My zombie best friend and housemate

Contents.

In Wimbledon there are zombies.

A weird encounter in Wimbledon. Perhaps it was a zombie.

Interview with a zombie.

The zombie becomes my housemate.

His beautiful music melted my heart.

Zombie world.

Wimbledon Cemetery. My zombie friend came from here.
Wimbledon Cemetery. My zombie friend came from here.
Julian smiling for the camera.
Julian smiling for the camera.
Zombie Woman. Their necrophiliac coup;ing left me unimpressed.
Zombie Woman. Their necrophiliac coup;ing left me unimpressed.

In Wimbledon there are zombies.

I know this must seem a bit strange, but for the last two years I have been sharing my house with a zombie.

It all started just after New Year’s Day 2009. I had recently moved into a house, not two streets away from Wimbledon cemetery in South West London. The house which I took at a rent of £1000 per month was a typical Edwardian terraced house, one of many in that once genteel part of the great metropolis.

As, is often the case with rented properties, it was semi furnished. That is to say that there was a very sorry looking sofa in the living room, and a new fridge and cooker in the kitchen. Also in the living room there was a large upright piano, and piano stool. The letting agent explained that the musical instrument had belonged to the late owner of the house, and that the landlord had decided to leave it there, as a "character piece" to give a bit of class to the otherwise empty house. My long experience of landlords had taught me that it was more likely that he could see no profit in employing several men to take the piano away, so it was left in situ.

Still as I enjoyed pretending, in a one fingered sort of way that I was a musician, I readily agreed that the piano lent ambience to the room, and I was delighted to see it remain.

It didn’t take me too long to settle into the house. I brought my bed and television, my favourite books, my trusty computer, and of course my beloved three year old tabby cat, from my old flat. After a visit to Wimbledon to acquire some new furniture I was as content as it was possible to be.

As always happens after one has moved into a new area I decided that I should explore my environs to see what the local attractions might be, and to find out where such necessaries as the nearest supermarket, newsagent, cafe etc might be. I have always had a fascination with local history, and an almost morbid attraction to reading the inscriptions on headstones, and on the tombs that are a feature of the Victorian cemeteries that populate all the outer boroughs of the city.

Consequently one of the first places that I explored was the very same Wimbledon cemetery that got mentioned in my first paragraph.

Wimbledon cemetery is a large and sprawling place, not very distinguished looking, with two rather shabby looking chapels of rest close to the main gate. The graves are all laid out in straight rows, with the headstones standing to attention as though they are sentinels listening for the last trumpet. Here and there one or two are fallen over, as if a soldier that had too much to drink was spoiling the parade. A couple of large Yew trees cast their sombre shadow over the ranks of the dead.


A weird encounter in Wimbledon. Perhaps it was a zombie.

I don’t exactly know how this happened, but when I entered through the wrought iron gates of the borough necropolis I felt an irresistible urge to strike off to my left, rather than exploring the chapels of rest, which would normally have been my first port of call. It was as if there was someone directing my steps. I even imagined that there was a voice in my head saying


"This way please. I am waiting for you"

In the distance there was a large pitched roofed tomb, and it was in its direction that my steps seemed to be directed. When I approached nearer I could see that there was a large pair of double doors, cast in heavy iron, which gave entrance to whatever ghastly secrets lay within. There was an inscription embossed on the doors in long greened brass. This is what the inscription said.

Here lieth the mortal remains of


Julian Faversham,


Late of this parish.


He was for many years organist to the Church of St Margaret.


His brilliant musicianship turned many souls to God.

While I stood there contemplating on the life of the late Julian, the voice in my head seemed to come again.

"Speak to me" was the message conveyed.

I suddenly found myself talking out loud.

"Julian Faversham. If you were such a brilliant musician, why don’t you move in with me? I have a beautiful piano you might like to play"

A banging noise came from the mausoleum, followed by a crash, and a splintering sound, as if a very heavy box had fallen on the floor within.

The spell was broken, and I fled from the cemetery, and didn’t stop until I had slammed the door of my new residence behind me.


Interview with a zombie.

That night I lay sleepless in my bed. I was turning over and over in my head memories of the frightening incident in the graveyard. Did it really happen? Or was it just that the atmosphere in the cemetery had induced hallucinations in my overactive imagination?

