The Skullface Chronicles by Dorothy Davies

EXTRACT FOR
The Skullface Chronicles 
(Dorothy Davies)


The Skullface Chronicles

The Unwritten Diary of a Zombie

(Not everyone who comes alive again has mush for a brain…)



On Waking

This earth bound space is very small, not sure how I got into it but here I am. Really, I can’t move, can’t stretch my arms and legs and my head seems fixed.
How long have I slept?
Slept? Underground? Idiot, what a stupid thought. I have to be dead, surely. Oh, what… I thought I was alone, but the creature who shares the space with me stares through myopic eyes, no doubt trying to work out what I am and why I’m there. I have no answers… In an effort to divert my thoughts; I try working on an escape plan but that – excuse the pun – escapes me.
There are two problems.
The first is, the creature appears to be a mole and I am partly in his chamber.
The second is; I certainly seem to be dead, if my rotting flesh is anything to go by. I can smell it. You never forget the smell of rotting flesh, says he with no experience of such a thing, so how the hell do I know?
Why ask me? I don’t know. But then again, how do I know I am rotting?
Well, perhaps the bits falling off as I try to move might provide a clue.
Am I talking to myself, or to you, oh mole? He stares at me as if petrified. Probably is. Not every day you go to your chamber and find a face staring back at you, is it?
A shocking thought has occurred to me. The mole has interfered with my eternal rest! Even in the pitch black of this subterranean home I can see his agitation and he surely senses mine.
I’m not staying here. I want out! I want to drag this body, rotting or otherwise, outside into the air. I want to feel sun, see shade; see people…
Oh. Another shocking thought. They won’t want to see me. Foolish creature, why had I not thought of that?
Because, oh foolish creature, you are fresh woken from sleep – or death - by a mole, of all things. You cannot think rationally.
Yet.
But you will. Oh yes, you will…
Meantime, whilst you learn to think rationally for once, meditate on why you should be bothered by your eternal rest being disturbed. What does it matter? Is there a reason you should be bothered?
Oh yes, I want –
Say it.
What do I want? Why have I woken up? What has disturbed me? Something pounding in what passes for a brain…
The word, the concept, the thought of -
Revenge.
Ha! She thought I would be forever buried, for sure! And here I am, awake – just, functioning – just, thinking – probably… the last thing she will ever believe is that I’ll come back, stand on the doorstep and demand she let me in. What I will do then is anyone’s guess. A lot depends on how rotted I am, if you see what I mean.
Some of me has decomposed: I can’t remember my name. Or where I lived. Or where she lives. Or what happened to me. Why am I assuming she killed me?
Now you’re being stupid. Why else would you be in some underground space, no coffin, no nice satin to surround you, no head on a pillow… I despair at just how stupid and confused you are. And you want to get out there, in the real world?
Are you ready for that?
No. what I am ready for is food. I hunger, a deep burning hurting clawing hunger.
The mole is no more.
I managed to move an arm, at great risk to the walls of the tunnel I appear to be in, moved and in his shock and petrification, he stood still, foolish animal. Is there such a word as petrification? Probably not, but it fits exactly the way he stood, wide eyed and rigid, as I reached for him.
And now the bones are crushed and splintered, the skin cast aside, the blood, rich and thick, is in my veins. I need energy and sustenance to push myself out of this mole hole. Time for the invisible to become visible, time to emerge into the world.
Do I have the gall to expose myself to the living? It would be fun to try and touch them, see them run… but first I have to get out.
Logic says I am too large for a mole hole. He must have burrowed into my grave.
Poor innocent creature. But the law of nature is the strong will survive. And we are top of the food chain. Even if we are dead. Or I am, anyway. I am, aren’t I?
You ought to know. You’re the one moving about. Is there breath and pulse and all?
No.
Enough! I have to get out. I am awake and need to be free of this earthly coffin. Not much fun, no satin, no mementoes buried with me. Not only that, it isn’t good enough, not by a very long way is it good enough. More to add to my revenge. If I get there. Wherever ‘there’ is.
I retrieved the skin. I might need a mask.
I don’t know why; don’t even begin to ask me why. I want a mask. Would you deny me that small thing? After all, here I am, dead and buried and asking nothing of the world but the sticky gory untanned skin of a foolish helpless mole. No, it is not too much to ask.
Look, I’m making moves to get out.
Need to dig.
I can’t dig with one hand. Don’t want to let go of the moleskin. I can’t find my pockets, if I have any. Did she bury me dressed? Or did she take all my clothes to the local Oxfam shop and pretend I’d left home, or something?
How come I can remember her, even her name – or can I? when I can’t remember other things, like –
I can’t remember.
I wish I knew how long I’ve been dead. I mean, how much of me is rotted, how much clings to my bones, how much strength I have, can I stand? Walk? Reach out and touch? I might need to hold on…
The person who put me in the grave has the answers. He may think himself invisible, no, impenetrable, no… Forget it. Too much else to think about.
Hold on a minute. Just a minute. He?
He who was shagging she. Him. The blond hunk with the pecs and the abs and the whatever-you-call-it stomach. Him. Damn it to hell, what’s his name?
I want revenge!
I’ll wish him gallstones, that’ll do for now.
My revenge will come later. Time to plan. Ha!



