by David Oarr
Listen up me hearties, I was all happy-dance and squeals when mom said I was getting a captain's bed. I imagined the adventures awaiting me, Captain Taylor, fighting sea monsters and finding hidden treasure. I even told Laura—my hornswoggling, land-loving, five-year-old sister—she could be my first-mate. Of course, any talk of mutiny and she’d have to walk the plank. I couldn’t wait.
The bed finally arrived, but there was no navigation wheel, no sail, no plank! I confronted mom and she laughed and explained to me that a captain’s bed is just a dresser with a mattress on top. Ye can’t imagine my disappointment. Worse, there was a huge empty space underneath it. I’m no bedtime engineer, but even I know that a hidden dark place under a kid’s bed is an invitation to every monster in the neighborhood.
Dad's an old salt when it comes to monsters, and he says they're more afraid of me than I am of them--that’s why they run away when I make lots of noise or turn on the lights. But my older brother told me about zombies and it turns out, they’re different. First, they eat brains, and second, they’re not afraid of anything because they’re already dead.
On my first night sleeping in my new captain’s bed, I watched the crevice between my mattress and the wall for as long as I could, but the Sandman got the better of me and I fell asleep.
Later, around the time monsters usually show up, something cold and creepy poked my cheek. My eyes popped open and sure enough, a dead, pale hand—a zombie hand—had reached out from behind the bed.
It was trying to get to my brains through my nose.
I screamed. That didn’t scare it off. I had no choice but to defend myself, so I grabbed the hand and yanked as hard as I could. I pulled so hard I tore the zombies arm clean off and tumbled out of bed, landing on the floor with what Dad calls an earth shattering thud.
The zombie arm and I rolled over and over, locked in a death match, until Dad burst into my room and clicked on the light. That’s when the zombie pulled the old switcheroo and swapped his arm for my arm. Suddenly, it looked like I was fighting with myself.
It had to be the zombie because my arm felt all prickly and hurt like crazy. Ye probably don't know this, but a zombie’s touch is very painful. Dad said I’d fallen asleep on my own arm and then woken up thinking it was a zombie, but he hadn’t been there to see it go after me. Laura called me stink-arm for a week.
I slept with Mom and Dad until we scuttled the captain’s bed. Good riddence! No sane captain wants a ship with no navigation wheel and a zombie infested bilge. Ye been warned.
David Oarr lives and works in Washington D.C., but prefers spending his time in hockey rinks watching his daughter play or at the beach writing middle grade novels. He can be found on Twitter (@DavidOarr) or on the web.
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