Tag Archives: zombies

Zombie Pickup Lines

Zombies got to have standards, and zombies love brains. Here are some compliments to get you inside the open skull of the one you love:

Baby, if that brain was mine, I’d be the luckiest corpse in the world.

Your brain is so thick and juicy, it’s like a bubble. I just wanna pop it. Nnn.

I just want to bury my face in your lobes. Haminaminaaaa.

They say love is blind. That’s why I’m gonna start back here with the parietal lobe.

BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS!

Hrrrm.  My last tooth rotted out of my head. Must be ’cause you’re so sweet.

I’d be a felon for that cerebellum.

Mrmmaaahmaonnn. That’s the sounds you’ll be making when I put my fingers in your brain.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Outside the Mall

It must be really nice and warm in there, Tina sighs, scratching at the barricade the humans set up. Granted, the sigh came out as a horrific death-moan, but the sentiment was there.

Greg and Mary are shot down from sniper fire and a couple more zombies take their place, clawing their fingers off in front of the barricade. That’s the way it goes. All it is is work, work, work, and then you die. Again. Makes the bodies get restless out here.

Zombie lives are so angsty and short-lived. Why, just today, Zach was biting Diana’s face when he’d just been biting Maria’s face not three minutes before. Well, Maria got so mad that she started a fight with Diana, tearing off her flesh in front of everyone. And of course, all the zombie men were gathering around and moaning lewdly at the girls. That’s just how zombie men are, a bunch of disgusting undead pigs.

Zombies are pushing at Tina, too anxious to wait their turn. They start pushing into her, all clumsy onto the ground. One of them steps on her head. “Stop it!” Tina wants to say, but again, all that comes out is a horrifying death-moan. Tina is so sick of zombies walking all over her. As the feet and broken stumps drag across her, she sees a small hole in the barricade where she can see the See’s candy shop and the Victoria’s Secret. She puts a bloody claw out and drags herself toward the mall. She wants, desperately, what those humans have. She wants that life, their clothes, their jewelry, the big shiny guns they tote around. It all seems so glamorous to her. Tina reaches out, stretching her arm as far as it can go with the large mass of corpses walking around on top of her.

She picks at the hole, splintering it away, showing her what secret life the humans live. Ooh! she thinks. A Bed, Bath, and Beyond! But as she tries to pick at the barricade more, a zombie steps right on her hand and severs it at the wrist. If she had any working tear ducts, she would cry, but all Tina ever does is moan horribly.

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Road Trip (Revised) and North (New Chapter)

I’ve been changing around the zombie novella a bit. In particular, I’m doing an overhaul of the Jerm/Micah story arc.  Here’s a revised chapter and a new teaser chapter to whet your appetite:

ROAD TRIP

Jerm keeps pushing the CD into the Buick’s deck.

“Micah… hey Micah!”

“What?”

“CD player’s busted!”

“Shouldn’t be. Just got it installed last year. It’s probably the CD.”

“Well, keep better care of ‘em, jackass. I keep telling you that you need one of those books to keep all your CDs in it.”

“Hey, if you want music, then just sing something. Give me a break there, man. I’ve been drivin’ since Oklahoma.”

“Hey. Don’t worry about it, boss. Yer doin’ such a good job innyway.”

“Fuck you, man. Take the wheel. I gotta take a piss.”

“Ahh, bullshit. We should open a lemonade stand, we got so much stored back there.”

“You know we can’t take any chances openin’ the window, Jerm. One bug flies in and we could be zombies, too. So just take the wheel and shut yer trap for a sec.”

“Man, yer paranoid.”

“You gonna take the wheel or do you want to hold my junk for me while I go?”

“Yeah, yeah. I got it.” Jerm sighed, awkwardly switching over to the driver side and almost taking the car off the road.

“Careful, man! Keep it straight while I’m going or this car’s gonna smell even worse than it does.”

“Yeah, okay, Micah. Whatever, man… hope we can get to New Mexico soon.”

“Desert’s the place to be, Jerm. Not enough life around there to be zombie food.”

“Speakin’ of, we got ourselves a hitchhiker.”

“Just drive by.”

“But she’s hot.”

“Dammit, Jerm! Just drive!”

“What are you, gay?”

“At least let me put it back in my pants. Hand me the gun.”

“What? She ain’t a zombie.”

“She still has teeth, don’t she? We don’t know if she’s turning or what. Just hand me the gun.”

Without opening the windows, Jerm signalled for the woman to crawl into the passenger side.

“You guys are life savers. Name’s Jaclyn.”

“Jeremiah. This one’s my brother, Micah.”

“Kinda queer bein’ stuck all the way out here,” Micah said.

“Only one queer is you,” Jerm mumbled.

