The crack of Mr Humphries' steel-capped umbrella as it spun wildly off the skull of the reanimated corpse of a woman sounded out across the high street, a deathly sickening sound that accompanied the low moan of the woman as she slumped to the ground, grey skin purpling. Behind him, Mr Humphries could see the rest of the party, and ahead, Captain Peacock blowing the brains out of another afflicted monster who was attempting to munch on the carnation in in his buttonhole, or, more aptly, his throat.
The disease which had spread across Great Britain had originally popped up in small cases in large cities - London, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff - and soon had become a virulent plague upon the British populace. Mr Humphries himself had come from his last regular shift at Grace Brothers to find his mother gone with a note to tell him to join her in Ireland where borders had prevented the infected sneaking in.
However, soon the infected had come for him, and he had been forced to contact the other members of Grace Brothers to band together to survive. The six of them - Mr Humphries, Mr Lucas, Mrs Slocombe, Miss Brahms, Mr Grainger, and Captain Peacock - had united outside of a greasy spoon per Captain Peacock's instructions and had formed a group to fight the horde as they advanced.
At the front of the group, Mr Lucas was fending off the undead with a jolly nice samurai sword he had found in the possession of one his neighbours, and was lopping off heads and limbs with the kind of loose-limbed grace that Mr Humphries possessed solely for Tuesday night disco nights at the Garden of Allah nightclub.
"They're advancing on us!" Mrs Slocombe cried, fending off one hungry zombie with her own kitchen knife, her other hand carrying the petbox she had crammed her dear pussy into.
"Gallagher Street's cut off," Mr Lucas shouted from the front, "and Brixton Avenue seems pretty stuck too."
"What about Porter Road? That's not too far from Grace Brothers..." Mr Grainger suggested, almost jovially; his wife had finally been persuaded to visit her sister's family in the South of France and had departed three days before the infection hit Great Britain, ensuring she was worrying, but safe.
"He's got a point!" Miss Brahms yelped, kicking out with her stiletto at one oncoming infected, and puncturing his cartoid artery with a well-timed swing. "We can't very well stay out here."
"They've got food in the canteens, we can barricade the doors and entrances, and there's enough hunting rifles and knives in the sporting department to fend off this army of monsters." Captain Peacock affirmed, firing off a shot and blasting an infected's brains clean out through the back of his caved-in skull.
"But how are we going to get there?" Mr Humphries asked. Mr Lucas draw back towards him, giving Captain Peacock the chance to lead the front, service revolver at the ready, and took his arm.
"Look," Mister Lucas pointed out across the sea of advancing, slowly lumbering undead. In the distance, the bright crimson angles of an abandoned double decker poked out, a shining, glossy advertisement for Bliss Comestics on one side, another for Cadburys on the other, "if we can get on that, we can just plough our way through to them."
Mr Humphries nodded and called out to Captain Peacock. "Captain Peacock! Are you free?"
"Just about, Mr Humphries!"
"Head for that empty bus to your right. Mr Lucas thinks we can get on board and then get to Grace Brothers where we can hole up until those nice Army boys can come and rescue us."
"Do you think they'll take us somewhere nice? Like the coast, to where this disease probably hasn't spread?" Mrs Slocombe asked. She ducked her head to avoid Mr Lucas' swing at a zombie that had approached her left side, and the tips of her bright turquoise hair were tinged pink with dark blood.
"If we're lucky, and it's all relative - we need to get on that bus!" Mr Lucas yelled, grabbing one arm to help Mr Grainger while Mr Humphries took his other arm and half-frog-marched him through the crowds to where Captain Peacock had managed to commandeer the bus.
Miss Brahms took Mr Lucas' sword while he and Mr Humphries aided Mr Grainger onto the bus and into a seat, followed closely by Mrs Slocombe and her cat. Up in the front cabin, Captain Peacock had shot the lock off the door and gained access to the driver's seat.
"Here let me, I used to drive one of these things." Mr Lucas said, pushing Captain Peacock aside so that he could get inside, and turn the keys in the lock - unfortunately the keys still had the severed hand of the unfortunate driver still attached, but he pushed past the wave of nausea and revulsion that threatened to overwhelm him to turn over the engine, setting it awake with a hearty rumble that sent a cheer through the passengers.
Mr Humphries stumbled to the front. "Ooh, Mr Lucas. I could kiss you, I just could."
Mr Lucas' grin was bright. "You promise?"
Mr Humphries flushed scarlet. Mr Lucas slid his hand across the divide, giving Mr Humphries' hand a quick, affectionate squeeze.
Mr Humphries looked back, down the length of the bus; Mr Grainger was seated, Mr Humphries' spare dagger from his belly dancing class in his arthritic fist, tight as a clam, while Mrs Slocombe was secreted across, murmuring sweet nothings to her pussy. At the back, Miss Brahms was sat opposite Mrs Slocombe, Mr Lucas' sword tucked in the crook of her arm, and Captain Peacock was at the back, firing off shots at any creature too stupid or brazen to keep clear.
"Right, come on you lot, we've got a department store to break into, an Army to find," Mr Lucas warmly looked to Mr Humphries, "and I've got a promise to be kept."
He pulled the bus out, crushing a swathe of undead under the formidable wheels, and so the bus journeyed on, taking with it the staff of Grace Brothers' clothing department, who would face the threat of a world changed by disaster, facing the apocalypse square in the face, and always live to fight another day.