Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium

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The black patches grew with agonizing slowness. The end of his nose was excruciatingly sensitive and Eli Schmidt’s eyes watered. The tears spilling down his cheeks were an unaccustomed sensation, one barely noticed through his pain. This was worse than creating the purple lividity patches on the rest of his body or the swatches of grey on his arms, face, and neck.

Still, the black ovals he was filling in on his nose did grow, and he kept the hand holding his tattoo gun characteristically steady.  It was satisfying to see how ghastly he already looked under the fluorescent lights of the small bathroom. But the nose was crucial. Get it wrong and every dead thing would see right through him. Eli focused on getting his fake enlarged nostrils just so, dabbing beads of blood away with the tissue clenched in his left hand. He had never been one for sloppy work. Careful fingers and the dead were the only reason he was alive to grimace at his prematurely grey hair.

 

Eli Schmidt had always made his living from the dead. They had been his constant companions and means of survival since his youth when he had pulled gold from teeth in a shed beside Buchenwald. There, he was not only surrounded by shambling skeletons each night, and all day, he was one of the walking dead.

 

His careful posthumous dental work, always punctuated by the beatings of the Kapo who oversaw the pajamaed dentists, had allowed him to join the other shamblers in stacked bunks each night instead of going to the graves.

 

So it was natural he preferred to remain with the dead when he emigrated to a new country, unable to bear staying anywhere near Weimar. They were far kinder than the living, in his experience.

 

In the Displaced Persons Camp where he and so many other survivors were initially stored he had caused dismay by asking to learn tattooing and embalming. These were strange requests from a person newly out of a concentration camp.

 

Eli was immediately sent to a bluff American psychiatrist. However, the kindly Doctor could not break through Eli’s humble insistence that these were his interests.

 

“Why not let him have at it?” The Doctor said finally when he had enough of Eli sitting quietly and speaking as little as possible. “I’ll be right here.”

 

But Eli hadn’t needed him.

 

Instead, as before, he let working on bodies succor him and he learned how to decorate them in life and death.

 

When he reached Australia he was offered ‘placement’ in a funeral home. This meant lower than usual wages for shaving, then making up the faces of the deceased, closing their eyes and mouths, massaging them to loosen their limbs for positioning, and filling their body cavities with preserving fluids. Eli shuffled through these days as he had shuffled through the last four years: stoop shouldered, thin, and always quiet as the grave. He worked to improve his English as a matter of principle but seldom used it. His eyes never stopped looking sunken and his hair was thin from his twenties on.

 

His habit of hoarding his meager earnings (and all manner of other less important things) caused a little teasing, and some sympathy from his co-workers, but as he kept to himself they learned not to notice his peccadillo.

 

In ten years he garnered enough money and knowledge to buy his own funeral parlor, the Lychgate. But he still preferred working with dead customers to meeting his living contractors.

 

When the virus infected his customer base Eli refused to panic. As he always did, he would survive.

The first day — before news of a virus was even made public — Eli was picking up groceries and saw a shambling man pull down a woman and start feasting on her. He didn’t break into a run as so many around him did. He was an old man at fifty-eight. Carrying his groceries, he set a steady pace, and went where he liked most to be when troubled; to his work.

 

It was abandoned and Eli shook his head at that. All the doors that communicated with his workspace were airtight and it was ventilated by a system with back-up generators. It wouldn’t do to have the living smell their dead family members in a power cut. Every door locked. He ignored the thumping coming from the lockers in his holding room and secured the doors behind him. He tossed his groceries in an empty locker and sat down to think.

 

He would, he decided, wait. For three weeks he listened to his radio, slept in an empty walk-in fridge which he turned off, and washed in his preparation room sinks. His bed was a casket and his pillows and clothes were those left by relatives of the deceased but never needed. He was thankful for his bags of groceries, and his tendency to hoard food, which his staff had found so funny. Each day part of him was expecting one of his workers to seek shelter with him. But none of them came.

 

After three weeks, when the bulletins on the radio were replaced with static, Eli began to prepare. For nights at a time he stood in front of the mirror in his small bathroom and applied makeup to his face, arms, hands and legs. He worked on one patch of skin until he had got the appearance of dead flesh right. When he was happy with a design he went to a cupboard he normally kept locked and pulled out, from among the many useful things inside, his tattoo gun and inks. His purple and grey inks ran out but he thought he had done well reproducing the appearance of the zombie from his shopping trip.  It looked good, especially when he mussed up his sparse, grey hair.

 

His nose had come next: he gritted his teeth and committed to his work.

 

Eli no longer knew if it was night or day, living under artificial light, and without the guidance of the radio.  He ate, slept, and woke, and it was time to tackle the next challenge — his smell. Eli was used to covering the smell of the dead; now he had to recreate it. There was putrescine, in the form of Stanyl, in a large bottle on top of one cupboard. It had always fascinated him that one of the two key components in the smell of death was used by modern industry to create plastics. So he’d kept the bottle in pride of place. Stanyl had a notoriously long lasting odour.

 

He tinkered with various chemicals from his cupboards and supply room for several cycles of waking and sleeping before he had a smell that suggested cadaverine (the other component of the scent of death) to add to the Stanyl.  When it nearly smelled right Eli added two natural sources of cadaverine. He urinated and collected a quarter cup in one of the chipped mugs from his collection. Then he stood in his closet of a bathroom and masturbated, switching his mind off, and letting his body react to motions he hadn’t attempted in decades. He left the semen — a fluid he had previously had little use for —in a beaker for a day or two before he added it to the mix with his urine.

 

It smelled right, or really wrong, as the case may be. Still, it took a lot of courage to open one of the chilled lockers.

 

The zombie inside thrashed her way out clumsily, spilling onto the preparation room tiles in a heap. She looked at Eli and moaned listlessly before she clambered to her feet. But she stood up facing away from him. Eli swept her feet from under her and pulled her into a closet. It wasn’t hard: she was skin and bones.

