I have to admit I’ve had a bad week for updates. There is one reason alone for this, and I’ll bet you can guess it.
Seriously. Get equipped with Procrastination Cracker.
Thus, in lieu of an actual post, I treat you to the kinds of things that happen in my head. It’s not a real book– but it’s a book I actually dreamed about, last night, and got up to copy down before I forgot it.
The Zombie Novel Dream
In my dream I read a novel that was given to me for my birthday by my mother when I was 25. It’s even inscribed by her on the title page, with a message about this being the best birthday ever because she intends to make up for a bad birthday last year, and how she promises all the fun I can handle after I get home from work. Amusing in retrospect, since I wasn’t working that year…
The title of this book is unclear, but it’s a hardcover novel with a glossy black cover, with text in a large sans-serif font. There’s some sort of glowing green trim, which I’m remembering as Wolverine-esque slash marks through the title and author’s name.
The novel is a suspense story about zombies. There are four principal characters, although three of them are inert for a large part of the story and their personalities are only implied. Their names weren’t clearly defined, so we shall use stand-in names: these are not the names used in the dream.
Mario: The main character, whom most of the action follows. Mario is a white man about age 25 or so (appropriately) who is, at the beginning of the story, the only person to have survived the zombie apocalypse intact. His problem is that the zombies know about him and where to find him, so he has to constantly be on the move from them: to complicate matters, he has three friends that he must protect from the zombies as well.
Luigi: A younger man than Mario, about 18, slimmer and prettier. Possibly Italian, or some other swarthy ethnicity. He’s actually a vampire, although he didn’t show any vampiric traits in the dream. They hadn’t met before the apocalypse, and he was inert when Mario first found him, but nevertheless Mario has fallen in love with him.
Toad: The biggest and heaviest of Mario’s three inert friends, Toad is a black man in early middle age who may be a scientist of some kind; he seemed to have invented the process that makes people go inert and thus zombie-resistant. In the movie that played out in my head he was very much in the Samuel L. Jackson character mold.
Peach: The lightest of Mario’s friends. She has some history with him and Toad, possibly professionally. I’m pretty sure that their ultimate destination was her house. She struck me as a sort of Joss Whedon butt-kicking supergirl– when not inert, of course.
The actual plot action follows Mario as he tries to not only escape from the zombies, but carry his three friends with him so he can wake them up. At the beginning of the story, all three of them are in a sort of stasis that makes them statue-like– hard, dense, and heavy. I don’t think they really were made of stone, there never seemed to be any danger of them breaking. There was at least one place where Mario used his friends as weapons against the zombies by pushing them over and having them fall on the zombies like dominos.
Mario and his friends are trying to either escape from or locate a particular room in an enormous castle. Much of the suspense involves Mario trying to juggle his three statuelike friends; if he leaves them alone, the zombies will just pick them up and carry them back to their lair.
I’m not really sure what kind of zombies these were, they weren’t necessarily ‘living dead’ zombies, they didn’t leave gobbets of their own flesh when they walked, but they weren’t as fast as the new breed of Reaver / Rage Virus types. They were a bit more like Morlocks than either of those, so actually let’s call them Morlocks from here on. They were definitely into cannibalism and brain-eating, though.
Mario gets into many close calls while exploring the castle. Sometimes he saves his friends, sometimes they inadvertently save him. There’s at least one place where, in his attempt to escape from Morlocks, he knocks his friends off a ledge, then falls off himself, but somehow they’re positioned to catch him safely at the bottom. As stonelike as they are, it’s better to land on them than on the floor.
The character relationships weren’t implied very well, and these parts may have been implied rather than shown in the dream: Mario actually doesn’t like Peach very much, but since she’s small and light it’s not much trouble to sprint up a flight of stairs with her inert statue. Toad, on the other hand, always ends up last to be picked up because he’s the heaviest: however, that also gives him a natural defense against Morlocks because it takes about four of them to pick him up. (Mario can pick him up himself, so this implies the Morlocks are kind of weak.) Luigi is in between them in weight, but he’s in a kind of awkward position to be carried around, unlike Toad and Peach who are just standing with arms folded. However, Mario always prioritizes his rescue first because he’s in love.
After many scrapes and spills, Mario manages to bring his three friends to a pink room that is apparently not on the Morlocks’ radar; they can get into it, they just don’t know where he is while he’s in it. This is a nice, sunlit room with pink wallpaper, sort of like a hotel suite. This is where the other three leave their inert stage, for reasons I don’t know; it may have had a time limit, or the equipment to wake them up may be here.
Toad and Peach are suitably impressed that Mario went to all the trouble to get them here. They’re not exactly happy that they’re vulnerable to the Morlocks now, but this gives them an opportunity to start formulating an escape plan. There is in fact a happy ending for Mario and Luigi; it turns out Mario’s gaydar was spot on and Luigi now regards him as a knight in shining armor. Mario feels the same way about him, since more often than not it was the inert Luigi who knocked out the Morlocks to save him.
The actual ending isn’t as happy. Being holed up in this room for a long time takes its toll on the relationships, and as they begin to fight and bicker, the equipment to make them inert is broken. This is just as the Morlocks are finally figuring out where they are and breaking down the door. Mario and Luigi jump out the window, and it’s unknown whether they jumped to their deaths, or if they’re both vampires now and can fly away to escape. Toad and Peach are left to fight off the Morlocks, but Toad commits suicide, leaving Peach to fight alone. She says something like “Come on, you bastards” to the Morlocks, just as the story ends.