Ella may be a zombie but she's determined to be a proper lady.

      Once upon a time there was a merry old baker named Nathaniel, who spent his days happily concocting pastries.  By and large his life was a happy one however he lived under the shadow of one unfortunate dilemma.  Nathaniel’s daughter was a zombie.  Although he loved his daughter very much, he understood that were she allowed in public disaster would result.  So he kept her locked in the attic above the bakery.  Nathaniel’s daughter, Nathaniella, was not particularly happy with this arrangement yet she was well supplied with brains so she bore no complaint.  She spent most of her time reading Madame Pomfypuff’s Compendium of Manners and Behaviour By Which Young Ladies Should Comport Themselves at All Times for the Purpose of Maintaining a Good Standing in Civilized Society and conducting tea parties with the rotting carcasses of small animals. The arrangement was suitable for many years and likely would have persisted as such were it not for the tragic scone related accident.

     After the hastily administered funeral, eulogized by the muffin man; whose birthday party Nathaniel was catering at the time of the incident, the baker’s estate passed to his sister.  She assumed the responsibilities of the bakery as well as the Nathaniella’s guardianship.  Nathaniella’s aunt elected to nickname her Ella on account of the fact that it was much easier to pronounce and didn’t sound like a sad effort to feminize a masculine name.  Fortunately perhaps this lady was not a particularly curious one.  She faithfully followed her brother’s instructions to deposit brains through the flap in the attic door everyday around meal times.  This would have continued to work quite well if it weren’t for the ladies curious daughter. 

     One day the inquisitive girl knocked on the attic door inquiring who was within.  Ella responded hungrily, “brains?  The girl, not understanding the query, unbolted the door.  What with the door open, Ella rushed forward, clobbering the girls head splitting it open.  She ravenously scooped handfuls of grey matter through the bloody split in the girls cranium.   Discarding the hippocampus which she was not particularly fond of. After finishing her meal and realizing what she had done Ella became rather embarrassed over her poor table manners. 

     Thinking further she realized that her nice aunt would probably cease feeding her brains following the consumption of her cousin, she fled the bakery in great haste.  Traveling up the road she was met by her vulture friends. She had befriended them long ago as she fed them leftover hippocampuses through the attic window.  She had no hippocampuses for them now but they followed her in hopes of a scrumptious meal.  Somberly she continued along the road.  So distracted was she by her lack of table etiquette that she completely failed to notice the brains of a passing deer.  Due to the morning’s incident she resolved to never again eat a brain unless the table was properly set.  Unsure of what Madame Pomfypuff would have to say on the matter she pleasantly entertained the idea of finding the woman to ask her personally and of course to sample her most ladylike brain.  She dismissed the thought on the grounds that the lady would probably refuse to entertain her on account of her horrid table etiquette.  Becoming rather depressed feelings of hunger gnawed at her delicate stomach. 

     Some ways down the road they came across a public message board.  Among these communal bulletins Ella found several garish flyers advertising a grand ball to be held at the palace.  The flyers stated that the prince was to choose his bride from amongst the girls in attendance.  Nathaniella very much wanted to attend this ball but saw no way of doing so due to the fact that the dress she was wearing had a dribble of ichor down one sleeve.  Ever since reading chapter 5 of Madame Pomfypuff’s Compendium: “On the matter of procuring the affections of well-to-do nobles for the purpose of gaining access to funds which can be used to expand ones collection of dresses” she had wanted to try out the techniques listed on page 573.  The Prince would surely be able to provide more pretty dresses than anyone within at least ten miles. 

     With such she continued forlornly down the road whereupon she and her vultures arrived at a large gypsy camp.  Quite hungry from her long day of walking and feeling sorry for herself Ella wandered into the gypsy camp daintily licking her chops.  Getting a good whiff of the air she entered the most promising smelling gypsy wagon with brains on the mind.  Ella was enthused to see that the blind old gypsy crone who resided within had in fact set the table for a full four course meal.  The old crone hearing someone sit down across from her invited the visitor to join her for the second course.   The gypsy asked whether the new comer needed their tea leaves or perhaps their palm read. 

     Nathaniella for her part was delighted that she’d received an invitation to such a nice dinner wherein she would be able to show off her grasp of etiquette.  The zombie reached across the table for the frail old lady.  Sensing the hand coming across the table the gypsy exclaimed, “We have quite the interest in palmistry, don’t we my dear?”  The ignorant woman was rather taken aback when instead of lying her hand palm up on the table Ella grabbed her head placed it upon a plate and attempted to delicately saw it off.  

     Luckily for the gypsy crone she was good at reading people and she had a strong understanding of table etiquette.  She gently lied to the zombie girl saying,” You’re using the wrong fork Dearie”.   Taken aback that she had already made an etiquette faux pas so early in the meal Ella abated her endeavor for brains and attempted to rectify her mistake with the quick explanation, “Brains.  Brains brains, brains. Brains, BRAINS, brains”. 

     The old lady placated her by saying “It is really quite an easy mistake to make.  Now, how about I give you a free palm reading to make you feel better”.  She took the palm and murmured, “No these palms are far too decayed, I can’t even make out a life line.” Then positing to Ella,”Why don’t we try a tea leave reading instead.”  Aside from being excellent at tasseography the old woman was also quite devious and clever.  She laced the tea with a drug that was proven to reduce the subject’s desire for brains. 

