by Georgevine Moss
Elaine Smith had been planning her first vacation ever since she started working at age twenty. Now, twenty years later it was time to enjoy her decades-old crafted plan, a journey around the world in eighty weeks.
The flight was booked, the suitcase packed and the cab engine running. All in all, everything was ready and the plan in motion. First stop was London. If all went well, she’d arrive at midnight, local time, Thursday April 28, 2011. Hopefully, all this hoopla about the royal wedding going on and around the city wouldn’t jeopardize her plans.
‘All these years of planning…’ The words kept swirling in Elaine’s head, caught in a never-ending cycle, as the cab driver sped off towards JFK airport. “…of all the months and days available, did he have to choose that one day to get married?’ She certainly wouldn’t be able to do many of the tourist stuff she had planned for Friday, but, hey, this was a one-kind type of event, right? Yeah, the wedding wasn’t an obstacle. It was an omen, a good one.
All these people watching from their TVs, while she’d get to actually experience the whole thing from up close…or at least part of it, it’s not like she’d spend her first day of not worrying about anything camped outside a church with a bunch of strangers just to catch a glimpse of another bunch of strangers.
No flight delays. Grand, she was so worried about this. Year after year she had to sit, mouth shut and an understanding look unwavering on her tired face, and listen as friends and family bitched and moaned about being groped by security only to see their flight being delayed or canceled. Lots of groping had of course taken place at security, but that wasn’t so bad…A woman in a blue uniform woke her up from deep sleep. She had only taken a couple of Valiums…and now she was in London? Splendid, though it wasn’t just the drugs, she was sure. That little head rest pillow thingyshe gave in and bought three years ago had helped too.
FRIDAY APRIL 29 2011
Thunders rolled and boomed, eventually waking Elaine up at six in the morning. She felt great. She hadn’t missed a day at work, after all, and she always woke up at six on the weekends too anyway, so why would her body do otherwise now?
At first she worried about the rain. Could it ruin her plans for the day? ‘Maybe dampen them a little, but ruin?’ She thought. She opened the curtains and all she could see was clear skies. Another loud thunder sounded overhead. My, oh my, this surely was an omen.
Giddy from a deep-rooted belief that this was the first day of the best vacation ever, Elaine jumped into the shower to prepare for a long day of overflowing joy. ‘Cause this day there really was enough joy for everyone or almost anyone. But not all was rosy as she soon realized by a doing a quick online search the previous night. Apparently, some just couldn’t get into the day’s mood. In this economy they just couldn’t afford it. Elaine surely understood the sacrifices one has to make to achieve his dreams, so being a party-pooper and not watching the wedding but going to work instead was OK in her book.
As Big Ben chimed seven the British tomb of the Unknown Warrior broke into pieces, rocking the Westminster Abbey grounds. There were a handful of people around the grave at the time. They all froze in place. White-faced and speechless they stood watching the dirt twirling around itself up in the air, slowly getting bigger and bigger until it stopped and everything silenced. A mummy was staring back at them. The remains that on this day had so suddenly come to life clearly were once a full-bodied male. The man stumbled among the broken stone pieces, a strange look fixed on his mummified face. He was not frightened as the humans were, but he was very, very confused.
Four of the humans, tourists by the looks of it, what with the smart phones in hand taking pictures moments before they turned into living statues, kept their mouths shut and began mirroring the mummy’s movements, only they moved backwards as the mummy tottered forwards.
Then there was the priest. He was tall and lean and still firm at his place. “The Unknown Warrior,” he said and then he fainted.
In that one instant, when everyone diverted their attention to the priest and watched him falling down with a great thud, a bunch of mummies materialized all around the Unknown Warrior. Some were wearing PH helmets and thus could be clearly identified as First World War soldiers, but the others, the others were an elegant, though in dire need of dry cleaning, mix of costumes all from different eras.
The tourists turned around, prepared to make a run for it, only to be stopped short and forced to retreat by a gang of well-groomed mummified, but very well preserved, men.
“I’m Sir Isaac Newton,” one of the mummies said, standing tall.
“Lord Byron,” another one said, his voice bouncing off the walls.
Whether it was fear or sheer admiration that caused it no one could tell, but the four tourists dropped down on the floor, not dead but unconscious.
The mummies ignored the fainted weak and scattered around. Enjoying the reflexes, the vitality and flexibility of any human that happened to be alive, the mummies blended easily in the large crowds gathered in the surrounding areas, going unnoticed. Oh, what joy it was to be walking the London roads again, even if everything seemed slightly off.
Elaine was out and about, bustling through the packs of happy tourists and other people. The thunders had stopped and the sun was shining down on all of them in all its glory. But not all was good for Elaine. She had been developing a dreadful headache. At first it was only an annoyance, now it was insufferable. Her head was throbbing non-stop, while the pain hit her in sudden bursts, as if someone suffering from a bad case of the hiccups was pounding on her head with a hammer.
Big Ben chimed eleven. The wedding ceremony had began and she was feeling nauseated. That was not good, omens or not. At eleven thirty she spotted her first zombie. The fact that she seemed to be the only one that noticed a corpse was standing amongst the living, watching, quiet enthused, the royal wedding in the big screen at Hyde Park was a little scary. On the bright side, her headache seemed to be losing steam.
Then the most amazing thing happened right here, in front of her very eyes. A bunch of Hackney coaches sprung from the ground, the horses neighing and whinnying. It was surreal. The cab waited, but no one else seemed to be giving the strange vehicle a second glance. At first she was reluctant. The driver was surely a corpse, she could see that. But he was alive. So that made him a zombie. And what do zombies do? Well, all sorts of things from what she could recall, but this one didn’t seem to be hungry or want her harm, so she asked him for a ride and the cabbie agreed to do it at a very, very fair price, which was good, because the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound wasn’t helping at all.
And then it was over. The newlyweds kissed and the people clapped and cheered. No one knows what happened of the dead that came to life that day. The grounds and tombs of London seem undisturbed, so if they still do walk among us will be revealed as soon as the people start noticing. One thing is for sure, Elaine Smith caught something today. Maybe it is just a cold, maybe it isn’t. Whatever this thing is though, it sure isn’t going to stop her from traveling all around the world.
If you still want to follow the wedding online you can do it here.