Today I’d like to welcome Natalie Flynn, YA author and playwright (follow her on Twitter here), who has written a scary story for us. Fans of zombies will love this:
Who will survive?
When we got off the bus, I was still sulking. Even the twinkling lights on the pier, luring us in for an evening of fun couldn’t lift my mood. I’d been looking forward to Ashley’s party for weeks and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going now.
‘Are you going to cheer up?’ Jess asked. She linked her arm into mine and snuggled up close against the bitter sea air.
‘I’m just gutted,’ I said.
‘If he can’t see the amazing gem he’s just dumped, it’s his loss,’ she nudged me in the side.
‘Feels like my loss right now,’ I said exhaling about ten thousand lungful’s of air.
‘Aaah, stop whining, we’re here now, I’ve not raided this week’s wages to cheer you up if you’re gonna be a spaz all night. Let’s have some fun.’
We walked straight into the arcade and changed up some money. We did the two pence machines, the horse race machine thingy, we did a Van Gough sketch and tried our luck on the teddy machines but none of it made me feel any better. I should have been at that party and I should have been snuggled up with Ashley in the corner somewhere, he should have been stroking my hair or cupping my cheek as he kissed me and it should have been heaven.
‘I’m going to beat your arse in a minute, Jesus Pippa,’ Jess said when she held the door open to go out back onto the pier. ‘Right, that’s it, we’re getting tokens and we’re going on some rides. If that doesn’t make you smile, I’m throwing you off the end of the pier, okay?’
I sort of smiled.
‘I mean it,’ she warned. ‘Come on you’re doing my head in.’
A group of blokes walked passed us dressed as Ghostbusters and shouted ‘Happy Halloween’ and one pinched Jess’ bum as we walked towards the ghost train.
‘No way,’ I said looking at it.
‘Oh come on you’re a wimp,’ she smiled.
‘You know I’m afraid of the dark,’ I whispered.
‘All the more reason to get your backside in that queue,’ she grabbed my arm and dragged me over.
‘Forget Ashley,’ she said. ‘When we’re done, we’ll go and find those Ghostbusters,’ she winked.
When we got to the front of the queue, an empty car stopped right next to us. It was small and round and would hold just Jess and I. My heart was already racing at the thought of being exposed to God knows what in there in the pitch black.
Jess’ face was beaming as she strapped herself in and pulled the bar down.
‘I hate you,’ I said.
She took my hand and the car juddered before taking us into the house of horrors.
The darkness was overwhelming as we first went in. I could see literally nothing. I leaned in closer to Jess. The further I was away from the exposed side of the car, the better.
‘This is rubbish,’ Jess said as the car started moving up a slope. ‘Nothing’s jumped out at us yet,’ she said.
‘Good,’ I said.
Then something touched my head and I screamed and clung onto her as she erupted into fits of giggles.
We turned the corner and a man dressed as Frankenstein did a huge, really loud, evil laugh as he was lit up to the sound of thunder on Jess’ side. Alarm type noises were going off around and there were evil laughs and blood curdling screams which sounded so far away, they could have been outside.
Then we were plunged back into the darkness.
I clung onto her hand harder.
‘Wimp,’ she whispered.
Then the car burst through some doors and we were outside, on the second floor of the ride and we could see the funfair on the pier.
The lights, the music, the chatter and laughter down there – it was relief, even if just for a second.
I buried my head into Jess’ shoulder and sighed.
‘What’s going on down there?’ she asked, pushing me off and leaning over me as the car crept along slowly.
On the pier, some people were running around. Others were frozen, staring them in shock.
The car stopped suddenly and we were jolted in our seats.
‘What the…?’ Jess backed away.
A man had grabbed a woman and had her pinned to the token kiosk, biting her neck. Other people were screaming now. Screaming loud.
‘Jess,’ I half said, half cried. ‘Look.’
Then more of them came, running really fast, down from where the arcades were, into the funfair.
All the other rides had stopped and people were suspended in mid-air, gawping in horror at the scene unfolding beneath them.
The ones running were grabbing people who were trying to run away. They were all running in all different directions, screaming, being pulled down, pulled round….blood spurting everywhere as teeth were sunk into flesh and blood curdling screams filled the air.
Some people still just stood, staring in shock.
‘Are they…?’ Jess whispered. Her voice was about to break, either into cries or screams, I didn’t know.