Internal Dialogue

Madam, I come!
Hold on just a moment. Stop it! I just said that! Or something very like that anyway. Damn thoughts invading my mind.
Dead = grave = quiet = what? Eternal life? Ghost existence? But I think, I know I move, earth falls in, so; if I’m one of the living dead, surely I should be grunting and snarling and seeking human brains to eat.
Hold on just a moment – again.
Listen, Skullface, stop it with the repetition. No one wants a repetitive wind up creature, even if it is a zombie.
Rationalise. Realise. Zombies are not supposed to think, allegedly. Here I am, thinking. What went wrong?
Ha! You always were different, Skullface. Always the odd one out. I can remember that much at least.
Shut up chirping, birds! I can’t think with all your inane chatter going on. The sun’s probably out, go catch a worm or something.
Think. Who am I? Logically…
Oooooooookkkkaaaaayyyyyyy – I have thought. I am an anomaly, a zombie who thinks. Whoo hoo. Madam will be shocked when I get there! Good. I am pretty damn sure she had something to do with my being underground.
Wish I could remember. Her and him, they must have done it together. Got tired of me after all this time, wanted me out of the way. So… when I get out of here I will check my skull, see if they hit me over the head. Seems a bit brutal but then he is, all that bodybuilding stuff, he could do it, no problem. I’m not as big as him. I wasn’t as big as him. I am not/was not –
Skullface, shut up.
What jabbed me then? Hold it… a bone! A large bone! I have a tool now… it’s not one of mine, I did a quick check. Mine are intact. It’s the flesh which isn’t. That’s soggy and soft and gives with a squishy feel.
Who needs flesh anyway? Let’s rid ourselves of it, prance around in our bones instead.
The birds, irritating as they are, invite me out. I’m ready to go.
Hello, world…
But not yet.
It’s slow progress.
What’s worse is, I’ve no idea how far underground I am.
Back to that logic thing, Skullface. Use your – as far as I can tell – unbattered head, why don’t you? You can’t be that far underground; they didn’t hire a digger to create a grave, did they? A spade and some muscle is all they had. So keep going, it can’t be far.
I hate people who are right all the time.
Crawling, crawling, see me go. Time to get hustling out of here before my bones get weary and decide I have to stop. It’s hard work, the damned earth is worse than a coal seam to get through, having only a bone to dig with.
The thought that the world awaits is enough to keep me going, though.
Pause for – breath? Do I then breathe? How strange! How very odd, how nonsensical… I think it’s my imagination, I think myself alive when I know well I’m dead.
What etiquette is there for a clapped out zombie, I wonder…
And then I ask, am I indeed a clapped out zombie and if I am, what is one of them? Oh inelegant English, zombie or not, you can do better than that.
I would suggest, Skullface, you stop bitching and wondering and thinking and get digging. Now!
I will, I will…
Could I stitch my flesh back together? Seams down my face and body? Frankenstein and all?
And while I think nonsensical thoughts, the better to dig without being weary, I ask, what etiquette is there for meeting living beings when you are half rotted and half bone…