 

Then he removed the cotton swab from around his neck. His mixture was slightly toxic and he took care not to touch the foul brew as he discarded it. Eli took his lab coat and daubed it with his ‘aftershave’.

 

He was almost ready to leave.

 

First: product testing. He opened the closet the loose zombie was banging around in and stepped back. She fell forward onto her face, groped at the scratched grey linoleum, and got up sluggishly. Eli had to repress an almost chivalric urge to help her up. He found himself wondering who she had been in life: her clothes were nice. Before it turned into a brittle, dusty matt her hair might have been light blonde.

 

Eli walked slowly to her empty locker and checked the tag. Her name was Stella Jenks. Stella didn’t react to him at all. She gained her feet and began patrolling the room aimlessly. All Eli had to do was avoid her.

 

When he was confident in his disguise, Eli grasped her arms from behind, and pushed her away from him as her head snapped to one side, her teeth clacking. Sick shock registered as he felt the bone in her forearm break but Stella seemed oblivious to anything except trying to bite whatever held her.

 

“Come, come,” he told her, reprovingly, and noticed her efforts increase. They reacted to human voices. Gently but firmly Eli pushed Stella into the closet again. She banged against the door but he had closed it and was already turning away.

 

“I hope I am back soon,” Eli called to her softly, and stepped out of his office.

 

He decided to leave out the front door. The back door let onto a small garden with the cemetery conveniently over the road. The front door stood between him and a side road off the main street of town. It was more dangerous, being potentially more crowded, but Eli needed to see how bad things were and the back door represented a longer journey.

 

He stood inside the frosted front door for some time. Occasionally a human shadow moved in front of the glass but everything was silent but for the shuffling of feet and none of those moved with purpose. So neither would Eli.

 

He listened carefully and, when he thought it was likely the door was unobserved, he opened it. A zombie lunged at him; the corpse had been slumped in the doorway and responded to his movement more quickly than Stella had. Eli stepped on its arms and used his hand to hold its head back. He danced away a few steps, around the side of the building, and put his back to the wall, freezing in place while the dead man he had stepped on lumbered clumsily to his feet. And straight past Eli.

 

He watched carefully and stayed still. Human noises, human speed, seemed to be a trigger. Plus zombies don’t open doors. He slumped to the ground against the frontage of his funeral parlor and none of the zombies shambling near him reacted. There were only a dozen of them which was far fewer than Eli had expected. The pet shop next to the funeral home was intact but other shops had broken windows; the cafes, the health food shop, and the sporting gear shop he’d never entered.

 

Eli noted the dead near him looked better off than Stella. They not only moved faster, they looked less thin — less fragile — than she did. But they were filthy and they reeked even over the liberal dressing of aftershave Eli had put on his coat.

 

The man who owned the petrol station on the corner crossed the street in front of Eli. His blue overalls were covered with dark stains.  He served as a reminder. Eli closed his eyes and let his ears work. He reached for sounds beyond those of the walking dead’s restless feet and the breeze that pushed litter along the walls and gutters. The light became golden as he sat listening — the color that belongs to late afternoon. But Eli never heard a siren or the sound of a car. There were no voices calling for help. There were no voices at all. An unexpected queasiness disturbed Eli’s stomach and he breathed slow and deep till that passed too.

 

As it grew later the pace of what Eli dubbed the deadbeat — the footfalls of the corpses around him — quickened. The dead were night hunters.

 

When they were moving with an almost human speed Eli stood up slowly. Once his legs stopped prickling he wandered aimlessly toward the main street, sticking to a wider road, rather than going down an alley where he couldn’t move casually away from grasping hands.

 

He let his feet fall heavily on the ground, imitating the deadbeat. None of the dead reacted to him and Eli realized the hunched shoulders and self-effacing manner, which he had been unable to shed when he left Buchenwald, were serving him as well in this dead world as they had in the camp.

 

On Fort Street Eli wandered past the petrol station. The arms of petrol pumps lay tangled on the ground as if they had been used and discarded at speed. The shelves looked bare and only a few damaged items littered the ground.

 

On Main Street, walking corpses packed the square, and there was no sign of human life. The sheer mass of the dead blocked his view of the shops and, momentarily, hid the wreckage. Then Eli felt the first fluttering of panic. He was stirred to fear by the sight of the supermarket, now totally without the glass that used to stand between it and the street, and displaying its utterly empty shelves.

 

Eli saw a break in the traffic of zombie walkers, and took it, heading straight for the open shop front. He had to shuffle to one side: the glass was everywhere and he couldn’t risk a cut with the hungry dead all around him. But he had seen enough. The supermarket reeked of rotten produce and all the cans and packaged food were gone.

 

Spoiled meat and the dead drawn by the smell remained. Eli glimpsed a dead housewife battering her face against a closed freezer. Meat juice ran across the floor from it and a corpse child was on her belly lapping at it.

 

“At least you can eat,” Eli thought weakly.

 

Two doors down he slumped against a wall, his trousered legs splayed before him as he sank to the ground. He was done for. He knew he could survive on little food, and his hoard would last for perhaps two more weeks, that being so. There was a small community garden on the other side of the graveyard but it was certain to be picked clean too. Eli needed groceries and soon.

 

In despair, Eli ignored a dead check out girl as she stumbled into his legs and fell to the pavement. Her jaw clacked as she floundered but she clumsily regained her feet and wandered back across the town square.  Eli smiled grimly. His disguise was working perfectly but without food it didn’t matter.

 

Thud! A second zombie shambled at full deadbeat into Eli’s legs and hit the pavement. It complained deep in its chest — more a frustrated exhalation than a vocalisation — and Eli froze. But the thing also stuttered to its feet and walked haltingly on.

 

A shadow fell over Eli and he looked up slowly. A corpse stood right over him and it was looking at his legs intently. It still had glasses in its top pocket and wore the frayed remains of an old man’s cardi but Eli didn’t recognize him — he had kept too much to himself in the human world. Part of the corpse’s cheek had been clawed open and his teeth were exposed. Thick fluid ran sluggishly along the edges of the wound.

