Our Neighbours, the
Jon A. Park
Dad said that Zombies moving
into our neighbourhood would be an unmitigated disaster. They would
impact the natural rhythm of the area and pretty much stink the place up.
Plus, they would affect the value of the house. Well, he almost had a coronary
when he found out a Zombie family had bought the house next door.
lovely old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, had lived in that house
for almost forty years. They had decided to sell it and move to Boston to be
near their daughter Emily. A Zombie family had offered them the asking price,
and so the deal was done.
“Why, those sneaky old
bastards,” Dad had declared. “That’s the value of our house hitting the
shitter. Who’s going to want to buy it now?”
“Other Zombies?” I asked, in
I ducked as Dad’s boot flew
across the room, missing my head by inches. Then he exploded, proceeding
to smash a vase, left to my mother by one of her dead aunts, onto the floor.
Next, the glass coffee table was launched into orbit, copies of Good
Housekeeping flying in all directions. Mum tried desperately to calm Dad down,
while my sister Charlotte and I marveled at the veins in his neck and forehead
as they came to life, expanding to almost bursting point.
“Why? Why here?” Dad
sobbed, sitting down on
the floor and burying his head in his hands. Mum stroked his head, just as
she would our pet Alsatian, Barney.
next morning, as we sat down to breakfast, Dad was still
agitated, pacing up and down the kitchen, munching on a slice of toast.
Occasionally, he would stop at the window and look into the next-door neighbor’s
garden, where he could see the Zombie kids reaching over our fence, bony arms
clawing the air, emitting strange moaning noises. Barney, our pet Alsatian,
didn’t quite know what to make of them. He moved from child to child, sniffing
each one in turn as they swatted the air above his head.
snatched his jacket and headed for work, muttering, “We
need a bigger fence.”
never seen Dad get so worked up before, well, that was
until he came home from work that evening to discover the Zombie kids next door
had eaten Barney. All that remained of him was his red, leather collar with his
name tag attached. Must have been too tough to chew, I guess.
Dad flew into a rage. He grabbed his shotgun, yelling,
“Right, that’s it. I’ll sort those dead bastards out.” Thankfully, Mum had
already hidden the shotgun shells.
undeterred, called the local police, but it turned out
they were unsympathetic with his plight. They explained that this sort of thing
was bound to happen from time to time, and that in future we need to ensure our
pets are safely locked indoors and not allowed to roam the
neighbourhood. Dad got really angry, shouting and swearing down the
telephone, but all the police did was threaten to come round and arrest him for
taking things into his own hands, Dad went round to
confront and remonstrate with Mr. Zombie. Midway through his rant, Mr. Zombie’s
lower jaw fell off, and all he could do was gesture apologetically and offer
Dad one of their dead pets. Dad declined and returned home, muttering to
himself, “Poor Barney, poor Barney.”
passed and things started to get back to normal. Well, as
normal as they can when you have the dead living next door. To be fair, they
were pretty good neighbours...keeping themselves to themselves; the only
evidence they lived next door was the frantic scratching we could hear as their
kids clawed at the new ten-foot fence Dad had erected.
things took a turn for the worse. My sister Charlotte arrived
home one night, her hand tightly entwined in the pale claw of the Zombie’s son
from next door. “We’re in love,” she announced. “Nothing will tear us apart.
I’m pregnant and we want to get married.”
was the last straw. Dad finally had his coronary.
days after his funeral, Dad came home. He didn’t have much to
say, just roamed around the garden, emitting the odd moan. Our neighbours were
genuinely pleased to see him, and I think Dad was pleased to see them. Although
he never said.
Jon Park lives in Gateshead,
in the North East of England. After several years playing
guitar in a local band, he turned to writing, and with encouragement
from his daughters Emily and Charlotte, and his partner Tracey, he started to
release them into the world. Though “The Magician” was his first piece to be
accepted for publication, his story “My Heart Will Always Be Yours” appeared
in Issue # 66 (Feb. 15, 2018) of Yellow Mama.
Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi
and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor
for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award
nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous
anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow
Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from
the Moonlit Path, among others,
as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the
Big Easy, Thuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She
appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby"
in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for
lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides
in southern Arizona. https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/