I had decided that it was my imagination, and was just drifting off into sleep, when I heard a key turning in the front door downstairs.

Immediately all notion of slumber vanished and I shot bolt upright in the bed. I could feel my heart almost bursting forth from its fleshy cavity, so fast was it beating.

The front door opened, and then was slowly pushed closed. Somebody was moving ponderously down the corridor in the direction of the living room. It sounded as if the intruder was very old. There were no steps, just repetitive shuffling sounds. Each "slither" put ice cold shivers into my very core.

I tried to breathe.

I tried to move.

It was as if someone had dropped me into a deep freeze, and locked the door. I really was petrified with terror.

The shuffling sound stopped at the door of the living room.

Through my palsied nostrils wafted a smell so noisome, and so awful that my stomach was forced to heave, and my dinner of earlier that night was deposited all over the new duvet cover that I had purchased only that week.

Once when I was young I came across the body of a sheep that had fallen into a country stream and been left there to lie by a negligent farmer. It must have been there for some months. The smell that drifted up my stairs reminded me of that long dead herbivore. The recollection did not fill me with good cheer as to the identity or intentions of my intruder below.

The living room door opened, and was closed again as stealthily as had the door of the house. I could hear the shuffling noise cross the floor of the room. then there was a sound as if someone was pulling out the piano stool in order to sit at the piano.

Slowly the unmistakable sound of the E flat nocturne by Chopin started to fill the house.

The music seemed to have a soothing effect on my dread. I still felt fearful, but it was as if someone who could produce such gorgeous sounds could not possibly be a homicidal maniac.

The beating in my heart subsided, and I found myself gradually being able to breathe more normally. I even managed to pinch myself to see if I was really awake.

The nocturne petered out, and it was immediately replaced by the lively jingle of Mozart,s Turkish Rondo, to be followed by the the Military Polonaise,(another Chopin Masterpiece).

By this time my courage had completely returned, and I started to think about the effect spirited renditions of Chopin's martial music might have on the neighbours, if it woke them in the middle of the night.

So, plucking up my courage, I descended to the living room in order to gain the acquaintance of my midnight caller.

I knocked on the door.

Immediately the music stopped.

A voice that was identical to the one I had heard in my head in the graveyard said

"Enter".

When I went into the room, the figure that had been sitting at the piano got up, turned to me, and gave an old fashioned courteous bow.

He was not a pretty sight.

His skin seemed to have dried out, and it was shrunken, so that it barely covered the outlines of the skull. If there were any eyes, they were sunk so far into the sockets as to be invisible. Some of the parchment eperdimis that was clinging to the neck, had come away and was hanging loose like wallpaper that was partially stripped.

The hand, which this cadaver extended to me to shake, was green with mould, and the skeletal tips of the fingers were emerging from the crumbling remnants of skin that covered the palms and wrists.

"Julian Faversham at your service" it said.

I declined to shake the decaying appendage.

"I would be obliged to you sir if you could tell me what you are doing in my house, and whether you intend to continue causing disturbance to this respectable neighbourhood by playing my piano in the middle of the night"

I said firmly

"You invited me" was the reply

"Furthermore you did yourself actually ask me to stay, and I would entertain you with beautiful music. I promise not to play the piano at night, and I will give you free music lessons instead of rent"

I had to admit that there was a measure of justice in the zombie’s case. I had invited him.

"How did you get in", I asked, hoping to wrong foot him somehow.

"Why did you have a key"?

The answer that he gave really floored me.

"I used to live here. That was my piano. I have been waiting in that dark tomb for almost eighty years for someone to invite me to return to my beloved instrument.

My awful son used to live in this house until he died last year. He would never invite me back.

I sensed, straightaway, that you had a kind heart, so I put it into your head to invite me when you entered the cemetery".

"But what will you eat" I asked apprehensively.

I had always heard that zombies eat human flesh, and music or not, I had no intention of placing myself in the position of being this corpse's next meal.

"You have a cat" came the sepulchral reply.

“You are not eating my beloved tabby you mouldy bastard" I shouted at him.

"Relax" the zombie said.

"It is a lie propagated by generations of B Movies that zombies eat humans, or any live thing. I only asked about your cat because, if your budget could run to another couple of tins of cat food a week, that would be all I require for sustenance".