 

Eli hardly breathed. After the longest moment the once-old-man spun awkwardly and stepped off the pavement at a right angle, crossing the road.

 

Wonder filled Eli. The thing had learned. It had watched its fellows fall and understood how to avoid falling itself. His former fellow townsfolk were not at home in those bodies but someone — someone with horrible appetites — was. His interest was brief. None of it meant anything if he couldn’t find food.

 

Dejected, Eli pushed himself to his feet and wandered back to the funeral parlor. But the front of the building was now thronging with animated dead. Another hitch of panic hit his chest. The dead were definitely looking livelier. Eli kept himself to an amble and made his way to the back of the building. The garden was empty and so was the parking lot next to it.

 

Huffing, Eli made for the back door but he paused before he opened it. The back door to the pet shop was closed but the hasp that usually locked it hadn’t been put on. His guts clenched at the thought but Eli realized pet food could possibly save his life while local gardens recovered from the foraging of other would-be survivors. He had eaten worse things.

 

Eli pressed himself against the pink pet shop door, listening. Something moved inside, several somethings, but they sounded lighter than dead people. There must still be animals trapped inside. Pity touched Eli’s heart and, not knowing if he did them a favour or not, he opened the door and stepped behind it.

 

The first puppy nearly killed him. Folds of skin hung off it, where perhaps its litter mates had chewed on it. Teeth bared, it darted at his exposed ankles, hungry for his flesh. But Eli was wearing his work boots and he shoved it back hard with his foot, pressing himself further behind the door. The dead pup raced out of the shop and into the Lychgate’s garden. Three more necrotic Labradors pelted after it. They were only halfway across the lawn when a group of dead stumbled through the garden gate and lurched after them. In moments the puppies were cornered and covered by hunch-backed feeding corpses.

 

While the dead were distracted, Eli slipped around the door and into the pet shop. A cacophony greeted him. No more animals were loose.  But dead budgies hooted from their cages and milk eyed rats banged against the acrylic fronts of terrariums. Cats with open sores, and fur falling off their bodies, clawed at bars. Eli reeled for a moment before he gathered himself.

 

There were sacks of cat and dog food on the shelves. But first he investigated the tiny staff room off the shop area. It held a fridge and inside was a carton of vanilla soy milk. Eli drank it immediately, easing his thirst. There were plain biscuits in the cupboard next to the fridge, though they had long gone stale. He ate them, of course. This was all the human food he found but it lifted his spirits.

 

Eli had done enough, and had enough, for one day even so. He peered around the pink door, and shut it carefully, as he slipped outside again. The dead were busy over the last remnants of the puppies and he let himself back into the funeral parlor.

 

Eli shut the fridge door after himself, crawled into his casket bed, and pulled the lower half of the lid closed before he could begin to relax. Ideas swam in his head and all sorts of horrific images from the day but he couldn’t make them resolve into anything useful. It felt like hours before he slept.

 

But when he woke he had a crazy plan that might work.  First he had to renovate his new home.

 

He went straight to the workshop where a young man used to build boxes to put the dead in, fancy or plain. Happily, the counter of the pet shop ran parallel to the outside wall of the casket workshop.

 

It was early, and the local zombies would be sluggish, but Eli would have to be fast to survive. He took up the circular saw and plugged it in. Heart in his mouth, Eli started the thing and pushed it into the workshop wall, cutting a narrow rectangular hatch at shoulder height.

 

It only took moments but Eli switched off the saw and downed it, leaving it spinning blade up, while he bolted to his workroom. The alley between the shops was less than a foot wide — too narrow for any intact body. He was more worried about the dead reacting to the noise by smashing open his front door or the windows of the pet shop.

 

Eli waited until the next morning to cut a matching hatch in the neighboring wall. After he had laid low for several hours, he emerged nervously but his house was undamaged and no dead roamed next door. Neat in his work as always, he took up several smooth bits of wood and glued and screwed them into place so the two hatches became a bridge between the buildings. Then Eli attached two casket handles, one above each side of the hatch. He could pull himself from building to building but the dexterity required would, he hoped, be too much for the dead.

 

That night, under the glow of fish tank lights, Eli put newspaper over the windows of the pet shop. He moved slowly and quietly, taping the paper before he approached the window and freezing at any movement in the shadows until the danger had passed. It took most of the night but he got the windows covered.

 

Fortification was required. Eli took two of his church trucks — the massively solid collapsible gurneys used to transport casketed bodies — and a pile of the clamps from a funeral marquee. When he had pulled each truck through the hatch into the pet shop he put them on the counter, opened them to their fullest extent, removed wheels and clamped everything in place. The diamond shaped struts that supported the bed of each truck were capable of bearing 800 pounds of dead weight. Fully opened and on the counter, Eli was able to bolt them to the ceiling as well as to the counter itself. He had created a grill that kept anything in the rest of the shop away from his side of the counter. But the dead would be able to reach through it.

 

It took Eli several more days to empty the shop of stock and shelves and raid the local pound for protective gear. He experienced a moment of dismay when he saw some well-meaning person had released the impounded animals from their cages but he told himself it was all to the good.

 

Finally, Eli set up an elaborate system of pulleys that would allow him to open cages from the safety of the counter space. As he worked, in full bite gloves from the pound, the caged animals lunged at him repeatedly.

 

Eli was ready to start training though he had no idea if this part of his business plan would work. From his hoard he took one of the few remaining cans and slipped it into his coat pocket.  Then, with straps in hand he opened Stella’s closet door. She hurtled out as if she had been pressed against it. Eli waited patiently for her to slow down then slipped up behind her, dropped a trolley strap down over her shoulders, and cinched it tight just above her elbows.

 

She tried to spin in a circle to get at him but Eli had the catchpole he had stolen ready. He put the noose over her head, pulled it tight, and pushed her away with it. Stella was furious and she struggled at the end of the pole gnashing her teeth in apparent frustration.

