Story Go Round 10/20/2007, round 2, #1

Dead By Now

(post-titled by John)

The mausoleum attendant had no idea I was watching her, but I was. I had been, in fact, all week long. Not stalking her, mind you - I never followed her home. I was keenly interested in her work, that is all. My fake ID badge was finally forged, the picture was good, and I got in without a hitch. I opened up my satchel of tools - forceps, hacksaw, spark plug and wires, other things - just to make sure I was ready. Then I slammed it closed again quickly as I heard a noise behind me. I didn't flinch, or turn around, that would be beneath me. Instead I sniffed the air quietly, and tensed to spring.

But I needn't have. It was only a black cat. It sat primly in the middle of the hallway, regarding me with its glowing red eyes. I relaxed.

"Hey, there," I purred softly, crouching and holding out a hand. Suddenly, it was gone. I cleared my throat. It must be my contacts.

They had been shorting out periodically - always at the worst possible times. I reached into my satchel to see about jury-rigging something to keep them online, but just then the solitary attendant walked into the room and I was forced to improvise.

"Hi," I said cheerily, "I'm the electrician you folks called for. Something about one of the cooling units for the 'guests' going out?" To my relief, she knew nothing, but escorted me to some prize specimens.

I saw the look in her eyes as she passed each one, but I couldn't read it. I knew how I would have felt in her place, but could not imagine what it must be like for her, so I didn't try.

To my relief, she left me alone in the chamber. At least, I thought I was alone, but could not shake the feeling I was being watched. Undeterred, I willed myself to begin the preparations. I set up the spark plugs between the individual toes of the first corpse, and ran the copper wires to the closest electrical socket. Then I placed my contacts in its eyes and waited. There was a hum, and slowly, the eyes began to glow.

Then my contacts shorted out again. (I told you it was always at the worst possible times.) I checked a moan of protest, and reached up and jiggled my eyes. Sometimes that works. They came back up, but not the power.

I let out a groan of disbelief.

I could not fail, not after this many months of preparation.

"Something wrong? The attendant was back.

I nodded vaguely, hoping she'd go away.

"No. I mean, is something wrong? Didn't you want this to happen?"

I looked around and saw that the eyes of all the corpses were glowing. "I don't understand," I mumbled.

"You're wondering where they get their energy from," she said boredly, "I mean, after all they're dead, right? It's easy to explain. You see, they --"

She broke off as one twisted off her neck like a plucked chicken, but then continued from the linoleum: "need a couple of human sacrifices to get going. We've been waiting for you for weeks. Glad you finally decided to come in. Now they can rise up and--"

The attendant/sacrificial lamb would speak no more. But it didn't matter. I was already dead by now.

Does anybody know what happened next?