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Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 14/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Fourteen

Breaking and Entering in Reverse

As Liam, Bethany and Vicky sat in the dark of the meeting room, they could see though the glass panel in the door and to their surprise more shapes shambled along in the corridor.

Putting his beer down, Liam got up to take a closer look. “We must be in luck girls, the idiots downstairs must have got a phone working and called the cavalry.” He pressed his face up against the glass panel and jumped back as someone on the other side did exactly the same.

“Alright now, stop pissing about, you’re frightening the lasses!” shouted Liam at the person on the other side of the glass who just tilted their head at him as if trying to listen. They then sniffed at the panel in a disconcerting manner before placing both hands on the door and shoving, sending the door, complete with it’s frame ripped from the surrounding plasterboard, crashing into the room. In the moonlight Liam recognised Maureen Cooper, grandmother of three, payroll assistant and victim of the coach crash. She was staring at him hungrily, her mouth and arms already smeared with blood, her skin bloated like a three day old corpse  smelling of decay, mould and formaldehyde.

Liam leapt back towards the table screaming. The two telesales girls clung to each other in terror as Maureen shuffled into the room, dead eyes fixed on Liam. With self preservation taking over from mind-numbing fear Liam grabbed the first thing to hand. It turned out to be a bottle of lager and he threw it with all his might at Maureen throwing her off-balance. Emboldened by this small victory and having tripped on his own vomit on nights out more times that he cared to remember, Liam had a plan. He grabbed the punch bowl of fruit salad and threw it at her, most of the sticky, slimy, mess filled with globs of unidentifiable fruit dripping down onto the floor by her feet. Arming himself with a crate of lager he picked out another bottle and lobbed it at her head forcing her to step backwards onto the slippery goo. She wobbled a bit but didn’t fall, however her steps were getting more and more unsteady. He lobbed a final bottle at her chin and it caught her directly in the face, knocking her completely off balance and making her fall backwards, flat on her back. Liam dropped the crate and pegged it outside into the corridor. Running straight in the arms of Big Sheila from Accounts Payable – mother of one, wanted her son to be a doctor and was most disgusted when he ran off to be a advert developer, Liam had gone to her funeral. She grabbed hold of him around the upper arms with a grip of steel, grinning at him with bloodstained teeth then leaned in with them to rip open his jugular.

Beth and Vicky, having been abandoned by the only other living person in the room scurried to the other side of the table, lifted up the tablecloth and hid under the large desk.

As Maureen finally managed to rise to her feet she noticed that her prey had left the room but there was the sound of a feast outside. She sniffed the air but all she could smell was a sickly sweet odour that masked everything else. Shambling outside she found one of her brethren snacking on HER prey so she reached out and ripped the prey’s head off so she could taste her victory before the other stole it.


Further down the corridor, in the directors’ offices area, James and April stared as Gordon tried to unsuccessfully open the office door. His efforts had attracted the attention of more of the undead creatures and they were now bashing against the door, which was making unfortunate creaking sounds. Grabbing the largest filing cabinet in the room James locked the drawers in place before toppling it over in front of the entrance. Reinforcing the doorframe the filing cabinet moved only slightly as the zombies continued to heave against it. Between them April and James manoeuvred the other filing cabinet over to the door and carefully tipped it while lifting it on top of the first one. Secured by the weights of both of the cabinets the thudding dulled and the doorframe ceased to shake with every blow.

Checking that the window could open fully, James started routing around in the bottom of a smaller chest of drawers in the corner of the room until he came up with a large plastic container that appeared to glow neon orange even in the paleness of the moonlight. “I knew this would come in handy one day,” he explained, ripping the top of the bag open to expose a fold up fire ladder with an end that could be clamped under the window ledge of the double glazing.

Grabbing the mobile and stuffing it into his inside jacket pocket James motioned for April to start climbing down into the flower beds ten foot below his office window. Checking that he still had the telephone number for Reapmore’s Research and Development team as well as Dr Perez’s, he steadily clambered down after her, closing the window over as far as it would go as he dropped below window level.

