Home > My Favorites, The Fiction of Fans > Day Sixty: Zombies Killed the Radio Star

Day Sixty: Zombies Killed the Radio Star

This piece was inspired by a recent episode of the Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR on Fan Fiction. At the end, Colin announced a fan fiction contest for the show. The winner gets some free food tickets, which is awesome. Now I can’t win, because a) I’m a relative of a WNPR employee and b) I live in Japan and can’t make use of the prize. But this was the idea that leaped into my head and I simply couldn’t resist. For some background, take a look at Day 32: Mea Culpa. Enjoy!

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“…but I think that the Senator really should have been more more forthcoming in the information he had and didn’t have, plain and simple. After all that’s happened – Waterbury, New London and – god, those poor people in Farmington, I think Senator McLaughlin owes the people of Connecticut more than just empty platitudes and condolences.” Bill Curry leaned back from the microphone and nodded to Colin, who turned back from his computer screen and glanced at Irene Papoulis.

“You know, I agree,” she said, “but somehow I don’t think that knowing what he knew and when he knew it is really our highest priority right now. Containing the Farmington Valley should be our highest priority right now, because those zombies are just ready to tear everything apart!”

“Oh, absolutely,” Bill responded, “although I would also say that restoring Waterbury to its original size should certainly rank up there, along with those poor lost souls from Washington’s militia. And then there’s the time stoppage in New London – you see? It just goes on! At some point there’ll need to be a full account of what went wrong.”

Colin held up a hand to his guests and jumped in. “Thank you Bill and Irene, we have to take a short break here and when we come back we’ll be talking to J.C. Steiner of the Connecticut Emergency Crisis Center, who can give us a little more insight, I hope, into what we can expect to happen next. Stay with us.”

Patrick gave them the all-clear from the producer’s room. The guests removed their headphones and started chatting about the topics they’d left hanging in the last segment. Colin typed up some notes on his computer, trying to anticipate the points that Steiner would bring up. In his headphones, Chion chimed in, breaking up his train of thought: “How about ‘Living Dead Girl’ for the bumper music in the last segment?”

“Only slightly tasteless,” Colin said. “Go for it.”

“And I came up with a good joke on the way in to work today – how many people from Waterbury does it take to change a lightbulb?”

“How many?” Colin tried to remember the point he wanted to make. Ah, yes, Social Security.

“Why change it when you can live in it?!” She laughed loudly for a moment and then stopped. “No, wait, that’s not right…”

“Keep working on it,” Colin said.

“Thirty seconds,” Patrick said. Colin nodded and gestured to Bill and Irene, who promptly put their headphones back on. “Is Steiner ready to go?”

“I’m here,” he said from the New York studio.

“Excellent. I’ll introduce you and then we’ll be ready to go.”

The music faded in – Chion had picked “Time in a Bottle,” and everyone around the table snickered. There was a countdown and Colin jumped in with, “And we’re back with Professor Irene Papoulis and Professor Bill Curry on The Nose and we’re taking about today’s press conference by Senator McLaughlin about the current crises we’re facing here in Connecticut, including – but not limited to – the time stoppage in New London, Waterbury being reduced to the size of a snow-globe by Galactic Overlord P’thn’aar, zombies, time-lost Revolutionary war soldiers – it just goes on. On the phone with us now is J.C. Steiner, the head of the newly-formed Connecticut Emergency Crisis Center down in Litchfield. So, J.C., tell us about what your group is doing right now.”

“Thank you, Colin, it’s a pleasure to be on your show. The Connecticut Emergency Crisis Center is working to -”

He was cut off and everyone in the studio flinched as a forcible “What the HELL?” erupted over their headphones. Patrick was yelling, and there was the sound of things being broken. Everyone in the studio stood up to look through the window into the production booth just as a bent and bloodied chair came flying through the glass.

The shards burst outward, causing everyone to duck and cover their heads. There was a heavy noise as Bill was hit by the chair and fell to the ground, and for a moment the only sound they could hear was the tinkling of glass shards falling to the floor.

Then they heard the guttural, wordless gurgle of the first zombie.

It sounded just like they would have expected it to sound, from countless zombie movies – stupid and hungry and wet. Colin and Irene slowly stood up. They couldn’t see what was going on in the producer’s booth, but they could hear it, hungry chewing and licking sounds that turned their stomachs. Irene looked like she was ready to throw up. Colin put his hand on her shoulder and a finger to his lips. He pointed to Bill and knelt down to wake him up, but it was too late. His head was tilted at an unnatural angle, and his eyes gazed unblinkingly at the floor.

Irene threw up. Colin glanced up at the shattered window where they could still hear the horrible, wet noises, and he guided Irene to the door of the studio. If there was just the one zombie, he thought, they might be safe.

But then, when was there ever just one zombie?

Slowly, as quietly as possible, Colin opened the studio door. He opened it a crack, looked and listened. There didn’t seem to be anything out there. “My office is right across the hall,” he whispered, “we can call for help.” He stepped out into the hall, looked again, and gestured for Irene to follow him. The offices were silent, except for growling noises from just out of sight.

Broken glass crunched under their feet as they walked, ever so carefully, across the hall to Colin’s office. The door was ajar and everything was in disarray, but it was otherwise empty. They hurried in, he closed the door and they shoved the desk up against it. “That’s probably not going to stop them,” he said. “At least not for long.” He picked his cell phone up off the desk and looked at it.

No bars. He picked up the land line phone, but that too was dead. “Damn,” he said.

“What are we going to do?” Irene asked, on the verge of panic.

