Marshall Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild
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"The cafeteria is quiet today . . . isn't it?" Ivy lifted her head from the table and looked around.
"I know," Josh emptied a small bag of chips into his mouth as he continued to talk, "the useless rantings about drama has ebbed . . . you think we missed a memo? Or is something else up?"
Ivy scanned the large lunch room once more before stopping her eyes on a completely empty table -- the largest table in the room.
"Ahhhh, I have solved our mystery my dear Josh," Ivy pointed at the table, "Our lovely poppzies aren't here. That may be why we haven't drowned in drama yet."
"Hmmm . . . where are they?" Josh bit into a luke-warm chicken sandwich, "The whole table's gone."
Ivy shrugged her shoulders, trying not to look at the food spraying from Josh's mouth. "Maybe they had a meeting -- there's only so much time left for them to take over the town with a full out popular-zombie attack before they graduate." Ivy laughed at their inside joke while Josh just smiled.
"Oh Ivy, they've already infected half the town . . . it's only a matter of time."

"This is the third day in a row, Ivy." Josh pushed his tray of food away and looked over at the table that regularly hosted the popular students of the school. The popular students that he and Ivy had renamed the "poppzies" in honor of their mindless longing for being popular, similar to that of the longing zombies have for brains.
"I've noticed Josh." She looked at his food -- not one bite taken from anything on the tray. "Why is it bothering you so much Josh? You aren't even eating and that's huge for you! I nick-named you the garbage disposal for a reason, remember? Besides . . . it's no big deal. So the poppzies are gone . . ." Ivy made a small wave of her hand, ". . . who cares? They've made our lives miserable since the day we stepped foot into this awful school system."
"Yeah Ivy but this is weird. They've all been gone for three days. All of them. What if they're planning something?" Josh looked around nervously and lifted his jacket high over his ears in an attempt to hide himself in the open.
The bell rang and Josh jumped up. He held out his hand to Ivy and grabbed his lunch tray with the other. Ivy smiled up at him, "Everything is fine Josh. I promise," and accepted his hand to pull herself up.
Josh dumped his tray and he and Ivy walked out of the lunch room arm in arm.

Josh dropped into a plastic chair, his head in his hands. Things got out of hand. They were planning something -- they did plan something. He knew it. He looked over at Ivy who was on the floor propped up against the wall. She wasn't badly hurt thankfully. They both escaped with only small cuts and bruises but both were covered with blood. The blood of the others they watched die.
The whole town had been destroyed. The poppzies mutated. They mutated into what Ivy and Josh always joked they were - a large force of zombies. But now they were more deadly and dangerous than they ever would have imagined. The worst that Josh and Ivy thought they'd do was ruin their reputations, which they did, but killing . . . destroying everything was unimaginable.
"I can still hear people screaming Josh," Ivy looked over at Josh and played with her shoe laces.
Josh walked over and sat next to her, "Ivy we've been together a long time. Best friends through thick and thin. We'll get through this . . ." Josh paused and hesitantly added, ". . . I promise," then he took her hand.
"Josh, I . . ." A loud banging suddenly started on the door accompanied by moans and the sound of nails scratching the walls. Josh hugged Ivy close and she laid her head on his shoulder and softly started singing.

Hey Jude, don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.
Hey Jude, don't be afraid . . .

The door strained at it hinges as the pounding from the other side became louder. Josh watched the screws fall to the floor as he listened to Ivy sing in his ear . . .

"Ivy! NO!" Josh jumped up from the table, attracting the stares of everyone in the lunch room.
Ivy stopped singing her favorite Beatles song and looked up at him, "What's wrong Josh?" "I just . . . I had a dream . . ."
"It was only a dream Josh, maybe that'll show you not to stay up late playing video games and more." Ivy laughed and began singing again.
Josh turned slowly and looked over at the large empty table in the middle of the lunch room.

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