This entry concludes the Blogging from A to Z challenge! Yay! I’ll be doing a W1S1 summary post for the month of April tomorrow but after that I won’t be blogging before next week. At that point I’ll do a sum-up post for Blogging from A to Z, the Platform Challenge and the April Poem a Day Challenge. Thank you to all my existing readers for sticking around while I did this blogging challenge, and welcome aboard to the new readers who found me because of it. You’re awesome. All of you.
Z is for zombie. It’s also for Zamboni. Sadly I don’t have any zombie or Zamboni photographs handy that wouldn’t require effort to locate and edit, so I went with this picture. It’s not apocalyptic-y, but it’s kinda forlorn, so… Close enough 🙂
So yes. Z is for zombie and Zamboni. A couple years ago my NaNoWriMo novel was a zombie novel set in Edmonton which I, oh so cleverly, titled Deadmonton 🙂 The spark that set me thinking about Deadmonton was the idea of having a book which included a scene where a zombie gets killed with a zamboni.
Deadmonton, in its current incarnation is deeply flawed and I’m not sure I’m ever going to get around to fixing it, to be honest. The good news is that means I can share a scene from it with you here. Which scene? Well, the zombie vs Zamboni scene of course. This scene has a lot of problems with it, but if you read it without your editor hat on, it’s kinda fun too.
Warning: There is plenty of violence and profanity in this scene.
Zombie Vs Zamboni
(A Deadmonton excerpt)
Leading up to this scene Ashley was skating on freshly Zamboni-ed ice at Hawrelak Park when zombies start coming from all directions and surrounding her. The driver of the Zamboni has helped her onto the Zamboni, presumably to get away.
“Look, buddy, let’s just get out of here before these freaks reach us. There’s no need for—let’s just go, please?”
“No way.” the man cackled, as a speck of white spittle danced on his lips by the toothpick that protruded from them. “I’m gonna run some of these fuckers over. I can’t wait to see what the auger does to ’em.”
Again Ashley swallowed back vomit that burned the back of hr throat. She considered getting back off the Zamboni and taking her chances with the zombies, but she still had her skates on. She’d make good progress on the ice, but once she stepped on the ground there was no way she’d be able to stay ahead of these things. At least not for long.
“Please,” she tried once more, looking from the crazy man at the wheel of the Zamboni and then to the zombies coming closer. Some were crawling across the ice, but a couple were still walking. Slowly and unsteadily, but walking, directly for them. Their arms were outstretched and one, the cop with the turban, was groaning unintelligibly. “Please, let’s just go.”
The driver didn’t even look at her. Resigned she double checked her seat belt and gritted her teeth. This was not going to be pretty. I should have gone home after school, she thought as she felt the Zamboni rev beneath her. I should have gone home, and then this wouldn’t have ever happened.
The driver made a strange noise, something halfway between a laugh and a cough, then spat his toothpick out and growled “Come get it, come get it you sons a bitches.”
And the zombies came.
They were close now. So close she could see them clearly even in the half-light of evening. Their wounds were obviously fatal, their eyes vacant, tongues lolling and bodies broken. They were zombies, and if the zombie movies Ashley had watched all her life were true, they wanted to eat her, or just her brains perhaps, and make her one of them.
She didn’t want to be one of them.
She didn’t want to run them over on the Zamboni either. She just wanted to be at home.
Then they were there. Six of them were at the Zamboni. Their fingers reached for it and Ashley could see ragged fingernails, filthy, with all manner of stuff stuck under them. Stuff she didn’t even want to think about. They reached for the machine and patted it. Moving against it.
The driver put the Zamboni in reverse and Ashley felt a bump as they hit something, then she heard noises no sane person should ever hear. It started out wet and mushy sounding, then quickly changed to a scraping, grinding noise that made her teeth stand on edge and vomit rise to fill her mouth.
Unable to keep it in, she leaned over the side of the Zamboni and sprayed the ice with what was left of the pizza sub she’d had for lunch. It steamed in the cool evening air, and Ashley felt her stomach retch once more as she looked at it, then she straightened up and wiped her mouth with the back of her glove.
A maniacal laugh that reminded Ashley of a high-pitched version of the narrator from that song Thriller, erupted from the Zamboni driver. It cut through the air, and Ashley saw other zombies, who had been oblivious to them up until then, turn their heads, change direction and come closer. Christ, she thought, why did they have to hear the laugh? They ignored him shouting, they ignored the sound of the Zamboni, but the freaking nut case laughs and here they come, wanting to join in the fun.
The Zamboni moved forward, and Ashley felt another thud as it connected with something that used to be human. The machine didn’t stop, it just kept going at its slow but steady pace. Much like a behemoth version of the zombies, actually. Ashley winced as she heard the wet squish of an undead homeless man with one red mitten being hit, then dragged under and torn to bits.
It was surreal. The zombies didn’t make any noises as they were run over, torn into chunks and stored in the ice bin. They were silent.
