"PLEASE ENTER YOUR INVITATION CODE," the Kiosk prompted Paula. She scrounged through her pockets for the now crumpled mailer she had recieved a week ago. She did a small victory dance before entering the printed numbers and letters.
"M...O...R...B...I...D...4...2." Paula mumbled to herself as she used the touch screen console. "WELCOME PAULA RODGERS." The automated system intoned.
Taking a few deep breaths, Paula wondered what everyone else would think of her makeup and costume. She had spent all the time since recieving her invite preparing for Zombie-con. After hours of internet tutorials, distressing old clothing and thoughroughly messing up her hair, Paula was totally zombified.
Pushing the large convention hall doors open, Paula met more of her kind. A young man who seemed to be the same age she was approached her.
"Nice prosthetics!" He said. "Did you do your maggots and blisters yourself?" Paula was flattered someone had noticed her hard work. "Yeah!" She responded. "I don't like to brag but I've been doing stage makeup since middleschool. Um, what was your name?"
The young man looked puzzled. "Oh right!" He said. "I forgot none of us are wearing nametags. I'm Norman; you are?"
"Paula," she said. "Great to meet another Zombie fanatic." They shook hands and Norman pulled out a pamphlet. "I got here early," he said. "The people who were waiting in line got a map and schedule for Zombie-con. Here, come take a look."
Paula came closer to her new aquaintance. The map, it showed a small illustration of the room with numbered booths, a legend and a time table. "No way!" Paula said. "We can meet the cast of Walking Dead and Zombieland?! Way cool!" Norman nodded happily. "And there's woorkshops too!" He said. "There's a professional scare actor teaching people how to channel their character. Oh! They're showing 28 Days Later on a big screen constantly! Then the Zombie walk starts at half past six! So you wanna go explore together?"
Norman seemed like he'd been to these conventions more than once. Experiencing the convention with somone else seemed fun. "Okay sure," Paula said. "Let's go!"
The scare actor's booth was closest so the two new friends went there first. A small area was mocked up into a ruined autopsy room. A coroner stood over a body on the table, he spoke into a reccording device as he made observations.
"Subject is a Caucasian male aged between twenty-five to thirty years old," the coroner said. "Preparing to---" "AUUUGGGGGH!" What everyone had assumed was a corpse flailed and screamed as it sat up from the table. The man with the scalpel tried to scurry backwards but fell to the floor.
"No!" He cried. "Don't hurt me! Please I was only following orders!" The undead attacker advanced. "YOU!" The Zombie snarled. "YOUR EXPERIMENTS DID THIS TO ME! I NEED REVENGE!" He lurched towards the now wide eyed coroner. A scream came from the victim as the zombie bit into his target.
Abruptly, the actors ended the scene. "Welcome fellow zombies," the now calm man said. "Thank you for coming to my workshop; my name is Ryan Brooks and this is Justin Bromly. We have been working at the Haunted Factory walk through attraction for three years! Say hello Justin!" The man in scrubs waved to the gathered participants. Ryan continued working the crowd. "Who wants to learn how to be a scarrier zombie?" he asked.
Nearly every hand in the audience went up. "Great!" Ryan said. "Now there's a few different methods..." It was more fun than Paula had anticipated. She and Norman had gotten to practice Jump Scares, Intimidation and tag team scares. Ryan had also covered the importance of understanding your character's motivations and primary emotions.
"That was so neat!" Norman said afterwards. "You were so believable when you asked if it was okay if you ate someone's arm." Paula smiled; "thanks," she said. "Nice work playing off my mad scientist character. Did you ever act in any plays? Were you a theater geek?" Norman pulled a face. "No," he said. "My mom wanted me to be a mathelete. I never had time for school plays. All the way through highschool it was always 'graph the equation' or 'find the tangent of angle theta.'"
Paula cringed inwardly. "Sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to hit a nerve." Norman gave her a reassuring smile. "It's okay," he said. "I joined the drama club in college just for fun."
A moment of silence passed. "So Paula," Norman said. "How did you get in to the whole zombie thing?" She tried to play it cool. "Oh you know," she said. "I always liked supernatural things. Vampires werewolves ghosts...doing zombie cosplay just seemed like a good hobby for a ghoul like me." Norman chorttled at the word play. "I guess it's the same reasons I did," he said. "Only I started doing this because it bugs my mom."
They went to a few more booths. Paula bought a few fake blood packs and Norman got himself some gummies shaped like brains, bugs, and eyeballs.
Even though they weren't supposed to talk durring the Zombie Walk, Norman and Paula stayed together. Once in a while they would get into a contest to see which one of them could growl more gutterally.
Paula decided to call it a night after the horde had finished it's last lap of the convention hall. "Hey," Norman said. "Thanks for going around Zombie-con with me. It was nice not being alone this time." Paula nodded "No problem," she said. "Wanna exchange contact info? We could hang out sometime."
"Yeah!" Norman said. "Let me get my phone out." They exchanged numbers and e-mails. "So anytime you want," Paula said. "You can come pick my brains for more cosplay ideas." Norman chuckled, "was that one bit supposed to be a joke?" He asked. Paula shrugged a little. "Yeah," she said. "Sorry if it was lame. I like to be punny. Well, I'm going to shuffle on home. See you later?"
"For sure," Norman said. "Bye Paula."