The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:A Cerberus ~ It fetches lost souls and makes them play dead.
ANDA Zombie ~ He's just looking for a little piece of mind.
The special object in this story is:A Pumpkin Chariot ~ This wicked ride runs on midnight oil.
Our story takes place in:High School ~ The enemies you make here will last you the rest of your life.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mortimer Gorey pulled up to the graveyard in his orange car just as the clock on the dashboard hit midnight. He put it in park, got out, slammed the door, and with a loud POOF! of purple smoke, the whole vehicle became a pumpkin in the blink of an eye. He'd have to remember to return the Pumpkin Chariot to the car rental place tomorrow.
The slam of the car door and the purple smoke it sent up woke up Mortimer's three headed dog, Cerberus, or Cerby as Mortimer liked to call him. He was a mixed breed, two thirds Doberman and one third Corgi. All of Cerby's heads shot up at once at the sounds, his two Doberman heads with their ears perked and sniffing the air, his Corgi head panting happily and causing their collective tail to wag enthusiastically at the sight of his master. He bounded up to Mortimer and barked in greeting, welcoming him home.
With a green, decomposing hand, Mortimer patted Cerby on each of his heads absentmindedly, limping and dragging his tired body over to his grave bed. When he arrived in front of his humble little hole in the ground, the zombie groaned from exhaustion and collapsed right into it, falling headfirst and landing in what would be a very uncomfortable position for a human, but one that he didn't particularly mind.
Being a chaperon at the Plebeian High School Prom had been a much more demanding job than the substitute science teacher had expected it to be. Good thing he had the excuse of having to be home before midnight, before it turned into a pumpkin. He figured the students would be alright with Mr. Stein, the football coach, to watch them. Just as long as the band didn't play any popular ballads and they didn't start waving lighters around.
Senior Prom. It sure brought back memories. As he drifted off to sleep, snoring and drooling a little out of his dislocated jaw, Mortimer thought about what it had been like, back when he was their age.
"Mmm, braaaaains," Mortimer groaned as he enjoyed his Raisin Brains cereal, which was what he ate every day for breakfast. His puppy Cerby munched away at the 3 big bowls of dog food close by. He was sure a growing dog."Morty, sweety, you'd better hurry up or you'll be late for the bus," said his Mummy in a raspy, muffled voice from under all the bandages on her face.
"'Kayyyyy," he said, and he slowly got up from the table, bent down to pick up his backpack full of books, and staggered to the door.
"Wait! Don't forget your lunch. I made wraps," she said, handing him a brown paper bag.
He grunted, taking the bag from her and saying "Thaaaaanks."
"Do you need dad to drive you to school? He can drop you off on his way to work."
Teenaged Mortimer made an unintelligible sound as he walked out, waving his arm behind him to signal that she didn't have to bother herself doing that. So she stuck around and watched the last few minutes of her soap opera, hoping that Cleopatra would end up with Mark Antony and not that awful Caesar.
Meanwhile, Morty was doing his best to catch up with the school bus that was waiting at the corner. He hobbled along as fast as he could, but it was still much too slow.
The old werewolf bus driver didn't see anyone else coming on the bus, so he shut the doors and started driving to the next corner. He heard a strange sounding BUMP! outside, and some of his passengers shouted in surprise at the sudden bump in the road, but the old guy just scratched his hairy, pointy ears. He was sure it was nothing.
Poor Mortimer lay flat in the middle of the road, black tire track stains all over his clean white shirt and red tie, his leg broken with one of the bones sticking out of his jeans. He groaned in discomfort and carefully pulled himself off of the street to stand up again, snapping his leg back to normal with a sickening crack. All better.
He looked up and saw how far away the bus and reached his hands out to it. "Waaaaait!" the zombie called out, but the wolf man driver couldn't hear him.
It looked like it was another long walk to school. The principle would probably kill him for being tardy once again. Well, he would if Mortimer wasn't already dead, that is.
By the time he finally made it all the way to school, it was lunch time. So he slipped into the building and tried to blend in with the other students standing in line and ordering food, even if his mummy had already made him lunch. When he got to the end of the line, all he had to do was say "Braaaaains," and the lunch lady knew to give him spaghetti and meatballs. He moaned in thanks, and went to look for a table to sit at.
"Hey, Morty, over here!" Mortimer turned and saw one of his best friends, a giant jock named Frank, waving him over and inviting him to sit with him. He was eating a monster sub.
Staggering over and doing his best not to drop his lunch, Mortimer was eventually able to set his blue plastic tray down and hold up his hand for a fist bump. "Fraaaaank," he said.
