DISCLAIMER: Ubly Betty and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Part of the 'Ground Zero' series and Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Ground Zero, Manhattan, 9:19 a.m
By Vivian Darkbloom


The morning was quiet, too quiet. No frantic phone calls from Wilhelmina meant that her colonic was proceeding nicely, though, and for that Marc St. James was grateful. He was about to surrender to a mocking yet desperate perusal of the personals on craigslist when the sanctity of his office space was violated in a most cruel, horrible, and sadly all-too-frequent fashion by the apparition known as Betty Suarez.

The poor thing—with this thought Marc used up the tiny allotment of pity in his heart reserved for an entire week—looked even more a train wreck than usual. Like a piñata shot from a cannon, she crashed into his desk—indeed, she clung to it with such fearful ferocity with her sweaty palms as her ragged breath ruffled the pages of his "365 Gays a Year" desk calendar that he recoiled in sheer, abject horror.

Betty muttered something breathlessly.

Marc ignored it as he frantically searched the desk's drawers for a can of Lysol—something, anything, to repel the creature. Surely there must be a product to drive away them away—"Mex Off"? "Guadalajara B-Gone?"

"Zombies," Betty croaked.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Zombies," Betty repeated, with a touch more urgency.

"My dear little chimichanga"—as usual, Marc's condescension was brilliantly cloaked as patience—"we've been over this before: They're not zombies, they're models. And I think you're being very, you know, thinophobic with all the name calling. Seriously."

"Listen to me!" Betty screamed. She grabbed a fistful of brightly colored sweater vest. "I'm not talking about models. There are ZOMBIES out there and they're going to KILL US ALL unless we get out of this building NOW."

Even more troubling to Marc than this abuse of cashmere was a tiny, disturbing noise, an earworm of such cacophonous distress that he gasped. "Wait. Do you hear that?"



The noise grew ever closer. It was horrifying.

"What is it?" Marc wailed.

"I don't know!"

"We're going to DIE!"

Betty threw her arms around him. "Hold me!"

The noise, her closeness—it was all too much. He fainted.

Seconds later she too, overwhelmed by the mysteriously agonizing zombie noise, succumbed to unconsciousness.

With little effort, Christina McKinney shed the bagpipes that had saved Mode magazine from the zombies and released a sigh of deep satisfaction. Trashing the entire immaculate office during the obliteration of the zombie menace had been more satisfying than the time she "accidentally" jabbed Wilhelmina with the largest darning needle imaginable during a fitting.

Who knew zombies would spontaneously combust at the sound of bagpipes?

Christina looked at Amanda, who was rolling her eyes for the millionth time. Amanda sucked at being a sidekick; her only contribution during the fight was moaning, "Oh, gross" and "Hey, that one looks like Larry Storch" or some other obscure actor plucked from the bizarre recesses of her mind. Amanda's knowledge of B and C list celebrities was frighteningly impressive.

"All clear," Christina drawled.

Amanda stared blankly, a fraudulent smile affixed to her face.

"For Christ's sake, stop looking at me like that. It's like you've been Botoxed or something." Have you? Christina wondered with some alarm.

Again Amanda said nothing, and Christina remembered. The belligerent Scotswoman cruelly yanked out Amanda's earplugs.

"Ow!" Amanda squealed. Pouting, she rubbed her ears. "God, I'm so glad I didn't ask your help that time with the tampon applicator—"

Christina raised a warning hand. "Enough."

"You big Scottish sissy," Amanda purred. It sounded almost affectionate.

"I can't help but ask…." Christina paused, mentally kicking herself for her damnable curiosity. "Who did help you?"

"I made Marc."

"You made Marc? You made Marc gayer, if possible."

"It's so funny. Show him a Georgia O'Keefe painting now and he collapses into tears and hives."

"Yeah, funny that."

"Look," Amanda demanded, with a sexy, quasi-Bond girl type swivel, hands on hips. "We're done, right?"


"So we need—no, we deserve—cocktails. Right?"

"Right," Christina echoed again. The back of her neck tingled, and a beautiful army of butterflies had conquered her stomach. She knew what was coming. She knew what she had agreed to. There was no way to get out of it and frankly, she didn't want to get out of it. In fact, she would fight a legion of zombies or butterflies or Wilhelmina Slaters just for the opportunity.

Of course, Amanda had to hammer home her triumph. She leaned forward, placed her lips maddeningly close to the sensitive whorls of Christina's ear, and savored the moment as she teasingly nipped at an earlobe. "You are so making out with me. Now."

And it didn't matter that, for the first time ever, they weren't completely drunk.

The End

Return to Miscellaneous Fiction

Return to Main Page