Story 6 Return of the Zombie
The Return of the Zombie
It was just another Sunday morning; the warmth of the Sun had only just begun creeping onto Mummy of Four’s little household. After sleeping in from the previous night’s rather busy camping excursion, An b, No. 8, Super N and Kara woke up only to realize that Mummy had already prepared lunch for them.
When they finished their lunch, the friends went out to the main door to wait for Daddy Tiger. The father of four had been working in a 1-day part job at Eggplant World located right next to the Sweet Potatoes World to earn a bit more money for the family.
To the kids, Daddy Tiger was the world’s greatest Dad. To Daddy Tiger, his family was his whole world.
Daddy Tiger was an orphan who knew nothing of his birthplace nor his birthday. He was raised by Miss Dolly the Pit Bull in the Orphanage. He left the Orphanage when he was 16 and started working in a printing factory. When he was 20, he went to learn English at an evening school where he met Mummy of Four. They fell in love promptly.
Daddy Tiger has been working as a Printing Supervisor at the factory since last year. Life has been tough during his five and a half day work cycle; in order to earn enough money to support the family, he has also worked part time in a dice-cutting factory during the weekdays. Despite the hardships of his work, he was more than happy to sacrifice his time and work hard for the benefit of his family. What he always only needed was a good rest during weekends.
For the last six months, everything had been fine. However, since the start of this week, Daddy Tiger had never looked paler than ever before. His handsome yellow face was stained with dark blotches under his eyes; his sharp jawline has lost all of its grace due to his now sunken cheeks. His hair, which he combed regularly every morning into an immaculate shape, has become brittle and messy; a slight gust of wind could very well make him bald.
The kids finally saw Daddy Tiger in the distance walking towards the front porch. They waved and jumped up and down in joy, trying to catch his attention. However, Daddy Tiger simply shambled past the kids without saying hi and went straight to his bedroom. He was far too tired to talk to his kids.
An b was the first to notice his behavior.
‘I wondered what happened to Dad. Normally, he’d at least give us a cheery smile rather than that gloomy look. Did you all see how white his face was?’
They were all worried by An b’s observations.
No. 8 replied:
‘I saw it too. Should we go to the library and find out what happened to him?’
Having decided on their course of action, the four kids went to the bus stop a couple minutes down the road to catch the bus.
The public library was located next to the City Hall in Downtown, just 20 minutes from the kids’ home. Most people can recognize the library; after all, it is the only building that resembled a club sandwich. The library had 5 floors, each with their own color - white, green, yellow, pink and white. From a distance, few could mistake its resemblance to a sandwich.
The kids entered the library and immediately scattered into different directions. They all went into different sections of the library – science, fiction, non-fiction, historical - desperate for a reason why their father turned out the way he was. Eventually, when they reconvened, they had only one answer.
Daddy Tiger has turned into a ZOMBIE.
Though they were scared by this revelation, they were nonetheless more than eager to do what it takes to save their Daddy. They continued searching for more information and planed their rescue action on the same evening. Once they arrived home, they asked Mummy where Daddy was.
‘He is still sleeping. Don’t disturb him, alright?’
Super N who was confused at Mum’s request.
‘Has he had his afternoon tea yet?’
‘No, but don’t bring any lunch or afternoon tea to Daddy, okay?’
Mummy left the kids once she had left her instructions to them.
An b, No 8, Kara and Super N looked at each other. Eventually, they all came to the same conclusion – Daddy does not need to eat; he was already a zombie after all.
They rushed in to the kitchen together to start prepare a cure right away.
Cure No. 1: Garlic Mask
Kara took out all the garlic from the jar in the cupboard while Super N started rummaging through the refrigerator for potatoes. Once they gathered all their ingredients, they began to mash the garlic and potatoes together until the mixture was a soft paste.
‘Lets it cool or it will burn Daddy’s face. Stop eating!’
An b screamed as No 8 started using her fingers to eat the mash potatoes in the mixture.
After letting the mixture cool for a few minutes, they took the bowl of mash potatoes to their parent’s bedroom. Dad was lying on the bed like a corpse. They all stand along the bedside and waited for the signal. Then Super N shouted:
In one swift motion, they took out handfuls of the mash potatoes out the bowl and begun smearing it on Daddy Tiger’s entire face, leaving his nostrils open. The smell of the garlic was so powerful that the kids believed that the neighbors could smell it from next door.
Despite their best efforts, Daddy Tiger remained as still as a coffin.
‘Why isn’t the garlic mask working?‘, remarked Kara as she wiped her hands on the table desk. She was so worried for her dad that she could feel tears well up in her eyes.
Super N went back into the dining room and rummaged through her school bag. She took out the book she borrowed from the library and flipped to the section about the cure to check on what went wrong on their part.
When An b went to check up on Super N, he screamed once again after seeing the cover on the book.
No. 8 asked:
‘Is there something wrong? I didn’t know screaming turned into your latest hobby.’
When the other three heard An B, they immediately make a run for the front door.
An B laughed and said:
‘The book! I’m talking about the book! Super N. You borrowed a book about vampires, not zombies!’
