Never Slow Dance with a Zombie
Author:E. Van Lowe

chapter Eight

Slowly they entered. There were three of them, their movements stiff and plodding. I looked into each of their eyes and saw emptiness. Still, I couldn't believe the Twigettes had become zombies. There had to be a logical explanation for why they were acting so strange. They started toward me.

"Hello, ladies. I see we're into the grunge look today." I was going for the cheery approach.

They must have still been in the clothes they'd worn to the carnival the previous night. Their outfits were casual-chic, but ripped in spots and smeared with dirt.

"Mmmmmrrimm," the girls were moaning. It was a low-pitched, eerie sound filled with despair, which started deep in their chests and rumbled up their throats.

I took a step back.

"I guess you guys will want to fix your makeup now. I'll just get out of your way. And I must say you really could use a touch-up this morning--no offense."

"Mmmmmmmm," they moaned. I stepped farther into the

room, away from the sinks and mirrors. They ignored the sinks and mirrors and continued toward me.

"Okay, no touch-up. That's cool. Actually, I kinda like the green and crumbly thing. Retro." I was nearing the wall, practically on top of Sybil. The zombies closed in on us.

"Stay back," Sybil called. "If they bite you, you'll join them among the living dead."

"Nobody wants to bite anybody. Besides, either you're dead or alive, you can't be living and dead." I looked over at the girls again. Their mouths had parted, and hungry spittle drizzled from their teeth. "Urn... okay, scratch what I just said about biting."

Just then the bathroom door opened again, and Amanda Culpepper entered. At least it looked like Amanda Culpepper. But this Amanda was wearing a rumpled yellow sundress, and she was green like the others.

"Oh my," I whispered, panic rising inside me. "Amanda Culpepper is ... a zombie."

"Now you believe me?" Sybil stammered.

"Yes," I said, as the magnitude of the situation became clear. "There's really no other explanation. The Amanda Culpepper I know would never use the first-floor girls' bathroom."

For a girl, using the bathrooms at Salesian could be a tricky proposition if she didn't know the rules. The third-floor girls' bathroom by the science labs was for the coolest of cool girls. If you weren't cool, you'd better have a deadly stomach virus to enter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the first-floor girls' bathroom by the entrance was for freshmen, freaks, and geeks. Any upperclassman entering the freaks' domain--even if she were near death--would be committing social suicide. Amanda would never, ever come in here.

While the other girls moaned, the Amanda thing snarled loudly as she started toward us.

My back was now against the wall, as was Sybil's. "They're going to bite us; they're going to bite us!" Sybil was losing it.

"Growwwl!" the Amanda thing said loudly. She pushed her way to the front of the pack.

"Oh, my goodness! She's the leader. She wants us for herself," Sybil called, screwing her back into the wall, covering her face with her arms.

The Amanda thing began snarling orders to the others. Slowly they turned and shuffled from the room. Then she stepped toward us.

"Don't you come any closer, Amanda." I struck a fake karate pose.

I don't know anything about karate. I'd seen the stance in a movie somewhere.

"Hi-yaaaa!" I screamed as I whipped my hands through the air, hoping Amanda might have second thoughts about attacking a ninja.

I looked into the Amanda thing's eyes, and through her snarling, I could swear she was laughing at me. She slogged to a halt, flipped her nose into the air, then turned and began shuffling after the others. Stopping at the door, she threw one last haughty snarl into the air and exited. Sybil and I were alone.

"That was close," she said with a sigh. "You saved us."

"No, I didn't. She wasn't afraid of me."

"Of course she was."

I shook my head. "I'm not good enough," I said softly. Sybil stared at me. "Don't you see? She didn't want us for herself. She barely acknowledged us. She only came in here to make

sure her friends didn't bite me. And you want to know why? Because I'm. not good enough!" I was suddenly livid.

"B-but they're zombies."

"I know. It's the ultimate insult. Not good enough to become a zombie."

Sybil's eyes widened. "Are you saying you want to become a zombie?"

"Of course not. But I am sick and tired of being snubbed."

She shook her head briefly before saying, "Whatever you say, Margot But now we have to get out of here."

She was right. We needed to tell the authorities what was going on at Salesian. That meant getting out of the building and away from campus. We calmed ourselves as best we could, and ventured cautiously into the corridor.