Lawson gasped, and hurled his fork at the intruder. The zombie staggered, and then fell down, moaning at the splinter in its eye.
“Lawson, what have you done?” Lord Vangley stood. “I told you no weapons in Vissorouy!”
“My apologies, my lord. I guess I overreacted.”
Tears filled Vangley’s eyes. “Eleanor…could it be? Oh, momma.” He stepped forward and embraced the cadaver. “Look at you, aren’t you adorable?” He kissed the hole in her cheek. As he held her close, the shriveled corpse peeked over his shoulder with its one good peeper.
“Here, let me help you with that.” Vangley removed the fork as gently as he could.
The old prune hissed, and snapped at the patriarch.
“Just as feisty as ever,” Lord Vangley chuckled. He broke out a pipe, and lit it. “I’d like you to meet my new family.” He took a puff. “You’ve already met my good friend Lawson.”
“A pleasure, maam.” The hunter nodded. “My apologies for the fork.”
The zombie spotted the horse’s head and snarled.
“And this is my eldest son, Laurent.” Vangley pointed.
Eleanor lunged for the platter of carved flesh, landing in a dish of whipped potatoes.
“No, not the potatoes.” Laurent swiped them from her.
“What are you doing, Laurent?” said Vangley.
“Father, they are poisoned.”
“Is this true?” The elder stared at his wife.
“I didn’t poison the potatoes.” Olivia crossed her arms. “I poisoned your pipe.”
“What?” Lord Vangley choked.
“Wait a minute, that’s my pipe,” said Lawson. He reached into his pocket, and pulled out another. “This must be yours.”
“I poisoned them both,” said Olivia.
“So, grandmother…what have you been up to lately? Care for some wine?” Laurent offered his bottle.
The zombie crawled onto the table, and snatched the horse’s head.
“Don’t you think that’s unbecoming of a lady?” Laurent reached for her.
Eleanor turned, and bit his hand.
Laurent tried to shake it off. “Father, grandmother bit me.”
The cadaver nibbled on the horse’s ear.
“Here, let me give you a hand with that.” Olivia grabbed the carving knife, and stabbed the soulless corpse in the side.
“Olivia, what are you doing?” Vangley managed.
“Fear not, my love. I do not intend to serve her head on a platter, but your testicles are another matter.” She extracted the knife and pointed.
Napkins as capes, Dionte and Deverrell rolled out from under the table and pointed their dinnerware. As a second zombie howled and rushed forward, they flung their crude instruments at him, and dove back underneath.
“Father?” the elder exclaimed.
The withered corpse of Beauford Vangley jumped on the table, and wrestled away the head from his decaying wife.
“What is causing this?” Lawson looked about the room. He slipped past the two zombies, and sneaked down the hall. As a third zombie stumbled through the front door, Lawson kicked it back, and slammed the door.
The hunter peered out the window, and shook his head.
“What is it, Lawson?” Laurent staggered over. “Is this some sort of spell?”
“Not a spell, an epidemic.” Lawson peeled back the curtain. Hundreds of corpses walked aimlessly about, prodded forward by their hunger.