Hey look, I see daylight! Hallelujah!
How long have I been underground?
Too long, it seems…
Out! Really, really out! Standing up straight, see me stand! See me looking and wondering where the hell I am. And remembering I have a mole’s skin in my pocket should I need a mask. Remind me of that, would you? Thanks.
Now tell me, what do I look like? And tell me, how long have I been underground and what is the ratio of decomposition to time spent buried… questions no one is around to answer.
Ha! Skullface, what are the chances of someone being stood right here with enough expertise to work out that ratio: burial x decomposition. I can tell you one ratio that it is: zero/zero.
Point taken. Don’t you just hate know-alls?
OK, with no one to tell me what I look like; let me tell you what the world looks like.
Overbright. Everything wears a crown of light that hurts. Colours that shriek. Noises that bang on the ears. Wind that blows the dangling bits which have not fallen off me – yet.
Tears. I realize what I am. Who will want to know me?
Tears. There is still moisture in the body, then. Surprised me, that has. Oh, I smell. The earth is not sterile. It’s full of bacteria and crawly things and growing things and decomposing things. Me among them.
I need a bath.
The sound of running water attracts me, puts the idea in my head.
Really? It normally has the opposite effect, Skullface, sends you rushing to the bathroom. You know that.
I wish I didn’t argue with myself.
Water. River. Look, see it run, clean and fresh and clear and inviting. I can dump what clothes I still possess right here and walk in and lie down… and let the water run over me and…
Ah, the wonderful feeling.
Hey, I still feel!
No you don’t. It’s all in your mind. All nerve endings are dead, gone, corrupted, decomposed; out of commission. Gone.
Stop it. You’re depressing me. Oh hell and damnation! I’m losing essential components. Look at that! An essential bit of me is floating away downriver! Ah, such sadness, lost forever… worse than that; my crowning achievement is now denied me. I wanted to use it… I wouldn’t have impregnated anyone; she accused me of being sterile and was no doubt right. But then again, did anyone test me? They can’t now. My chances of fathering a child are gone forever.
It’s my fault for wanting that bath. The stream looked inviting and it was easier than breaking into a house and borrowing the bath. The bits of flesh I lost might have clogged up the drain.
Stop thinking about it. That girl you dated back when, the one who went off with the chimney sweep, the one who… she never got pregnant, did she? Ah, but did you ask if she was on the Pill? You were pretty damn naďve those days, Skullface!
Too late to worry about it now. Move on…
If I stand around – dare not jump; might lose more bits – I will dry, surely. If not, oh well, damp clothes. I was told by the other side of my brain, which continues to lecture and argue with me, that I have no feeling anyway. So, does damp matter?
Well, yes, the clothes will be out of shape.
Skullface, what clothes? A rotting shirt and a creased pair of pants? We will conveniently, quietly, treat the undergarments as if they do not exist. Not in their current state anyway. ‘Nuff said, right?
Right. For once I agree.

