Photo Source: Deviant Art
Warning: Contains profanity and words that we wouldn't utter in front of your parents and in-laws. Language can sanitized violence but not curse words.
“Wha?” sez Zaman, “What happened next?”
“What happen what?” sez Shafiq, disheveled and demoralized from a day of negotiating with murderous students who complaint about the magazine.
“The zombie story. Citer tergantung.”
“In the end, they all got eaten by the zombies. Sekian terima kasih.”
Shafiq went out from his room, checking each corner in case the IB students sent assassins to take him out. Their class photos were printed in black and white. This caused some of them to feel that there was a conspiracy against them; an Illuminati-like force behind the editorial board out to wipe out their course from the face of the (KMS) earth. They were paranoid. And because they were paranoid this caused Shafiq to become paranoid too. His nerves jumped every moment he saw the black and orange shirt the IB students were wearing. Maybe I ought to wear a Kevlar body suit, thought him, or hire bodyguards.
Then Shafiq met Liwauddin Lujaini, the lone psychopath who loved to smirk instead of smile when he greeted others. Wau was Shafiq’s third classmate, the other being Abu Dzar, whose looks could attract the longing gaze of the students of the Aisyah block but apparently never had a girlfriend. Shafiq suspected that Wau’s gay. A homo and a psychopath; a sperm-and-ovum-like combination that could produce the embryo of a serial killer.
“Hello.” smirked Wau, “Heard you’ve a rough day.”
“Yeah, got a lot of PR duty to do. Got lots of apologies to do. Got to douse some burning letters – ”
“Yeah. The way you handle the magazine, millions will die if they put you in charge of a nuclear reactor.”
“Great, asshole. You’re a fine pal. I like you”
“I speak the truth.”
“Only when it hurts.”
“But the way you handle the damage, you could work as a PR in nuclear energy companies. You know, in case millions do die in a disaster, you could apologize, take the flak and pay compensation. Or maybe be like the Japanese; commit seppuku.”
“That a compliment?”
“I’m an interpretivist, baby. Interpret it the way you like. There’s room for your own interpretation.”
“Bajet ah, gay jambu.”
“Running out of point to talk? Not yet. Will do it tonight. At somewhere safe. Somewhere no one will know who am I.”
“You don’t have to worry bout that.” sez Wau, “You’re not famous enough. You know what they say about the fucked up magazine. They kept asking the name of the editor. And when I said your name, they said ‘Shafiq who?’.”
“I’m a male TESLian. Ain’t that enough to make me famous?”
“Oh no. With me and Abu Dzar, we’re like two stars that eclipse you, the mere moon. We’re hot, you’re not.”
“Peace be bless upon you too.”
And they parted ways. Shafiq to Aminuddin where he’ll be having a heart-to-heart session with his close friends, and Wau, who never had any close friends, to the library so that he can indulge himself in a delirium of book reading.
As Wau walked across the futsal court, he could sense that thousands of eyes were gazing at him longingly from the Aisyah block. The girls were eyeing him with the intensity of snipers. He wondered of how many enemies he can make from the members of the opposite sex if he showed them the finger in the general direction of their block.
He was whistling the choral part of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, praising the beauty of the day when he smelt something’s burning. What kind of fogging are they doing now? he thought. It was at the porch of the koop that he realized that the burning originates from behind the Aisyah block. He peeked behind and saw that a group of AUSMAT students were burning the magazines en masse, like Hitler and his Nazi party did on banned books before the Second World War.
“Yo,” he called out, “Don’t you know that it’s wrong to burn books.”
“We’re not burning books. We’re burning crap, that’s what.” one of them replied, tending the fire with a stick.
“The IB is in black and white. And we, AUSMAT students, have no pictures at all.”
“Don’t you know,” sez Wau with a philosophical air, “that you guys ought to be proud.”
“Because the magazine, as you say, is crap. And because your photos are not in it, so the good name of the AUSMAT course has not been stained by that crap. You guys are lucky.”
Before they could say anything, Wau went on with his journey to the library, picking up a copy of the magazine that the AUSMAT students have accidentally dropped in their frenzy of mag burning.
He opened the magazine, which has a beautiful cover design with sheety contents. He tsked-tsked as he went on through the pages until he came upon a story entitled ‘A Zombie Apocalypse in KMS.’ written by none other than his best fiend Mohammad Shafiq Razak.
(By this time, YOU, the reader, will finally say “HAH, BARU NAK CITER PASAL ZOMBIE. APSAL PANJANG SANGAT INTRO!?” Sabar jelah kawan. Nak starting kena panaskan enjin dulu. Kalau tak pancit. Kering takde idea nanti kang.)
It wasn’t a literary masterpiece, but strangely Liwauddin Lujaini found himself liking the story and wished it hadn’t ended like that. Probably the anger that stem out from the college community was mainly because of the photos. But, Wau thought, can they appreciate the beauty of the written words instead of focusing on the visual and the concrete. The art of the written words is a dying business, like wayang kulit…. and every shop that MARA opened.
It wasn’t to say that the story is one hell of work that can salvage the condemned magazine (it was the graphics that sprayed perfume onto the dung), but people are so obsessed with visuals that they couldn’t take a bloody minute to read one simple story. Nobody ever complaint about the works featured because no one read them, or give a damn. Wau sighed about this malady that afflicts the humanity.
(READER: WOI, CEPATLAH SIKIT. MANA ZOMBIENYA?)
(PENULIS: SABOLAH WEI!)
