… and a couple of teenaged zombies walk in. I mean, ragged clothes, one missing an eye, blood dripping down the chins. They’re kind of doing the stagger, vacant eyed and one leg dragging, or walking with a hitch like something’s broken.

They stumbled around the food court, between shoppers and people waiting in line for food. Before long, another group showed up. Blackened eye sockets, cadaverous faces. One little kid ran to hide behind his mama, crying, but mostly people went about their business after stopping to stare.

In the next half hour more and more zombies arrived, in pairs or clusters. They didn’t seem to notice each other or acknowledge the humans, who they began to outnumber. I later learned there were 250 teenaged zombies there, all together.

They wandered at random but seemed to congregate after a while in a central location, shuffling and reaching out with vacant stares, bumping into each other and displaying an array of horribly gory gashes, rotting flesh and bullet holes. Mall customers by now had increased in number and gathered to stare, forming a dense crowd around the zombie mass, stretching on tiptoe to see. The sight of a woman in a crowd on the balcony above drew their attention, and the zombies began to roar and moan, clawing their hands in her direction, making an incredible din of gutteral, undead voices.

Suddenly, the tinny muzak on the mall speakers was replaced by the first booming notes of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” — and in unison, with perfect timing and perfect zombified expressionless faces, the mass of zombies began to dance.

They rocked it… perfect, Jackson-inspired moves, up, down, two hundred and fifty ragged, bloodied, rotting teenagers dancing to Thriller.

The zombies? Students from Toledo School for the Arts.

The woman on the balcony? Their beloved theater teacher, Rosie Best.

And that tall, red-haired, one-eyed zombie in the middle of the mass?

That would be my kid 🙂

Pix to follow…