In celebration of the release of Detention of the Living Dead, author Rusty Fischer made a special offer to bloggers who were reviewing his next masterpiece. Instead of a run-of-the-mill interview he offered a customized prequel from Detention of the Living Dead featuring ME! Yup, you read that right, I’m the star of this sucker! Okay, I’ll deflate my ego and let you read Skipping Zombie School: A Deleted “Prequel” scene from Detention of the Living Dead. Come back on Thursday to read my review and now, I hand this sucker over to Rusty!
Skipping Zombie School: A Deleted “Prequel” Scene from Detention of the Living Dead
By Rusty Fischer, author of Detention of the Living Dead
Detention of the Living Dead is about a group of high schoolers doomed to detention when a zombie stumbles in and turns them all into the living dead. That’s not a spoiler, btw; it’s on the back of the book! But what would happen if a student who was supposed to be at school that day skipped, and had to watch all her friends, teachers, and faculty attacked in a zombie Armageddon from the sidelines? Well, that’s what happens to “Autumn” (hmmm, now why does that name sound familiar?) in this “deleted scene.” Actually, come to think of it, this is a kind of “prequel” scene to what happens before the first chapter of Detention of the Living Dead. I hope you enjoy it:
Autumn was sitting in her third movie of the afternoon when she finally thought to turn her cell phone back on. They made such a big deal out of it before every movie nowadays – turn your cell phones off, turn your cell phones off, TURN your CELL phones OFF – that she felt like some mastermind criminal even sliding it out of her pocket.
But the movie was a dud. Well, with a name like Zombie Janitors Versus Vampire Cafeteria Workers 3, how could it not be? Still, it was better than going to school and, besides, she hadn’t been ready for her oral report in Mr. Skiver’s Social Skills class, so… eff it, she’d skipped.
Now, sitting alone, surrounded by empty snack wrappers and stray popcorn kernels tumbling out of the folds of her favorite Catfish Cove High School volleyball hoodie, Autumn watched her sleek cell phone spring to life.
The screen glowed an eerie, bluish white in the empty theater as the head zombie janitor shoved a broken mop handle through the heart of the head vampire cafeteria worker, making Autumn wonder: how did zombies get so smart?
Then the phone sprang to life in her hand, vibrating steadily as it calculated all her missed calls and texts. There was a little red number next to her neon green “text message” icon, but it had to be a mistake.
Autumn rubbed her eyes, blurry after nearly six hours spent in the Catfish Cove Cinemas, and then rubbed them again: 161 text messages, and it was still going.
Could that be right? She could count on one hand the number of people who might text her in a day, and who she might text back, but… 183 messages? She was lucky if she got that many in a whole week, let alone a single day.
She started scrolling through them, one by one, a nauseous kind of dread filing the pit of her stomach, and not just from the dozens of red vines and chocolate covered raisins and circus peanuts she’d downed in her Friday afternoon horror movie fest.
There were a few from her mom:
“Are you at school, dear? Something funny’s going on there…”
“Dear, why aren’t you picking up? I can’t believe a girl who constantly has her cell phone in her hand won’t write her own mother back?”
“Am I doing this right?”
“Are you even getting these? Stupid phone…”
“Honey, write me back please. Why would your school be on the news? Are they having a bomb threat or something there?”
“Are you unable to write me back? Now the news is breaking into my soap opera, saying the cops are there. I see ambulances in the teacher parking lot…”
“Autumn, where are you?”
There were a few from random classmates, like Celia, who was supposed to give the oral report with her: “Girl, can’t believe you ditched me like this. Don’t worry; I covered for you. Hope you’re happy with the B+ we got.”
“Autumn, are you getting these? Something weird’s going on here. It’s like we’re being invaded by a ton of foreign exchange students, all these weird kids stumbling around the halls I’ve never seen before.”
“PS: none of them are cute.”
But the worst texts of all were from her one and only real BFF, April:
“Autumn, why weren’t you in Social Skills today? Celia gave a pretty lame report for you. Write me back, chick.”
“Autumn, are you skipping without me?”
“You’re skipping, aren’t you? I forgot; that stupid new zombie movie came out today, didn’t it? The one you’ve been squawking about? What is it? Alien Janitors Versus Zombie Custodians or some stupid thing?”
“Write me, Autumn, sheesh; you must need to take a bathroom break at some point.”
“This place is totes Weirdsville today. All these new students roaming around, pretty gross dudes with weird skin.”
