Let’s see, where was I? Ah, yes…
The coffin jumped a little as the truck skipped over a rough patch in the road, sending a jolt through the less unlively prisoners of the fine mahogany prison. I couldn’t help but question the wisdom of using such an extravagant casket (it was lined with silk, for heaven’s sake) for the purpose of ferrying captive zombies to whatever unspeakable lair it might be headed to, though the more important question of how one might escape from said casket sat foremost in my mind. I couldn’t be certain if the coffin was nailed shut, closed with a built-in clasp, or being sat upon by many or all of our surly captors. Whatever the case, escape was made impossible for now by the lid’s refusal to budge.
After a long while, I could feel the truck pull onto a smoother path, most likely a paved driveway, and after coasting past a particularly redolent hydrangea bush, come to a complete stop. Silence prevailed for a brief instant, until a brain-related sentiment escaped from the mouth of one of my less forward-thinking fellow captives. Outside, the occasional faint sound – a seatbelt being undone, a door being slammed, a gleeful “we got ‘em”-style whoop – permeated the thick shell of our casket, until with a jerk our prison was hoisted out of the truck and dropped unceremoniously on the hard concrete floor. I winced as the impact knocked the arm off of a zombie to my left with an unsettling plop.
“What’ll we do with ‘em ‘til the boss gets here?” queried one of the living humans outside.
“Put ‘em in the cage,” came the grim reply, placing a malevolent emphasis on the term “the cage”, as if this cage was a particularly bad sort of cage and that merely mentioning the cage should send a shiver down every undead spine in earshot.
As it turned out, however, the cage was simply your run-of-the-mill steel cage (albeit a very big one), which, beyond the suitable level of alarm it might cause simply by virtue of imprisoning zombies, was highly unextraordinary. When the lid of the coffin finally opened, we were in this very cage, now capable of examining our surroundings from our restricted spot. We were in a dilapidated warehouse, or perhaps an abandoned factory, with most of the floor-space cleared of any machinery or debris. The truck sat silently by an opening in the corrugated steel walls, silhouetted against the glaring white sunlight outside.
The most interesting feature of the place, however, was the unlikely trio of men huddled around a campfire pitched conspicuously in the center of the warehouse. They murmured in hushed tones so as to prevent us from hearing their conversation; so quiet were they that I could only discern their names, ages, places of residence, and favorite colors.
“It wasn’t a big catch today,” whined a small, spindly man by the name of Wheedley, fastidiously retying his distressing yellow bow tie, “but it’ll pay the bills.”
“It’s enough,” said Grumpyre, a stocky brute of a man who was apparently the leader of the crew.
“I get the cut for the well-dressed one, though. I caught it. That one’s got to pull in a little extra.”
“But I helped,” mumbled the third zombie hunter, Smern, an average-height, average-weight, entirely dull gray individual with no observable characteristics besides his absolute blandness. “I threw the net.”
“No, you didn’t! We didn’t use a net! You don’t remember what happened at all, do you, Smern?”
“Everyone gets an equal share,” growled Grumpyre. “That’s the deal. That’s how it’s always been.”
“Fine,” sneered Wheedley, “but at least let me have his tuxedo.”
As their tedious bickering continued, I turned to my fellow captives. One of the zombies, a certain Horace Toglinson, looked forlornly at his disembodied arm as it crawled slowly across the floor. Another zombie, the one who smelled of liquor, was peering through the bars looking or a way out.
“See anything?” I inquired.
“There seems t’be a towin’ cable on the rear o’ that truck,” he replied thoughtfully. “If we could hook it up to the cage and get the engine runnin’, we might be able t’pull the truck out o’ here.”
“I see. How are we going to reach the truck?”
I looked back at the disarmed zombie. He had picked up his squirming arm and pointed it in another direction. The arm proceeded to crawl clumsily on its new course, finger by finger, eventually feebly grabbing onto my shoe. In an instant, I had an idea.
“Horace, would you mind if we borrowed your hand for a moment?”
Oh, bother, there’s somebody at the door. I suppose I’ll leave off for now, come back soon and I’ll relate the conclusion of this unfortunate tale.