No longer hearing the sounds of the rampaging undead, James and April allowed themselves to relax a slightly before wondering how they were going to explain this one.


Down in the reception area the rest of the party goers were blissfully unaware of the carnage taking place upstairs and were just about giving up on looking for the analogue phone.

“Someone must have nicked it to take home,” declared Raj, annoyed at the lack of a fairly vital piece of kit.

“Just like my car,” pointed out Nat, fuming.

“There could be one in the stationary cupboard,” pointed out Kim. “A phone I mean. Sorry, Nat. I’m sure you’ll get it back, blackouts always bring out the hooligans but the police are probably bringing in extra people to compensate.

“Well at least I can go have a drink now I don’t have to worry about driving home. I’m going back upstairs to wait this out.” Nat slumped dejectedly towards the stairs.

“Wait up,” called Hella. “I’ll come with you. One should never drink alone when depressed.”

“Fine,” said Shona, annoyed at this apparent abandonment, “Kim, Raj, Pete and I will scrabble around down here, in the dark, just for you.”

Pete looked at her questioningly as if to say ‘I didn’t agree to that!’ but was put in his place by a withering glare.

Hella’s voice echoed down the stairwell, “you go do that honey, we’ll be waiting for you up here with the booze.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t work on the Swedish,” pointed out Pete, quietly. “Second language and all that.”


In the corridor outside the meeting room Maureen and Big Sheila heard the sounds of more prey chattering while unwittingly climbing the stairs, right into their hunting ground. Shuffling back into the shadows they waited for the right time to strike.

Stepping out of the glass windowed stairwell Nat and Hella advanced into the dark of the central first floor corridor. The only light was from the windows at the far ends and their eyes were still adjusting when Hella nearly stumbled over a low lump in the corridor.

“Helvete!” she swore catching the wall before she could fall. “Someone’s dropped a handbag. I could have broken my ankle in these shoes!”

“Hang on a second,” muttered Nat bringing his mobile phone from out of his pocket, “this should give us enough light to navigate by.” He flicked on the mobile and the obstruction was illuminated – Liam’s dead stare gazed up at them from his disembodied head, the rest of his form a few feet down the corridor. Hella stared in horror while Nat was completely disbelieving of the scene in front of them. “Liam, mate,” he called out, “joke’s over! This ain’t funny.”

A growl from behind the two of them made them both turn. Silhouetted against the far windows was a large form, snarling, with a viscous liquid dripping from its outstretched fingers. Nat froze, recognising the illuminated face of Big Sheila as she lumbered within range of the mobile’s tiny light. Hearing shuffling behind her Hella jumped around to see another blood soaked creature shuffling out of the photocopier alcove, cutting them off from the stairwell.

Hella quietly cursed her own vanity for insisting she wore high heels. Then carefully, just in case the things started moving faster, slipped off her shoes and bent down to pick them up. This appeared to be the trigger for the thing that wore Maureen Cooper’s face to lunge forward towards her. She lashed out with one of the stilettos and caught her attacker solidly in the temple. The heel of the stiletto sank halfway into the decomposing flesh and shattered part of the skull, Maureen appeared stunned, sinking down to her knees and trying to wipe away the blood that was pouring into her eyes and obscuring what little vision she had in this light. Hella took the opportunity to vault over Liam’s body, landing in stocking feet on the squelching, sticky carpet and ran like the wind back towards the stairwell.

Behind her, Big Sheila had lunged at Nat but was distracted as her other prey started trying to escape. Nat grabbed the outstretched arm and tried to remember years of childhood judo that he’d always hated his parents for putting him through. Moving unexpectedly forward he tipped Sheila to the side using her own momentum and sent her crashing to the floor, sending up splashes of Liam’s spilt blood. He was congratulating himself on this turn of events when a stabbing pain coursed through his lower leg as Maureen, now reduced to crawling blindly on the floor, found a new target and bit into the juicy calf. Panicked, bleeding and in immense amount of pain, Nat tried to pull away but Maureen’s jaw was locked tight and she just succeeded in ripping the muscle away from the bone. Screaming in agony Nat keeled over, weeping in pain. Next to him Big Sheila lunged over to attack his arms, sinking her teeth into the shoulder and pulling away a long strip of flesh. Nat was still screaming when her next bite severed his windpipe.