She looked behind them and the ice was a smear of blood, stained varying shades of pink. Bits of meat, mush and things she couldn’t even begin to identify spotted the ice, like islands in the pink ocean. “There must have been too much for the augers to handle,” she heard herself say, then leaned over the side of the machine and threw up again.
They ran over another zombie, and if it hadn’t been for her seatbelt the resulting jolt would have knocked her off. The zombie’s arm, came up over the front of the machine, clinging to the hood. It was futile though, the hood was smooth, nothing for it to get a grip on, and very soon she could hear the grotesque sound of the zombie being ground up and swallowed by the ice resurfacer.
“Please,” she said, her voice as weak as her body after throwing up twice. “Can we go now?”
The driver ignored her, swung the Zamboni around in a wide circle, and started to head back the way they’d come. Zombies from all around the park were coming. They seemed to be growing in numbers. Some were at the edge of the ice, some were actually on it, and for a moment, Ashley felt very sorry for them. They couldn’t possibly comprehend, she figured, what was going to happen to them as soon as they got within reach of the deadly machine.
The driver of the Zamboni floored it, Ashley could hear his foot stomp on the pedal and the pedal hit the metal floorboard, but even so, the machine didn’t go very fast, in fact, Ashley wasn’t sure if it sped up at all. She felt her fingernails dig into the bottom of the seat, one snapped off in her glove and she cursed. Pulling off her glove she stabbed her finger into her mouth, sucked on it, ripped the bit of nail still hanging there off with her teeth and spat it onto the ice. The ice that so recently had beckoned her but now repulsed her.
“Can we go–” the rest of her sentence was lost in the jolt as the Zamboni hit two zombies at the same time. It bucked and there was a wet crunching sound as it drove over them. Then, as the grinding began and the moaning stopped, the machine stuttered. It paused in place, shuddering violently and making the same noises her mother’s car always made when it was about to stall. “Oh no,” she breathed.
“Fuck!” the driver said, slamming the ball of his hand into the steering wheel. “There’s too much of them for it to chew up. C’mon,” he rubbed the steering wheel affectionately. “C’mon baby, you can do it. Eat ’em up. Eat ’em up and spit ’em out.”
Ashley’s eyes darted from one zombie to another. They were growing closer, fearlessly approaching while the gigantic machine slowly chewed its way through their brethren. Her heart slammed in her chest and she held her breath. Though she knew it was only a few seconds, each one felt like an eternity as she watched the zombies come closer, and closer.
“C’mon,” the driver said, drawing the word out and tapping on the steering wheel, his eyes sliding from one walking corpse to another. “C’mon.”
Then the engine caught again, and the Zamboni began to inch forward once more.
Ashley sighed, letting her breath out in one long gush. “Now can we go?” she asked, hopeful that their near miss would be enough to encourage the crazy driver that running over zombies wasn’t in his best interest.
“Now we can –” the man turned his head to look at Ashley as he was responding, then his eyes became wide and his lower jaw slack. It dropped against his chest and the toothpick in his mouth fell and landed in his lap. Ashley followed it with her eyes, and then looked back up at the fear in the man’s face.
“What?” she asked, feeling the blood rush through her brain, bringing with it a new shot of adrenaline as fear began to twist through her body once again.
The man driving the Zamboni didn’t move for a second, though his eyes darted forward, as though checking that they were still on course, and then they looked back toward her again. “Behind you,” he said, finally, his voice sounded dry, like it was scraping across sandpaper.
Ashley was filled with dread and warring emotions. Part of her wanted to look behind her, another was content to wallow in ignorance. Finally, moving almost as stiffly as the zombies around them, she turned around. There, slowly climbing up the back of the Zamboni, were two zombies. The first was the police officer with the turban, the second a woman wearing high heels and what remained of a black power suit. They were inching upward, their fingers curled into claws as they fought against the momentum of the Zamboni and the slick surface they were on. They were moving, unfailingly, toward her. Directly toward where she sat, strapped to the machine.
“Oh my god!” she screamed, then looked back at the driver who was alternating his attention between the zombies in the back of the machine and the ice in front of them. “Gimme something, give me something to fight them off!”
The driver reached over onto the floor beside him, and she could see his arm swinging around randomly, looking for something. He came up empty.
“I ain’t got nothing,” he growled. “Maybe I can knock em off if I zig zag the Zamboni.”
“You can’t,” Ashley screamed, her voice rising to a hysterical-sounding shriek. “Anything that will knock them off will knock me off too!”
She could smell them now. They smelled of the thick coppery scent of blood, and of something else. Not body odor or dirt, but something she couldn’t put a finger on. Then, as they drew closer, the wind pushing against them but not slowing them as they kept coming in slow motion, she realised it was her, not them she could smell. The sick scent of fear, of sour sweat, was coming from her.
She looked around, tears blurring her vision, while the driver jerked the wheel of the Zamboni in one direction and then another. Maybe she could undo her seat belt and make a run for it, but no. There were more zombies on the ice than on the Zamboni, and all the other things that had kept her there when the crazy man at the wheel had decided to play bumper cars with the zombies were still true. She was still wearing skates rather than shoes and—wait! She was wearing skates.