"How's it going, pal?" said Frank, pounding it. "Where were you this morning?"
The zombie shrugged, picking up a messy handful of spaghetti with one hand and gesturing to his dirty shirt with the other.
His friend nodded in understanding. "I gotcha. Just having one of those days, huh?"
Mortimer grunted in the affirmative and stuffed the pasta he was holding into his mouth, staining his shirt even worse with chunky, blood red tomato sauce.
"You better watch your back, Morty," warned Frank, "I hear Mr. Wells isn't too happy with all your tardy days. If you're not careful, he might even suspend you from school!"
"Mr. Stein, Mr. Gorey," said a loud, disembodied voice.
The two friends jumped in their seats. Morty accidentally flung the spaghetti he'd just picked up in the air in his surprise, and it fell right on top of the head of the Invisible Principle, Mr. Wells. Unbeknownst to them, he had been standing right next to Frank the entire time.
"Would you two please see me in my office?" asked Mr. Wells, doing his best to remain calm as the sauce dripped down his face and showed the outline of his head.
Morty sank in his seat guiltily. He knew he was in big trouble now.
"This is most dreadfully unacceptable, Mr. Gorey. Plebeian High School's tardy policy clearly states that students may be tardy only a minimum of once every two weeks. But you, my friend, have been tardy ten times in the last two weeks alone. Ten days, Mortimer!"
The zombie winced as the principle shouted at him. It was so embarrassing, especially with Frank sitting right next to him and watching him helplessly.
The floating pair of eyeglasses paced around the room and stopped right in front of Mortimer's face. "I ought to suspend you right now for all the days you've been late. You're not giving this school any good credit at all either. Are you aware that you are failing all your classes, Mr. Gorey?"
"Aaaaas!" Mortimer protested.
"Yes, Mortimer, you're a surprisingly very smart student, and maybe you've been getting straight A's on your tests, but you don't attend enough classes. I'm sorry, but this is something I simply can not tolerate." Mr. Wells' glasses floated over to his desk, where he put them down and made the sound of his hands settling on top of his papers. "I'm afraid you leave me with no choice, but..."
Mortimer gave a rattling sigh and put his head in his hands in despair. He was going to be suspended, he knew it. How was he going to say to his parents?
"... To make you a proposition."
Removing his hands from his face, Mortimer looked up. Had he heard the principle right, or were his ears all stuffed up with dry congealed blood and pus again?
Mr. Wells' desk drawer opened and a cigarette and a little purple lighter floated out of it. The zombie watched Frank turn a pale green as the principal clicked on the lighter and made a tiny flame appear. As soon as he saw the fire, Frank screamed like a ghost and fell out of his chair, huddling in a corner.
As if he hadn't noticed the outburst, Mr. Wells lit up the cigarette and took a long puff. "As you know, Mr. Gorey, we have the big football game next week against the Angry Mob. As we discovered last year, the Mob fights dirty, and chances are pretty good that the visiting cheerleaders and spectators will bring their torches and pitchforks to the stadium. Your good friend Mr. Stein is unfortunately a big liability to the team, because while he is a fine athlete, he has a fear of fire."
Frank trembled next to the potted plant for a while before realizing that the fire from the lighter was gone, and he hesitantly returned back to his seat.
"Therefore, if you would like to help your friend and support your school, I propose that you replace Mr. Stein as part of the Plebeian Headless Knights. You join the football team, and I will look the other way regarding your tardiness and your grades."
Mortimer gulped. He knew that if he joined the team, he'd get even more beat up than usual. If not by the other jocks on his team, then most certainly by the Angry Mob players. But he couldn't let his friend embarrass the team on game day and freak out as soon as he saw a little fire, and he didn't want his parents to know about him failing classes.
"Do we have a deal?"
Mortimer sighed in defeat. "'Kaaaaay."
With a snort and a grunt, Mortimer suddenly woke up. It was morning, and Cerby was howling and whimpering at the same time, begging to be fed.
Goodness, what an awful dream that had been. The zombie untangled his arms and legs and sat up in his grave bed, giving a growly, raspy yawn. He climbed out of the hole and slowly trudged through the yard, finding the bag of dog food in a big closet with all the rakes and shovels. He poured the kibble into the three bowls and Cerberus' attacked his food hungrily with all his heads.
Mortimer went back to the closet and grabbed a box of cereal for his breakfast. He poured the flakes into his own bowl and sat cross-legged on the ground. Thank goodness he didn't have to go to work today. He could just take it nice and easy this morning.
"Braaaaains," he said, feeling perfectly content.