"But you stink" I said. "I cannot live with that awful stench in the house".

"Easily solved. Just invest in plenty of strong air freshener for the first couple of weeks. Then if you get me some proprietary furniture polish, I can rub it into my skin. It should get rid of the smell permanently, and it will stop my skin from crumbling all the time".


His beautiful music melted my heart.

The zombie becomes my housemate.

All objections seemed to be covered by this stage, so I agreed that he could stay. He has been in residence ever since.

He does not require a bed. He sleeps in a cupboard in the living room. I have made an arrangement with him, that when I have any guests, he must remain quietly out of sight.

Very occasionally he revisits the graveyard. I do not encourage these expeditions. Once he brought a female cadaver back for a one night stand.

I did not sleep that night. I may be broadminded, but the sound of rustling parchment, and heaving bones, coming from the room beneath my own, does not float my boat.

Besides it was left to me to hoover up the flaky bits in the morning.

I have made it a house rule that necrophiliac coupling can only now happen when I am on holidays.

Apart from these few teething problems, Julian is a brilliant housemate. He still plays the piano divinely. If we can find some way to disguise his appearance, he hopes to enter for Britain's got Talent this year.

Simon Cowell will be impressed.



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Comments 29 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

oops - a duplicate post. . . sorry 'bout that.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

haha - My experience with pianos - and I have two - is that if there are any stairs involved in moving one, the charges are all the more - "per stair".

But I have no experiences to compare with your necro-roommate arrangement. What a relief that Julian had no dietary designs on your tabby! That was a scary moment!

I"m impressed that you were able to record his rendition of Chopin's lovely nocturne. Had he not started the Turkish Rondo, perhaps the neighbors would simply have been lulled into deeper sleep by the nocturne. (I tried hard to learn to play that Rondo. Almost got it a time or two but my fingers got tangled. In one scene of the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice", one character sits down at the pianoforte and hammers out a fantastic rendition of it. For me, the same limitations prevail for playing that or any of Chopin's Polonnaises, though perhaps easier than the Rondo. In either case, though, beastly things to play with limited talent. I did/do better at Moonlight Sonata, if I do say so myself. )

May I recommend lanolin instead of furniture polish for the flaky epidermis - - or is that a beauty secret known only to corpses? Up till the time of passing, pure lanolin is very helpful/

His manners would almost suggest he came from an earlier era than he claimed, with that old-fashioned bow and all. Perhaps timelessness in the grave distorted his memory?

This is altogether too much fun! Thanks, Christopher! I love it. Give my regards to Julian. Nice of you both to keep me entertained so well!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Nellieanna.

His manners are impeccable. His father was butler to Queen Victoria, and I think he picked up his courteous habits from him.

Lanolin only really works well on live skin. Once it becomes mummified like Julian,s is, furniture polish is better, besides the scent of the polish helps to mask any residual smell that there might be.

Julian says Hi back to you.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

How lucky you are, christopher, to have such a talented boarder. Surely fate had a hand, skeletal though it may have been, in bringing you and Julian together.

I loved every word of this tantalizing short story.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah - so that is it. I can imagine the stories he could tell about the young Victoria, if professional ethics didn't keep his father's lips sealed But so many royal servants blab.

Ah, yes, the furniture polish would have a dual purpose, although one might hope that the more abundant exposure to the fresh air might eventually mtigate the residual odor, especially with everything pretty much biodegraded which could be.

On the other hand, I recall when electricity went out at the ranch when we were away and a freezer thawed with meat in it -- only to be discovered after a period of time. I cleaned and scrubbed - aired in the bright West Texas sunshine, scrubbed and bleached and still there was a lingering odor, though I finally concluded it was retained in the insulation in the the lid of the box. So if there is any Justin tissue remaining, it is likely to hold the odor. There must be something keeping his spirit attached to the skeleton, huh? Some bit of brain and/or heart?

Hugs to - er - I think - Julian. On second thought - just a high-five.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

drjb.

Thanks for reading.

I think it was meant to happen alright.

Nellieanna.

I must admit there is still a bit of a smell from him. I am kind of used to it, but the airfreshener has to come out, when ever visitors come.

