In light of the riots at the University of Braintree, where Brainist zombies openly espousing the murder of humans and the eating of their brains clashed with counter-protestors, many had expected Zombie President Brayne to issue a statement. In a press conference on the steps of his company, Brayne Trust, the president offered the following remarks:

“It’s sad that once again we are seeing paranoid humans taking advantage of solid zombie citizens to advance their agenda of hate.”

This had many humans up in arms, claiming that in failing to denounce the Brainists was akin to endorsing them. “The Brainists say that they should be able to crack open my head and feast on what lies within whenever they’re peckish, said counter-protestor Anthony McGee. “They’re literally saying they want to kill me, what’s so hard to denounce about that?”

Referring to the Zombie Wars, McGee added: “Didn’t we fight a war over this?”

The Zombie White House issued a clarifying statement later in the afternoon, noting that President Brayne “categorically discourages the eating of any brains under most circumstances.” Pressed for stronger language, both the Zombie Press Secretary and President Brayne himself insisted that the previously issued statements were “more than sufficient.”

For their part, Brainists saw the remarks as a clear victory. “President Brayne struck a blow for true zombie rights today,” said Brainerd Earl, the Grand Necromancer of the Cerebrum, Cerebellum, Colossum (CCC) Society. “Even if the time isn’t yet right for him to declare total support, we know he’s got our back.”

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As Brainstorm Bernard fades into a dull ice cream headache, Zombie President Brayne toured the devastated area today, offering remarks and pledges for zombie aid to the afflicted.

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to everyone stunned by the psychic feedback loop of Brainstorm Bernard, and pledge to rapidly and efficiently eat all the afflicted brains that are open for the taking,” said Brayne.

Brayne Administration officials, contacted for their comments, noted that President Brayne was “joking” and that no one should attach too much meaning to his “boyish autopsy room talk.”

“Look, the zombies of our nation elected President Brayne because they were tired of beltway zombie insiders,” said the Zombie Press Secretary in a statement. “That doesn’t mean that anyone should be alarmed or concerned about all this talk of eating brains. President Brayne would like to move past this gaffe and focus on accomplishing his agenda.”

When asked about the president’s agenda, which included campaign slogans like “Eat More Brains” and “Food For Thought,” the secretary demurred. Asked if President Brayne’s visit to the Brainstorm Bernard area would include eating any brains, she offered the following clarification: “The president is committed to picking the brains of civic leaders in his quest to achieve the agenda for which the zombie people elected him.”

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“There’s just one problem with these property records.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

“There’s no death date for the former owner.”

“That’s no problem. You see, I never die.”

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Zombie President Brayne scored a major victory today as the Senotaph voted 50-50 to confirm his nominee for Secretary of Dessication. The tie was broken by Zombie Vice President Mortis in favor, and nominee Botulia Detritus begins her duties immediately.

Many Senotaphers in the opposition Necrotic Party denounced the nominee, insisting that Ms. Detritus had no record of public service and knew nothing of dessication, having had her own children mummified at private clinics. The interview process had also raised eyebrows, as Ms. Detritus removed and stroked her brain several times during the proceedings before announcing she had no idea what anyone was talking about.

Her association with the Brainist movement has also come under scrutiny, with Ms. Detritus on record as saying that teachers should be prepared to eat their students’ brains. She has also branded mixed zombie-fleshie schools “failures” and supported the controversial brain voucher system, in which zombies trade “vouchers” representing the brains of the living which they intend to consume as soon as it becomes possible. “Ms. Detritus’s nomination,” said Senotapher Gland, head of the Necrotic Party caucus, “will set back integrated zombie/fleshy education a hundred years.”

But Zombie President Brayne’s Mortician Party defended the nominee as an “outsider” with “fresh ideas.” At a press conference, Blight House Press Secretary Amy G. Dala noted that Ms. Detritus’s “private sector experience” made her “the perfect choice for bringing rigor mortis back into the cirriculum.” When asked by an NBS reporter about whether the post was a “reward” for Ms. Detritus’s $1.2 billion dollars in contributions to the Mortician Party over the last five years, Secretary Dala dismissed this as “fake news” before slaying the reporter and eagerly consuming his brain.

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Speaking to reporters from the Blight House, President Brayne issued the following statement:

“We will not condone such disgusting attacks, and indeed condemn them in the strongest possible terms. Zombies are widely known as undead of peace, and the actions of a few brain-hungry fanatics must not taint that. We must not allow zombies to be tainted by Brainist extremism.”

In a gesture of solidarity, Vice President Sarah Bellum visited the aftermath of the attack, shaking hands with survivors and pledging the use of zombie funds to rebuild the Johns Hopkins Brain Science institute “better and juicier than ever.”

At press time, the Blight House press secretary identified the attackers as M. Dulla O’Blongata and C. Ree Brum, also known by their Brainist names of John Brain Smith and Braaaaaains Brains Brains. The press secretary noted that O’Blongata and Brum had apparently become self-radicalized Brainists through the internet.

Asked about the claim of responsibility from the Brainist Nation of Braaaaaaaaaaaains (BNB), the press secretary responded that they were “BSBB sympathizers,” using an alternate name for the organization (the “Brainist State for Brains and Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains”).

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Kayleigh stormed into the offices of Underhill Associates LLC and demanded to see Morgan Darkholme, one of their entry-level necromantic engineers. The undead thrall at the door tried to stop her, waving his security badge and groaning inarticulately, but she brushed him aside with a quick cantrip of holding she’d bought at the 7/11 around the corner.

