Pretty Girls Make Graves
Birds chirped happily, dogs barked. The sun was growing fat in the sky, smiling down on the snowy mountain town just now rolling out of bed.
A door opened on a suburban house, just missing one white picket fence. A round man in a shirt and tie came out of the door with a big winter coat in one hand and a steaming travel mug in the other. His hair a sheened brown quafe, the sides shaved down. A piece of toast sticking out of his mouth as he rounded the door jam.
He got to about halfway down the end of the drive to his waiting Volkswagen before a sweet voice called out to him.
“Honey, you forgot your briefcase.” A curvy redhaired woman called out to him smiling with high impact cheek dimples.
“Thangs honeybear” He said filtered through his piece of toast. He didn’t have any hands free so he looked around and put his travel mugs on the hood of his car. He cut back across the lawn to get his briefcase. Only to be football tackled by a two hundred pound five foot eight red squirrel.
And then a fox piled on top, and then a green honeybadger and a few others started a frenzied attack. All subtlety had died with master and they’d reverted back to mindless beasts with only one purpose. They’d changed from mind controlled zombie puppets to plain flesh hungry monsters. Ripping and tearing and feeding fresh meat into their furry mouths. Unaware that they could take the masks off. Their real hands underneath their costumes digging deep into their victims chest cavity. Pulling out organs like tickets from an arcade machine. The pain of which could only be maddening, like being gutted by a spoon covered in soft foam.
His wife, frenzied. Spinning into a temporary spell of insanity. Still she had the foresight to slam the door behind herself and lock it to keep the furry menace out. Bracing her wide frame against the door as the two locks probably weren’t enough.
A strange sound like fireworks on a bobsled hitting a dirth of snow hard in her backyard. Confused she went to investigate. Parting the curtains in her kitchen overlooking her lawn.
A strange metallic container had deposited itself in what could have been a rose garden. If it wasn’t so fucking cold here. It was like an alien seed right out of little shop of horrors.
“What the hell is that?”
Seemingly forgetting about what just happened to her husband. Unbeknownst to her, her town was being ravaged by zombie animal costume fetishists. She opened her backdoor and stepped out onto her back lawn to get a better look at this cosmic buttplug.
It was cold but she didn’t much care, the thing was hot and steaming, melting away the top layer of snow. It started to crack not unlike an egg, smoke and steam and a putrid smell leaking out.
“Oh my god”
An odd amniotic substance started leaking out of it. A little brown shape plopped out of the pod and melted the snow down to the frigid grass underneath.
“Is that a, baby?” The woman said getting closer to the still thing on the grass, that did look a little like a newborn fetus.
She got closer and started to brush off some of the fluid with the hem of her blouse. Then she picked it up not sure what to do with it but something nurturing was on her mind.
The ‘Baby’ opened it’s eyes and started to cry. She tried to calm it but it’s entire body shook. Then it melted through her arms into a viscous puddle at her feet growing wider and thick.
She was too stunned to speak, this felt more and more like a dream by the minute, Salvadore Dali on a good day. She stepped back wordlessly from the growing puddle of matter. It started growing larger and more violent. A tempest of matter growing long thick tongues, choosing it’s form, choosing a destructor.
She backed away to the door, the latch frozen shut again. She jiggled it and then the entire door was pulled off at the hinges as she clung to it. A long squamous tentacle dragged her across her lawn into the stationairy puddle. More leathery tentacles taking shape enveloping her and well you’ve seen anime, you know where this is going.
Murray watched from his monitors, the light on his face. A crude scene reflected in his glasses, a look of disgust and mild intrigue.
“Oh jesus” He said as he looked away.
He was alone in the tactical mobile hq. It was made to look like a big oil tanker from the outside. The only thing giving it away was the extensive antennae array on top. Inside was wall to wall monitors operated by just one tech guy named Murray.
“Say what you like about working in the field. But if I had to make things like that for my freak of a brother I’d never keep anything down”. He said to himself as he slurped from a bottle of mountain dew. He sighed and said “Let’s see what else is on” He wiped his face with his hands.
He started clicking through the various drone feeds. Empty streets, furries yiffing and pulling people apart. More chimeras, people slowly getting wise trying to escape in there cars. The checkpoints were holding fine. Mercs firing on people trying to leave town like they usually do, penning them in like wild animals. He clicked to the mall and saw TJ and Sunday limping their way inside. Clicked over and saw the Frenchman walking bow legged around with Carpenter as he talked to himself. “Why are those two together, isn’t that the guy who-?” He clicked over and he saw a security cam of Mr Fuzzles and Sparkles huddling together in some toy store in the mall. Sparkles was lying flat like they were playing doctor. “I feel like I’m missing someone” He said absentmindedly.
His chair shook in answer, “What the fuck, an earthquake, furry zombies and now earthquakes.” The whole tanker shook as if twerked on by a rhino. “What the hell is going on?” Murray straightened his wire framed glasses on his head and got up from his swivel chair. He unlocked the reinforced cabin door and poked his head outside. He didn’t see anything but snow and concrete. which was a really bad sign considering her was meant to have a detachement of mercs guarding him at all times.
He heard a creaking groaning sound overhead and craned his neck to get a look at whatever it was. Unable to see anything by the glare of the mid morning sun. Something heavy and black fell from the top of the tanker over his head. Crashing hard onto the concrete below in front of the door of the van.