I am a bit worried about entering him for "Britains got Talent".

We can disguise his appearance with make up and gloves, but the smell will be a problem.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to just dry him out completely.

If the mummification process were complete, he would just smell a bit musty.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, but you wouldn't want to risk hampering his talent, which drying out might cause. It's a dilemma, I'm guessing. Perhaps you could rig it up to "play-sync" the performance - with him actually playing and you on stage at the piano? If the act won the contest, then you could disclose the truth?


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

It's a bit of a dilemma there.

I suppose if he did win, I could just fold him into a big suitcase, pocket the money, and run.

The winner of Britain's got Talent gets to play at the Royal Variety Contest, for The Queen, and I know that Julian would love to do that, as a tribute to his father.

I feel sure we will manage to work something out.

Thanks for all your support Nellieanna.

Julian was touched by your concern.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well now, this is an original story! A cat food eating zombie that plays the classics. And he's polite to boot. What does the cat say about sharing his dinner?


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Austinstar.

It took him a while to get used to the idea of having Julian around; but since we had both just moved into the house in Wimbledon I guess the cat felt that the zombie came with the place.

The only problem we have now is that the cat tends to nibble bits from Julian's ankles when he is at the piano.

But I hope to train him not to do that.

Another teething problem I'm afraid.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I had to dance on your hub buttons I liked this one so much!

Zombies are as terrifying as old cemeteries and ancient musical instruments are sometimes beautiful!

I think you might have inspired me to tell my equally frightening horror stories. . . .about the times I've had to (with help, obviously) move pianos.


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

Wow. I loved this....he will win the contest, I'm sure. And the resulting fame and fortune will keep you amply stocked with cat food for years to come. Really great writing.....


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thank you both, Wesman and Stan.

To get compliments from two of the funniest writers on hubpages is genuinely gratifying.

Now that both of you have appeared on the same page, you should start reading each others stuff, that is if you are not doing it already.


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

Awesome story! I could not imagine myself seeing a zombie, let alone live with one inside my house.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, christopher, too much cheese at bedtime was it? ha ha i don't think you need to worry about simon cowell, if Julians got that much talent, he and us will put up with anything and anybody, I mean look at Susan Boyle! Oops! sorry! suggest to Julian that actually a bit of aromatherapy oil will go down great with his skin, and the smell will be quite acceptable! hee hee


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Papernotes.

He grows on you after a while.

Nell.

Aromatherapy oil might be just the thing.

Cheers for that. I'll make sure you get complimentary tickets, with backstage passes, for his first concert.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Just so you know, I am EXTREMELY allergic to patchouli oil! If I even get so much as a whiff of the stuff, my throat starts closing up and I gag rather violently.

There is someone at my job that wears it as a perfume or something and they don't even have to be there. If I just pass a lingering molecule in the hallway I start gagging.

So try sandalwood oil or something else besides patchouli or I will never visit England ever! Or certainly not your apartment, CA.

Set up a recorder to catch Julian on tape!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

I dont like patchouli oil myself.

Sandalwood is best, but I think they use it as an aphrodisiac.

Julian might like that, especially if his cadaverous girlfriend is there.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Hey Christopher, thanks for the compliment and the tip. I'll follow Stan.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

Christopher, I loved this hub! Delightful suspense, delightful humor. I laughed when you set the rule for no necrophiliac coupling unless you are on holiday!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

mysterylady 89.

Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you liked it.


dadibobs profile image

dadibobs 4 years ago from Manchester, England

I love it Christopher!

I'm hungry for more lol

Awesome and up!


Kael Myril profile image

Kael Myril 4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

Hahahaha brilliant! Loved it.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks dadibobs. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's part one of five. Hope you can find the rest.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Kael. Thanks for reading, and I am glad you enjoyed it.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 4 years ago from West Virginia

Hahahaha! I loved every minute of it. I am going to post this everywhere today.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks Lady Guinevere. I'm glad that made you laugh. Post it anywhere you like. I love readers.


Hunter 3 years ago

Blayke Sowle


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 3 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks for the comment Hunter.

I haven't a clue what you mean but I will approve it anyway. I hope it means that you are downloading my brilliant ebook. You won't regret it if you do. Nor will any of your friends.

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