 

Eli didn’t like to handle anyone roughly but needs must. He pushed her ahead of him and then backed down the hall to open the back door. It was morning and the garden was still. He pulled Stella after him, guiding her as best he could, and walked her through the pink door of the pet shop.

 

She went beserk as soon as they stepped inside. She darted at the cages moving faster than Eli had seen before. As she clawed at a cat hungrily Eli released the trolley strap and lifted the catch pole gingerly off her head. While the cat Stella slavered after took the opportunity to chew on her fingers, Eli backed away and closed the shop door after him.

 

Eli hastened — as much as a man imitating a zombie could safely hasten — back to the funeral parlor, into the workshop and through his hatch. Stella was still too excited to notice. So he put the can outside the grill on the counter, pulled out the chair that rested under the till, and settled in to wait.

 

Eventually, Eli curled up on the floor and slept. Stella had gone from reaching for the cat to trying to fish, and her fingers were quite damaged, while the tank water had become cloudy. But still she tried.

 

When he stirred back to wakefulness the pet shop was quiet. Eli stood up and Stella, who had been standing quietly in the centre of the room, staggered at him. Her flailing hand caught the can on the counter and knocked it through the church truck legs toward Eli. He grabbed one of the ropes hooked to the counter and tugged it firmly.

 

Behind Stella a dead cat shot out onto the floor. Stella turned immediately and lurched at it, her arms stretched before her, and her mouth dripping mucous.  She threw herself onto the cat, fingers tearing, teeth champing. Eli winced. It wasn’t long before he pulled himself back through the hatch into the funeral parlor and shut himself in his casket.

 

Over the next week, or perhaps two, Eli repeated the process with Stella until he could leave the can anywhere in the pet shop and she would deliver it to him for her treat. The day she picked it up off the floor to give to him was a red letter day. Another day or two later, he eased the pet shop door open and used the catchpole to push Stella out into the world. That night he took the newspaper off the windows and put up the little sign he had, in a moment of humour, crafted in the workshop.

 

Its tidy lettering read: “Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium.”

 

Mr Schmidt hung clothes that were once left for women and children, daubed with plenty of his aftershave, along the church truck grill. Then he made himself a bed of pillows. It was four days before Stella shambled back in and dumped a can on the counter. Unaccustomed tears formed in Mr Schmidt’s eyes — partly with relief and partly because he felt like a proud parent — and he opened the cage of a good sized terrier.

 

The zombies on the pavement outside paused to watch.

 

Eli’s cans and dead animals were both running low by the time Stella brought him her third can. A day later a dead person Eli had never before seen shambled into the open door. This happened occasionally: a corpse would wander in, bang at the cages, and patrol the room for a while before shambling back out. But this time the teenager who had come in clutched a tin. He missed the counter top but Eli released a cat at once, beaming. He had a business once more.

 

It was time to go hunting. At dawn the next morning Eli assembled traps from the pound on a church truck. They had been baited with mice from the shop; Eli had halved them lengthways and they still wriggled. He covered the truck with an aftershave painted sheet and pushed it slowly through the back door.

 

Eli let out a breath he hadn’t known he held when none of the dead reacted to the trolley. Perhaps, he reasoned, it wasn’t all that rare for them to get tangled up in — and carry along — the detritus of human life.  He ambled slowly into the suburbs, stopping at one home to harvest the tomatoes he saw growing up the back fence, while its dead occupants watched him dully through the window.

 

As Eli went he watched for other things he could forage and laid out the traps in spots the dead couldn’t get to them. Once he had run out of traps he took shelter in an empty shed, ate his tomatoes, and curled up to sleep on the church truck bed under the stinking sheet.

 

His trip was a success. He was not only unscathed, but he returned with enough dead animals to restock his cages, and a supply of fruit. Months passed, his customer based developed, and the Dead Pet Emporium thrived.

 

Eli took to taking Stella with him, on the catchpole, when he went foraging. He couldn’t have said why he did it, but her presence certainly seemed to deter other walkers, and she allowed herself to be pushed before the cart without apparent distress.

 

At the end of summer Eli guided his cart slowly down the middle of a suburban street. He had nearly reached the end of his supply of traps and he was tired. It took him a moment to react when a figure wandered out into the middle of the street, a long block away, then turned and stared at him. He stopped. Could he expect violence from the first human he had seen in months? Would he or she take him for a corpse?

 

But no — the figure looked all around, then beckoned. Eli kept his walk slow, watching for the dead, but he only saw those trapped in houses. He had become so used to being surrounded by them that under the pressure of the stranger’s direct gaze his skin crawled.

 

Eli stopped when he was still ten metres out from the other human. He walked around Stella, his hands held away from his body. But he didn’t speak until he had done another check for corpses, and even then he kept his voice down. It cracked but he managed:

 

“Who are you?”

 

“A librarian,” the person answered and it was only then Eli knew he spoke to a woman. There was a belt hung with corpse hands around her waist and they twitched idly. Eli noticed none of them had fingernails. Front and back the tiny woman wore gory ribcages, laced around her tightly like a breastplate.

 

“I’m a fun — a pet shop owner,” Eli amended. “Are you o.k?”

 

“Yep,” the librarian answered. “You?”

 

“Thriving,” said Eli, humbly.

 

“Good,” she said, and turned and started walking down the side street away from him. Eli stood and watched her until he could no longer see the gore laden spikes of hair on her head.

 

It took another two trips before he saw her again. Although his catch decreased he had made both trips to the same area.

 

She emerged from a garden, her backpack bulging, and stood watching him come closer.

 

“What’s your name then,” she asked.

 

“I’m Eli,” he said.

 

“Pleased to meet you.” The librarian held out a zombie arm she had taped to a metre long ruler.

 

Instinctively, Eli took the hand and shook it, admiring the firm pressure of the hand’s grasp. The librarian had bridged the gap between them most cleverly. Stella was trying to get to the woman but Eli had put the brakes on the cart. He ignored her.

 

“Is she your missus?” the librarian asked.

