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Thorson, Episode 3 — Belted
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I backed, hands up in a defensive posture, as the Draugar slowly approached. The only thing that kept a Draugar from being unstoppable was the fact that they were clumsy. The whole rotting corpse thing plays havoc with their coordination. They tend to stumble, and their pace can be described as glacial.

’Good one, Thorson! Glacial Nordic zombies, you’re a riot!’ echoed the voice in the back of my head. ‘Stop with the funnies and do something!’

“Shut up, Luca,” I whispered, as I noticed something. The Draugar kept trying to turn toward the front of the theater, bumping into the back of the seats in the next row down. I backed a little faster, and the Draugar kept trying to change course. He didn’t seem to notice my change of pace. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice me at all.

“Dah fuq,” I muttered. If he wasn’t after me, what was he doing here? A monster straight out of Norse mythology pops up at the movie I’m watching, and he’s not after me? Well, figure that out later. He’s still after someone, and needed to be dealt with.

Various conversations with Luca ran through my mind. We’d talked a lot about how to handle zombies, as we watched “The Walking Dead.” Which always devolved into talking about the different kinds of zombies. All the different kinds. We’d never managed to actually come up with a cohesive plan. It was too much fun arguing about which zombie was the worst.

Okay, think, Thorson, what do you know? Draugar were supposed to be treasure protectors, generally only concerned with anyone who defiled their graves, or tried to steal their treasure. Occasionally one got a serious mad-on for someone about something that didn’t have to do with grave-robbing, and then they’d follow that person until their sense of justice was satisfied, ignoring everyone else. Right. I hadn’t stolen anyone’s treasure lately. So this one was ignoring me because it was after someone else. ‘Who’ didn’t matter right now. What to do did.

‘Use its weakness against it, bud. It’s slow and clumsy.’

Right, Luca. Here goes nothing.

Before I could think enough about it to talk myself out of it, I rushed the Draugar, grabbing it at the closest elbow and knee. Using its own momentum and weight against it, I dumped it over the back of the seat it was currently banging against. It landed on its head and grunted something I was sure I didn’t want to understand. One of the old-fashioned ways of dealing with them was to tie their big toes together. They weren’t adroit enough to untie the string, and couldn’t walk with it in place.

No string in my pockets. Fine. Improvise.

I whipped off my belt, wrapped it around the Draugar’s ankles a few times, threaded the end through the buckle and cinched it. Given its clumsiness and the fact that its head was wedged under a seat two rows down from me, it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Time to boogaloo outta there.

I exited the theater at a half-run that turned into a sprint towards the lobby, one hand holding up my pants. Where I stopped short, dumbfounded. Literally. My mouth opened and closed a few times but not a single sound came out.

Lucy was standing at the concession counter, turned away from me, calmly talking to someone at the counter.

“I’m the manager. Now, what did you say was the matter?” he asked.

“There’s an individual in theater 3, and he’s disrupting the movie. Drunk or something. My boyfriend was trying to deal with him, but sent me out to talk to you.”

I did? Wait, boyfriend? She thought I was her boyfriend?

My stomach did a funny thing that was half flip-flop and half explosion. I missed what she said next. Then she noticed me and waved me up to the counter.

“Here he is. Sean, tell Robert what’s going on.”

Robert. Right, there it was, right there on his name tag. Robert. I was her boyfriend?

“Right, well. I tried to talk to the, ah, individual, but I don’t think he’s doing well. He fell over the seats and is kinda stuck right now. That’s why I came out, to find someone to help with him. You might want to call the police, too. I think it’s more like PCP or meth than alcohol. A druggie, not a drunk. He just didn’t look right.”

“Let’s see what we can do, then. Can you show me where he is?” suggested Robert.

I nodded. “Theater 3, near the back, in the center. Follow me.” I lead the way back, stopping for a moment just inside the theater to let my eyes adjust to the dimness. No way I was going to get close to a Draugar if I couldn’t see, even a hog-tied one.

Robert followed me as I climbed the stairs, and I noticed that Lucy was following him. “Lucy, you should stay back, this might not be safe.” I whispered, turning to Robert and pointed. “He’s right ov… Uh, he was right over there?! Maybe he’s slipped further down between the rows?” Where there should have been a pair of belted legs waving there was nothing but air.

I got to the middle of our row, and still didn’t see him. I leaned a little over the row in front, without any sightings of him. I saw my belt, a knot on the floor, but no sign of the Draugar. He’d disappeared as mysteriously as he’d arrived.

“I guess he must have got himself unstuck, and left,” I said, without much conviction. Robert nodded without saying anything, but the expression on his face said all that needed to be said. It said ‘Sure, kid. Got up and left. Right. I’m pretty sure you’re the one on drugs.’

“Sorry,” I muttered, quietly, feeling a little embarrassed.

“It’s okay. I’ll have the rest of the staff keep an eye out for him, in case he’s still wandering around,” said Robert, as he exited the row.

I sighed as Lucy came up to me. “Is everything all right, Sean?”

I nodded. “Yeah, but maybe we should just leave, for now. I’ve got the movie at home, and we can watch the end of it there, without bothering anyone else.”

I leaned over the row in front, to grab my belt.

Which is when my pants finally fell down.

Right in front of Lucy.

Revealing my Avengers underwear.

F. M. L.
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