“The cops are here, Autumn. I hear sirens going, too. Where are you?”
“Now the school’s on lockdown, girl. I hope you’re safe. Wish me luck, not sure what’s going to happen. Oh, wait, here comes one of those new students walking into the room…”
The last text from April was an hour earlier. Autumn stood, popcorn falling everywhere. She was normally really good about picking up all her junk food and throwing it away, but today she just got up, walked down the aisles and straight out of the theater. She didn’t realize she was still clutching her red vines bag until she stepped into the lobby and heard it crinkling in her clenched fist.
The lobby was empty, the cashiers behind the concession counter gone, not an usher in the place. “Hello?” she called out, but nothing. No one.
She looked down at her phone; it was 4:41 p.m. The front doors were open, the parking lot empty except for her little red pickup, a hand-me-down from her stepdad.
She was headed for it when she smelled smoke. She turned, finding an usher and a chick from the concession stand smoking behind the corner of the theater.
“Hey,” the usher called out, his black polyester vest unbuttoned, his clip-on bowtie hanging from one side of his open shirt collar. “What are you doing in there?”
She stood, blinking. “Watching Zombie Janitors Versus Vampire Cafeteria Workers 3, why? And what are you doing out here?”
The two Catfish Cove Cinemas employees looked at each other, disbelieving. “Didn’t you hear us? We evacuated the theater, like, half an hour ago?”
“No one told me,” Autumn said.
The usher blushed, looking to the girl. “I thought Theater 6 was on your list, Cherise.”
She nodded and avoided Autumn’s eyes. “Sorry.”
“Why? Why is nobody here? What is going on?”
“Some trouble at the school,” said the kid, itching some peach fuzz on his chin. “Didn’t you hear the siren? The emergency one from the top of the hospital?”
“I was in the movie,” she muttered, turning from them, running to her car. It leapt to life beneath her fingers and charged from the parking lot, stripping gears all the way down Mullet Lane, taking two tires on Snapper Avenue.
There was a roadblock just before the school, three cop cars and a ton of those wooden stands they put up for crowd control. And there was a crowd, a big one.
Autumn parked her truck in the middle of the street, along with a dozen other cars, some of them still running. The crowd was milling, whispering, murmuring and there, toward the front, she caught sight of her mother, a tissue in one hand, her bifocals hanging around her neck from the ruby chain Autumn got her for her birthday just last month.
“Autumn!” she screamed, hugging her, tight, squeezing the breath out of her. “Thank God.”
“What’s going on, Mom?” she asked when she could finally breathe.
Her mother’s eyes narrowed. “Where have you been?”
“I… I skipped school today to go see the Zombie Janitor marathon at Catfish Cove Cinemas. The third one came out today and I’ve been waiting all year and they played the first two in front of it for the fans and—”
Her mother was crying, dabbing at her eyes. “I never thought I’d say this, dear, but thank GOD you skipped today of all days.”
“Why, Mom, why?”
“Because, dear, there are real zombies here. In there, in your school…”
Autumn watched as soldiers, big men in all black, stormed through the gym doors at the back of the school. There were more barriers in front of the main doors, and broken glass in some of the upstairs windows.
She thought of Mr. Standish, the principal and the stopwatch he used between classes to make sure students got to class on time. She thought of Mr. Skiver, her Social Skills teacher.
And April, little April with her red hair and pink book bag.
“April? Mom? Is April…”
Her mother shook her head. “We won’t know anything, Autumn, but… the cops said that anyone still inside was… was… either dead or a zombie.”
“She’s not out here, honey. I’m… I’m sorry…”
Autumn stood, shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, and looked up at Catfish Cove High. She should have felt sorrow, or fear, or shame, but she felt only relief. Relief that a movie about fake zombies had saved her from becoming one herself…
So there you have it, a scene that never made it into the book and that you can only find here, on the Fic Talk blog! Autumn, thanks for hosting me and thanks to all of you for reading this. And I hope it will add to your enjoyment of the book if you ever get to read Detention of the Living Dead, available from Decadent Books!
Yours in YA,
About the Author
Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry, as well as several other popular zombie books, including Panty Raid at Zombie High, Detention of the Living Dead and the Reanimated Readz series of 99-cent living dead shorts.
Rusty runs the popular website Zombies Don’t Blog @ www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com. At Zombies Don’t Blog you can read more about Rusty’s work, view his upcoming book covers and read – or download – completely FREE books & stories about… zombies!