“My car ran out of gas a few miles back. I’m from Odessa, but I hear North is the way to go right now. I still can’t believe it, the dead walking around and everything. It’s crazy. I mean, I keep thinking it’s all just a bad dream I’ll wake up from… thanks for picking me up, guys. I was worried I wouldn’t see anybody out here.”

“Me an’ Micah are both comin’ outta Little Rock. Damn skeeters are turnin’ people into flesh eaters! Desert’s dry enough so they don’t breed at all, but Micah’s still paranoid. That right, Micah?”

Micah fishes through under the back seats for water bottles with actual water in them. “Yeah… so, Jaclyn. You up here all by your lonesome?”

“Well, I have some family headed up to the Northern states, see if they can get into Canada. I took longer getting out ‘cuz my boyfriend wouldn’t leave. I don’t know. Guess I was bein’ dumb wanting to stay with him in zombie country.”

“Naw. We were the same way. We all heard about it in other places but we thought we could all just shoot ‘em all dead and have a few beers to celebrate. It wasn’t like the movies, though. Even covered in DEET and holed up with boxes of ammo, we knew we weren’t gonna last against a third of Arkansas.”

Jaclyn pulls her sleeve down over her arm. “It’s terrible out there.”

“Here’s some water,” Micah offered.

“Thank you.”

“That rash on your arm… that’s from the heat?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s nothing much.”

“I can take a look at it.”

“No. Don’t worry about it.”

Micah pulled out his gun. Jerm swerved the car over to the side of the road. “Whoa, Micah! Holy shit! Quit playin’ with that thing!”

“I ain’t playin’. That’s a bug bite.”

Jaclyn shook her head. “No. It’s not–”

“Don’t lie to me, bitch. Our daddy had a bite like that before we found him gnawing on one of ma’s arms.”

“It’s just a little bite! I mean, it probably wasn’t even infected. Most bugs are just normal bugs, okay? I mean, if I start gnawing on people, you can shoot me.”

“Yeah, Micah! Maybe it’s not the end of the world. Just hold off for a sec!”

“Can’t take any chances. You and I both saw what happened to Little Rock, how fast it all happened. Jaclyn, please get out the car. You can keep the water. Here’s a few extra bottles, too. It’s not water, but you’ll thank me when you get thirsty enough.”

“You can’t be serious. Please! Just drop me off in the next town.”

“Micah–”

“Shut it, Jerm. Just step out of the car and there won’t be no trouble. You’re better off than when we found ya. Just be thankful for that.”

Jaclyn removed herself from the car, sobbing and cradling bottles of water and urine. When the door slammed, she dropped the bottles and put her hands on the windows. “Please!” she wailed through the glass.

Jerm looked straight ahead, not starting the car.

“What?”

“I ain’t talkin’ to you, man.”

“Just drive, Jerm. No more hitchhikers.”

A bottle of piss hits their back window as Jerm pulls away.

NORTH

“I’m gonna turn this car around.”

“Jerm, we did what we had to.”

“I’m not talkin’ to you.”

“You already said that.”

“I don’t like it, man. I come back home from fightin’ in one desert and now I’m out here in another. What the Hell, man? I’m back home and the killing just don’t stop. I don’t want to keep murderin’ people, Micah.”

“It wasn’t… Jerm. Listen to me. Back in Little Rock… that wasn’t our family out there. They were tortured, man. We had to put them to rest. And that girl was as good as dead, too.”

“Does that make it right?”

“They were already dead. We did what we had to.”

Jerm slams on the breaks.

“But she—Jaclyn—that girl back there? She was a human goddamn being! She was still alive, you jackass! You, me—we’re gonna have to live with that so don’t try to hide what we did with pretty words. It’s an insult to her and everyone else we left behind.”

“We did what we had to.”

“You already said that, Mikey.”

Jeremiah clicks on the only FM station running in the area and starts driving again. He keeps his eyes on the road; Micah stares out the window, looking at the barren landscape and the pink sunlight fading into the horizon. James Taylor is singing about fire and rain.

After about fifty or sixty miles, Jerm clears his throat. Micah looks ahead to see a buzzard with only one wing hobbling across the road. With the high beams on, they can see it only has one wing and its beak seems cracked and hanging slack.

“That thing dead?” Micah asks.

“Looks like it.” He starts to swerve toward the bird.

“Don’t… I don’t want to be scrapin’ bird parts off my car.”

“Whatever, man.” Jerm turns the while a little and they can hear the beak scrape along the side of the car.

Micah gives Jerm a look like he’s chewing on old gum and wants to find somewhere to spit.

“What? Just paint. Don’t worry so much, man. Take a nap for a while. We’ve both been up for a day and a half at least.”