The Skullface Chronicles by Dorothy Davies

EXTRACT FOR
The Skullface Chronicles 
(Dorothy Davies)


The Skullface Chronicles

The Unwritten Diary of a Zombie

(Not everyone who comes alive again has mush for a brain…)



On Waking

This earth bound space is very small, not sure how I got into it but here I am. Really, I can’t move, can’t stretch my arms and legs and my head seems fixed.
How long have I slept?
Slept? Underground? Idiot, what a stupid thought. I have to be dead, surely. Oh, what… I thought I was alone, but the creature who shares the space with me stares through myopic eyes, no doubt trying to work out what I am and why I’m there. I have no answers… In an effort to divert my thoughts; I try working on an escape plan but that – excuse the pun – escapes me.
There are two problems.
The first is, the creature appears to be a mole and I am partly in his chamber.
The second is; I certainly seem to be dead, if my rotting flesh is anything to go by. I can smell it. You never forget the smell of rotting flesh, says he with no experience of such a thing, so how the hell do I know?
Why ask me? I don’t know. But then again, how do I know I am rotting?
Well, perhaps the bits falling off as I try to move might provide a clue.
Am I talking to myself, or to you, oh mole? He stares at me as if petrified. Probably is. Not every day you go to your chamber and find a face staring back at you, is it?
A shocking thought has occurred to me. The mole has interfered with my eternal rest! Even in the pitch black of this subterranean home I can see his agitation and he surely senses mine.
I’m not staying here. I want out! I want to drag this body, rotting or otherwise, outside into the air. I want to feel sun, see shade; see people…
Oh. Another shocking thought. They won’t want to see me. Foolish creature, why had I not thought of that?
Because, oh foolish creature, you are fresh woken from sleep – or death - by a mole, of all things. You cannot think rationally.
Yet.
But you will. Oh yes, you will…
Meantime, whilst you learn to think rationally for once, meditate on why you should be bothered by your eternal rest being disturbed. What does it matter? Is there a reason you should be bothered?
Oh yes, I want –
Say it.
What do I want? Why have I woken up? What has disturbed me? Something pounding in what passes for a brain…
The word, the concept, the thought of -
Revenge.
Ha! She thought I would be forever buried, for sure! And here I am, awake – just, functioning – just, thinking – probably… the last thing she will ever believe is that I’ll come back, stand on the doorstep and demand she let me in. What I will do then is anyone’s guess. A lot depends on how rotted I am, if you see what I mean.
Some of me has decomposed: I can’t remember my name. Or where I lived. Or where she lives. Or what happened to me. Why am I assuming she killed me?
Now you’re being stupid. Why else would you be in some underground space, no coffin, no nice satin to surround you, no head on a pillow… I despair at just how stupid and confused you are. And you want to get out there, in the real world?
Are you ready for that?
No. what I am ready for is food. I hunger, a deep burning hurting clawing hunger.
The mole is no more.
I managed to move an arm, at great risk to the walls of the tunnel I appear to be in, moved and in his shock and petrification, he stood still, foolish animal. Is there such a word as petrification? Probably not, but it fits exactly the way he stood, wide eyed and rigid, as I reached for him.
And now the bones are crushed and splintered, the skin cast aside, the blood, rich and thick, is in my veins. I need energy and sustenance to push myself out of this mole hole. Time for the invisible to become visible, time to emerge into the world.
Do I have the gall to expose myself to the living? It would be fun to try and touch them, see them run… but first I have to get out.
Logic says I am too large for a mole hole. He must have burrowed into my grave.
Poor innocent creature. But the law of nature is the strong will survive. And we are top of the food chain. Even if we are dead. Or I am, anyway. I am, aren’t I?
You ought to know. You’re the one moving about. Is there breath and pulse and all?
No.
Enough! I have to get out. I am awake and need to be free of this earthly coffin. Not much fun, no satin, no mementoes buried with me. Not only that, it isn’t good enough, not by a very long way is it good enough. More to add to my revenge. If I get there. Wherever ‘there’ is.
I retrieved the skin. I might need a mask.
I don’t know why; don’t even begin to ask me why. I want a mask. Would you deny me that small thing? After all, here I am, dead and buried and asking nothing of the world but the sticky gory untanned skin of a foolish helpless mole. No, it is not too much to ask.
Look, I’m making moves to get out.
Need to dig.
I can’t dig with one hand. Don’t want to let go of the moleskin. I can’t find my pockets, if I have any. Did she bury me dressed? Or did she take all my clothes to the local Oxfam shop and pretend I’d left home, or something?
How come I can remember her, even her name – or can I? when I can’t remember other things, like –
I can’t remember.
I wish I knew how long I’ve been dead. I mean, how much of me is rotted, how much clings to my bones, how much strength I have, can I stand? Walk? Reach out and touch? I might need to hold on…
The person who put me in the grave has the answers. He may think himself invisible, no, impenetrable, no… Forget it. Too much else to think about.
Hold on a minute. Just a minute. He?
He who was shagging she. Him. The blond hunk with the pecs and the abs and the whatever-you-call-it stomach. Him. Damn it to hell, what’s his name?
I want revenge!
I’ll wish him gallstones, that’ll do for now.
My revenge will come later. Time to plan. Ha!



