Black Petals Issue #86, Winter, 2019

Our Neighbors, The Zombies
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Eric Roseman's Poem-Fiction by Jacob Austin
New Orleans Take-Out-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Napper's Holler-Chapter 7-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 8-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 9-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Not This Time-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Our Neighbors, The Zombies-Fiction by Jon A. Park
The Art of Dream-napping-Fiction by Mark J. Kevlock
The Night Side of Eden-Fiction by George Rosas
The Sump-Fiction by Anthony Lukas
Tingles-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Winter's Gnome-Poem by Janet C. Ro
Saucer, Schmosser-Four Poems by Richard Stevenson

Art by Hillary Lyon 2019

Our Neighbours, the Zombies


By Jon A. Park

There goes the neighbourhood!



 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.

The 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 all innocence.

 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.

 The 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.

 Dad snatched his jacket and headed for work, muttering, “We need a bigger fence.”

 I’d 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.

 Well, 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.

 Dad, 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 animal neglect.

 So, 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.”

Weeks 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.

But 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.”

That was the last straw. Dad finally had his coronary.

Two 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.


The End

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 EasyThuggish 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 Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.

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