When the dusk dawned on Kolej Mara Seremban six hours later, Aizat was clutching the bloodied laptop that he used when he brained one of the zombies that attacked him. The zombie belonged to the former body of Shafiq, that fat TESL boy, who attacked him when he was playing Left4Dead. The zombie’s dead, for sure. But he wasn’t sure of how long can he survive.
He heard many screams and cries in the night while he hid under his bed. The death cries of those who were being eaten, or being transformed into zombies, he wasn’t sure. He hoped that it was just a nightmare or at least a hallucination induced by countless hours of playing video games. It wasn’t. Reality bites back, literally, until you got torn to pieces.
Aizat knew he couldn’t hide under the bed forever. He must seek for help and find other survivors, so they could band up together to fight their way through the hordes of the living dead.
Then he heard the ground vibrating. Someone’s coming; possibly a large-sized zombie which weighed like him, only if he can be multiplied three times. Aizat imagined with horror if it was the zombiefied version of Aswad, Ise or God-help-him, Bob, coming to get him. His skinny frame stood no chance It will be like San Marino vs Argentina. Even with Shafiq he had a hard time, although the zombiefied Shafiq was too damn slow and stupid and retard-like to do any tangible harm. (Remember, it’s Wau writing this) But if Ise or Aswad, man they are fast! And large!
Aizat then saw two feet standing beside his bed. From their size, indeed the zombie was larger than him (of course, who isn’t?). Time for kamikaze, Aizat thought, either I died fighting and then being eaten, or I died crapping myself and then being eaten. Or maybe I should crap myself, then the zombie, if it is picky, won’t eat me. Or..”
The ‘zombie’ lifted up the bed. Aizat nearly crapped himself, but adrenaline dictated him to fight back. He used his bloodied laptop by hitting it on the stomach, but with no effect, for the zombie was fat and has an extra flesh on its abdomen. Aizat, unperturbed and hoping for a glorious and holy death, gave a loud screaming that sounded like a takbir when the ‘zombie’ called out in a familiar voice:
“Sial! Ni akulah mangkuk!” (Translated literally: Bad luck! It’s me, bowl!)
It was Bob. For the first time in his life, Aizat felt like hugging him with all the love one can have for a man minus the homoeroticism. He never imagined that this would happen, but it happened. From afar, the sight of those two scared souls hugging each other looked like a little boy hugging his humongous, mutant teddy bear. And, oh, you can imagine there’s some kind of instrumental music playing in the background. Gives the right atmosphere, ya know?
After they disengaged themselves after several minutes of interlocking with each other, they discovered that they were in the epicenter of a group of zombies. Apparently, the moment of sweetness have been too cute that they actually paused themselves from eating them. One of them puked.
“Aw shucks.” sez Aizat.
“Fat chance of us escaping.” Bob sez.
Fat chance of you escaping. “Well, I guess I run faster than you. Remember the Wordlord? Of how I managed to win our team’s turn by being the fastest runner ever?”
“We were in different teams. And the only thing that I remembered is that my team won.”
“Whatever, here’s the deal. I run and become the bait -be a hero and save the day while you can take your time strolling down the corridor call for help, if you feel that’s important. If you’re not in a hurry, stop for a coffee break.”
“We’re about to die and you still try to be funny.”
“Okay, get set-“ he leapt and gave one of those monsters a roundhouse kick to the face. Patches of its skin stuck to his feet, like algae. Despite the grossness of it all, he ran like a madman. One who watched him running from afar, barefoot and barechested, would’ve thought that a toyol was rampaging the college, and not zombies. And to respect the late great Sudirman and as an attempt at comedy, we will play this classic:
Toyol, dia datang padaku berlari-lari
Tolong, kemanaku kan pergi
Toyol, kenapa pula aku yang kau cari
Tolong, rupanya hodoh wow.. wow.. wow.. wow
Indeed, he did look like a toyol.
Along the way he encountered many half-eaten corpses who were the victims of the zombie outbreak. Those who were bitten but not eaten joined the ranks of the living dead. Aizat ran and ran and ran until he was at the Gate B. He outran the zombies. And so did Bob, who was standing at the gate, not panting at all.
“How the hell you can run faster than me?”
“If Allah permits me to, then I can.” Bob sez with an air of religious authority.
“Now we got to know the extent of this epidemic. Let’s see whether it affects only our college or the whole damned world.”
The strolled downhill along Jalan Aminuddin Baki. They noticed that the Fu Tong Tong’s gate was left opened. They don’t like it.
“Hopefully Allah will permit us to run faster this time.”
“Allah knows best.”
And an Alsatian dog sprinted out from the house; Zombiefied. Again, they ran. (The author wishes to apologize for overusing the word run/zombiefied due to his limited vocabulary.)
Liwauddin Lujaini encountered the writer’s block. Damn, he thought, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s like stumbling into a wall and you don’t know how to move around it.
Wau felt a nudge in his ribs. He realized that it was the Pak Guard who looked like Lee Marvin who poked him with his baton.
“You okay?” but he spoke those words in an accent that seems to be in a mixture of Negeri Sembilan with a touch of Javanese spoken from the mouth of a stroke patient.
The guard spoke again. He might as well talk to him in Eskimo, for it was 10 hours later in the night when Wau finally understands what the hell the guard was saying. He had been wandering from Gate A to Gate B many times like a madman all the time while he was in the state of trance making up the story. He was never conscious of the world. He never even noticed the rain that soaked him, which gave him the appearance of a wet mongrel dog. He had abandoned reality in favor of fantasy.
Damn, he thought, passion turns everyone into a zombie.