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Disco Zombie

by Luc Reid

Barry woke up feeling claustrophobic and irritable in a pitch black, stuffy place where something stank. Above him, something hard was in his way, and in annoyance Barry punched it. He was surprised and pleased when his hand smashed through easily, and surprised and pissed when dirt poured through the hole onto him. Aggravated, Barry bashed and clawed his way up through what was left of the hard thing and through the dirt above it until he broke through into an open space. It felt like forcing himself out of a birth canal.

He found himself outside in a misting rain and some hazy moonlight, and now that he was calming down, he began to notice strange things--like the fact that he had just clawed his way up from underground when the last thing he'd been aware of was passing out after doing too much coke at the disco, and that his gold pantsuit was rotted nearly to rags, and that he had forgotten to breathe and it didn't seem to be bothering him.

"Good morning, disco zombie!" someone called out, and Barry turned to see a skinny woman standing nearby, the ground around her scattered with heavy books and with candles that flickered under the protective shadow of a beach umbrella.

Barry took a step toward her, a strange, salty smell drawing him forward. Brains.

She stood up, snicking out a knife. "Hold on there," she said. "I need you to do me a favor." She held up a little baggie, and even through the bag he could smell that it was coke--which was funny, because when he was alive, coke hadn't smelled like anything.

"You knew I'd care more about the coke than the brains," Barry croaked.

"I made a point of using a legendary addict," she said. "It's how I'm going to control you. You play nice, or no coke."

He thought about it for a moment, stepped forward, and cracked open her skull with his fingers. The knife jerked into his chest and probably damaged something, but whatever it was, it didn't seem to be something he needed.

The brains were perfect: warm and savory. Afterward, Barry did the coke and wondered what the favor would have been. Then he went out to look for a disco.

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