More Than a Tradition - It's the LAW!

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Hubert put his glass on the side and peered into the oven to check the roasting vegetables again. He smiled, picked up the glass, drank another large swig of sherry and turned to face Ursula.

"The trick about good roasties is in the fat. Too much and you get soggy shite, too little and nothing really works."

Ursula nodded and smiled. She was watching Huu's descent into tipsiness with amusement.

"Have some sherry, it's fucking Christmas."

Is that an order?

"I have to order you to drink? What's wrong with you, woman?" Hubert drained the end of his drink and reached over to top it up. "Sherry while you cook Christmas dinner is more than a tradition, it's the LAW!"

I'm not cooking; you are.

"Aha! Very clever!" Hubert reached his glass up to the ceiling flamboyantly. "To my Mum! The greatest Christmas dinner cook there ever was." He laughed and added: "Until she turned into a gibbering wreck!"

Did she try to cook as a zombie?

"Oh, Ursula, you don't understand, my Mum was well fucking gone long before the days of zombiehood. She was pickled."

Hubert smiled again. "To my lovely Mum!" He looked sternly at the vampire.

To your Mum, Ursula added obediently, raising her hand in mock salute.

"She was great, my Mum, before she lost all her marbles. She used to make sure the three of us had the best Christmasses, always hiding how much effort she had to put in to make it just work, you know?"

Ursula nodded in agreement.

"She didn't deserve to be a zombie really. That was pretty sick. I think," Hubert leaned into Ursula conspiratorially. "I think that I'm pretty fucked up!" he declared.

Ursula laughed. You should drink more often, it makes you funny.

"I should, shouldn't I! Shall we crack open the Bailey's?"


* * *


"Here it is then!" Hubert dropped the large turkey breast on to the centre of the table. "Who wants some?"

Ursula gave him a look.

"What is it, Ursula, and this had better be good because I spent three fucking hours cooking this turkey."

Master, I don't know what to say. I can't eat it. If I consume cooked meat like that it makes me very sick.

"Very sick?" Hubert repeated in disbelief.

Very. I can't take it at all.

"So you can drink blood pouring from the very jugular of a warm living human, but a deliciously cooked and well basted turkey makes you feel sick?"

Yes.

"For fuck's sake, Ursula. Three hours."

Ursula looked at the ground. I didn't think about eating it. The ritual of cooking it seemed to please you so much that I didn't connect the two events.

"What about you Zack? Want some turkey?" Hubert looked at the brain floating in the jar on the corner of the table. "No, of course not."

"Fuck, Ursula," he continued, "three hours in that hot kitchen. What was the point?"

You can eat it! she said in a voice filled with apology.

"I don't even really like turkey." Hubert flopped himself onto his chair with a dejected thump. "It's a bit dry." He took a large glup of wine that he had opened for the occasion.

I'm sorry.

"Ah, it's OK. I don't really mind. I don't think I'm going to eat it though."

Together the two friends stared at the glistening hot turkey, surrounded with stuffing and exhuming an impressive aroma. "Smells good," Huu commented.

Are you going to eat anything?

"Nah. I'm not really hungry. Being around all the food cooking for all that time has kind of lost me my appetite."

Ursula smiled.

Hubert took another drink. "I have an idea though!" He jumped up and ran out of the room, returning a moment later with his necromancer cloak on, incongruous with his fluffy santa hat.

Master?

"You are gonna love this!"

Hubert reached into the necromantic field and found the power there that he'd avoided using for days. His foggy mind fought drunkenness to make some sense of the threads of energy but despite the hindrance he moved with skill and efficiency.

"I give you-"

He waved his hands in a flamboyant flourish.

"ZURKEY!"

The muscles on the cooked turkey flexed as if testing their looseness and then it stretched. Its neck, a crisp flap of delicious skin, flopped aimlessly as it tried to remember how to move its head. Decapitated now, the neck soon gave up in its attempts and lay flat once more. Hubert and Ursula watched as the zombie turkey moved in a slipping scrabble off its place and took a step towards the bowl of brussel sprouts.

Hahahahahaha! Zack was laughing, his voice echoing around Hubert's skull.

What have you done? Ursula shrieked.

"Done?! Don't you see? I've made the world's first Zurkey? A zombie turkey from the 21st Century. What do you think?

I think it's a mess! A poor, terrified and terrible mess.

The Zurkey took a staggering step toward the edge of the table. Huu laughed at its ungainly movement.

Master! You need to stop it!

"No Ursula!" Hubert boomed in his deepest voice. "We need to give it strength and power!"

Once more, the necromancer turned to the magic he controlled, bringing threads together to form a whole. A net of glowing necromantic threads, invisible to those not connected to the magical field, formed over the scrambling turkey and wrapped it. At once there was a cracking sound, then another, repeating as the muscles under the skin throbbed. The zurkey grew and what had once been described, quite fairly, as "serves four" was quite definitely a case for "serves twenty".

"Grow my beauty, be everything you can be! Live! Live! Live!"

Master! Ursula shrieked in alarm. Stop!

Hubert giggled and lowered his outstretched arms. "OK, no need to get all snippy." He laughed. "Look at that though!" He pointed to the zurkey, now occupying the majority of the table and inadvertently pushing Zack's brain slowly to the edge. 

"It's pretty cool, right?"

Ursula didn't have time to respond. As she and Huu looked at the massive roast dinner, it drew back on its legs, flapped its wings experimentally and then, milliseconds before her outstretched arm could have grabbed it, it leaped.

It wasn't a delicate leap, far closer to the kind of jump that might be expected from a three-foot-long cooked poultry carcass, but it crossed the distance between the table and the little-opened dining room window. There was a massive crash and Huu found himself staring out into the garden while fragments of window-pane dropped to the floor.

"I think we'd better get after it!" Hubert shouted between peals of laughter.

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