"I see." I took the proffered tea and sat, gingerly, on one of the Edwardian iron chairs holding the saucer in my left hand. "We have chairs like these at home," I said. "On the terrace."
"I got them at the auction house a couple of years ago," said Whitlow. "Fifty pounds for the two, plus a little cafe table but I've got that in the greenhouse."
"Bellend and Grommets?" I said. He gave a nod of confirmation. "We drop in from time to time. You used to be able to get antiques at quite reasonable prices."
"Not any more." Whitlow took a sip of his Assam. The ringing of the porcelain as he took cup from saucer was a pleasant counterpoint to the crackling fires and shotgun blasts of earlier. I could almost believe it was an ordinary day. "Them London types all drive up in their fourbys and buy up everything for resale. Bastards."
I raised an eyebrow but didn't contradict. The corpses seemed to be almost finished burning, leaving piles of ash exactly in their old shapes. I wondered if the bones had burned through as well. I honestly hoped so. It would make dealing with any remaining zombies so much easier. I nodded toward the piles of ash. "How did you know to decapitate them?" I asked. "I didn't know zombies burst into flames like that if you took their heads off."
"They don't." Whitlow tapped his watering can with his foot. "Magnesium phosphate solution. It reacts with something they exude and becomes highly flammable when dry. You can either drop a match on them or just wait until they hit the right temperature."
"Handy," I said. "How do you know all this?"
"I was stationed in New Orleans during the drug wars in the seventies. These things appeared there, as well. We had to learn fast to keep a lid on it."
"Really? I knew nothing about this."
I took another sip of tea. "Where d I get some of this – what was it?"
"Magnesium Phosphate. You can get it at an ironmongers or gardening shop. It's a white powder you mix with water."
"Right. Excellent." I drained my cup. "Tally-ho, then."