I unstrapped myself and tried to push the bar up but it wouldn’t budge. ‘Jess, help,’ I said. She was gawping at the madness that had erupted below us. ‘Jess!’ I said in a shouty whisper. I didn’t want to attract any attention to us up here, just in case.
‘Why’s the car stopped?’ she whispered, almost catatonic. ‘Do you think they’ve got the guy down there on the controls? Do you think they’ve turned him already?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said. I wiggled out of the car and crawled across the floor on my hands and knees. I peeped over the side of the balcony, being careful not to be seen.
My heart either sped up to a million miles an hour, or it stopped completely, I don’t know. All I know was I could feel the panic in each and every cell of my body.
There was blood all over the place down there. People were being full on eaten by ugly, relentless, groaning zombies. The ones who were stood staring had disappeared. All that were left were the un-dead, feasting on the poor people that had just wanted a good, fun Halloween night out.
With my head poked over the side of the balcony, I watched with nausea but I was strangely unable to take my eyes off the madness.
Then one stopped eating the intestines of what looked like a really beefy, strong man, and its head jolted round far too fast for it to be human, and looked straight up at me.
It was staring straight into my eyes and I was frozen to the spot.
Then it was up and moving towards the entrance of the ghost train.
‘Jess, Jess, move it, move it,’ I said as I moved towards her as quickly as I could. She was backed against the wall and had mascara tears streaming down her cheeks.
‘I don’t want to die,’ she was saying over and over again as I grabbed her hand and dragged her through the doors and into the darkness.
‘What are we doing in here?’ she squealed.
‘There’s one coming for us,’ I said. ‘And you have to shut up.’
Her sobs echoed in the darkness as we ran up another ramp, past an old lady figure laughing like a crazed maniac and through another set of doors.
‘We need to hide,’ I said. I had no idea where the zombie had gone. He could have been right behind us and we were well and truly trapped.
We walked along the in the dark, with our backs against the wall. When we came to a model of a baby’s bedroom, with a cot and wardrobe and evil looking dolls, I grabbed Jess and tried to force her under the cot.
‘I’m not going to fit,’ she cried.
‘Get out then,’ I said and we went back out into the dark.
The next scary scene on the ride was of a man in an old jail. I kicked the bars until they swung open and pushed Jess inside.
‘We’re gonna die, aren’t we?’ she looked desperate. Her face was gaunt in the creepy light.
‘Just get down there, crouch into the corner,’ I said.
I sat in front of her just as we heard the doors at the end of the dark corridor burst open.
She sobbed into my back.
I took a deep breath in and blew it out slowly and tried not to look as three zombies approached the bars of our borrowed prison.
One zombie sniffed and walked away.
Another cocked his head to the side, sniffed, grunted, kicked the bars and then walked away.
There was one left. A woman. Her long blonde hair was matted and covered in fake blood and what looked like brains. The nausea rose up my throat and I thought I was about to vomit right there which would have been a death sentence. I had to keep my cool and stay completely still.
I swallowed the fear and sick back down my throat.
Her face was illuminated by a spotlight and her eyes were wide and darting all around out hiding spot. There were grunts coming out of her mouth and nose.
Jess’s arms tightened around my waist.
The zombie stopped still.
I was praying so hard that she would just walk off with the others. Nothing to eat here, please move along.
I closed my eyes.
When I opened them again, they locked with hers.
That was it. She’d seen us. We were gone.
Then she smiled. A creepy, evil, crazed smile.
Jess sobbed silently but hard and hid her head behind my back. I put my head down, closed my eyes and braced myself.
My breathing was fast and shallow.
This was how I was going to die.
I opened my eyes to see where she was but she was gone.
The zombie had gone.
I didn’t speak for ages, terrified that if I did, she’d come back.
Jess and I stayed there, clinging onto each other for dear life, our hearts racing, struggling to get control of our breath, for what felt like an eternity.
‘They’ve gone,’ Jess whispered.
‘I think so,’ I said.
‘This is it, isn’t it? This is the apocalypse, isn’t it?’
I didn’t say anything. My thoughts were full of how this had happened, how the world had gone from being completely normal, to overrun with zombies in what seemed like less time it’d take to make a cup of tea. ‘I don’t understand,’ I said quietly.
‘Why is this happening?’ Jess cried.
