Our Substitute Was a Zombie Queen: A Deleted Scene from Detention of the Living Dead
By Rusty Fischer, author of Detention of the Living Dead
I love doing “deleted scenes” for Ashley because they always star her alter ego, The Zombie Queen. For this outtake from my latest YA paranormal, Detention of the Living Dead, I thought it would be perfect to put the Zombie Queen where all the action is: right in the Detention Room.
So here, in a clip that never quite made it into the book, is my take on what might happen if the Zombie Queen herself was called into substitute for the regular Detention teacher. Enjoy, and remember… NO zombies — or Zombie Queens — were actually hurt in the writing of this deleted scene:
“Hey, where’s Dean Winters?”
My voice is dark and husky, like a field of dead corn on a cold, winter morning. The petite woman stands in the doorway, skin pallid gray, eyes shifty and yellow, a tarnished tiara resting crookedly in her short, black hair.
“Dean Winters?” The woman’s voice is just as cold and hoarse, and she reaches down and retrieves a spare arm from the floor. “Is this him?”
I look more closely at the arm, see the rust colored hair and cheap digital watch our former Detention teacher, Dean Winters, used to wear.
“It looks like it.”
“Well,” the woman in the doorway chirps, “there’s your answer. Obviously, you ate Dean Winters and that’s why they called me in to sub for him.”
She sashays in the room, limping on broken heels and wearing a tattered and bloody sash that says, “Ombie Een.” No, no, wait; there are blood spots on a few of the words.
I got it! “Zombie Queen.”
I stand from my desk, wanting a better look, and she turns on me, yellow eyes glaring. “Sit your zombie butt down right this instant, missy!”
I don’t know why, I never listen to subs, but this one… I do what she says. “Okay, okay, I just wanted to see what it says on your sash.”
She smiles, cracked teeth as yellow as her eyes, gnarly white maggots squirming in what’s left of her hair. “Why that’s easy, pumpkin; it says Zombie Queen.” Then her voice grows three shades darker to match her eyes. “Any of you living dead losers got a problem with that, you can take it up with the Principal.”
She pauses, looking up at the flickering announcements screen, showing nothing but static. “Oh, wait. You ate him, too.”
I raise my hand but don’t wait on her to call on me before speaking. “Look, Dean Winters? Maybe, maybe we ate him. Possibly. But I very clearly remember watching Chuck Akers eat Principal Standish on the afternoon announcements, okay?”
“Okay, okay,” she croaks, sauntering around the front of the room, not seeming to care that she only has one heel left on her bloody dress shoes. “Picky, picky.”
I look around the room, ignoring the random body parts of our usual Detention teacher and struggling with the realization that this is all really happening. I am a zombie. One of the living dead. And so is everyone else in Detention today; all five of us. Bad boy Cory, my BFF Brie, the whole lot.
And now, now… we’ve got a zombie for a substitute teacher!
I raise my hand again, ignoring the fact that it’s roughly the color of freshly poured cement. “What are we supposed to do now?”
She shrugs, leaning against the podium at the front of the room. Her tattered cocktail dress is emerald green, or was, once upon a time. Now it’s stained darkly, the bottom torn and ragged against her pale, gray legs.
She shrugs. “I dunno, what do you normally do in Detention?”
“Sit here quietly,” I answer.
She chuckles, a cold, dry sound that’s more like a cough. “Well, that should be easy for a bunch of living dead stiffs.”
I look at the others; they look back at me. “Yeah,” I grunt. “But, shouldn’t we… get out of here?”
She makes big eyes. “Why? What for?”
“Well, what if we start to eat… each other?”
“Silly zombie; zombies don’t eat other zombies, that’s Rule # 22.”
“Rule? What rules?”
She smirks, kicking Dean Winters’ dismembered arm with the toe of her shoe as if testing to see whether or not it’s still edible. “The Zombie Queen’s Rules for Life After the Living Dead, of course!”
“There are rules for being a… zombie?”