Hella reached the fire door to the stairwell and threw herself through it, nearly colliding with the shambling form of Anil Patel, the extremely former tax accountant. He rocked back but didn’t fall as she scrambled past him down to the bottom of the staircase. She leapt the last few steps and turned towards the exit, only to find the way blocked by Galina, the little Polish temp that she’d never really made an effort to talk to when she was alive. Hefting her remaining stiletto in one hand, Hella edged slowly around the walls, not entirely sure whether the motionless undead girl had seen her or not. As soon as she got within a reasonable distance of the door, urged on by the shambling of Anil on the steps above her, Hella made a break for freedom, swinging the stiletto wildly to ward off attacks from her shorter, more petite adversary. The first blow hit just under Galina’s shoulder and sunk in between two of the highest ribs, resisting Hella’s attempts to pull it back out. Galina blinked at the sudden attack, snarled and reached out to grab Hella’s arm before she could let go of the shoe. Somewhere behind her Hella could hear Anil reaching the bottom of the stairs and tried desperately to wrench her arm from Galina’s grasp. Trying to get away she pushed against the door against which Galina was leaning, only to realise that she needed to pull the doors open, for which she needed to push Galina out of the way. The momentary lapse of concentration while Hella contemplated the door was all Galina needed and she lunged down to take a bite of the blood filled forearm she had hold of. Hella’s shrill scream reverberated around the entire ground floor and travelled up through most of the building drawing the zombies towards the sound of the helpless prey. Too late she realised that Anil had crossed to the doorway and there was no more chance of escape.


Searching around the stationary cabinets Pete, Kim, Shona and Raj could hear banging and thumping from upstairs.

Pete stopped rummaging through one of the boxes to gaze wistfully up at the ceiling. “Sounds like someone’s having fun up there. They must have found speakers for someone’s mp3 player. Listen to all the fun you’re making me miss”

Raj didn’t bother looking up. “Knowing your luck that’s actually Holt and Lawrence having a quickie in one of the closets.”

Pete blanched even paler than his usual complexion and muttered, “why do you have to do such horrible things to my fragile psyche?”

“Because I’m evil,” replied Raj with a grin which disappeared at the sound of a shrill scream outside.

The foursome rushed outside into the reception area looking outwards onto the car parking area, fully expecting the scream to have come from outside. When there was no movement they backed away from the shutters, only for the scream to ring out again – only this time from across the corridor near the lifts. They watched, stunned as a bloody hand appeared in the window to the stairwell and scrabbled across the glass only to go limp and slide down leaving blood smears down the safety glass.

Gathering up his courage and telling himself ‘it must just be someone who fell down the stairs in the dark,’ Raj led the others in creeping quietly towards the stairway door just as the face of the company’s deceased tax accountant looked though the window. With the light from the large windows in reception all four of the recognised him and noted the barred teeth, the blood smeared mouth and the decomposing complexion. They ran.

Kim was the first to calm down and looked behind to see nothing was following them as they ran into the open plan sales office.

“Oh god, what was that!” exclaimed Shona breathlessly, silently praising the masochistic tendency that had made her sign up with a gym and actually keep up the training.

“Zombie.” Raj looked more scared than any of them had seen the normally laid back network admin.

“Um, they only appear in films and comics and stuff,” Pete attempted to rationalise the situation.

“Nope,” said Kim firmly, “they’re also in our building. Taking over our dead employees. Not a good situation.”

“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!” The full realisation that the living dead may, in all honesty, be besieging the world was starting to dawn on Shona.

“Is it just us or is it everywhere?” asked Pete, worried.