 

“No,” said Eli. “She is my best customer though.”

 

“Oh,” said the woman, “Okay. My name is Anna.”

 

It was a sensible name and Eli saw that the librarian fitted it.

 

“I finished setting traps for today. You can come back to my place with me tomorrow if you need a place to stay,” Eli told her, his heart in his mouth and that mouth very dry.

 

“Um… no thank- you,” Anna said, “I’m really o.k.” She turned and walked off.

 

Once more Eli watched her disappear down the street. He searched out an empty shed, tied Stella up outside, and put a pair of shoes he’d found on her feet. Her soles had worn through with all the journeying Eli had inflicted on her.

 

Then he crawled onto the church truck. Curled on his side, he felt hollow. He got up restlessly and ate a can of peaches. But it didn’t help at all.

 

The next morning, when Eli set back out along his line of traps, he forced himself to focus on his hopes of a good haul and minimal interruptions from the dead.

 

But when he reached the road where he and Anna had last met, she waited for him. He approached cautiously.

 

“I think you should let her go,” Anna said, pushing her chin in Stella’s direction.

 

For a moment Eli was at a loss but the rightness of what she was saying filled him. “She should be let go nearer home though,” he answered, “You know, around familiar places and people.”

 

Anna eyed him for a moment, then nodded. “Righto,” she said, and added — “I’ve been going around collecting seeds.”

 

“I’ve got a garden,” Eli said. “High brick walls on two sides. Could reinforce the gate and build the other two fences up.”

 

“Oh,” Anna said. She turned, taking a position far from Stella and started walking in the direction Eli was going.

 

For a moment Eli was caught flat footed, then he shambled slowly after her. They walked for hours, only pausing to collect traps, in perfect silence.

 

Eli had started to feel less scared of her presence when he felt something bump his hand and looked down.

 

It was her hand on a stick. Eli glanced at Anna but she was looking away from him, her shoulders hunched defensively. She looked scared. So Eli took the hand’s aimlessly clenching digits in his careful fingers. They walked home side by side.

 

 

 

 

Books Hamdelilah Hasnt Read

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I want to read so much more!

