Scars

May 1, 2011

I was looking at my scars today. For the first time, I felt a sense of detachment rather than horror. I wonder if I am ready to move on. I’d like to tell myself that it was only my flesh that was stripped away, only my bones that were broken–but I would be lying.

Then again, we’ve all suffered our wounds, be they physical or spiritual. No one has come out of this outbreak, apocalypse, rapture–whatever you call it–without their scars.

Sarah and her husband, Travis, made it out safely. Their child, however, did not. Luckily, it died shortly after it was born. If it was a stillbirth, the child may have torn apart her insides while still in the womb. She still hasn’t talked, even to Travis. He tells me that she’s always been afraid of the dark, but now she scratches at the walls and weeps, making animal noises from her throat. He confessed to me once that he thought about just letting her cut her own wrists one night. When they were first reunited, I felt such love and relief brimming from the man. Then, when he saw her, I think it dawned on him rather suddenly that he had lost the wife he knew that day she was kidnapped. I visit him from time to time. It was hard for him to accept my help at first. He’d believed for over a week that I had kidnapped her. But now I visit regularly to check up on him and Sarah. I believe he used to prefer being left alone. When I think of fortitude and perseverance, Travis comes to mind.

I see Toby from time to time, but he’s not doing much better, I’m afraid. The day after he found Sarah and I locked away, he looked for the bodies of his friends and buried them. Sometimes I see him passed out at their graves with a bottle of homemade brew in his hand. I’d give him blankets, food, the shirt off my back. He saved my life, after all. But Toby never accepts any of my gifts. He just wanders about town, completely lost. If he doesn’t find a purpose in his life, I fear he won’t stay alive much longer. I feel responsible in a way.

The zombies left town as quickly as they’d entered. I can’t explain it. They don’t follow any kind of a feeding pattern. Rather, they act somewhat like they did in life. The dog zombies hunt in packs; the people zombies stick to each other. I once told Eric about the novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. He’d never read it before. It’s about a man raised by Martians. He brings their philosophies to Earth, including a practice/concept called “grokking.” To grok someone is to understand them completely. To the Martians, this includes consuming that person, taking them into your body. I almost think that the zombies feel incomplete, that they want to take humans inside themselves to… become human again, I suppose. Of course, this is all just speculation, barely even a theory. I wonder, but I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never truly know the answer. The only thing I know for a fact is two truths: (1) nowhere is safe anymore, and (2) we must cling to the living if we hope to brave our dead.

~ Dr. Z

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4 Comments

Filed under FEATHERTON II, Flash Fiction

4 responses to “Scars

  1. Sorry to see you weren’t doing the Featherton session this time around. I guess I’ll leave you a comment, anyway. I like the small twists you put on the conventional post-apocalyptic tale. I actually took your lead and wrote my own little post-apocalyptic story this week. That shit is fun, I see now why you do it 🙂

  2. taniappleseed

    I’ve really loved reading your work and think you weave fantasy into very sobered characters very well. as crazy as life gets we can still find these reflective moments or ourselves and I love the way you’ve blended a pack of guys as werewolves to articulate I kind of bachelorhood for example. I hope you publish a book with the undeniables or some other publishing company because your work is fantastic!

  3. libertad

    So, I really enjoyed the way you tried to push the boundaries of these zombie stories. I think this story is a nice culmination to this session as it’s set in the future. The grok process is kind of depressing to me, but it adds a funny twist, you know, like perhaps cannibals only eat people to understand there. Aren’t you glad we’re vegetarians?

  4. awesomepie

    Damn right, Libertad! We’re vegetarians with appetites! Unfortunately, if I became a zombie, I would feed on human flesh.

    Glad you both enjoyed the stories. I’m surprised the werewolf one got such a positive response. I was really just dicking around with that one 😛

    ~ Seamus K.

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