I Am Dead:
A Zombie Tale
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
They wouldn’t stop coming. They pressed on, relentless. They wanted sustenance … food … flesh. Our flesh. They were dead, but they wouldn’t stop. They couldn’t stop. They … them … no, we. We couldn’t … I couldn’t … I wouldn’t stop.
My thoughts are disjointed when I first open my eyes. The scream is still in my throat, except my throat is gone. I sit up. Others are sitting up too. Anna—my daughter—turns her head and I see that half her face is gone. No … her face is still there. Something wrong with my eyes. I reach up and feel. One of my eyes is dangling from the socket. Morbidly my mind makes a joke, picturing a yo yo. The other eye is still intact. At least there is that. I don’t feel any pain. Why don’t I feel any pain? At first I think I must be in shock. Then I realize the truth.
I am dead. Damn. Day 3 of the Zombie Apocalypse and I was already dead.
I was also hungry. I know what that means, and I try to summon up a bit of disgust, but I can’t. Something smells delicious.
“My god, what is that?” I moan. I realize I can’t really form the words, but it sounded as though I’d said something intelligible. I hear someone next to me respond. This was interesting. Zombies have a language and since I was one, I now understood it. The voice spoke again.
“Braaaiiins.” It’s my son, Corbin. He’s fourteen and at that age where he makes inappropriate jokes. At least dying didn’t seem to take that from him.
“Seriously?” I moan. “Brains?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, just seemed the appropriate thing to say, don’t you think? Braaaaiiins.” Corbin put his arms out in front of him and lurched forward.
“Hey, wait!” Anna stands and stumbles after her big brother. I decide I should follow. My goal on day 1 of the ZA was to keep them alive. Now they were dead. We were dead. I was a failure at zombie survival, but that didn’t mean my goal had changed. The only difference now was that instead of fearing the dead, we needed to fear the living.
Or they needed to fear us. I smiled wickedly … or at least I think I smiled. My mouth didn’t seem to be working right. Were we evil now? I wondered. I didn’t feel evil. I wasn’t sure if being dead was a good thing, or a bad thing.
“Hey, there’s daddy!” Anna pointed to a car up ahead, and a man kneeling next to it. She was right, it was Randy. The tire was flat and he was attempting to change it. I sniffed the air. He was the delicious smell. My husband was still alive! At first that made me happy, but then I remembered the attack. The dead had surrounded us. I’d fought back, trying to protect Anna and Corbin, but Randy—Randy had ran—he didn’t even look back. He ran and some joker wearing a zombie t-shirt—oh the irony—took a bite out of my neck.
Randy looked up. He was crying. He’d always been a bit of a wus. The tears didn’t bring me any relief. He was crying because we were dead, but even now, he was a coward. We had made a promise to each other; whichever one of us turned first, the other would kill. It was standard post-apocalyptic etiquette, and from the look on Randy’s face, it was obvious he was going to ignore it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Also standard was the rule that you didn’t leave your wife and kids behind, unless you were one of those asshat’s that believed in capping an Otis and sacrificing any and all for your safety. And turns out, Randy was one of those kind of guys. I saw the look on Corbin’s face. He was thinking the same thing I was.
“Get daddy,” I groaned. The words were guttural. No one living would understand me, but my kids did. I think Randy understood too. He started to back away. His hand reached for the car door and he opened it, hurrying to get inside. He shut the door and I heard the sound of the lock, followed by the ignition trying to start. Coward! I wanted to run, but my feet didn’t want to cooperate. If I tried to move to fast, I would stumble. Shuffling my feet worked though. Oh, the slow pace of the dead. Slow and steady wins the race, I thought. But not if he takes off in the car, which from the sound of the ignition refusing to catch, he wasn’t going to be doing.
I pressed my face to the window and sniffed at him through the glass. His fear seemed to add to my frenzy. I wanted a piece of him. His neck bone was looking pretty good. His neck bone? My god, what is wrong with me. I wanted to take a bite out of my husband. My dirty, rotten, lying, cheating, husband. “That’s right,” I moan into the window, “I know about Cheryl. Is that why you left us? Why you ran? So you could be with her?”
“Mom, please.” It was Corbin. He tilted his head towards his sister. Anna was looking uncomfortable. He was right, I shouldn’t disparage her father in front of her. Instead, I should devour him. I smacked my hand on the window. Randy flinched. Good.
“Braaaiiins,” Corbin said.
Next to him, Anna snickered and imitated him. “Braiiiins.”
Randy chose that moment to open the door. He flung it outward real quick, and nearly knocked me backwards. I would have fallen too, if someone hadn’t been behind me. I turned to thank whoever it was and saw that a horde of the dead had come up behind us. We were all pressed together. If we didn’t have clothes on, it might have been pornographic. Actually, it still might be. The nice undead fellow I’d fallen against seemed to have a pretty big boner. Ah… the wonders of a rigor mortis.
“Maybe later, babe,” I joked. He just looked confused. Probably wasn’t too bright in life either. His attention was on Randy and I realized he wanted a piece of him too.
“He’s my husband,” I growled. “If anyone gets to eat him, I do. And my kids,” I added.
“There’s plenty of him to go around.” A plump zombie said. She had dyed blond hair and was wearing stripper heels. Her face was sagging on one side and her lips were gone. It gave her a bizarre, almost funny, appearance. What the hell of a way to be dressed for all of eternity, or at least all of the apocalypse. While I was distracted by stripper zombie and boner zombie, Randy pushed the door open even more. He was hoping to make a run for it.
“You have got to be kidding me,” I groused. “What did I always say? If you are surrounded by zombies, and you have something between you and them, keep it between you and them.” I sighed. He didn’t deserve to live. Oh wait, he had something in his hand.
Behind me I heard someone wail, “GUN! HE HAS A GUN!”
“He doesn’t know how to use it,” I snorted. “I had to do all the shooting when I was alive.”
“She’s right,” Corbin keened. “Even Anna could shoot better than him.”
I pushed back against the door and grasped Randy’s arm and pushed it down. He pulled the trigger and shot one of my toes off … no, three toes. Son of a bitch. I lifted his arm and took a bite. He screamed and dropped the gun. I tore off a huge chunk of flesh. Blood ran down my face and dripped off my chin. Corbin wrapped his arms around his father’s waist and pulled him towards the ground.
“I love you, daddy,” Anna said and then climbed on top and took a bite out of his cheek.
“This is your first time, isn’t it?” Boner Zombie said. “Here, go for the intestines. They’re pretty sweet the first time.”
I did as instructed and tore into Randy’s belly, spilling his innards out. I’d once thought about being a doctor, but the sight of blood made me dizzy. Now it excited me. I saw red and went crazy.
“Be careful,” Stripper Zombie said. “The stomach acid will eat away at your face. Try to avoid it.”
Well that explained what happened to her lips.
I became aware that Randy’s heart had stopped beating, which slowed the flow of the blood. I stuffed intestines into my mouth while my children fed on his liver and other body parts I didn’t recognize. I would never have made a good doctor. Eventually I felt hands on my head, pushing me away.
“Stop,” Randy said in perfect zombie speak.
“Daddy, you’re like us now,” Anna said. She leaped off her father and took his hand, helping him up.
“You ran,” I complained.
“I’m not running now,” he said.
The horde was moving on and we joined him. Randy was a piece of shit, but he was my piece of shit and we were still family.