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The Anti-Zombification Properties
of Pâté de foie gras

by Gaius Coffey

“May I begin by saying that, in many ways, it is more of a surprise that it hasn’t happened before; deviancy is not restricted to man, or animal, or even to the living. My only defence for not taking preventive action sooner is that even I did not consider the exact mechanism of the infection to be a plausible risk.

“After all, it is well known that werewolves like to tear their victims limb from limb before sinking their teeth deep into flesh and gore to satisfy what can only be described as a keenly experienced hunger. It is less well known that adolescent werewolves, as do adolescents in many species, have powerful sexual urges.

“So it was with the individual that my team call Fido or, more properly, Exhibit A. As you can see, he is a well-muscled specimen with a glossy coat and a full back of hair. Before we shot him with a silver bullet, he was also boisterous and inappropriately affectionate, as far as we can ascertain, to almost anything with a pulse.

“Let us move now to Exhibit B in the cage to my left, to Petunia, no less. Petunia, as you have no doubt surmised by her unusual and somewhat excessive plumage, is a were-goose, neutralised at the height of a severe lycanthropic episode. I invite you to compare the distinctive patterning of her feathers, just above the gaping wound that used to be her abdomen, with the similar pattern on Fido’s coat. This patterning is, to a lycanthrope, second only to being present for the duration of the lycanthropic transfer as a means to identify lineage.

“You must surely be aware that inter-species lycanthropy is nothing new from such papers as “Lycanthropic Tendencies in Meriones Unguiculatus” by Simmonds et al., which evaluated modifications to physiological and behavioural traits in Sybil, Matilda, Bubble and Squeak — four gerbils that escaped from their cage and then nibbled their nine-year old human owner to death.

“However, I would like to refer you again to the absence of a large section of Petunia’s abdomen. Pay special attention to the bite marks. As you will see from Exhibit C, a plaster-of-Paris moulding of the wound, the dentition is quite irregular, with numerous gaps and apparent decay in both the incisors and the molars. This patterning is particularly common for Craniovore immortalitus individuals such as Thicko, here, a.k.a. Exhibit D. Thicko is, to use the common parlance, a brain-eating zombie that was discovered on a small farm in rural France.

Craniovore immortalitus is known for his lumbering imbecility but also a profound lack of imagination with regards to food. What could tempt Thicko from his usual diet: the brains of screaming, scantily clad, human females? Observe, please, Exhibits E and F. Exhibit E is a lightly grilled and generous slice of human brain taken from Thicko’s favoured prey.

“Exhibit F is a similarly sized and similarly prepared slice of fattened goose liver. Notice, as I press with my fork, how both specimens lack a rigid internal structure and yield to very slight pressure. Initial studies indicate that both samples have similar mood-enhancing properties when ingested with syrupy-sweet white wine.

“Which brings us back to Thicko. Notice the thickening of muscle tissue around his torso and the apparent re-growth around the not inconsiderable injury he received when neutralised by beheading. If I rotate Thicko so that you can see his back, note how he shares Fido’s distinctive patterning. We can only be thankful that he was neutralised before the were-zombification process completed.

“But it is the origin of this were-zombification that I am concerned with today. Werewolves, as you know, like their meat to be fresh. Studies in the wild indicate a marked disinclination to eat the putrid decaying flesh of any known zombie species. The peculiar route of lycanthropic transfer to Petunia appears to have generated a communicable were-mutant that, in the living, can cure death and, in the un-dead such as Thicko, can reverse the decay that we have so long used to defend ourselves.

“We would be powerless against a race of toned and muscular were-zombies whose heads didn’t fall off humorously when tapped with a blunt instrument.

“Fortunately, there is a cure. Tests have proven that force-feeding geese and turning their fatted livers into pâté prevents all known were-goose symptoms and can successfully block the currently understood pathways for were-zombification in ninety-eight percent of cases.

“Or at least, that’s the only justification I can come up with for it...”

Copyright © 2009 by Gaius Coffey

to Challenge 368...

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