Hamdelilah has 389 books to read…


Faerieland Altador Cup Media Book
r94 – about 93,000 NP

A Faerie Beautiful Day
r94 – about 94,500 NP

Cenanit Ragamans
r95 – about 99,999 NP

The Life of a Hot Dog
r95 – about 99,999 NP

The Lonely JubJub
r94 – about 99,999 NP

Captain Meerca
r96 – about 130,000 NP

All is Well
r90 – about 150,000 NP

Calculus Basics
r98 – about 200,000 NP

The Legendary Sutek Scroll
r99 – about 200,000 NP

The Way of the Draik
r96 – about 250,000 NP

Scorchio Spring
r101 – about 275,000 NP

A Neopians Guide to Immaculate Grooming
r94 – about 300,000 NP

Jazzmosis Biography
r96 – about 300,000 NP

Quantum Physics
r96 – about 300,000 NP

10th Birthday Book
r101 – about 320,000 NP

My Life As A Lenny
r98 – about 325,000 NP

Unabridged Dictionary
r96 – about 375,000 NP

Shenkuu Hiking
r96 – about 380,000 NP

12 Angry Myncies
r97 – about 400,000 NP

Book of Fake Scratchcards
r97 – about 400,000 NP

Care of Koi
r99 – about 400,000 NP

Grarrls Are Great
r180 – about 400,000 NP

Lawyerbot Poetry Vol. 1
r96 – about 400,000 NP

Mortog Music
r97 – about 400,000 NP

Neopias Past
r97 – about 400,000 NP

Professor Hugo Fairweathers Guide to Petpetpets
r97 – about 400,000 NP

The Faerie Acara
r101 – about 425,000 NP

Caring For Your Neopet 3
r180 – about 440,000 NP

Faeries from Paradise
r92 – about 450,000 NP

Lupe Legends
r96 – about 450,000 NP

Caring For Your Neopet 2
r180 – about 500,000 NP

Defence For Unis
r180 – about 500,000 NP

Flotsams
r180 – about 500,000 NP

Gruslens Galore
r98 – about 500,000 NP

Professional Curses
r99 – about 500,000 NP

Spooky Usul Stories
r96 – about 500,000 NP

The Key to being an Altadorian
r98 – about 500,000 NP

The Usuls Witching Halloween
r101 – about 500,000 NP

All About Electric Gelerts
r101 – about 535,000 NP

Cake Recipes for All Occasions
r97 – about 550,000 NP

Conquer the Dark
r98 – about 550,000 NP

Iron Skeith
r98 – about 550,000 NP

Neopian Postcards
r101 – about 550,000 NP

Bird Watching
r180 – about 600,000 NP

Moehog Masterpieces
r97 – about 600,000 NP

Popular Neopian Stories
r180 – about 600,000 NP

Rubber Mallard Collecting
r96 – about 600,000 NP

Aerial Shots of Neopia
r98 – about 650,000 NP

The Legend of Scordrax
r94 – about 650,000 NP

Undiscovered Treasure
r101 – about 650,000 NP

Illusens Scroll
r101 – about 700,000 NP

Moehog Matching
r99 – about 700,000 NP

Neopet Trading for Beginners
r101 – about 700,000 NP

Pteri Pop-Up Book
r98 – about 700,000 NP

Zafara War
r98 – about 700,000 NP

Altador is Lovely in the Spring
r101 – about 710,000 NP

Book of Scarabs
r99 – about 750,000 NP

Solid Steel Book
r180 – about 750,000 NP

Vile Curse of Pestilence
r99 – about 750,000 NP

1052 Sakhmetian Tales
r98 – about 775,000 NP

A History of Royal Scorchios
r101 – about 800,000 NP

A Plush Life
r101 – about 800,000 NP

Book Of Peas
r98 – about 800,000 NP

Joy of Jelly Kaus
r98 – about 800,000 NP

Mote Magic
r180 – about 800,000 NP

Super Lupe Comics
r96 – about 800,000 NP

Tropical Tales From Mystery Island
r101 – about 800,000 NP

Book of Bones
r180 – about 850,000 NP

Poogle Pages
r99 – about 900,000 NP

Cybunny Care
r99 – about 915,000 NP

Alchemy Lessons
r99 – about 1,000,000 NP

Baking Chocolate Korbats
r98 – about 1,000,000 NP

Basic Mathematics
r180 – about 1,000,000 NP

Book of Ice Magic
r180 – about 1,000,000 NP

Rainbow Bridge Scroll
r101 – about 1,000,000 NP

The Newest Book
r101 – about 1,000,000 NP

Starting Spells
r180 – about 1,150,000 NP

Snowager Saga
r101 – about 1,200,000 NP

Spooking the Competition
r180 – about 1,200,000 NP

The Happiest Day
r98 – about 1,200,000 NP

Kau Pastures
r99 – about 1,300,000 NP

The Abandoned Acara
r180 – about 1,300,000 NP

Chained Book
r180 – about 1,500,000 NP

Halloween Acara Tales
r101 – about 1,500,000 NP

History of the Altador Cup Book (Limited Edition)
r101 – about 1,500,000 NP

Lenny Cookbook
r99 – about 1,500,000 NP

Locked Book
r180 – about 1,500,000 NP

Scaled Magic Book
r180 – about 1,500,000 NP

Silly Green Kacheeks
r101 – about 1,500,000 NP

Warped Book
r180 – about 1,500,000 NP

Book of Symbols
r180 – about 1,600,000 NP

Bitten Book
r180 – about 1,800,000 NP

The Magic Staff
r99 – about 1,900,000 NP

Brain Trees Brainiac
r99 – about 1,950,000 NP

A History of Chias
r99 – about 2,000,000 NP

Book of Bizarre Tales
r180 – about 2,000,000 NP

Book of Pain
r180 – about 2,000,000 NP

Book of Vision
r180 – about 2,000,000 NP

Cures for Bad Breath
r99 – about 2,000,000 NP

How To Cheat At Bagatelle
r101 – about 2,000,000 NP

Ultimate Space Chronicles Set
r99 – about 2,000,000 NP

Time Travel
r180 – about 2,200,000 NP

1001 Alternative Cures for Headaches
r101 – about 2,500,000 NP

10th Birthday Book of Usuki Celebrations
r101 – about 2,500,000 NP

