Working Stiffs


  The corridors are as empty as Adam had predicted. There were a couple of deadheads in the corner of the stock room opposite us and another lurked in the corridor, but the others had obviously smelt fresh, more obtainable meat someplace else and shuffled off in search of it. On our way up the escalators an hour earlier we had seen a few of our female colleagues desperately struggling against a wave as they set up a barricade in womenswear, and I wonder whether they made it. Safely holed up or scavenging for scraps like the rest of them, peeling the flesh from the warmest of corpses around them. Eating their friends. We’d seen it all – every b-movie cliché, every intestine-ripping inch. It was all so unreal and it was that detachment that made it so much easier to accept. Watching our manager devouring the new girl – she’d only started this afternoon. Her name was… Kelsey? Kasey? I don’t know. Either way she was one of them.

  “Now or never, I guess,” Mac says under his breath. Adam’s at his side and I’m behind the both of them, far more nervous about the plan – or lack thereof – than either of them seem to be. James brought up the rear, sweating bullets and glancing nervously at the remnants of the undead that turned, sluggish, towards us.

  “Come on James, it’s cake,” I say, reassuring myself as much as him with the words. “We can waltz past these guys. No problem.”

  He gulps and nods.

  “Jeez,” Adam says, glancing over his shoulder with a nonchalance that’s disconcerting, “I’m less worried about the working stiffs and more concerned with the giant target that’s painted on our back right now. Can you say goner or what. That stereotype is gonna get you killed.”

  “Come on dude,” I reply, narrowing my eyes at him, “that’s all we need.”

  “What?” James says, spooked, “what is it?”

  “Just try a bit harder to buck the trend, James, otherwise you’ll be freakmeat before we leave the store.”

  I cringe. Mac is staring solemnly out at the slowly, very slowly approaching dead.

  “We need to move,” he says, “right now.”

  “Yeah,” I say, eager to get everyone’s mind off demise, however inevitable it may seem. We step out into the corridor, and – more reluctant to be left alone than to follow us out into the shop floor, James follows suit, whimpering all the way.


~ by Joseph Blame on December 3, 2010.

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