The old man moaned, emerging from the hay, and snapping at the unsuspecting rogue.
“Wilber Dudley, haven’t I buried you twice already? How is it you’re still alive?” Terrance got to his feet, trying not to slur his words.
Dudley scanned over his strange surroundings, his bloodshot eyes widening. A greenish-brown fluid trickled from his throat as he tried to answer.
“Well don’t just sit there like a wart on an old hag’s tit, get to work!” Terrance hurled a pitchfork at him.
The zombie shrieked as it pierced his lungs, pinning him to the ground.
“A little slow in our old age, are we?” Terrance wagged his finger. “That’s why you should keep fit like me, especially if you wish to attract attention of the female persuasion.” He winked.
The old bag ripped the pitchfork from his chest, and licked the metal prongs.
“Wilber, old chap. That does not become you.” He shook his head.
The cadaver hissed, exposing his broken teeth.
“I had hoped you might help me concoct a cozy patch to sleep on, but I fear you are just as dense now as you were then. Here, hold this.” Terrance polished off his bottle, and handed it over.
The zombie grunted at the empty vessel, torn by the memory of sanguine spirits, and wondering why he had not been spared a single drop. As he looked up, Terrance shattered his skull with a shovel. The old man twitched, emitting one final moan before the eyes rolled back in his head.
“Good night my crusty old friend.” Terrance nodded, and curled up in a cozy corner at the far end of the barn. But the old man reeked, far more than he could bear. Though Terrance had vomited in his own bed from time to time, and soiled his sheets with frequency, he always slept soundly. But the decomposing corpse was the king of tomfoolery, releasing a fetid plume of gas that hovered over Terrance’s comfy nook and did not stray. The rogue swiped at the hay, and pushed himself to his feet. “Fine. Let’s be done with it already,” he grumbled.
He slung Wilber over his shoulder, and stumbled into the field. Foul air erupted from the old man’s rear once more, forcing sobriety to Terrance’s weary facade. The rogue quickened his pace, trying to outrun the pungent aroma, always a step too slow.
Spotting the makeshift grave in the moonlight, Terrance dumped the corpse, and began to shovel. “Save your talents for the devil himself, old man.” Terrance stuffed him into the ditch. The cadaver unleashed one last blast as the rogue frantically covered him with dirt.
Exhausted from the day’s shenanigans, Terrance tossed in the last shovelful, and stuck the spade into the ground. “Farewell, Dudley. You are hereby released from service.” He made the sign of the cross. “Now I know why the ladies kept their distance, you cantankerous old goat. Lethal are you from close range, especially now that you are dead. Sweet dreams.” He pinched his nose and hurried away.
After a few moments, Terrance realized he was heading deeper into the fields. He tripped over a mound of dirt, falling to one knee. “Not the crocodile boots!” He brushed off the dirt with his hands. “You have no idea what I did for these, or what it would take to replace them.” He glanced into the empty grave beside him and froze.
Suddenly a hand burst out of the ground, pawing at the sky.
“Bloody hell,” Terrance groaned. He scooped himself up, and stomped on the cadaver’s head as it poked out. When he was certain he had sent it back to hell, he wiped off his boots once more, and walked away.
Yet a third cadaver materialized, tearing grapes from vines.
“Hold that thought for one moment.” Terrance stepped away, and returned with his trusty shovel. He bonked it on the head, and tossed it back into its grave, cursing all the while. “Let me rest in peace,” he growled.
As he neared the barn, he spotted a dead crow lying in the field. “Sure, why not?” He belched, digging a small hole, chucking the bird inside, and folding it over. He scooped up a chicken as he staggered into the barn, and placed it under his head. “Night my little chickadees.” He slumped over a pile of soiled hay.
Terrance awoke to the flapping of feathers in his face. Though one of its wings were broken, the crow continued beating them, eager to steal a chunk of his pink, warm flesh.
“Enough of this buffoonery!” Terrance seized the bird with one hand, bit off its head, and spit it across the room. As fell back to sleep, tortured rasps rang through his ears; the undead trio back for more.
“Why won’t you die?” He grabbed a scythe from the barn door, and lopped off their heads, burying their remains deeper in the fields.
But Terrance’s skull was even thicker than theirs.
When the decapitated bodies strolled by a third time, it finally dawned on the haughty brute what was befalling him. “The field,” he said aloud. “You draw your strength from the field.”
He grabbed an axe, and hacked them to pieces, burying the three cadavers under a tree on the far side of the property. And just as he suspected, they did not rise again that eve.
“The soil restores life.” Terrance scratched his chin. “A useful solution for nagging problems here in Southminster. Let’s have fun with it, shall we?”
He unearthed two carcasses from the neighbor’s yard: a scrawny gray cat that reminded him of Tess, and a squirrel that had been sliced in two. Unable to sleep, he buried them in his field and waited. After an hour had passed, the cat rose, licking its bony paws, and melting into the night. A moment later the squirrel followed, each half scurrying up a different tree.
Terrance crossed his arms, the moon looming over him. “Brilliant,” he grinned.
Lizzie dreaded leaving the comfort of her bed, but thought the better of it once she slipped into a fresh set of clothes, and got her aching feet moving. She opened the front door and gasped, surprised to find Terrance standing in the doorway. “I hope that you rested well.” She collected herself.
“Splendid,” Terrance replied.
The nun eyed him curiously, straightening the wimple around her head. In all her years, she’d never seen him rise early—not once—nor fail to complain about the barnyard odor that he now wore like cologne.
“May I come in, sister?”
“Did you learn your lesson?” she countered.
“The most important lesson of all,” he smirked.
“Good.” Elizabeth opened the door wide. “Now get washed up. We’re going to church this morning.”
“As you wish, my dear.” Terrance kissed her on the forehead, and stepped inside.