     She handed the zombie the cup.  The tea disappeared forthwith.  Thus placated, Ella sat contently across the table from the lady as she swished the dregs in the vessel counterclockwise thrice.  The lady peered deep into the cup.  This caused Nathaniella a great deal of confusion on account of her blindness.  With this the old crone pronounced, “I see people dancing, and amongst them you are dancing with a figure of great renown, though the leaves have not revealed to me the identity of this figure.” “Brains!?” exclaimed Ella.  “Yes, I believe that is a possibility my dear.” comforted the gypsy crone.  “Brains, Brraaaaaiiiiiiiinnsss”, lamented the young girl pushing the flyer across the table.  Feeling the brail on the flyer the gypsy exclaimed, “Oh! I think I understand your plight my dear.  How about I go get my nicest dress for you to wear to this ball tonight and you won’t eat my brains.  Does that sound agreeable to you?”. “Brains!” Ella agreed. 

     Shortly thereafter Nathaniella was dressed in the Gypsy’s finest garments including a pair of delicately embroidered slippers.  The hemline was a tad too short and the bust billowed with a lack of bust yet Ella felt pretty.  Without further ado the Gypsy hitched her team of horses to the wagon and drove Ella to the palace.  Upon entering the ballroom Nathaniella caught the attention of the rebellious young prince.  First he noticed her unfashionable ill fitting garments which appeared as if they had been tailored for someone four times the girl’s net mass.  Peering closer he noticed the gypsy girl was in an advanced state of decay.  “Terrific!” he thought, “This is the perfect opportunity to undermine my old fashioned parent’s attempt to find me a bride.  Which will leave me sufficient time for being angsty”.  He didn’t think for a second that they would accept the girl as their daughter-in-law. 

     The prince strode confidently but with a high degree of dark yet fashionable angst to engage Nathaniella in a dance.  Ella for her part was so elated that the Prince had chosen her out of all the girls in the chamber that for several hours she even refrained from the urge to eat his brains.  It took all of the Prince’s will to keep from retching due to the rotting flesh that was sloughing from the girls bones.  He did burp up a little bile at one point when he noticed the fluids dripping from her left eye.  She was so ecstatic to have earned the Prince’s attentions she got the pleasant feeling of maggots squirming around in her stomach.  She knew the Prince’s feelings must mirror her own as she saw him regurgitate a little of his lunch at one point during the night.  This surely indicated that her beauty was jarring his nerves.

     There came a point in time where Ella could restrain herself no longer and she attempted to nibble the Prince’s brains.  Horrified that she had broken her resolution she looked around frantically to see if anyone had observed her breach of etiquette.  Noticing that everyone in her vicinity was giving her a look of abject disgust she fled from the ballroom seeking to avoid any further embarrassment.  During her mad dash to the exit one of the gypsy’s overlarge slippers became removed from her foot.  She clambered into the wagon hurriedly urging the blind woman to drive off. 

     Early the next morning the King and Queen organized a great search for the girl with whom their son had danced the previous night.  They strongly desired to find this girl as she was the first and only female he had ever shown interest in.  The King and Queen decreed that every girl in the land was to try on the abandoned slipper and whoever the shoe fit would be wed to the Prince. Their son protested that there were almost certainly multiple women in the kingdom with that slipper size.  Yet due to the King and Queen’s inbred nature they were unable to see the logic of their son’s complaint.  Realizing that this flawed plan might increase the chances of finding a girl he hadn’t danced with the Prince abjured his previous statement.

     It was an odd twist of chance that the first individual the slipper was brought to happened to be the very gypsy to whom it belonged.  Upon being handed the slipper and feeling the intricate embroidery she exclaimed that the article belonged to her.  The King and Queen smug with their results bragged, “See we told you we’d find the right girl.”  The Prince accepting this as the lesser of two evils secretly hoped that the hag would soon die of arthritis.  What with this the crone was immediately rushed off to be wed to the Prince. 

     Meanwhile in the nearby forest Ella absentmindedly gnawed upon the brains of a litter of baby field mice.  So distracted was she by her own sadness that she even ate the hippocampuses.  She couldn’t help but imagine Madame Pomfypuff angrily scolding her on her numerous infractions of etiquette.  Since she had failed to secure the affections of the Prince whoever would buy her pretty dresses now?  Her musings were interrupted by the arrival of three familiar carrion birds.  Quickly overlooking the fact that Ella had spared them no hippocampuses the vultures relayed more pressing news.  Having seen the interactions between the gypsy and the royal family they brought word of the event to her. 

     In a great rage she began running toward the castle to consume the brains of both the gypsy crone and the Prince who she thought of as betrayers.  The Prince’s brains belonged to her!  The old lady had no right to them, for it was she who had danced with the Prince for several hours putting up with his clumsy foot work all the while.  (Clearly he had never read Madame Pomfypuff.) The vultures reached the palace first and seeing the ceremony in progress swept down disrupting the proceedings.  They ripped out the eyes of the blind old gypsy crone with their beaks.  The hag could only cry out, “oh! The redundancy!”

     Quite shortly thereafter Nathaniella came running up the aisle intent on her target.  To her surprise the Queen simply ordered the ceremony to resume with the new girl.  Perhaps Ella hadn’t failed Madame Pomfypuff after all!  Much to the Prince’s chagrin the ceremony continued without any further interruptions.  After saying their “I do’s” or “Brains Brain’s” as the case may be he and Nathaniella were married unhappily ever after.

Moral: It is perhaps unwise to sass one’s parents when zombies are involved.

The End

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