Internal Dialogue

Madam, I come!
Hold on just a moment. Stop it! I just said that! Or something very like that anyway. Damn thoughts invading my mind.
Dead = grave = quiet = what? Eternal life? Ghost existence? But I think, I know I move, earth falls in, so; if I’m one of the living dead, surely I should be grunting and snarling and seeking human brains to eat.
Hold on just a moment – again.
Listen, Skullface, stop it with the repetition. No one wants a repetitive wind up creature, even if it is a zombie.
Rationalise. Realise. Zombies are not supposed to think, allegedly. Here I am, thinking. What went wrong?
Ha! You always were different, Skullface. Always the odd one out. I can remember that much at least.
Shut up chirping, birds! I can’t think with all your inane chatter going on. The sun’s probably out, go catch a worm or something.
Think. Who am I? Logically…
Oooooooookkkkaaaaayyyyyyy – I have thought. I am an anomaly, a zombie who thinks. Whoo hoo. Madam will be shocked when I get there! Good. I am pretty damn sure she had something to do with my being underground.
Wish I could remember. Her and him, they must have done it together. Got tired of me after all this time, wanted me out of the way. So… when I get out of here I will check my skull, see if they hit me over the head. Seems a bit brutal but then he is, all that bodybuilding stuff, he could do it, no problem. I’m not as big as him. I wasn’t as big as him. I am not/was not –
Skullface, shut up.
What jabbed me then? Hold it… a bone! A large bone! I have a tool now… it’s not one of mine, I did a quick check. Mine are intact. It’s the flesh which isn’t. That’s soggy and soft and gives with a squishy feel.
Who needs flesh anyway? Let’s rid ourselves of it, prance around in our bones instead.
The birds, irritating as they are, invite me out. I’m ready to go.
Hello, world…
But not yet.
It’s slow progress.
What’s worse is, I’ve no idea how far underground I am.
Back to that logic thing, Skullface. Use your – as far as I can tell – unbattered head, why don’t you? You can’t be that far underground; they didn’t hire a digger to create a grave, did they? A spade and some muscle is all they had. So keep going, it can’t be far.
I hate people who are right all the time.
Crawling, crawling, see me go. Time to get hustling out of here before my bones get weary and decide I have to stop. It’s hard work, the damned earth is worse than a coal seam to get through, having only a bone to dig with.
The thought that the world awaits is enough to keep me going, though.
Pause for – breath? Do I then breathe? How strange! How very odd, how nonsensical… I think it’s my imagination, I think myself alive when I know well I’m dead.
What etiquette is there for a clapped out zombie, I wonder…
And then I ask, am I indeed a clapped out zombie and if I am, what is one of them? Oh inelegant English, zombie or not, you can do better than that.
I would suggest, Skullface, you stop bitching and wondering and thinking and get digging. Now!
I will, I will…
Could I stitch my flesh back together? Seams down my face and body? Frankenstein and all?
And while I think nonsensical thoughts, the better to dig without being weary, I ask, what etiquette is there for meeting living beings when you are half rotted and half bone…
Hey look, I see daylight! Hallelujah!
How long have I been underground?
Too long, it seems…
Out! Really, really out! Standing up straight, see me stand! See me looking and wondering where the hell I am. And remembering I have a mole’s skin in my pocket should I need a mask. Remind me of that, would you? Thanks.
Now tell me, what do I look like? And tell me, how long have I been underground and what is the ratio of decomposition to time spent buried… questions no one is around to answer.
Ha! Skullface, what are the chances of someone being stood right here with enough expertise to work out that ratio: burial x decomposition. I can tell you one ratio that it is: zero/zero.
Point taken. Don’t you just hate know-alls?
OK, with no one to tell me what I look like; let me tell you what the world looks like.
Overbright. Everything wears a crown of light that hurts. Colours that shriek. Noises that bang on the ears. Wind that blows the dangling bits which have not fallen off me – yet.
Tears. I realize what I am. Who will want to know me?
Tears. There is still moisture in the body, then. Surprised me, that has. Oh, I smell. The earth is not sterile. It’s full of bacteria and crawly things and growing things and decomposing things. Me among them.
I need a bath.
The sound of running water attracts me, puts the idea in my head.
Really? It normally has the opposite effect, Skullface, sends you rushing to the bathroom. You know that.
I wish I didn’t argue with myself.
Water. River. Look, see it run, clean and fresh and clear and inviting. I can dump what clothes I still possess right here and walk in and lie down… and let the water run over me and…
Ah, the wonderful feeling.
Hey, I still feel!
No you don’t. It’s all in your mind. All nerve endings are dead, gone, corrupted, decomposed; out of commission. Gone.
Stop it. You’re depressing me. Oh hell and damnation! I’m losing essential components. Look at that! An essential bit of me is floating away downriver! Ah, such sadness, lost forever… worse than that; my crowning achievement is now denied me. I wanted to use it… I wouldn’t have impregnated anyone; she accused me of being sterile and was no doubt right. But then again, did anyone test me? They can’t now. My chances of fathering a child are gone forever.
It’s my fault for wanting that bath. The stream looked inviting and it was easier than breaking into a house and borrowing the bath. The bits of flesh I lost might have clogged up the drain.
Stop thinking about it. That girl you dated back when, the one who went off with the chimney sweep, the one who… she never got pregnant, did she? Ah, but did you ask if she was on the Pill? You were pretty damn naďve those days, Skullface!
Too late to worry about it now. Move on…
If I stand around – dare not jump; might lose more bits – I will dry, surely. If not, oh well, damp clothes. I was told by the other side of my brain, which continues to lecture and argue with me, that I have no feeling anyway. So, does damp matter?
Well, yes, the clothes will be out of shape.
Skullface, what clothes? A rotting shirt and a creased pair of pants? We will conveniently, quietly, treat the undergarments as if they do not exist. Not in their current state anyway. ‘Nuff said, right?
Right. For once I agree.