Super N checked the cover of the book again.
A Simple Guide to Treating Vampire Bites.
Super N exclaimed:
‘Oh no! It’s a wonder how I managed to pass any exams at school.’
She and everybody started to burst into laughter. Nonetheless, Daddy Tiger still did not move an inch on his bed.
Cure No. 2 - Cotton Heart
Realizing that the mash garlic potatoes mask had no effect on Daddy Tiger, the kids moved onto their second cure. No. 8 took out the book from her own bag and checked the cover of her book to make sure it was related to zombies.
‘This chapter describes a zombie as a creature without a heart. That means we’ll need to make a heart for Daddy, right?’
Super N asked:
‘How are we going to do that? Should we just buy one from the supermarket?’
No. 8 replied:
‘Any heart should work. Using a supermarket one seems a little cheap, though.’
An idea then came to Kara.
‘Why don’t we sew a heart for dad?’
Everyone agreed with her idea and began scrambling to gather any loose cloth that was lying around the house. In the end however, the kids could barely find enough materials to make a handkerchief. They were about to give up until Kara brought forth another idea.
‘Let’s just use our pillows as materials for the heart! We could even stuff it with the cotton.’
Since the others could not think of another plan, they decided to go to their bedrooms and carried their pillows to Kara.
‘Alright. Let’s trim cloth and collect cotton from each of our pillows to show that we all played a part in saving dad.’
As they followed Kara’s instructions, the room turned dead silent aside from the sound of scissors cutting fabric as pieces of pink, blue, brown and orange cloth fell to the floor. Kara, as usual, used her fingers to stick main pieces of cloth together and in less than a couple minutes, she was holding a patchy heart filled with cotton.
As they entered their parent’s bedroom again, the kids place the heart on their dad’s chest, holding each other’s hands together in a circle.
Then Super N suddenly exclaimed:
‘Wait a minute! How are we going to put the heart into dad’s chest? Don’t we need a surgeon?!’
An B pondered for a minute and then replied:
‘Mm, you’re right. What should we do then?’
The four of them sat next to the bed and considered their next move.
Kara’s eyes then brightened up.
‘How about we use a marker to draw a heart onto Daddy’s chest? The ink will sink into his chest and the heart will settle in!’
Super N couldn’t help but admire Kara’s cleverness. After finding a red marker in the nearby desk, Kara drew a heart onto Daddy Tiger’s chest. Despite their efforts however, there was still no response from the sleeping Tiger.
Cure No. 3 - The Love Potion
At this point, the kids became quite frustrated. It seemed as though nothing could wake up Daddy Tiger from his deep slumber. An b decided to investigate the last cure: the Love Potion.
‘My book tells me that a zombie’s soul can be recalled if we give the body a Love Potion’.
The others asked him what sort of ingredients they would need as they shifted their gaze to the kitchen.
‘The book didn’t specify any particular ingredients, but it did say to pour what we love into the potion.’
The kids understood and immediately ran to the kitchen. Each person brought back a single item from the kitchen while An b also fetched a glass of pineapple juice. No 8 held a white daisy flower in her hands; Kara was carrying a massive bowl of blackberry jelly; Super N picked up a huge pineapple, while An b brought along some strawberries. They each threw their ingredients into the pineapple juice and begun mixing it with a huge wooden spoon. Carrying the large pitcher together, they walked for a third time into the bedroom.
As soon as they walked through the door, Daddy Tiger miraculously woke up in an instant! Sitting on the bed, Dad addressed the children:
‘You kids did all this for me? I really can’t thank you enough for saving me.’
Daddy Tiger then started heading towards the bathroom. A few minutes later, he came out with a face that was hardly recognizable from before. They kids realized that the handsome yellow-faced Daddy Tiger had finally returned after their long efforts. They were so overjoyed that they started dancing next to dad. Daddy Tiger kissed them one by one and asked them to go look for Mummy for some candies as a reward. They were so excited that they were screaming for candies on their way to Mummy.
Making sure that the kids have left, Daddy fell back onto the bed, exhausted. He was working overtime last night on painting a house; the white on his face was the drops of white paint left on his face. it was a miracle that he did not simply just fall asleep on the street, let alone even walk back home. When the kids started putting the mash garlic potatoes onto his face, he had actually already woken up due to powerful aroma of the garlic potatoes. However, he played dead as he was simply amused by the kids’ antics and wanted to know what they would do next. He was fine with them drawing a heart on him but he couldn’t imagine that particular pineapple concoction would taste like, not to mention what potential new horrors they would come up with if he remained asleep. That was when he finally decided to wake up.
In all honestly, Daddy Tiger felt as though he was an actual zombie that night: there was work, more work, and nothing else apart from work. All he simply wished for was a moment of peace in his unending cycle of monotony, yet he could find no such thing by himself. But today, he realized as long as his children are around, he can press on. He will continue putting on his
confident and handsome face in front of his children so that they won’t have to worry about his well-being; but if for whatever reason he can no longer maintain his strong composure, he knows his kids will be there to support him, always.