“We’re going to stay calm,” Colin said. “We’re going to stay calm and -”

The door burst open, slamming the desk against the opposite wall and taking Irene with it. There was a sickening crunch as her bones were crushed. Colin was soaked with her blood, and there was a terrible groan as she died. Colin turned to the door to face whatever had done this. A vicious, red-eyed zombie that looked like Josh Dobbin shambled towards him, grabbed him by the wrist and started dragging him down the hall, yelling and screaming.

The zombie brought him to the station lounge and threw him inside. There were more zombies there, some old and breaking down, some horribly new. Patrick, Catie, Tucker – they were bitten and bleeding and staring at him in slack-jawed mindless hunger. He cried out in fresh despair. Whatever happened here had happened fast, and there was no going back now. If the Farmington zombies had made it this far, they’d probably spread across the state in days. From there it was just a matter of time.

Someone cleared his throat behind him and Colin spun around.

His face widened in shock. He backed away as far as he could from the door as the figure advanced on him. “You!” he said in a single, wheezing breath. “What do you want?”

The young man standing in the doorway was not a zombie. Not even close. He looked young and healthy, dressed in the latest fashion, just as he looked in the magazines and on television. His famous smile would have lit up the room if he weren’t flanked by two gigantic, decomposing zombies. They growled and slavered, but did not attack. One of them sniffed the blood on Colin’s clothes and lunged forward, but the young man held out an arm and restrained it as though it were a child. “You know what I’m here for,” he said. He ran a hand through thick brown hair. “I’m here for Wolfie. Where is she?”

“I…” Colin looked around – Chion Wolf wasn’t there. She wasn’t among the victims, and for a moment he felt hope that she might have escaped. That hope turned to bitter ashes in a moment, though. Even if she did escape, where would she go? How long would she survive?

“Where?” the young man asked again. “I didn’t raise my own zombie army just to be stopped now.”

Colin looked up. “Your… your own?”

The young man smiled. “Of course! What, you think I somehow managed to corral those things you have out west?” He laughed. “No, these are mine. I’ve always been able to make people do what I want, really. Thanks to Senator McLaughlin’s little series of accidents, my ability to control has become more… direct.” He walked slowly over to Colin, grabbed the front of his shirt and lifted him overhead. “Now,” the young man said. “One more time. Where is Wolfie?”

There was the distinctive sound of a shotgun blast. The young man dropped Colin to the floor and spun around just in time to see Chion pump the shotgun, point it at the second guard zombie’s head, and blow it into a fine red mist. She lowered the gun, took a couple of shells out of her shirt pocket and started reloading. “Right here, Bieber.”

She pumped the shotgun again and lifted it to aim at the young man’s head. “Let’s dance,” she said, and pulled the trigger.

Justin Bieber was faster than he looked, however. He stepped aside from the blast, and the hot buckshot spread out to hit the zombies standing behind him. Colin flattened himself against the floor and, for a fleeting moment, wondered where Chion had gotten a shotgun.

“Now, now, Wolfie, is that any way to treat your idol?” She fired again and again, he dodged. “I got all your letters, I know how much you’ve wanted to meet me.” Again, she fired and he dodged. “I came all this way for you, Wolfie. I raised a zombie army for you.” He reached out and grabbed the barrel of the gun, wrenching it out of her hands and throwing it to the floor. “I did it all for you,” he sang sweetly. He reached out and took her by the dreds, pulling her closer as she pulled away. “And now…” His voice went flat. “You’re mine.”

“Not yet she isn’t.” Colin grabbed him by the legs and pulled, causing him to lose his balance. He let go of Chion, who dove to the floor, hands reaching for the shotgun. Colin held on to Bieber’s legs as long as he could, but the young zombie lord’s strength was too much. He kicked Colin away, towards the waiting crowd of WNPR undead.

Furious, Bieber stalked over, reached down and picked Colin up again, dangling him above the floor. “I should have just killed you,” he growled. He slammed Colin up against a wall so hard that his breath fled his chest. “Maybe I’ll just make you one of mine.” He smiled, and his eyes burned a painful, poisonous green. “Welcome to my fan club, McEnroe.”

“Hey, baby.” Bieber spun around, dropping Colin to the ground. His burning eyes were looking straight down the barrel of the shotgun that Chion was pointing at his head. She smiled. “You’re gone.”

She pulled the trigger, and his head vaporized, blood, bone and brain spattering against the far wall. Bieber’s headless body teetered for a moment, and then collapsed to the floor.

The zombies howled and screamed, a noise that went straight into the ears and down the spine. Chion dropped the shotgun and covered her ears. Colin crawled over to her, trying to cover his own ears as he did so. He wanted to ask if she was okay, if either of them were okay, but the noise dug into the back of their brains like hooks. The zombies started twitching and thrashing about, trembling and flinging themselves from side to side, all the while their voices melding together in an unholy cacophony of pain and damnation.

Green fire burst from their eyes and their mouths, playing all over their bodies, and where it passed the decay, the rot, the torn and rent flesh was repaired. Bones knit, wounds healed, and life was returned to what had once been shambling corpses. The noise grew in pitch and volume, to where it seemed like something other than just noise. Chion and Colin were sure that their eardrums had burst, that their brains were going to fail when the screaming… Stopped.

They looked up. Their colleagues, zombies no more, slowly got to their feet. The horror in their eyes was a horrible revelation: they knew what had happened to them. They knew what they had done when they were under Bieber’s thrall. Perhaps one day it would seem like only a nightmare, but not today. Today and tomorrow and the days to come would be days of rebuilding and coming to terms with the horrors that had been perpetrated on them.

Chion and Colin stood up. The station lounge was in ruins. Blood was everywhere, and anything that could be smashed was smashed. The two security zombies were still on the floor, unchanged, but they were rapidly putrefying into the carpet. It looked like a slaughterhouse.

“Wow,” Chion said. “Mister Dankosky’s going to be pissed.”

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