EXTRACT FOR
The Skullface Chronicles 
(Dorothy Davies)


The Skullface Chronicles

The Unwritten Diary of a Zombie

(Not everyone who comes alive again has mush for a brain…)



On Waking

This earth bound space is very small, not sure how I got into it but here I am. Really, I can’t move, can’t stretch my arms and legs and my head seems fixed.
How long have I slept?
Slept? Underground? Idiot, what a stupid thought. I have to be dead, surely. Oh, what… I thought I was alone, but the creature who shares the space with me stares through myopic eyes, no doubt trying to work out what I am and why I’m there. I have no answers… In an effort to divert my thoughts; I try working on an escape plan but that – excuse the pun – escapes me.
There are two problems.
The first is, the creature appears to be a mole and I am partly in his chamber.
The second is; I certainly seem to be dead, if my rotting flesh is anything to go by. I can smell it. You never forget the smell of rotting flesh, says he with no experience of such a thing, so how the hell do I know?
Why ask me? I don’t know. But then again, how do I know I am rotting?
Well, perhaps the bits falling off as I try to move might provide a clue.
Am I talking to myself, or to you, oh mole? He stares at me as if petrified. Probably is. Not every day you go to your chamber and find a face staring back at you, is it?
A shocking thought has occurred to me. The mole has interfered with my eternal rest! Even in the pitch black of this subterranean home I can see his agitation and he surely senses mine.
I’m not staying here. I want out! I want to drag this body, rotting or otherwise, outside into the air. I want to feel sun, see shade; see people…
Oh. Another shocking thought. They won’t want to see me. Foolish creature, why had I not thought of that?
Because, oh foolish creature, you are fresh woken from sleep – or death - by a mole, of all things. You cannot think rationally.
Yet.
But you will. Oh yes, you will…
Meantime, whilst you learn to think rationally for once, meditate on why you should be bothered by your eternal rest being disturbed. What does it matter? Is there a reason you should be bothered?
Oh yes, I want –
Say it.
What do I want? Why have I woken up? What has disturbed me? Something pounding in what passes for a brain…
The word, the concept, the thought of -
Revenge.
Ha! She thought I would be forever buried, for sure! And here I am, awake – just, functioning – just, thinking – probably… the last thing she will ever believe is that I’ll come back, stand on the doorstep and demand she let me in. What I will do then is anyone’s guess. A lot depends on how rotted I am, if you see what I mean.
Some of me has decomposed: I can’t remember my name. Or where I lived. Or where she lives. Or what happened to me. Why am I assuming she killed me?
Now you’re being stupid. Why else would you be in some underground space, no coffin, no nice satin to surround you, no head on a pillow… I despair at just how stupid and confused you are. And you want to get out there, in the real world?
Are you ready for that?
No. what I am ready for is food. I hunger, a deep burning hurting clawing hunger.
The mole is no more.
I managed to move an arm, at great risk to the walls of the tunnel I appear to be in, moved and in his shock and petrification, he stood still, foolish animal. Is there such a word as petrification? Probably not, but it fits exactly the way he stood, wide eyed and rigid, as I reached for him.
And now the bones are crushed and splintered, the skin cast aside, the blood, rich and thick, is in my veins. I need energy and sustenance to push myself out of this mole hole. Time for the invisible to become visible, time to emerge into the world.
Do I have the gall to expose myself to the living? It would be fun to try and touch them, see them run… but first I have to get out.
Logic says I am too large for a mole hole. He must have burrowed into my grave.
Poor innocent creature. But the law of nature is the strong will survive. And we are top of the food chain. Even if we are dead. Or I am, anyway. I am, aren’t I?
You ought to know. You’re the one moving about. Is there breath and pulse and all?
No.
Enough! I have to get out. I am awake and need to be free of this earthly coffin. Not much fun, no satin, no mementoes buried with me. Not only that, it isn’t good enough, not by a very long way is it good enough. More to add to my revenge. If I get there. Wherever ‘there’ is.
I retrieved the skin. I might need a mask.
I don’t know why; don’t even begin to ask me why. I want a mask. Would you deny me that small thing? After all, here I am, dead and buried and asking nothing of the world but the sticky gory untanned skin of a foolish helpless mole. No, it is not too much to ask.
Look, I’m making moves to get out.
Need to dig.
I can’t dig with one hand. Don’t want to let go of the moleskin. I can’t find my pockets, if I have any. Did she bury me dressed? Or did she take all my clothes to the local Oxfam shop and pretend I’d left home, or something?
How come I can remember her, even her name – or can I? when I can’t remember other things, like –
I can’t remember.
I wish I knew how long I’ve been dead. I mean, how much of me is rotted, how much clings to my bones, how much strength I have, can I stand? Walk? Reach out and touch? I might need to hold on…
The person who put me in the grave has the answers. He may think himself invisible, no, impenetrable, no… Forget it. Too much else to think about.
Hold on a minute. Just a minute. He?
He who was shagging she. Him. The blond hunk with the pecs and the abs and the whatever-you-call-it stomach. Him. Damn it to hell, what’s his name?
I want revenge!
I’ll wish him gallstones, that’ll do for now.
My revenge will come later. Time to plan. Ha!