The Zombie Queen snorts. “There are rules for being a zombie in my class, that’s for sure.”
I go to raise my hand, but it’s already raised and I remember, I never brought it down. I bring it down. “But,” I remind her, “this isn’t your class.”
She steps away from the podium and growls. “It is today, and if you want to stay in it, you’ll follow my rules.”
“But… I don’t want to stay in it.”
She looks at the door. Her voice is saccharine sweet. “You don’t?”
I look around the room, but none of my Detention mates are willing to go on record with me. “Not really, no,” I murmur, already feeling like I’m making a huge mistake.
“Well, good,” she says, inching closer, the cold coming off of her in waves. “You’re free to walk right out that door.”
I start to stand and she puts a small, cold hand on my shoulder; I’ve never felt anything so cold, or so strong. “But before you go, let me warn you what’s out there: a bunch of big, dumb, strong, hungry zombies who want to eat you.”
I look into her yellow eyes and cock my head. “But you just said zombies won’t eat other zombies.”
She shakes her head dismissively, a maggot or two falling onto my desk. “I know what I said. You think I don’t know what I said? My rules are for smart zombies, like y’all. But those zombies out there are stupid and, before they realize you’re a zombie, they might take a big chunk out of something useful to a zombie, like your arm or leg. Or they might just yank your head off for a taste, and then where will you be?”
She turns and shuffles/stumbles back up to the podium, not really expecting an answer. I look at the door, realizing I could make a run for it while she’s not looking, but then I see a shape blur past, and one more, and then two more and think better of it.
When I turn back she’s smiling, leaning on the podium again. “Now, class, where were we?”
I gulp and reply shakily, “You, you were telling us about The Zombie Queen’s Rules for Life After the Living Dead.”
“I was, wasn’t I? Now, listen up, Rule # 1: Always listen to the zombie queen.”
I nod, feeling like I should be writing this down somewhere. From behind me, Cory Winthrop croaks, “And what’s Rule # 2?”
Zombie Queen rolls her eyes, as if we should already know this one: “Uh, duh: see Rule # 1!”
Her cold, empty cackle echoes down the hallway just outside our door. I only hope it doesn’t alert any of the ‘dumb zombies’ to the fun we’re having with the Zombie Queen Sub of Detention…
So there you have it, a scene that never made it into the book and that you can only find here, on the Bookish Brunette blog! Thanks as always, Ashley, for hosting me and thanks to all of you for reading this. And I hope it will add to your enjoyment of the book if you ever get to read Detention of the Living Dead, out this month from Decadent Books!
Yours in YA,
I’ve had a long time obsession with all things Rusty Fischer. Seriously, Rusty has been a integral part of BB from the very beginning! Want a bit more of the zombie awesomeness that only Rusty Fischer can bring? Check out my:
→ Letter from a Teenage Zombie
→ Zombie Queen of Flickers Cinema
→ The Living Dead Queen of Zombie High
→ Read my Review of Vamplayers
→ Read my Review of Ushers Inc
→ Review of Zombies Don’t Cry by Rusty Fischer
Detention of the Living Dead
by Rusty Fischer
Published: October 2012 by Bono Books
Maxine “Max” Compton is in detention when the outbreak starts; so are several other students when Max’s best friend Brie storms in – chomping on the thigh bone of their favorite Home Ec teacher, Ms. Watkins!
Brie is a zombie, and quickly starts biting everyone in the room—even her best friend, Max!
When the class realizes what happens, it’s too late; they are all zombies—and they’re no longer alone.
Now a thin gray man in a white lab coat is testing them; making them read, and once they can no longer read, the zombies are led from the room, never to be seen again.
One by one the zombies stop reading, all but a few of them, Max included. Oh, and that cute thug she’s been crushing on for years, Zander Cash!
That’s when Max learns that there are good zombies, and bad zombies. And if she’s to survive, she has to pick a side.
Who knew Detention could be this hard… or last forever?