Zombi the Zombie - Chapt. 1


Joseph Christopher knew something was very wrong when he walked into his bedroom. On the floor by the closet he saw his best friend, Zombi the Zombie, just lying there - like a corpse. Or a zombie - which he was.

Actually, Zombi was a small stuffed toy, and that’s what small stuffed toys normally did all day long – lie around, doing nothing. Unless, of course, they were able to come to life, like Zombi could.

Still, we all know that small stuffed toys - who can come to life - have their up days and their down days, just like the rest of us. But this had been the fifth day in a row that Zombi was extra gloomy. So Joseph Christopher knew something was up. Or down. Or off. Or on. Or out of whack. Or weird. Or wrong. Or something.

Normally, when Joseph Christopher got home from school, he would find Zombi jumping on the bed, eager to play Race Car Zombie or Monster Truck Demolition or Cat Rider Of Doom. Of course, Joseph Christopher would have to finish his homework before he could do anything fun, but after that, the two friends would play together for hours. And Zombi would hoot and holler and leap all around and be totally into whatever adventure Joseph Christopher came up with.

Sometimes Zombi would even dream up ideas of his own, like when he suggested Joseph Christopher should pile up all the family’s dinner plates and then he, Zombi, would drive the Monster Truck into the “tower-of-power” just to see what would happen. (This did not have a very happy ending for Joseph Christopher when his mom heard the crash.)

For the last few days, however, Zombi was just not that into anything. All he did was mope.

Sure, he would climb into the remote-controlled race car and zip around the room, crashing into evil castles and deadly dinosaurs and enemy soldiers. And yeah, he wouldn't put up a fight when Joseph Christopher saddled him on top of Rascal (the cat) and then chased them around the house. But Joseph Christopher could tell Zombi's heart just wasn’t all that into anything lately.

Last year, when Joseph Christopher was in kindergarten, he was able to bring Zombi to school with him. Zombi would pretend to be a normal stuffed toy, but when no one was watching, he’d sneak around the other toys and move things around just to mess with the other kids’ heads.

But now that Joseph Christopher was in the first grade – real school – he couldn’t bring Zombi to class anymore. So he thought maybe Zombi was sad because he had to be by himself all day long. Sure, there were other toys in Joseph Christopher’s room, but none of them could come to life the way Zombi could.

So when Joseph Christopher got home from school and saw that Zombi’s funk had sunk to a brand new low, he asked him what was wrong.

“Is it because you’re lonely?” asked JC. (Most of the time Joseph Christopher went by his nickname “JC,” which was short for Joseph Christopher, obviously.)

“I dunno,” responded Zombi in his low, friendly voice.

“Well, do you wanna come to school with me tomorrow? I could probably sneak you into my backpack.”

“Nah. If your teacher saw me, she might take me away from you and keep me for herself.”

“What about if I asked Mom to buy me another action figure just like you?”

“Nah. It probably wouldn’t be able to come to life the way I can. Creatures like me are very rare and unusual.”

“That’s true,” nodded JC in agreement.

And it was true. Everybody knew that toys didn’t really come to life. It was all just pretend. Usually. But Zombi was different. And both he and JC knew it.

By the way, Zombi was also a very unique-looking toy. He was about one foot tall with thin muscular limbs and purple hair that stuck out in every direction. One eye was a lot lower than the other, and his skin was a deep blue. He wore a ripped vest, which was probably a full shirt once upon a time, and ripped pants. And even though Zombi thought he was very good-looking, most people thought he looked like, well... a zombie. Which is what he was.

“So what do you think we should do about it?”

“Do about what?” asked Zombi.

“About your rut. Your sadness. Your funk. Your bad mood. Whatever you want to call it,” replied JC.

“Well,” started Zombi, “I dunno. But I was thinking... Remember that story your dad read to us about those kids who found a secret door at the back of their closet? And remember that other story your mom read to us about the kid with the magic purple crayon? Well, I was thinking that if maybe we got a crayon and drew a magic door at the back of your closet, maybe it might lead to a secret world where there would be more creatures like me.”

“Hmmm, I don’t know ’bout that,” said JC. “Mom and Dad definitely do not like it when I draw on the walls. I found that out the hard way last year.” That was when JC painted a totally fantastic picture of space aliens flying around the moon on the living room wall, and for some reason his mom and dad got Very Angry.

“But this would be at the back of your closet, where they wouldn’t even see it,” reasoned Zombi.
And even though that was a very good point, JC still wasn’t convinced. But then he remembered something: “Hey, what about that magic wand I got for my birthday? It was never really good for anything, except maybe as a pretend sword, and it was really too small for that anyway.” It also had a light at its tip, but JC had plenty of other, better, cooler toys that lit up, so he didn’t even bother to mention that.

“Hmmm,” considered Zombi. “So, what, you would draw an invisible door with that magic wand?“

“Yeah. I mean, if it’s going to be a magical door, then maybe a magic wand might work better than a crayon anyway. Right?” replied JC.

Obviously, Zombi could not argue with this logic, so he shrugged, “I guess it’s worth a shot.”

And JC was glad to see Zombi get a little excited about something that was not going to get them into big trouble (again).

So JC pulled out the magic wand from his toy box, and he and Zombi went over to his closet. Things were kind of a mess in there because it was Friday – and Saturday was cleanup day. So they both just stepped over JC’s shoes and sneakers and Legos and monster trucks and baseballs and basketballs and footballs and Frisbees, while pushing aside his hanging shirts and pants.

And finally, there it was: the back wall of the closet. JC pressed the tip of the wand against the wall, tracing out a rectangle against it. The invisible door outline was probably big enough for him to walk through, but not much bigger than that.

“Ta-da!” he said.

Nothing happened.

JC pointed at it and shouted, “Abracadabra!”

Still, nothing happened.

“Martian-Scorcessio!” cried JC with great gusto.

“Try drawing a doorknob,” suggested Zombi. “It’s not really a door unless it’s got a doorknob.”

“What about those swinging doors that go into kitchens at restaurants? They don’t have doorknobs.”

“But we’re not going into a kitchen, are we?”

“Ah, good point,” agreed JC. So he drew a small round circle, the best he could.

And that’s when it happened. The door-in-the-wall suddenly began to glow – a spooky-magical-green-glow color. The lines of it were all crooked-like, because JC was not the best artist in world, but a door (with a knob) definitely appeared.

“Ah-ha! I knew it!” cried Zombi.

“Wow,” was all JC could say. He really didn’t think it would work. Sure, he knew that magic existed since he had a talking toy for a friend. But this seemed like a whole new kind of magic altogether.

“What should we do?” he asked.

“Well, let’s open it up and see!” replied Zombi.

So JC grabbed the green-glowing doorknob.

It felt warm to the touch. JC turned it and pushed. The door creaked open easily, revealing something incredible on the other side of the wall.

(for Chapter 2, click here)