Read My Zombie Hamster Online

Authors: Havelock McCreely

My Zombie Hamster

BOOK: My Zombie Hamster
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EGMONT
We bring stories to life

First published by Egmont USA, 2014
443 Park Avenue South, Suite 806
New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2014 by Havelock McCreely
All rights reserved

www.egmontusa.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

McCreely, Havelock, 1975-
My zombie hamster / Havelock McCreely.
1 online resource. – (My zombie hamster)
Summary: Matt Hunter is expecting the latest sword-and-fantasy video game, but he’s in for a disappointment when he receives a hamster for Christmas instead. A hamster called Snuffles. A hamster that dies, but somehow keeps going. A zombie hamster that has his eye on Matt.
ISBN 978-1-60684-492-2 (eBook) – ISBN 978-1-60684-491-5 (hardcover)
[1. Hamsters–Fiction. 2. Zombies–Fiction. 3. Family life–Fiction.
4. Friendship–Fiction. 5. Humorous stories.] I. Title.
PZ7.M47841455
[Fic]–dc23         2014011730

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher and copyright holder.

v3.1

To Caroline, Bella, and Caeleb.

You know who you are and you know why.

Havelock

Contents
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24
Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is when they change the voice tracks on the Zombie Zappers. Or Zee-Zees, as everyone calls them.

They’re not really called that. The proper name for a Zee-Zee is Undead Neutralization Unit, or U.N.U. for short. Which is typical of the lack of imagination in adults. They don’t think these things through. These things need to roll off the tongue. They need to be catchy. I mean, how much cooler would it be if they’d called them Zombie Atomizer Pods?

Z.A.P.s!

Or Deceased Eradication and Annihilation Devices?

D.E.A.D.s!

I think you’ll agree:
much
better.

The Zombie Zappers are pretty much exactly what they sound like. You know those little bug killers people hang on their porches during summer? The bugs see this beautiful UV light, fly straight at it, then
bzzt
!—instant fried bug?

The Zee-Zees work the same way. Except, instead of bugs, they attract zombies, and, instead of UV light, they use recordings of human voices. The zombies are attracted to these juicy sounds of life, wander into one of the Zee-Zees expecting lunch, and bye-bye zombie.

I should probably explain about the zombies. (Or deadbeats, as everyone calls them.) There’s a chance this journal will be picked up centuries in the future and you might not know about them.

What can I say? They’ve been around since before I was born. I’ve never known anything else. Not like my parents. They talk about “before,” when they could walk around in the countryside, or travel from one side of the U.S. to the other without fear of being overrun by crazed, flesh-eating
monsters. (Although, when I asked them if they’d ever done any of those things, they got annoyed and said that wasn’t the point. The point was that they
could
have. Even though they hadn’t.)

It’s a tradition that the voices of the Zee-Zees are provided by the inhabitants of the town they protect. The winners are picked by lottery, and every Christmas Eve we’re treated to a performance of the new voices that will run all the next year.

This Christmas Eve was a big one for my family, because my dad had won a place on the voice track. (At least, that’s what
he
thought.) He’d spent the better part of six months coming up with what he planned to say, keeping it a secret from all of us. Even Mom. (No mean feat, let me tell you.)

The whole town had gathered for the unveiling of the voice tracks. The families of those who won the lottery were allowed to watch from the top of the twenty-foot-high, ten-foot-thick wall that surrounded Edenvale. While I stood there waiting for the event to get going, shivering and slapping my arms in an attempt to keep warm, I caught a glimpse of Charlie down below.

Charlie’s my best friend, along with Calvin and
Aren, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. We’ve known each other since kindergarten, when someone tried to steal my plastic shovel and she shoved his head into the sand until he begged for mercy.

I waved down at her. A second later my phone erupted with the sound of a lightsaber igniting. I opened the message to find an animated image of a rotting deadbeat with its eyes dangling out of its sockets. The caption underneath the zombie read: “What you looking at, ugly?”

I glanced down and saw Charlie grinning up at me. She was never happier than when she was insulting someone.

My mom flicked the back of my head. “Put that away. It’s about to start.”

I turned around to join the others. Outside the walls, on the mile-wide stretch of snow-covered grass that circled our town, were the Zombie Zappers. They looked like … well, they looked like portable toilets, to be honest. Green, upright structures barely big enough for one person to stand inside.

Our mayor cleared his throat. One of his aides quickly assembled a small portable stage for him
and helped him climb up. (The mayor was really short. Really, really short.) He now towered above us all, framed against the gray sky.

As always, the mayor was clutching his dog in his arms. (The dog’s name is Pugsley, and it’s a pug. Yes, Pugsley the pug. As you can see, our mayor is not known for his imagination.) The mayor started his speech, which went on for a long time. A really long time. “… count ourselves lucky, remember the fallen, yada yada yada.”

My eyelids drooped and my mouth fell open. My brain actually went into screen-saver mode. I only snapped out of it when the drool started to freeze on my lip.

Finally, it was time for the unveiling of the new voices.

The first recording to echo from the speakers of the Zee-Zees was a boring poem about life before the deadbeats arrived.

The next track was a long, really bad song about a time in the not-too-distant future when deadbeats and humans would all just get along and we could return to nature like the happy, peaceful people we all were.

It was terrible, but the zombies seemed to like
it. While the song played, a few of them shuffled out of the distant forest, shambling slowly toward the town wall. (Looking like my dad when he gets up in the morning.)

I say “like it,” but perhaps they just hated folk music and wanted to eat the singer.

The third voice was simply a list of names of those who had fallen in the zombie war. This was greeted with bowed heads and silence.

Then it was Dad’s turn. He straightened proudly and grinned at me.

“You’ll like this, Matt,” he said.

I’m just going to pause here for a second.
Yes
, what I did was wrong, and possibly mean. But it was funny, and funny makes up for a lot.

You see, I spied on my dad. I knew what he had planned for his voice track. He was going to read a short story he had written. Some kind of reversal on what really happened, where the deadbeats were now in charge and the humans were locked out in the forests.

This kind of thing didn’t go down well with the mayor’s office. Or the Zombie Police. I mean, I’d already seen them giving dirty looks to the folk-singer.

So, really, I’d been protecting my family from major embarrassment.

Plus, I’d listened to Dad read his story out loud. It was a good story, I’ll give him that. (My dad’s a writer, after all.) But it lasted for
forty-five minutes
, and if he thought I was standing up here in the freezing cold for that long, he was farther gone than I’d thought.

So I switched recordings. I’d made my own voice track after watching some of Dad’s old action movies and replaced the files my dad was sending to city hall.

I did it for him.

Well, that’s not really true. I did it for me. But it
benefited
him.

There was a moment of silence before the unveiling, then my voice echoed loud and clear over the speakers.

“Bring it on, zombie scum!”

“Right this way for the magical carpet ride … of death!”

“Fresh meat! Fresh meat!”

BOOK: My Zombie Hamster
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