected men and women. Some of them were covered in a sticky red substance that looked delicious. He had to stop himself from being rude and investigating the red further. He decided that they must have been body painting or something. That was something the non-infected did wasn’t it? Their culture fascinated him. Had he been like them once? He wasn’t sure. The leader of their small group carefully stepped forward towards the girls in the beach house whilst the rest of them (who all looked like they’d been partying hard themselves) held up what he eventually recognised as baseball bats. They looked liked they’d been painted red too. Were they challenging the horde to a game of baseball? It was no good; he didn’t know how to play and was sure his fellows wouldn’t either.
The girls and the non-infected group leader talked briefly in their strange almost-familiar language. The group leader then took the hand of one of the girls and led them both away; out of the house. One of the horde members stood forward to stop them, but he pushed his fellow back again. If it was their time to go, then it was their time to go. There was no point ruining a perfectly nice evening by demanding that their new friends stay longer. Of course he would have liked them, and the rest of them, to stay longer but it seemed that the group of non-infected had come to take the girls to another party. He had enjoyed their company but understood that they’d want some alone time too.
And so the horde was left to their own devices in the beach house. It must have been an open time share property that had been passed on to them. He wondered how long they had it for now. The other horde members seemed to understand that they should let their non-infected friends go without pestering them. He got a little tongue tied as usual when he tried to explain why to his fellows, but they comprehended his point. He felt very good about himself because of it. He decided then that when it was next time for the horde to move on to the next town, he’d try to join the leaders at the front of the pack. For now though he wanted this beach party with his friends to go on forever.