The other three looked at him incredulously. “Well in the nanosecond you weren’t paying attention I managed to get the electricity on, plug into the Internet, read the worldwide news, then disable the leccie again and still escape from the zombies,” intoned Raj sarcastically.

“Um, yeah, ok, that was a dumb question,” admitted Pete. “So what do we do now?”

“Weapons,” said Shona, determinedly.

“Uh huh?” Kim looked at her warily. “What do you think we are? Secret survivalists who keep a stash of guns in their desks?”

“Nope, nothing like that,” grouched Shona back at her, “but there aught to be something to fend off those… those things.” A sudden inspiration struck her. “There’s a fire axe next to the server room door!”

Pete looked at her dubiously. "You've gone from 'Oh my god' to 'kill 'em all' rather quickly."

"I'm in IT.” She levelled the glare of doom at him, “we hate all our users. Just because they're dead doesn't change that - it just means that the prosecutability of the consequences is a great deal less."

Thinking back to how the IT department usually dealt with the users, Pete had to concede at that. "Good point. Though I'm not entirely sure that prosecutability is a real word"

“Come on, I think I saw some more stuff we can use in the kitchen too,” whispered Raj urgently from the doorway. “We have to get moving before those things figure out how to pull a handle rather than push.”

The four of them crept carefully down the corridor towards the server room, avoiding the circular corridor that looped around the lift and staircase area. Liberating the fire axe from it’s casing (Shona hefting it with more familiarity than the others were comfortable with) they slowly made their way round to the kitchen, listening carefully for any noises that might give away an imminent zombie attack.

Creeping into the kitchenette, Raj produced his card key and swiped it, opening the door with a flourish. At the last second he realised that the door would have failed shut with the power cut and grimaced sheepishly at the axe wielding Shona. “I think we might need a bit of brute force to get this open,” he declared.

Shona stood back then swung the axe at the lock mechanism with a practiced swing. The door cleaved around the blow and with a well placed kick she separated the door from the lock.

“How do you know how to do that?” asked Pete, amazed and a little bit worried.

“Used to go on holiday with my folks to North Wales. Somehow we always ended up in little self-catering cottages with wood burning stoves and large logs of firewood to split. I never thought it’d come in quite this handy as a skill.”

Mollified and fairly impressed, Pete moved over to the open cupboard and stood on tiptoes to look over Raj’s shoulder. Raj was bringing out what looked like a large cattle prod, another fire axe and a beheaded broom shaft.

“I’ll take the pointy thing,” said Kim and Raj passed the cattle prod over.

“You’d best take the broom too, to keep them at arm’s reach if the pointy thing doesn’t work,” asserted Shona to a look of horror from Pete.

“What about me?” He asked, wide-eyed.

“I’ve got a plan,” she stated. “You can be bait so we can attack them from behind.”

“That isn’t fair!”

“Life’s not fair.”

"Look, IT hate Finance and Finance hate Internal Audit,” pointed out Pete, sensibly. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?"

"Nope. The enemy of my enemy is a convenient distraction while I run away and plan something else," pointed out Shona with a equal amount of logic.

Raj stepped between the two of them, hoping to diffuse the tension. "Come on, cut the kid some slack and at least give him the broom".

“Fine,” muttered Shona, “but you’d better have another plan because that’s the only one I can come up with at the moment.”

“Errol!” chirped up Kim, “all his stuff is still at reception!”

“Security guard Errol?” asked Raj. “What would he have? I don’t think they ever had tasers or anything like that – Errol wouldn’t hurt a fly anyway.”

“Not his security stuff – his God squad, fundamentalist Christian Sunday school stuff! He always had that big bible with him and a load of other religious paraphernalia. That kind of stuff wards off the walking dead, doesn’t it?”

“It’s worth a try,” agreed Shona.

“And most importantly it’s on our way out,” pointed out Raj. “We can use the fire axes to chop through the lock for the front door shutters.”

With nods of agreement the four of them started the quiet journey back to the reception area.

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