Zandra and the Zombies
A Zandra Belle Story
Zandra knocked on the door and waited. She knocked again. Usually, Gramma was watching for her out the window when she came to visit. The door swung open and Gramma stood there looking flustered. She had a small suitcase in one hand and her purse in the other. Gramma exclaimed, “Everything’s in a tizzy. My friend Susan has an extra bus pass and an over-night trip to the new casino that opened in Tucson. Her neighbor bailed on her and she doesn’t want to go alone. I caved and said I would go with her, but I have to leave now or I’ll miss the bus. I’ll be home by eleven tomorrow morning. Uncle Troy said he will come over and spend the night.” Gramma exhaled a big sigh, “I’m so sorry I have to rush, but we’ll do something special when I get back.” Zandra only had time to nod her head as Gramma rushed from the house.
Zandra stepped inside and shut the door and smiled. She was never bored when Uncle Troy came over. It had been awhile since she had seen him, not since the crazy kite caper. It was something she would rather not think too much about. Zandra decided to go into the family room and watch TV until Uncle Troy arrived. She started to walk from the living room when she heard a loud commotion out front. Zandra grinned and spun around and hurried to the window. She felt certain the ear deafening noise could only come from one source. When Zandra looked out the front window she wasn’t sure what she was looking at. Smoke encircled the creature and it sputtered and coughed like it was dying. Suddenly the creature gave one final puff of smoke and then all was quiet. Zandra watched as the smoke cleared and saw it was a car? Well, maybe it was a car? She scratched her head because it looked more like an overgrown mouse. The bloated looking creature was grayish in color and had two large black ears and one of the ears hung lower than the other. In the back there was a tail, but it didn’t stand up straight because it was broken halfway down. The half-mast tail swung back and forth. The mouse resembling vehicle even had a couple of whiskers sticking out in front.
Zandra watched Uncle Troy un-fold as he climbed out of the creature, and he was holding a sack. Zandra hurried and opened the front door as Uncle Troy stepped onto the porch. “Hey sidekick are you ready for some fun?” Uncle Troy said, grinning widely.
Zandra nodded her head and asked, “What’s in the sack?”
Uncle Troy stopped in the middle of the living room and made a big production of opening the sack and with a magician-like ‘Walla’ pulled out a Wii game. “I hold in my hand the latest – greatest – Zombie Madness. It just came in today and my buddy at Walmart saved me a copy. He said they sold out before ten o’clock today and he had to keep this one hidden for me. It was Zombie Madness or the new batman game, but the batman game is only one player, so I got this one because it’s a two player.” Uncle Troy explained and handed Zandra the game and walked to the window and stared outside.
Uncle Troy turned around and told her, “Just checking on the rat-mo-bill. I didn’t get the brake set at Walmart and it rolled away and I had to chase it down before it pancaked someone. My old truck finally stopped running and the mechanic said it wasn’t worth fixing, and I got a really good deal on the rat-mo-bill. I’ll get the game set up and you can pop the popcorn.” Uncle Troy reached back into the sack and pulled out a bag of M&Ms, “To go with the popcorn.” Zandra hurried to the kitchen to get the popcorn started, thinking about the rat-mo-bill deal and hoped someone had paid Uncle Troy to take the bizarre creature home with him. Zandra determined that she would no way ever ride in the crazy rat-mo-bill. It would be worse than the wild mouse bumper cars at Golf & Game Land.
Zandra carried two bags of popcorn into the room and gave one to Uncle Troy and sat down beside him. Uncle Troy showed her how to use the Zombie shooter, and it took a few tries before she caught on how to shoot the Zombies to score points and keep up with Uncle Troy. “Way to go sidekick. Get that purple one hiding behind the building and we can get to the next level,” Uncle Troy yelled as he aimed the plastic gun and shot the Zombies stumbling around trying to bite them. The two bags of popcorn and all the M&Ms had been consumed, and the empty bags were scattered around on the floor. Zandra yawned again; it was way past her bedtime and she was becoming sleepy, and besides after hours of shooting zombies it was becoming boring. Zandra slumped sideways and fell fast asleep.
Zandra was dreaming that zombies were chasing her and she had run into a building with no way to get out. She thought someone was pushing on her shoulder and saying wake up. The push was harder the second time and the wake up call louder. Zandra sat up and squinted her eyes at the TV and through the foggy haze in her brain could see the Zombie Madness game was still on. Zandra yawned, rubbed her eyes, and looked around for Uncle Troy, thinking he was the one trying to wake her. But it wasn’t Uncle Troy in the room and in disbelief she thought she saw the Zombie girl from the Wii game standing over her. Zandra screamed, jumped up, and backed away, looking around for Uncle Troy. When she didn’t see him she worried the Zombies had taken him. Zandra quickly reached down and picked up the plastic shooter and aimed it at the Zombie, “W-w-what did you do with Uncle Troy?” Her voice shook as hard and the toy guy in her hands.
The Zombie girl reached out her arm and the ragged sleeve extended past her hands, “I’m not going to hurt you.” The girl’s voice was more like a loud whisper.
Frightened Zandra stepped back and again demanded, “Where is Uncle Troy.”
The girl answered, “I’m not sure. He left when the game became stuck on a scene.” The girl waved both her arms in the air, “Look I don’t have any hands, only these long stringy sleeves. I won’t hurt you, but I need your help.” Zandra wasn’t buying into the no hands trick, because she knew that Zombies would bite the normal people to turn them into Zombies. Zandra’s eyes widened with fear; was that what happened to Uncle Troy? The girl had bitten him and he would show up in Zombie form any minute and try to bite her. Zandra’s face expressed all of her fears. The girl waved one of her handless arms at the TV and said, “The game hung up after you went to sleep and your uncle couldn’t get it to continue. When he left, someone pushed me and I fell out of the game. Please help me get back into the game.” The girl pleaded and looked sadly at Zandra.
