Everything's Coming Up Roses

Something weird is going on. Something really weird. Zombies are roaming about London, attacking people and causing a nationwide panic. But when Detective Matt Flaire takes on this extraordinary case, there's more to it than meets the eye...


1. Prologue

I sat in the dark, shadows from the outside world occasionally flitting across the walls. My stuff lay everywhere, from empty takeaway boxes littering the floor to clothes strewn across the furniture. The clock ticked away in the dark. It was stuck at quarter to eleven, repeating the same second over and over. She had pointed it out in the last row before she left, like it was somehow my fault. I hadn't even noticed before then. My phone sat on the arm of the cracked leather sofa. It was probably out of charge. Or turned off. I didn't care either way. 

The answer machine flashed it's orange light across the room. I knew I had messages, and I knew they were from her. I didn't care about any of them. I didn't seem to care about very much then. 

Instinctively, I pressed the rim of the bottle to my lips at the thought of her, drowning it out. I took a swig, and the now-warm liquid swirled around my mouth and down my throat. It was as disgusting as ever, but I couldn't stop. I put the bottle down on a stack of paper on the coffee table, and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. I never used to drink. Just another thing she'd started. 

Distantly, I heard a car pull up outside the house, but it wasn't on my mind for long. The bitter drink found itself in my mouth again and I could feel it making it's way to my head. The room spun gently before me, and I saw my hand jerk clumsily as I put the bottle down. There was a noise, far away, but all I heard was pounding, over and over in my head, like I was being hit repeatedly with a sledge hammer. Someone was at the door. 

"Okay, okay!" I yelled, heaving myself up off the sofa. The walls caved in as I staggered across the hall way, tripping over boxes piled up against the wall. The noise didn't stop. "I said, I'm coming!" Finally, silence. I stopped at the door, breathing slowly in an attempt to sober up. I steeled myself, and opened the door, but left the chain on. 

"Matt?" I heard the deep voice of the person on the other side call. I squinted through the gap in the door, into the darkness. "Matt, it's me. Seth. Open the door." I shut the door to pull the chain off, before inviting Seth in. 

"All right Seth? How you-" I started, but Seth interrupted.

"Man, you gotta stop this." He looked straight at me, and I had to turn away from his gaze. 

"Stop what?" But even before the slurred words left my lips, I could see the irony in it. my feet slipped, and I reached for the wal. Seth grabbed my arm and pulled me back up. His strong, black hands were the complete opposite to my own pale, feeble arms. He guided me back to the sofa, and poured out a glass of water. I gratefully gulped the cold water down in one, before meeting Seth's dark eyes again. The fog in my mind began to clear, just a bit. 

"Seth...What've I missed missed at work?" I said slowly. Seth hesitated, considering how much to tell much to say. 

"That's why I'm here. We need you back." I turned the empty glass around in my hands. It was still too soon... "It's not too soon." Seth seemed to read my mind. "You've had weeks, and quite frankly, it's only made things worse. It won't be long before you're forced to go to AA meetings every week." I saw his eyes flit over the state of the house, resting on the pile of empty bottles. 

"So where was the homicide?" I said finally, breaking the silence that had fallen across the room. "Is it a local? Do the press known? Any leads yet? What?" Seth stared at me for a second. 

"It's not a homicide." He revealed.

"Then why am I being called in?" I raised my voice, slightly defensive. "I'm a homicide detective, not a-" I breathed in slowly. "Sorry. Sorry." It's just been hard, and I'm not meant to come back for another week." Seth shrugged. 

"Whatever, man. It's your call. But Karla wants all hands on deck." 

"Who?" I paused momentarily. "Oh, Inspector Scott." I had forgotten that Seth was on first name terms with Inspector scott. Well, Seth's on first name terms with pretty much anyone. He's just got this way with people that I lack completely.

Seth stood up. 

"If you're interested, there's a briefing tomorrow at twelve. Just..." He glanced at the bottles again. "Just sober up a bit first." His footsteps slowly faded. I was left alone in the darkness again, with only the shadows and the pounding in my head for company.

Sleep came easily. 



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