Modern Lupe Magazine
r99 – about 2,500,000 NP

A Tale of Stripes
r101 – about 2,700,000 NP

1,001 Yooyuball Tips
r180 – about 3,000,000 NP

Book of Sea Spells
r180 – about 3,000,000 NP

Decoding a Coded Decoding Book
r99 – about 3,000,000 NP

Dig Down, Dig Deep
r101 – about 3,000,000 NP

Grundo Tales
r99 – about 3,000,000 NP

Snarkie Answers to Stupid Questions
r180 – about 3,000,000 NP

Princess Vyssas Diary
r99 – about 3,500,000 NP

A Seasonal Pea
r99 – about 4,000,000 NP

Lenny Witchcraft
r99 – about 4,000,000 NP

Forbidden Zafara
r99 – about 4,200,000 NP

The Eve of the Eve
r99 – about 4,200,000 NP

A Chia Halloween
r99 – about 4,500,000 NP

Zafara Mystery Collection
r99 – about 4,500,000 NP

Uni Myths
r99 – about 5,000,000 NP

Usuki Comic Sampler
r101 – about 5,500,000 NP

105 Castle Toilets
r101 – about 25,000,000 NP

10th Birthday Illusen Birthday Book
r101

A Chia Story
r99

A Collection of Shenkuu Novels
r101

A Look at a Robot Kacheek
r101

A Pink Unis Horn
r101

Aisha Begins With An A
r101

All About Plushie Acaras
r101

Ancient Kung Fu Techniques
r101

Anubis Toxicology Reports (Abridged)
r180

Bagatelle Joke Book
r101

Beating Sloth
r99

Behind the Ears
r101

Behind the Frosting: Tales of the Chocolate Xweetok
r101

Behind the Stripes
r101

Being Faerie Queen
r101

Best Friends
r99

Book of Ideas
r101

Book of Splinters
r180

Book of Usuki Pumpkin Carving
r101

Bound Magic Book
r180

Caring for Cybunny
r99

Chia Art History
r99

Chia Quotes
r98

Chomby Mysteries
r99

Christmas Wocky Carols
r101

Cloud Usul Book
r101

Cotton Tales
r180

Crayon Doodle Book
r101

Curses From The Deep
r101

Dandelions for the Blue Acara
r101

Defeating the Master
r101

Dice of Destiny Rule Book
r101

Disappearing Scroll
r99

Doglefox Colouring Book
r138

Dr Sloths Dungeon
r101

Elkies Secret Message
r101

Esophagor Pop-Up Book
r101

Faerie Imprisonment for Fun and Profit
r97

Fancy Fyora
r101

Finding Illusen
r98

Flames of the Scorchio
r101

Full Moon Fever
r180

Fyoras Favourite Summer Recipes
r101

Fyoras Royal Address Book
r101

Gebmids
r101

Gifts for your Enemies
r99

Gold JubJub Spiral Bound Book
r101

Golden Eye
r101

Golden Shoyru Book
r180

Golden Wing
r101

Good Sportsmanship
r101

Goodnight, Pink Blumaroo!
r101

Grimoire of Affluence
r200

Grimoire of Prosperity
r200

Growing a Vine Yard
r97

Halloween Defender
r101

Happy Times with Rainbow Blumaroo
r101

Herb Hero
r101

History of the Ski Lodge v1
r102

History of the Ski Lodge v2
r102

History of the Ski Lodge v3
r104

Hobans Map Book
r180

How To Draw Flip Book
r101

How to Make Faerie Dust
r99

How to Play the Viola
r180

Hubrids Book of Death
r130

I Heart Striped Blumaroo!
r101

Illusen on Physics
r101

In The Clouds
r101

Indoor Activities For Snow Days
r99

Inside The Mind Of A Blue Yurble
r101

Inside the Mind of Bob
r99

Iscas Great Seashell Collection
r101

Its All About the Hairdo
r101

Ixis Ruff
r101

Kacheek Relaxing Tips and Tricks
r101

Kacheeks Going Island
r101

Kitchen Quest Cookbook
r101

Kougra Classics
r99

Koya Korbat Huntress
r100

Life as a Yellow Xweetok
r101

Lifestyles of the Royal and the Uni
r101

Little Book Of Big Volcanos
r180

Living a Healthy Neopian Life
r101

Look At Me! Tales of an Adorable Baby Bruce
r101

Manual for Raiding Tombs
r99

Maraquan Spring Cleaning
r101

Maraquan Study Guide
r101

Meerca in the Clouds
r101

Miss Prissy Kacheek Halloween Tales
r101

My First Chia Book
r180

Mysterious Book
r180

Neopian Heroes
r99

Neopian Structural Engineering
r101

Nimmo Battle Cry
r99

Nimmo Faerie Tales
r180

Nimmo Joe Book
r180

Noil Colouring Book
r132

Official Usukicon Y6 Guide Book
r180

Olde Zafara
r99

On the Wing of a Silver Shoyrus
r101

On the Wings of a Striped Scorchio
r101

Ona Starry Tales
r101

Orange Aisha Tales
r101

Orange Kougras
r101

Petfolio
r99

Pink Usul: A Backwards Tale
r101

Playtime for the Baby Gelert
r101

Pox Curse
r101

Preparing For Spring
r101

Purple Chia Book
r101

Pyramid Painting Vol. 7: Faux Finishes
r101

Quest Spells
r101

Rainbow Wocky Adventures
r101

Raising Baby Grundo
r101

Rare Treasure Maps
r101

Robot Mynci Mechanical Guide
r101

Ruling The Universe
r101

Scary Korbat Tales
r101

Scorchio Studying Tips
r101

Scorchio Talk
r101

Scorchios in the Spring
r101

Secret Acara Halloween Recipes
r101

Secret Recipes of Mystery Island
r101

Secrets of Dirigible Construction
r180

Secrets of Maraqua
r101

Seeing Stars
r101

Shadow Tome
r101

Shell Hunters Guide Book
r101

Silver Aisha Book
r101

Sophie, A Biography
r99

Sore Throat Remedies
r180

Spot The Aisha!
r101

Star Gazing
r101

Striped Kacheek Book of Sketches
r101

Striped Lupe Pop-Up Book
r101

Super Secret Guide to the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters
r99

