Once Upon a Time – Chap. 30.4


This is a bad plan, Simone.” Seth stepped up beside the zombie while she came back around in front of them. As expected, Lucas lunged forward. Seth grabbed the leather strap of his shoulder bag and held tight. “Bad, bad plan.”

He can’t hurt me.” Simone flung a hand up at the mouthful of scarf making muffled growls at her. “I’ve taken care of that.” She lowered her arm slowly upon finally noticing Seth now only had one. “What happened to you?”

Seth maintained his hold on Lucas while looking down the hill to find the screaming henchman still faring surprisingly well against his three new friends. “Nancy needed a hand.” He turned back and shrugged at Simone’s scowl. “Not funny?”

Simone barely flinched as Lucas attempted jump at her again, causing Seth to skid forward despite already digging his heels into the ground. “You’re going to lose your other arm and hand if you keep this up.”

Then stop standing in front of him!”

He’s my brother and I’m taking him with us.”

And then what?” Seth attempted to backpedal down the hill with little success. “Simone, say we make it to the Kingdom of Fools and my friend can cast the same spell on him as the one affecting me. Then what?”

Then what?” Simone snorted at the question. “Then I’ll be able to talk to him. I can’t take vengeance on his killers if I don’t know who they are.”

Vengeance is just a fancy word for revenge.” Seth skidded forward again with Lucas, losing the extra space he’d managed make between them and Simone. “He may have died from natural causes or just doing something completely stupid on his part, you don’t know. But you want to gag and drag him across the countryside, ask someone to throw a spell on him, all for the sake of tracking down whoever murdered him.” He gave another tug back on the strap. “Is that really what you want?”

What I want”—Simone took a bold step toward him that immediately became a jump back as Seth’s grip slipped slightly—“is to have my brother back.”

Against his better judgment, Seth wrapped part of the strap around his wrist to keep Lucas from almost escaping again. “Simone, when I was alive, I was a traveling merchant who went from village to village selling common goods out of a cart. I was an only son and a head taller than either of my parents. I was a shy guy trying to build up the courage to say hello to a girl who will never even know I fancied her. I was good with kids and imagine I would have made a fine father.” He grimaced against another jerk forward. “But everything the living Seth was and hoped to be ended when I died.”

No it didn’t, you’re still here, you’re still you  because of the spell.”

I’m still here.” He nodded. “You’re right. And to some degree, I’m still basically Seth. But now I’m cursed, an atrocity, a monster. I am a zombie with the single-minded devotion to consuming anything living. It’s only because of my will I chose not to be a threat to you and Nancy. And it’s only because there are too many other things at stake that I don’t gladly welcome my own head be chopped off.” Rather than risk losing his other arm, Seth let himself move along with the fellow zombie’s next lunge. Simone thankfully jumped further back this time. “My friend’s spell didn’t change the nature of what I am and, I’m sorry but,” he managed a few steps back with his charge, “the same will be true for Lucas. Is that really the existence you want to bestow on your brother? To not only be the starving, pathetic, rotting beast he is but to become fully aware of it? Just so you can talk to him? Would you would want him to be so selfish if your roles were reversed?”

Simone began to argue but then shook her head slowly, staring straight ahead into the eyes of the monster stretching its arms out to grab her. “No.” She turned and stomped down the hill. “I would want him to end it.”

Seth suddenly found holding onto Lucas a much more difficult task given that the zombie desperately tried to follow her. “End it? I’m not sure I know what you”—he looked over Lucas’ shoulder to find Simone picking her pellet machine back up—“oh, right, okay let me get out of the way before you”—he ducked as the machine filled the air with one of its deafening roars. He jumped a foot back when Lucas fell to the ground a second later—“shoot.”

A scream further down the hill signified Nancy’s success with the arm mallet had come to a end. Simone turned and aimed at the zombie chomping into his forearm, taking the monster down just before doing the same to the two remaining.   

(A bit more somber than usual, I know.  Not that it was planned this way, but having this snippet now actually feels fitting for now. While Simone ends up saying her own goodbye here, it looks like my little Gizmo is truly not going to be making her way back home.  Sometimes both reality and fiction have their final farewells).


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