Chapter 3

But after taking just a few short steps, JC paused a moment and turned around. He saw that the large dead tree they had stepped out of had a bright purple door on it (even though the door was green on the other side). And then – suddenly – the bright purple glow faded. The door became the dark brown-black color of the rest of the tree, and then faded away completely.

JC seemed concerned, then went back to the tree and patted it. Zombi just smiled calmly and shrugged, “Make sure you hold onto your magic wand. It’ll let us get back in when it’s time to return.”

JC wanted to test this theory, though – he wanted to make sure the magic wand would work – so he quickly drew a rectangle with a small circle on the tree, and immediately another purple door with a doorknob appeared.

Zombi smiled and said, “See? Told you so!”

JC stared at the door, fascinated as he pushed the ends of his wand together to make it shorter, just like a collapsible telescope. He then stuffed the wand into his pocket as the door disappeared again. “There’s a lot of new stuff to get used to here,” JC thought to himself.

But just as he was thinking this, he looked back at Zombi - and when JC saw what he saw, he jumped back in surprise and shouted, “Agghh!”

Yet another weird thing had just happened...

Zombi was suddenly a whole lot taller. In fact, he was now even a little taller than JC!

“What happened!?” cried JC.

“I got taller,” responded Zombi, stating the obvious.

"I can see that!" JC snapped right back.

“I’m not a toy in this world. Here, I’m a zombie.”

JC thought about this a moment, then responded, “Oh, I guess that makes sense. But I’m still a little boy here, right? I mean, I’m not going to turn into a toy here in this world?”

“Hmmm, I don’t think so,” said Zombi. “If you were, then I think you’d be a whole lot smaller by now.”

JC nodded in agreement but then paused. “Hey, but now that you’re a real zombie, you’re not going to eat my brains, are you?

“Nah,” replied Zombi. “Zombies only do that in your world. Here in my world, zombies mostly eat cauliflower, which only looks like brains.”

“Yuck,” responded JC. “I think I’d rather eat real brains.”

Zombi shrugged, then started walking. JC followed.

“So where exactly are we going?” asked JC.

“Well, I thought we should head to my old home first. Make sure everything is still okay there,” replied Zombi.

“And where exactly is your home?” asked JC.

JC was asking an awful lot of questions lately. In fact, he was suddenly full of questions. But walking through a magical door that you drew at the back of your closet and then entering into a magical land of dead trees could do that to you.

“Well, I’m unusual for a zombie,” replied Zombi, “since most zombies live in graveyards or crypts or mausoleums or any place where dead people are usually laid to rest. I mean, I used to live in a graveyard, but then this troll I knew - his name was Troll-E - he was moving away, and he had this really great troll-house underneath a bridge. Anyway, since there were no other trolls in the neighborhood to take his place, I moved in.”

“Wow! So you live under a bridge?” asked JC.

"Yup. It’s called The Bridge To Nowhere.”

“That’s a strange name.”

“No, not really,” disagreed Zombi, “because that’s where the bridge goes to - a place called Nowhere. You see, my house is located in a part of the forest called Somewhere. It’s right next to The River of Time. And if you cross over The River of Time on The Bridge To Nowhere, that’s where you end up - Nowhere! So it all makes sense.”

JC tried to not roll his eyes. And even though he knew this conversation was going nowhere fast, JC couldn’t stop himself from asking, “So what if you were on the other side of the river - in Nowhere - is the bridge then called The Bridge to Somewhere?”

“Hmmm, maybe,” considered Zombi. “But I don’t call it that. I think it’s easier to call it just one thing. Like, if you started calling me Ibmoz, which is Zombi backwards, just because we’re now on the other side of your closet, well, that could be very confusing.”

“I’m confused, all right,” confessed JC.

“Well, it really all makes sense if you think about it – or even if you don’t!” reasoned Zombi.

JC smiled. But he was thinking, NONE of this made sense to him. In fact, everything was sounding like a lot of non-sense.

Still, JC figured that a lot of new things sounded nonsensical and silly at first. And this zombie-world was certainly very new to him. So JC figured that once he got used to The Dead Tree Forest and all its different areas and bridges and rivers and creatures, things would start making more sense to him.

But before either one of them could say anything else, a loud HOWL rang out from the nearby trees. Some sort of creature was quickly approaching them. JC could hear the sound of rustling leaves getting louder and louder as the creature came closer and closer. Suddenly, JC was no longer worried about being confused. He was worried about being torn to bits by a howling, snarling creature-monster-beast with fangs and claws and jaws, and being eaten alive.

(for Chapter 4, click here)