Zandra wasn’t sure if she believed the Zombie girl’s story and besides how could she get out of the game and into the room, but somehow it happened, because it was the same girl from the game. Zandra bit on her lip trying to decide what to do. The girl began to cry; Zombie tears ran from her eyes. “Please help me. I’m scared. I don’t belong here.”
Zandra agreed with the girl, she didn’t belong in Gramma’s house, “How am I supposed to help you get back inside the TV?”
The girl suggested, “Maybe if you restart the game and get to the place where it hung up the light would appear.”
“What light?” Zandra asked, she had not seen any light come from the game.
The girl sighed, “It was a bright light, like a glitch or something. Creed thought he was being funny and pushed me into the light, and I fell out.”
Zandra frowned, “Who is Creed?”
“He is one of the Zombies in the game and was my friend. My name is Quilla.” The girl explained.
“Zombies have names?” Zandra was confused.
“Of course.” Quilla acted like it was a silly question.
Zandra stepped to the TV and pushed the restart button on the Wii and the Zombie Madness game went to the start menu. Zandra pushed the play button and the game started at the first level. “This isn’t the place. You have to get to where the game hung up.” Quilla was becoming hysterical. The game started and Zandra’s Wii character appeared holding the Zombie shooter. Zombies began coming from behind the buildings toward her. Zandra wasn’t sure what to do. She didn’t want to shoot the other Zombies with one of them standing next to her watching. “There’s Creed. Shoot him.” Quilla pointed to a boy peeking out from behind one of the buildings. Zandra pointed the gun and shot at the boy. The boy started waving his arms and jumping around. This definitely wasn’t part of the game and Zandra’s mouth dropped open when the boy ran to the front of the building and looked out the TV. Zandra could tell what he was saying as he mouthed “I’m sorry” to Quilla. “Shoot him again.” Quilla demanded and Creed yelled ‘no’ and ran behind the building.
This wasn’t getting them anywhere and Zandra started to tell Quilla when she heard, cough, cough, sputter from outside, and knew Uncle Troy was back. “Hide,” Zandra yelled at Quilla as the front door opened.
Zandra was relieved when Uncle Troy came into the room, looking normal and not like a Zombie. He was holding a bag, “Good, you’re awake. I made a McDonald’s run and got you a breakfast burrito and OJ.” He handed Zandra her breakfast and asked, “Do you want to play Zombie Madness because I was thinking of returning it. It has a glitch I couldn’t get past it; I called my buddy at Walmart and he said I would get a full refund.”
Zandra knew she had to find the glitch to have any chance of getting Quilla back where she belonged. Zandra casually asked, “What level was the glitch on?”
Uncle Troy told her to restart the game and select his Wii character then go to his saved game. He added, “I don’t think you will be able to get past it either. I need to get some more OJ; these little cups are for kids.” Uncle Troy left the room and Quilla hurried from behind the couch where she had been hiding.
Zandra’s hand shook as she pushed the buttons and selected screens as fast as she could to get to the place in the game where Creed had pushed Quilla out. Uncle Troy’s avatar appeared on the screen holding his Zombie weapon and Zandra selected saved game. The city appeared and Zombie’s began stumbling toward Uncle Troy, holding their arms out and mumbling loudly. Zandra began shooting at the Zombie’s to score points and move ahead in the level, shooting as fast as her fingers could pull the trigger. Creed appeared running from the side of a building to the middle of the screen mouthing – hurry, hurry.
Zandra was worried Uncle Troy would be back when she heard the telephone ring and Uncle Troy answer it. She heard him say, “Everything’s good. We’re eating breakfast. Okay, I’ll tell her. Bye.”
Suddenly the TV screen lit up with flashes of light and Zandra knew she had found the place in the game and said to Quilla, “Get ready.” The screen became one bright light and it extended from the TV to the floor of the room. Zandra yelled, “JUMP.” But Quilla stood in front of the TV frozen with a scared look on her face. “Jump into the TV.” Zandra ordered, but Quilla wasn’t going to do it. Zandra stood up and pushed Quilla on the back just as an arm extended from the TV. Zandra shoved and the arm grabbed Quilla and pulled her into the TV. The light disappeared and the game went back to the scene where the Zombies were closing in on Uncle Troy’s avatar.
Zandra didn’t shoot at the Zombies because she was watching Creed and Quilla standing by a building, and Quilla was yelling and flapping her arms. Creed grabbed Quilla around the shoulders and hugger her tightly and Quilla stopped yelling. Both Zombies turned to look at Zandra and both mouthed ‘thank you’ and waved. Zandra waved back, not sure if they could see her, just as Uncle Troy came back into the room carrying a tall glass of OJ. “Hey, you got past the glitch. Why did you pause the game? You’re almost to the final level. I was going to return it today for the new batman game, unless you want to keep it.”
Zandra replied, “You should return it and get batman; a one player game sounds good.”
“Okay I’ll return it. Gramma is on the bus and should be home in a couple of hours. Do you want to go to Walmart with me?”
“No.” Zandra almost yelled and added, “I think I’ll read a book and wait for Gramma.”
Zandra watched out the window as the rat-mo-bill coughed and sputtered and in a cloud of black smoke rolled down the street. Zandra collapsed on the couch with one arm over her head. She had no intention of moving from the couch until Gramma came home. She had enough excitement to last a month.