Surprise! Its Striped Ixi
r101

Tale of Woe
r101

Tales From the Left Wing
r101

Tales From The Lost Desert
r101

Tales Of A Blue Shoyru
r101

Tales of a Green Kau
r101

Tales of a Pink Kacheek
r101

Tales Of A Red Tuskaninny
r101

Tales of a Shiny Silver Cybunny
r101

Tales Of A Yellow Kougra
r101

Tales of Soft Foot The Plushie JubJub
r101

Tales of the Tail
r101

The Adventures of Ylana Skyfire
r101

The Adventurous Yellow Kacheek
r101

The Angry Orange Bruce
r101

The Angry Rainbow Xweetok
r101

The Apple Loving Purple Elephante
r101

The Art of Shaking Hands
r101

The Art of Sleeping In
r99

The Baby Blue Snorkle
r101

The Backwards Ways of the Gold Kyrii
r101

The Bad Skeith
r99

The Bat Wielding Jelly Poogle
r101

The Big Red Bruce Tied Up With A Big Red Bow
r101

The Blue Shoyru Takes Flight!
r101

The Book of Paper Cuts
r97

The Brown Uni
r101

The Case of the Missing Grey Faerie
r99

The Chocolate Scorchio Recipe Book
r101

The Cloud Wocky With His Head in the Clouds
r101

The Coy Rainbow Xweetok
r101

The Coy Royal Girl Quiggle
r101

The Curious Cloud Kougra
r101

The Curious Speckled Scorchio
r101

The Daydreaming Green Acara
r101

The Draconian Scroll
r99

The Ears Have It!
r101

The Electric Cybunny
r101

The Electric Shoyru
r101

The Electric Wocky
r101

The Evil Dr. Sloth
r101

The Evil Slorg
r101

The Excitable Yellow JubJub
r101

The Ferocious Orange Lupe
r101

The Fire Breathing Blue Scorchio
r101

The Fuzzy Orange JubJub
r101

The Giggly Cloud Elephante
r101

The Giggly Starry Flotsam
r101

The Golden Aisha
r101

The Great Defender Returns
r101

The Great King Altador
r101

The Groovy Disco Grundo
r101

The Happy Little Yellow Cybunny
r101

The Happy-Go-Lucky Disco Kiko
r101

The Happy-Go-Lucky Yellow Meerca
r101

The High Flying Adventures Of The Cloud Flotsam
r101

The Island Bruce
r101

The Jolly Pink JubJub
r101

The Joys of Cooking with Magma
r97

The Little Faellie with the Biggest Heart
r101

The Littlest Baby Aisha
r101

The Littlest Snorkle
r101

The Long History of Isca
r101

The Many Adventures of Halloween JubJub
r101

The Many Adventures of Ylana Skyfire
r101

The Misadventures Of Yellow Usul
r101

The Mischievous Silver Lupe
r101

The Musical Gold Scorchio
r101

The Pink Kacheek
r101

The Pink Quiggle
r101

The Pink Shoyru Pop-Up Book
r101

The Pretty Chocolate Usul
r101

The Purple Bruce
r101

The Purple Scorchio
r101

The Racing Red Poogle
r101

The Rainbow Cybunny Tale
r101

The Relaxing Wain
r101

The Saddest Noil
r101

The Scribing Royal Boy Quiggle
r101

The Secret Altadorian Spring
r101

The Secret Life of Shadow Shoyru
r101

The Shadow Usul
r99

The Shy Blue Wocky
r101

The Shy Cloud Chomby
r101

The Shy Purple Kiko
r101

The Silver Gelert
r101

The Silver Poogle Set On Revenge
r101

The Skipping Red Kacheek
r101

The Slippery Silver Grundo
r101

The Sly Little Mazzew
r101

The Smiling Pink Chomby
r101

The Sneaky Purple Bruce
r101

The Speckled Elephante Flautist
r101

The Spotted Kau
r101

The Story of the Purple Acara
r101

The Strawberry JubJub
r101

The Strawberry Poogle
r101

The Strawberry Usul
r101

The Sun Loving Purple Noil
r101

The Sweet Strawberry Shoyru
r101

The Timid Silver Shoyru
r101

The Tiny Pink Korbat
r101

The Twenty Four Carat Gold Blumaroo
r101

The Underdog Story
r180

The Uppity Gold Usul
r101

The Vicious Orange Wocky
r101

The Wheels of Fate
r101

The Wonky Eyed Camouflage Wocky
r101

The Wrath of Scorchio
r101

The Yellow Kougra
r101

The Zombie Chomby
r97

Tree Magic
r101

Trigonometry Hyperbolics
r99

Unofficial Usukicon Y6 Guide Book
r180

Usuki Summer Journal
r101

Usukicon Y11 Comic Book
r101

Usukicon Y13 Pile of Adverts
r101

Usukicon Y7 Guide Book
r180

Usukicon Y8 Colouring Book
r180

Usukicon Y8 Guide Book
r180

Valentines Day in Shenkuu
r101

Vile Scroll of Possession
r99

Way To Go Green Grundo!
r101

Wheres the Green Acara?
r101

White Kougra Diary
r101

Ylana Skyfire Saves Halloween
r101

Ylana Skyfire: Protector of Spring
r101

Ylana Skyfires Valentines Day
r101

Ylanas Summer Adventure Tales
r101

You Will Get Verrucas!
r99


It will cost about 176,942,497 NP to read all those books!
Prices current as of October 02, 2015.

This list was generated by Jellyneo’s Book Checklist Tool!

Dancing Like a Souped up Road Runner with Happy Feet

Blog Entries, Uncategorized No Comments

I recieved this wonderful notification a day or two ago:

Sally and Joel

On behalf of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand Inc. we write to advise that you have been successful in getting onto the final ballot for the 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Awards in the category of  Best Professional Publication  for Deputy Dan and the Mysterious Midnight Marauder.

The voting for the awards will occur at Conscription, to be held over Queen’s Birthday Weekend in Auckland.

I’ve looked at the SSFANZ website and this is what they say about the awards:

Voting on the Sir Julius Vogel Awards takes place before and at the National Science Fiction convention each year. You are eligible to vote if you are a member of SFFANZ, OR a member of the National Science Fiction convention that year. You are only entitled to one vote, even if you belong to both.

I dropped back an e-mail asking how absentee votes may be registered and I will let everyone know as the information comes back to me. I hope that all of you who are members or attending, and who loved the book, will send in a vote for us!

/shameless plug! :)

Courage

Blog Entries, Uncategorized 1 Comment

Today started with a slight sinking feeling. I had odd writing related dreams that made me feel questioning about what I was doing. This is a state I don’t normally tolerate whatever shrinking feeling may flit through. Thankfully, the first thing I had to do at my desk was look at the City Library site to find out when my borrowed books are due. I couldn’t.  But what the site did spit up was a list of Deputy Dan copies held by the Christchurch Public Libraries – no fewer than  eleven copies! Nearly all of them were out this morning being read. Being reminded that there are kids out there enjoying my story made me feel lifted, and completed, and freed from my moment of writer’s neurosis.

This was to be the step I trod all day. I went into Drexels, writing in hand to do at breakfast, and Roslyn came over. She confessed, and I  hope she won’t mind me relating, that she had been crying the whole day before.   I asked why and she told me it was just a mood up and down. Conversation shifted on and I started to talk about the eel I had watched in the shallows of the Avon by Mill Island. Roslyn suddenly interjected, telling me ”I think its about finding courage to do what you’re doing” (Roslyn is an amazing young singer). I told her about my moment this morning and that I’d been thinking about those things too, that it was funny how events conspired to encourage you, and that it was important to never let anything stop you if you are driven to follow your muse. I told her the wise words of two friends as she was called away – that courage is inside if you look for it within – and that she must never give up. She left smiling and I think both of us felt lit up by the conversation.

I went to have my car checked and one of the car salesmen of Christchurch Honda approached me and asked me to get and sign a copy of Deputy Dan for him. Then I went to the library to return those borrowings. I found a laminated copy of Deputy Dan front and centre there, and took it up, asking how I could get that form of lamination. I wanted to make my reading copy tougher. The librarian, Marianne, certainly didn’t realise I was the author when she told me how popular that book is. Cue the author dying of thrilled on the library floor. Well, ok, not on the floor or dying but it felt like that in a good way.  Marianne helped me organise getting the book plasticised by the Library bindery and if you ever want a book covered the binders (found in their burrow at the back of the Linwood Council Centre block) are genius. Its well worth the $6-8 they charge for the service. Thanks to them and Marianne.

Eventually, via many errands I won’t relate,  I got home to an e-mail from the good persons running the Sir Julius Vogel Awards this year. They asked me if I would be prepared to accept Deputy Dan’s nomination for ”Best production/publication.” Of course, I not only would be prepared to accept, I am utterly delighted. Thank you to any one reading this who nominated Deputy Dan.

So: a day of affirmation, of positive feedback, of having the universe practically yodel at me to keep doing what I am doing. I feel incredibly grateful and my stock of courage is all topped up.

Today I have written four hundred words on the current chapter of  “Somewhere Else.” It only has twenty-four hours of action left to write.  My pen is to hand.

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