Underhill occupied the first 66 floors of the Ravenloft Building, with the unholy energy labs closest to street level (to help keep the bodies fresh) and the staff offices further up. Morgan had his tiny cubicle on the 65th floor, not because he was a big wheel or anything but because as a technically living being he was not as susceptible to sunlight as many of the upper-level executives. The CEO, Lord Cyril Dreadmere IV, actually had his offices in the basement. “After his predecessor accidentally opened the shades at sunrise and turned to ash,” Morgan had told Kayleigh once, “they figured it was better not to take any chances. Liches and sunlight, you know?”

“Morgan!” Kayleigh cried upon reaching the 65th floor. “Morgan, you’d better be in there!”

The other human employees slunk terrified in their cubies. Most of them were working on engineering more efficient horrors from beyond the realms of sanity, but most were as ill-equipped to deal with the living as they were proficient with the newly deceased. As they said at school, the MN degree in necromancy was only for those too shut-in to even become computer programmers.

Morgan stood up, pale and hunched, in his cube, the lines of arcane runes for a spell of extreme deathening compiling on the computer behind him. “K-Kayleigh?” he said. “What is it?”

Kayleigh marched up to him and slapped something down on his desk. Morgan glanced over at it and immediately had a moment of flop sweat. It was a polaroid of a very nice nook in the mid-city columbarium which read “KAYLEIGH JONES, BELOVED DAUGHTER, 4/20/1990 – 2/11/2016.”

“Am I dead?” Kayleigh cried. “Did you reanimate me just so we could date?”

“Of course not,” said Morgan without thinking. “The revivification lab did that for me.”

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Zombie cats, or zats, are the third most common form of zombified animal (after zogs and zice, respectively). They are driven by compulsion to slaughter the living and eat their flesh, but as normal living cats exhibit the same behaviors, it’s less noticible.

As with all post-necrotic beings, zats need a steady stream of living tissue to sustain their unlife. Unlike normal cats, this craving cannot be sated with canned food or butcher meat. Experts recommend a supply of feeder pets, available at most well-stocked pet stores, fed to the zat at a rate of 1-2 per day. Outside zats will hunt small rodents naturally but if left unchecked will not consume all of them, leading many to rise from the grave as zice.

Post-necrosis can be caught from zats but it is rare as the retro-prion has to mutate to infect them. Avoiding bites and scratches is still advised, and de-fanging and de-clawing are commonplace for that reason. Zats still have enough unholy strength to crush feeder mice in their toothless maws in most cases.

Like all post-necrotics, zats are suceptible to rot. To maintain your zat in peak condition, experts recomment a thorough wipedown with formaldehyde every 12 hours and a longer immersion in embalming chemicals once per week. Most local funeral homes will provide these materials for a fee.

Since these intensive standards of care are equivalent to those lavished on most living felines, zats are among the most popular post-necrotic pets. With proper care, they will enjoy unlife for up to a decade before they finally disintegrate.

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As long as Janis could remeber, Teddie Bear had been her wise protector and guardian. Whenever she had a problem she had but to whisper it to him, and sage advice or swift action would follow.

“Teddie, Aron Schmidt is bullying me in school.”

“Fear not, young one. This will only take a moment.”

Janis had never found out what Teddie had done in that time, but Aron Schmidt had never bothered her again, and he seemed positively contrite afterwards.

“Teddie, I’m worried about my math test on Friday.”

“Fear not, young one. This will only take a moment.”

The study guide that had appeared, fully annotated, the next morning on Janis’s desk had helped immensely.

“Teddie, I’m scared. Those zombies outside just ate the neighbors.”

“Fear not, young one,” said Teddie, hefting a chainsaw and standing up. “This will only take a moment.”

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“Well, transdeath rights are in a pretty good place right now, but most people only think of vampires and zombies, you know? They don’t even know the difference between a zombie and a lich and a revanent and a ghoul, and they sure aren’t giving us extra points when it comes to hiring.”

“Why don’t you do something about it, Kershaw?” The voice from beneath the grave sounded sad, almost tremulous.

“Well, I try. I run a support group for ‘underserved undead’ out of the community center on 7th. But I’m the only regular attendee since Alan the Barghest died of the rot, and we’re lucky to get three attendees on a good day.”

“That’s…really sad.”

“We have a hard time with those ‘Life Ends at Death’ protestors,” I said. “I’m sure you know how it is. People are scared of the unknown and the unfamiliar, always have been. I don’t blame them and I only light them on fire a little bit, but I think we get targeted a lot because it’s not politically correct for them to pick on zombies or vampires anymore.”

“Would…would you let me come to your support group? Even if I arose as something like a zombie?”

“Of course,” I said. “I’ve never turned anyone away except that one freak in makeup.”

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Mattheson looked at the shambling zombie walking gaily down main street, protected by a police cordon from curious onlookers. The corpse had been carefully dressed in someone’s Sunday finest and given a complete makeover with wig, silicone prostheses, and foundation–enough that it could almost pass for alive.

“Interpol says that it’s the body of one Tobias Kurz, born 1937 in Munich and died 2013 here in town,” said Wilson, flipping through his files. “It looks like he’s trying to go to his favorite breakfast spot.”

“Too bad it closed last year,” said Mattheson. “How many is this now, Wilson?”

“Three,” Wilson said. “One every two weeks or so. Same modus: tarting them up like they’re still alive.”

Nodding, Mattheson kept his eye on Mr. Kurz’s shambling zombie as it attempted to politely lift its had to someone cowering inside a storefront. “Three or more victims…likely done for psychological gratification…totaling more than a month’s time…including a significant “cooling off period” between each of them…”

“Yeah,” said Wilson. “It fits the classical definition. We’ve got a serial lifer out there, compulsively bringing people back from the dead, and we have no idea where they might strike next.”

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