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Barbies, by Lily

In my former life as a newspaper reporter I loved interviewing children, because their quotes were always amusing if not hysterical and ridiculous. It was with that in mind that I asked Lily to help me write a story for this evening's post. And though I'm biased as her mother, I'm fairly confident her story will amuse and at times even frighten you.

Our tale of woe begins in a play attic atop a a fine pink- and white-painted Victorian cottage, home to the Busher family -- Jon, Clare, Liliana, Cecelia, Olivia, Sophia and Ariana.

The girls were playing Barbies with Mother Clare, who was deep in Pride and Prejudice sprawled over a lavender pouf embroidered with white and yellow daisies.

The music of the girl's play voices amused Clare as she pictured Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy sparring in the English countryside. The room was warm and smelled of cinnamon and apples.

Their blissful afternoon was interrupted by an explosion of breaking glass and leaden footsteps ascending the old oak stairs. Zombie Clark had been watching the Busher girls for several weeks and seeing as Papa Jon had left for the day to sample barbecue and ale at a far off pub Zombie Clark seized on the house like a monster from Hell, which -- it just so happens -- he was.

"Mother," Ariana whispered in alarm. "There's a stranger in the house."

"Yes dear," Clare said. "We are all in terrible danger. Come girls. Mother will protect you."

The youngsters sprang into their mother's arms, but Clare was no match for the muscled zombie. He came at them with his horrible sword and snatched them from the cottage with the greatest of ease. Far he took them to the secret Zombie Kingdom where the buildings were made of bones and the air was heavy with the stink of rotten flesh.

Zombie Clark was licking his chops for Ariana the oldest Busher girl. He wished to make her into crumbs (that's Lily's line) -- tiny insignificant bits of bone and flesh. He put the others in a cage and bore down on Ariana with drool glistening on his chin when the voice of Jona, king of the zombies, disturbed his feast.

"Have you Clark brought these morsels here to feast on yourself?" The king asked. "All food here is to come from me. You will be punished for this."

The king ordered his guards to lock Zombie Clark in a cage with other rebellious flesh eaters who fed on each other to stay undead.

Zombie Clark was once a catch -- before the transformation.

He was after a readhead named Lisa the night it happened. They were perched on the hood of his car in an abandoned park sharing ghost stories, commenting on the moonlit sky. He only wanted to frighten the girl for a moment. He silently wished on a star that zombies would appear and startle Lisa onto his lap. His wish came true. Clark became a zombie and he ate his date instead of kissing her.

While the guards were taking Zombie Clark away, Ariana released her mother and sisters from their cage. They ran -- the king screaming behind them, "Seize them."

"Don't let them get away."

The girls ran as fast as they could, bones crunching beneath their feet. They came to a crossroads and halted panicked.

"Which way should we go," the girls asked their mother, but Clare only shook her head.

The guards were closing on them, when a horse steared by a buxom blond appeared out of nowhere and charged the zombies.

"Destroy them," the rider commanded, and the horse opened its mouth wide and bit down on the nearest guard's skull and the next guard and the next guard until the horse had devoured all of their heads.

"Good boy, Bullseye," the rider spoke with a southern drawl. "Let's get these pretty ladies out of here."

"Allow me to introduce myself," she said. "Name's Barbie -- rodeo queen by day, zombie killin' warrior by night. Y'all hop on Bullseye here and tell us where to go."

Clare mounted the horse and signaled for her daughters to do the same.

The seven women rode off toward the only pink and white cottage in Lily Town.

When they finally arrived home, Papa Jon was on the porch waiting for them. He was so happy to see his girls safe and sound -- Barbie was a welcome surprise.

"I was just about to call the movers," Papa Jon said. "I couldn't stand living in this filthy house. I'm so happy you've come back to clean it."

The Bushers huddled together for a group hug and they all lived happily ever after.


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