“Holy shit” He squealed as he ducked whatever it was, making a clanking squelching sound as it hit the cold ground. He looked down and it was one of the mercs who was guarding him mangled beyond belief. Every limb twisted into an unnatural position. Bones sticking out of places bones shoudn’t be sticking out of. He was still alive seemingly as pink bubbles were leaking out of his mouth as lungs wheezed on. “Fuck me!”
“Fuck you is right.” A voice said just to the side of him racking a shotgun as they stuck the barrel against the side of his head.
“You were in a bad way when I pulled you of the police station buddy. I wasn’t planning on going back there but I heard mewing like a little kitten and my conscience got the better of me.” Carpenter laughed as he scrunched up the beanie on the Frenchman’s head. “You would have been some furfags butt buddy if it wasn’t for me.” His face got longer and darker.
“It is true, I am in your debt but it occurs to me if we are to survive this we need weapons nes pa?”
“Guns” He clarified.
“Not a big fan of those, gotta say, but whatever floats your boat there Franz.” Carpenter grinned.
“Jean” He corrected. “Where is it you think these young ladies are going with those guns?”
“Beats me, probably to the mall, that’s where kids like to hang out right?”
Sunday helped TJ climb down from the high atv.
“I saved your sword” She said. She pulled it out of the back seat footwell where it was lying and bequeathed it to him dipping her head. He was still a little groggy but he smiled and took it with as strong a grip as he could muster. Prodding it into the sidewalk for balance.
“Thanks” He looked around, taking in some of the high cold mountain air and said “Why are we at the mall?”
“Your little friend called me on the car phone.” She said dryly as she started to walk to the entrance of the mall with the bat over her shoulder.
“DP? He’s not my friend.” He groaned as he followed her through the huge bank of glass double doors which were unlocked.
She stepped inside and there was an odd feeling like they were in a huge crypt, it was deathly quiet and cold and open. The entrance to the mall was like an ampitheatreatre, so large and open you could hear a pin drop. Decked out in holiday colours, reds and greens and golds everywhere. Fake snow and frosted glass windows. There was a big model trainset set up on tracks above their heads lying dorment. Little animatronic elves driving it. The cargo carriages piled high with fake presents wrapped with brightly coloured bows.
“Is it Christmas?” TJ asked.
There was a huge Christmas tree in the entrance, so large it almost touched the ceiling. Lavishly decorated with gold and red ball balls. More animatronic elves hanging Christmas lights not moving. One stuck in there another hanging on as more below him trying to keep a ladder still. Rudolph the rednose reindeer covering his eyes with a hoof, too afraid to look.
The entrance was huge. Two sets of stairs leading up to the higher levels. With escalators and signs for elevators pointing off in every direction. A big set of elevators behind the display looked like a giant set of mail shoots from some sci-fi movie made up to look like Christmas crackers.
Their footsteps made hollow tapping sounds on the marble parqu flooring.
The shops were all open but dark and grim.
Then as if by magic the train set started to make a noise. A little tooting sound and it started to run over their heads. The lights came on and the most irritating Christmas music imagineable started to play on a loop. The animatronics moved and sang in high pitch elf voices happily as they decorated the tree. The tree also had a face and sang along in a childhood scarring baritone.
“I don’t like this” Sunday said.
Just then a phone started to ring and TJ was drawn to a bank of pay phones by the entrance. He picked it up and said “Hello”.
“T-J, where’ve you been buddy, I missed you” The distorted voice said. “You made it,”
“But we didn’t get him, he wouldn’t come with us, we tried, the guy was nuts, out of his mind, babbling”
“Don’t you worry pal, you don’t need him. Didn’t need your other little friends either I see, what happened to them?” He laughed mirthlessly. “Nevermind, nevermind, shit happens amiright? Of course I’m right”.
“Did you do this?” TJ said looking around.
“Do what?” DP said audibly smirking.
“Nevermind.” TJ ratcheted the phone up with his shoulder and said “What do you want?”
“You see T-J, this is like a videogame, you play videogames right? Yeah of course you do. So you know what this is, the ominous location, about to enter a big open room. Maybe there’s health and weapons everywhere, are you getting the idea?” DP let out a breathy laugh.
“A boss fight” TJ whispered.
“My nigga” DP laughed. “I’m trying to help you but you gotta kill the boss before you can move onto the next stage.”
“What’s the next stage?”
“They’re waiting for you in the next room, the ice rink”
“Ah you know I like surprises.”
TJ breathed in and out deeply, letting his frustration wash over him.
“You beat the boss and then you can head to the control room”
“And then what?”
“And then you’re home free, partner, scouts honor, bye now” He hung up and the phone went dead.
TJ let his hand slide down from his ear, the phone slumping to his side.
“He wanna talk to me?” Sunday said reaching her hand out.
“What now?” She said.
“In there.” He said motioning with his head at a brightly lit alcove. A sign above it that read ‘worlds biggest indoor icerink’.
She turned and smirked with a little sad laugh. “The ice rink huh? Very theatrical.” She sighed and walked around in a tight concentric circle. “We’ve got some time?” She asked in a rising pixie dream girl way.
“What?” TJ was confused, his mind awash with fear and self-loathing.
She sauntered over to him swaying her hips playingfully. She dipped her head and lifted it again smiling at him. “We’re the stars of the show they’ll wait for us”.
Sunday smiled and shook her head. “TJ, I’m asking you out on a date.”