Internal Dialogue

Madam, I come!
Hold on just a moment. Stop it! I just said that! Or something very like that anyway. Damn thoughts invading my mind.
Dead = grave = quiet = what? Eternal life? Ghost existence? But I think, I know I move, earth falls in, so; if I’m one of the living dead, surely I should be grunting and snarling and seeking human brains to eat.
Hold on just a moment – again.
Listen, Skullface, stop it with the repetition. No one wants a repetitive wind up creature, even if it is a zombie.
Rationalise. Realise. Zombies are not supposed to think, allegedly. Here I am, thinking. What went wrong?
Ha! You always were different, Skullface. Always the odd one out. I can remember that much at least.
Shut up chirping, birds! I can’t think with all your inane chatter going on. The sun’s probably out, go catch a worm or something.
Think. Who am I? Logically…
Oooooooookkkkaaaaayyyyyyy – I have thought. I am an anomaly, a zombie who thinks. Whoo hoo. Madam will be shocked when I get there! Good. I am pretty damn sure she had something to do with my being underground.
Wish I could remember. Her and him, they must have done it together. Got tired of me after all this time, wanted me out of the way. So… when I get out of here I will check my skull, see if they hit me over the head. Seems a bit brutal but then he is, all that bodybuilding stuff, he could do it, no problem. I’m not as big as him. I wasn’t as big as him. I am not/was not –
Skullface, shut up.
What jabbed me then? Hold it… a bone! A large bone! I have a tool now… it’s not one of mine, I did a quick check. Mine are intact. It’s the flesh which isn’t. That’s soggy and soft and gives with a squishy feel.
Who needs flesh anyway? Let’s rid ourselves of it, prance around in our bones instead.
The birds, irritating as they are, invite me out. I’m ready to go.
Hello, world…
But not yet.
It’s slow progress.
What’s worse is, I’ve no idea how far underground I am.
Back to that logic thing, Skullface. Use your – as far as I can tell – unbattered head, why don’t you? You can’t be that far underground; they didn’t hire a digger to create a grave, did they? A spade and some muscle is all they had. So keep going, it can’t be far.
I hate people who are right all the time.
Crawling, crawling, see me go. Time to get hustling out of here before my bones get weary and decide I have to stop. It’s hard work, the damned earth is worse than a coal seam to get through, having only a bone to dig with.
The thought that the world awaits is enough to keep me going, though.
Pause for – breath? Do I then breathe? How strange! How very odd, how nonsensical… I think it’s my imagination, I think myself alive when I know well I’m dead.
What etiquette is there for a clapped out zombie, I wonder…
And then I ask, am I indeed a clapped out zombie and if I am, what is one of them? Oh inelegant English, zombie or not, you can do better than that.
I would suggest, Skullface, you stop bitching and wondering and thinking and get digging. Now!
I will, I will…
Could I stitch my flesh back together? Seams down my face and body? Frankenstein and all?
And while I think nonsensical thoughts, the better to dig without being weary, I ask, what etiquette is there for meeting living beings when you are half rotted and half bone…
