An Apocolypse Cometh to Oscar Lennon by Ashleigh Mounser

Oscar Lennon wants to clarify that the situation he is about to encounter does not show him in his best light. He wants to make it clear that he managed a B average this year, so if you’re planning to accuse Oscar of being stupid, you’d be way off the mark. All of this should be kept in mind, because without a little context, without knowing what B Average Oscar Lennon is all about, you’d be at a tragic risk of getting the wrong idea about it all.
In every horror movie there is Victim Number One, whose only real purpose is to look stunning as she is hacked to pieces. She exists so that the smarter, more important members of the cast can have a good bit of warning before Leatherface/ Freddy Kruger/ Linda Blair starts going to town on them with a chainsaw/ clawed hand/ twisting head. This girl wanders downstairs in her tiny underwear and calls out “Hello?” as if the murderer is going to yell back, “Yeah, I’m in the kitchen. Do you want anything?”

           
She goes outside in her bathrobe in the middle of the night, whispering, “Is anyone there?”  She is so unbelievably stupid that when the masked killer jumps out of the bushes and cuts her head off you almost believe she deserves it. We all hate her.

           
Just don’t hate Oscar Lennon.
When the Zombie Apocalypse hits, Oscar is talking a shower. It might seem like this is going in a Psycho direction, but it’s not. Oscar will save you the heart-wrenching suspense.       
Oscar takes a shower at 8.00, and everything seems peachy keen. By the time he gets out at 8.30, all hell has quite literally broken loose. Oscar does the towel walk of shame to his room, cradling his shampoo like a newborn, and yells out to his mother for a lift, because he is never going to make it to school in half an hour on foot.

 

No answer.     
Oscar knows what you’re thinking: Run. Run for your life.  
He’s not going to because obviously he has no way of knowing that his mum has already left for work, and his dad is being chewed at on the front lawn. So, still in his towel, Oscar drip-drip’s downstairs, pokes his head into every room and calls out, “Dad? Mum?”    
Nothing; absolute death-defying silence.

           
The Lennon’s have glass doors.         
Firstly, this means Oscar should know better than to wear a towel around the dining room. Mrs Wade from across the road is leering at him. In retrospect, he wonders if she was more in the mood for dinner than a show. Secondly, it means that after he stops being a complete dolt, he notices his dad running towards the front door.         
As far as parents go, Mr and Mrs Lennon are about as mild-mannered as they come. They make Oscar’s goldfish look feral. So when Oscar see’s his dad running towards him with that “I’m-going-to-eat-you-alive” look that he has seen in so many other parents’ eyes, Oscar knows there are only two possible explanations. Either someone has told him about Oscar and Jessica Dukum last year, or he is a flesh-eating zombie. Since Oscar covered his tracks pretty well with the Jessica Dukum incident, flesh-eating zombie seems more likely.

           
Oscar flicks the lock on the sliding door as quickly as he can and thump, dear old dad hits it hard and slides onto the porch, spitting blood and saying “Garumphada!”, which Oscar can only assume means; “I did not appreciate that, Oscar.”           
Oscar runs upstairs, pulls on some jeans and a T-shirt as quickly as he can and looks out his bay window. The whole town has gone bonkers, mad as anything- for flesh. Oscar is done for.  Then – and please don’t judge him – he remembers the other doors.    
As in three other doors downstairs, which he has left unlocked.

           
Oscar just knows that he is going to die a half-dressed idiot.

           
His dad is thump-thumping down the hallway this very minute. He is dragging his feet and groaning, as if he is a walking- not really talking, zombie cliché. Oscar is so frightened he thinks he is going to burst with terror, and suddenly he knows why that girl dies in the beginning of every horror film, and he know why the hero survives. All the fear, all the oh-my-god, I-was-going-downstairs-to-have-breakfast, what-the-hell-happened? bursts out of him and he knows what he needs to do and how to do it. He grabs his school bag, two straps it, opens the window and knocks out the windscreen. Oscar looks around his room one last time. He looks at the baby blue walls he has hated since the second the paint dried, and the collage above his bed. He looks at the Roahl Dahl treasury, given to him on his twelfth birthday by his parents and the watch engraved with “To the Moon and Back” which he never wears in front of his friends.

           
Then he lets it all go, and jump out the bedroom window for the last time. 
Like everyone else in the English speaking universe, Oscar has heard the phrase ‘hit the ground running,’ but he has never truly understood it until he is forced to put it into practice. The fall jolts his legs, sends tingling all up his body, but he doesn’t think anyone in a life or death situation – at least not anyone who’s likely to live very long – ever thinks to themselves; “That hurts. I think I’ll pause to ruminate on the fact that it hurts.”   
Oscar shoves it all into a little box of pain, where the memory of his engraved watch and his Roald Dahl treasury is, and runs.

           
Oscar runs so fast he’s not even sure his feet are touching the ground. Clusters of dirty, bloody zombies roll their heads in his direction and amble towards him, but he is gone before they’ve got a good enough whiff of him to be sure that he is alive. Oscar runs so fast he forgets that his dad is a zombie, and his mother is missing and presumed zombie. He runs until he feels strong, until he knows that no matter what happens, no matter what zombies come his way; Oscar Lennon will survive.

8 thoughts on “An Apocolypse Cometh to Oscar Lennon by Ashleigh Mounser

  1. Hey Alex, I enjoyed the read! It was very different, but enjoyable; more like a commentary on Oscar’s plight than from his perspective.
    Did you try instead being Oscar (as in “I did this and thought this” as opposed to “Oscar did this and thought this”)? That might have made the commentary his own. Whether or not that would have made it a better or worse story, I dunno. just a thought.
    I really enjoyed the cheek in there. It kind of reminded me of the way guys like Joe Abercrombie get a bit of a laugh out of the reader through their characters. Good stuff overall mate.

  2. Hey Ashleigh, I hate zombies. I go out of my way to avoid zombie novels. But this is different. Oscar is amazingly well imagined. I particularly like his wry take on life – for example: The fall jolts his legs, sends tingling all up his body, but he doesn’t think anyone in a life or death situation – at least not anyone who’s likely to live very long – ever thinks to themselves; “That hurts. I think I’ll pause to ruminate on the fact that it hurts.”
    I hope Oscar survives long enough to have further adventures!

  3. I really like this.
    I love the style, it’s got a fine mix of Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland… I am a bit of a zombie fan and I think this take is really fresh and stands out,
    best wishes

  4. While I’m generally not a fan of the zombie genre, you made it work.
    I like the tone and it’s comical at just the appropriate level for a prologue; which keeps your options open as to which direction you want to go if you are to continue.

    Overall, an effective opening; enough for me to want to read more.

    1. ‘I like the tone and it’s comical at just the appropriate level for a prologue’

      That’s a neat observation. I like it.

  5. Hi Ashleigh! I enjoyed the humorous tone of your story, and I actually found the 2nd person perspective enjoyable, which is difficult to pull off. I don’t think I could read an entire novel written from that POV, but it was an interesting way to write the prologue.

    I also appreciate the way you immediately dive into character in your story, and how you connected with a recognizable setting fairly quickly. Good work!

  6. Thanks for all the feedback! Oscar kind of morphed into a 20 000 word love story a while ago, and I adored it until I found out about Warm Bodies. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions for lovers of zombie romance.

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