“Stop that, stop it you moron,” she yelled. Yanking off her gloves, she reached down with one hand, loosened the laces on her left skate and pulled it off as fast as she could.
She jammed her right fist in where her foot was meant to go, undid her seat belt and turned around. The woman in the business suit was almost at her. Ashley reached forward and slammed the part of her blade that stuck out past her heel into the woman’s hand. She felt it sink in. The bones ground against it as it slid past them, but the woman didn’t react at all. Ashley’s stomach twisted, but she managed to avoid throwing up, and pulled the skate blade out of the zombie’s hand. Obviously that wasn’t going to work.
Taking a deep breath, she made a fist of her hand in the skate, drew back, and slammed it right into the woman’s face. It hit her nose and ricocheted to the side, cutting into the right side of her face at a slight angle. Ashley saw it cut through flesh, muscle and the woman’s eye, yet she didn’t bleed or react in any way. She just put one hand in front of the other and pulled herself closer.
“Fuck!” Ashley slammed the side of her fist into the side of the woman’s face. She put all her weight behind it and it was enough to knock the zombie off balance. It toppled, without making any effort to catch itself, off the side of the Zamboni and landed with an audible crunch on the ice below.
Unfortunately, the momentum of her blow didn’t vanish with the swipe and Ashley found her own body following her arm.
“Oh no you ain’t,” the man driving the Zamboni said, and Ashley felt him grab the waistband of her jeans and pull her back on. That, combined with her own efforts got her back on the machine just in time for the zombie with the police uniform and the turban to strike. She was turned around in her seat, facing the back of the Zamboni when it grabbed her left arm. Before she had a chance to react, she felt its teeth dig into her flesh. It was excruciating, and she couldn’t restrain the scream that ripped itself from her throat.
“Fuck,” the driver said, and let go of her. He whipped around a corner. The police officer lost his balance and was tossed to the right side, but he didn’t let go of her arm with either his teeth or hands. He dragged Ashley with him. She was pulled across the Zamboni and ended up crashing into the driver, the zombie still latched on to her and laying at an angle along the back of the big machine.
After much scrambling she managed to get her feet back under her, standing to the left of the driver but the zombie still had her arm. She tried to pull away but it was to no avail. She watched the creature tear a chunk off with its teeth, and screamed again, falling back to her knees. The zombie made a slurping noise and through the fog of pain that was enfolding her, Ashley looked up to see it chewing on a ragged chunk of her down-filled coat and the hunk of her arm it had bitten off.
Then it swallowed.
She felt faint. She felt as though she were going to throw up again. She felt pain as she’d never felt before.
In a fear and pain-fueled frenzy she slammed her fist with the skate on it into the zombie’s face. It sliced it diagonally, cutting across the bridge of its nose and tearing open one of its cheeks, but the grip on her arm didn’t loosen. In fact, oblivious to the damage she’d just rendered it the zombie leaned forward as though it were going for another bite.
In desperation, Ashley jammed the blade of her skate between the cop’s mouth and her arm, at the same time the driver of the Zamboni slammed into another zombie. The extra jolt rammed the skate blade into the creature’s mouth. It sliced it open at the corners, extending its smile and kept going until the blade got stuck in its jaw bone. The zombie, its mouth wedged open with her skate, let go of her arm to try and pry the skate out, but without any part of it holding on to the Zamboni, it slipped off the side and landed with a thud on the frozen, pink-stained ground.
Ashley let her hand slip out of the skate as the zombie fell and grabbed hold of the torn fabric and gaping wound in her arm. Feathers from her coat were stuck to the blood at the top edge of her wound. In the middle of it, the blood was flowing freely, and as she clamped her hand over it, the sticky wetness coated her fingers.
Her legs wobbled and she fell to the side of the Zamboni and then slumped down to the floorboards beside the driver. She looked up at him. He was looking away from her, toward the other zombies on the ice. “I’m going to die,” she whispered, her lips suddenly dry, her body thirsty in a way she’d never imagined before. This must be why people always ask for water as they are dying in movies, she thought, and half-laughed.
The man driving the Zamboni jumped at the sound of her laugh, and she tilted her head to look at him. Darkness feathered the edges of her vision and she watched him, staring straight ahead. Ashley was sure he hadn’t heard her.
She felt the Zamboni leave the ice, there was a big bump followed by a myriad of smaller ones as they rode over the snow, plowing it ahead of them. She tried to increase the pressure she was putting on her arm, but she couldn’t feel her fingers anymore. She looked down at them, and there they were against the bleeding wound in her arm, but even when she wiggled them, and saw them move, she couldn’t feel them.
“I’m going to die.” she said one last time, crying. Not as a plea or a question, but as a statement of fact. She looked up at the psycho driving the Zamboni and wished with all her heart that she’d never accepted his hand when he offered her a ride. Then she wished, with just as much passion, that when she died, if she became one of them, that he, the moron who had insisted on running over the zombies, would be her first victim.