This sort of stuff only happened in films. It was as fictional as Dracula, The Addams Family and bloody Star Trek. I’d seen my fair share of completely predicable, stupid, far-fetched Zombie films in my time. I never expected to be in one.
‘Do you think it was some sort of terrorist attack?’ Jess said, shifting away from clinging onto me and wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket. ‘You know, like some mad virus? It’s possible.’
‘I don’t know,’ I said.
‘What are we going to do?’
‘We need to arm ourselves if we want to get out of here,’ I said. The adrenalin took back over and in my head I tried to re-trace my steps through the ride to think if I’d seen anything I could use to smash a zombie’s brains in.
‘We can’t go out there,’ Jess said. Her eyes were as wide as a full moon and full of horror.
‘Okay, not yet,’ I touched her arm gently. ‘We’ll stay here until there haven’t been any for a while.’
A man’s scream shocked the life out of both of us and we jumped back quickly, burying ourselves further into the corner. Then we realised it was the model of the prisoner in with us and his scream had been mechanical.
Then the whirring and clunking noises of the ride starting up again made us jump.
‘Oh my God,’ I said. Had they worked out how to turn on the ride? An empty car crawled past us.
‘Let’s hide in here,’ Jess said panicked. Her hand was holding open a door that looked like a closet in the ride.
‘What’s in there?’
‘Nothing,’ she said. She crawled in and I crawled in after her.
‘I’m going to ring Ashley,’ I said. I unlocked my phone and dialled his number. When he picked up, I could hear the sound of the party in the background.
‘Pip?’ his voice only just reached my ear. The service was bad.
‘Ash, where are you?’ I asked.
‘Pip I can’t hear you properly…’
‘Ashley?’ I asked. He’d cut out. No service.
‘We’ll stay in here for a while,’ I said.
Jess shared the chocolate bar she had in her handbag and I tried to come up with a survival strategy that didn’t involve jumping off the pier and swimming to France as she’d helpfully suggested.
We waited until about 3am. Nothing had happened since those three zombies five hours ago. We were certain we’d be okay, at least to leave our cupboard and grab some stuff we could use as weapons for when we got off the pier.
We felt our way off the ride.
It was dead. There wasn’t a soul in sight, living, dead or half-eaten.
‘That’s weird,’ Jess said. ‘Look at the rides.’
They were all packed away and covered up for the night.
The only noise was the breeze coming off the choppy sea.
The only light we could see where the ones illuminating the promenade on the shore.
‘Something’s not right,’ I said. ‘Come on.’
I linked my arm in hers and we walked quickly back towards the entrance of the pier, past the bar, and the first arcade.
‘Oye, what the bloody hell are you two doing?’ a man’s voice shouted at us as a door flew open.
We spun around poised for trouble.
He was wearing a security guard’s uniform.
‘I said what the bloody hell are you two doing? It’s three o’clock in the bloody morning, what are you still doing on the pier?’ he was so pissed off with us.
I had never been so confused in my whole life.
‘There…were…zombies,’ I stuttered. ‘We were on the ghost train.’
‘We hid in a cupboard,’ Jess added. Her head darted around. ‘Where did they all go? Were we the only ones to survive?’
The man’s face broke into a huge smile, and then he started laughing. Not just laughing a little bit, but hysterical laughing. ‘Are you two kidding me?’ he asked. Then he started laughing again. ‘Come here,’ he said.
We followed him a few paces to a poster in the window of the arcade.
DALLEBURY THEATRE PRESENTS
THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
WHO WILL SURVIVE?
31st OCTOBER 2013
We stood, with our mouths open, staring at the poster, for ages. I tried so hard to get my head around it.
The security guard was still laughing as he marched us to the entrance of the pier, got a huge key out of his pocket, unlocked the front gate, and chucked us out.
‘You’ll be alright getting home?’ he asked, still laughing as he locked himself back in.
Jess and I walked down the promenade a bit until we found a bench. We sat, looking out to the pitch black sea, in silence.
‘Nobody will ever, in a million years, hear about this,’ Jess’ head jolted around to mine. ‘Agreed?’
‘Agreed,’ I said, returning her serious look.
Then she buried her face into her scarf and cracked up laughing.
‘It wasn’t funny,’ I said.
She looked me straight in the eye, still laughing.
I couldn’t help it, I cracked up too.
‘Best Halloween ever,’ she said as we got up to walk home.
How would you react to a zombie apocalypse?