Hey look, I see daylight! Hallelujah!
How long have I been underground?
Too long, it seems…
Out! Really, really out! Standing up straight, see me stand! See me looking and wondering where the hell I am. And remembering I have a mole’s skin in my pocket should I need a mask. Remind me of that, would you? Thanks.
Now tell me, what do I look like? And tell me, how long have I been underground and what is the ratio of decomposition to time spent buried… questions no one is around to answer.
Ha! Skullface, what are the chances of someone being stood right here with enough expertise to work out that ratio: burial x decomposition. I can tell you one ratio that it is: zero/zero.
Point taken. Don’t you just hate know-alls?
OK, with no one to tell me what I look like; let me tell you what the world looks like.
Overbright. Everything wears a crown of light that hurts. Colours that shriek. Noises that bang on the ears. Wind that blows the dangling bits which have not fallen off me – yet.
Tears. I realize what I am. Who will want to know me?
Tears. There is still moisture in the body, then. Surprised me, that has. Oh, I smell. The earth is not sterile. It’s full of bacteria and crawly things and growing things and decomposing things. Me among them.
I need a bath.
The sound of running water attracts me, puts the idea in my head.
Really? It normally has the opposite effect, Skullface, sends you rushing to the bathroom. You know that.
I wish I didn’t argue with myself.
Water. River. Look, see it run, clean and fresh and clear and inviting. I can dump what clothes I still possess right here and walk in and lie down… and let the water run over me and…
Ah, the wonderful feeling.
Hey, I still feel!
No you don’t. It’s all in your mind. All nerve endings are dead, gone, corrupted, decomposed; out of commission. Gone.
Stop it. You’re depressing me. Oh hell and damnation! I’m losing essential components. Look at that! An essential bit of me is floating away downriver! Ah, such sadness, lost forever… worse than that; my crowning achievement is now denied me. I wanted to use it… I wouldn’t have impregnated anyone; she accused me of being sterile and was no doubt right. But then again, did anyone test me? They can’t now. My chances of fathering a child are gone forever.
It’s my fault for wanting that bath. The stream looked inviting and it was easier than breaking into a house and borrowing the bath. The bits of flesh I lost might have clogged up the drain.
Stop thinking about it. That girl you dated back when, the one who went off with the chimney sweep, the one who… she never got pregnant, did she? Ah, but did you ask if she was on the Pill? You were pretty damn naďve those days, Skullface!
Too late to worry about it now. Move on…
If I stand around – dare not jump; might lose more bits – I will dry, surely. If not, oh well, damp clothes. I was told by the other side of my brain, which continues to lecture and argue with me, that I have no feeling anyway. So, does damp matter?
Well, yes, the clothes will be out of shape.
Skullface, what clothes? A rotting shirt and a creased pair of pants? We will conveniently, quietly, treat the undergarments as if they do not exist. Not in their current state anyway. ‘Nuff said, right?
Right. For once I agree.

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