Micah still has trouble sleeping but he’s able to fade away after not too long.

“Wake up!” Jerm swats at Micah. “It’s five in the morning and I think I’m seein’ things, like zombies outta the corner of my eye.”

“What the Hell’re you talkin’ ‘bout.” Micah rubs his eyes and stretches in his seat. It’s pitch black out but it will be morning soon. They awkwardly crawl around the seats to switch places. Micah grunts as he rolls the seat back up to the steering wheel. It sounds like a spine cracking.

“Where are we?”

“We just hit Colorado about thirty minutes or so back.”

“All right, Jerm. I got it.” He starts up the vehicle again and starts back down the highway.

The sun had just started peaking on the horizon. Something shadows were moving on the horizon. “Uh… Jerm?”

“What? I was just starting to drift off.”

“You know how  you said you were seein’ things?”

“Yeah?” Jerm took a second before he bolted upright. “What? Zombies?”

Micah pointed his finger toward the side of the highway. A large group of people were stumbling along the road, though it became increasingly obvious they weren’t people at all. They all had working legs, but some had chunks missing from them in most other places, maybe from the buzzards. The silhouette of a woman and child tripped over and pulled themselves back up to follow the group.

“Where the Hell do they think they’re going?”

“I’d reckon same way we are: North.”

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Filed under Session XXI

Day in the Life

Wake up. Fall asleep. Wake up again. Shave. Shower. Stare at the discolorations on the tiles. Brush teeth. Breakfast. Job hunt. Eat sandwich. Make moustache with crust. Watch Youtube videos about zombie unicorns that shoot lasers out of their horns. Eat leftovers. Unbutton top button. Watch porn. Check email. Check Facebook messages. Write witty status update in hopes that someone will acknowledge existence. Eat ice cream out of the carton. Turn on Comedy Central. Set carton by bed. Fall asleep with chromatic glow pulsing against face.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XVII

Fire (Revision of “Blood,” part 2)

Josh and Theo drove in amidst a shrieking stampede of people and zombies. Given the overwhelming mass of flesh in the streets, it got to the point where they couldn’t tell whether they were running over people or avoiding zombies. A horde of people stood on the car, trying to break their way inside.

“Just step on it!” Theo screamed. Josh closed his eyes and did as he was told.

Vera stumbled out of Tobias’s reach, jumping from the table and running for the car. She was lost in the sea of people. Tobias, his father’s revolver in hand, aimed his sights into the crowd. He inhaled deep to keep from trembling. These were people. Tobias could try to shoot to maim, but then they’d be dead anyway. Zombie chow. Either way, they were going to trample Vera.

“Damn it!” he growled, squeezing the trigger. Something grabbed Tobias’s leg, ‘causing his shot to fire high. He hammered his foot against the creature’s face, not sure if it was among the living or dead. Face bloodied the thing let go of his foot. He stumbled back up to locate Vera in the crowd. No sign of her. Or Theo.

Tobias’s heart seemed to slow. Vera’s body was lost in the stampede. Theo, who had flung his door open to save her, was quickly taken by the crowd, which seeped into Josh’s car. Josh was thrown out and crush under the wheel as the car crushed everyone in its way, driven by a hysterical creature bent on safety. Vera was dead. Josh was dead. Maybe not this second, but it hardly mattered whether they were dead or dying. Tobias fired off a few rounds into the crowd around Theo, but he was too late. A wave of bodies crashed in like the ocean tide. He aimed at Theo’s head to save him the pain of being eaten alive, but a crashed into Tobias, throwing him from his perch, his gun flying from his hands. The wind was crushed out of his lungs out of him, but he managed to keep his footing and keep from being trampled. Somehow, he was able to pick out Theo’s dying cries.

Tobias ran with the crowd to keep himself from being crushed under frantic heels. They were trying to break into the Rapturist compound, a place where they could get cover from the horde. He crouched low and covered his head. Gunfire was spraying the spearhead of this phalanx. The guards were making a futile stand to keep the populace from entering the cathedral. The gunfire quickly died out as the unstoppable wave of people and zombies crashed through the windows and doors like a storm hammering against a crag. Tobias’s clothes were torn, bruises smashed all over his arms and middle. He gained a reprieve when the large lobby fanned out and he was crushed a little less. The crowd dispersed and Tobias went with where his section of the flood carried him.

Tobias remembered Raj saying that zombies could fall down stairs, but they had trouble climbing up. Still, Tobias was just as afraid of the people as he was the zombies. There were fewer people that trickled downstairs. He pushed his way down, following this tributary of lost souls into the basement. The hallway ended in a locked door: “employees only.” The people at the door were ramming into it with their shoulders, trying to push it down.

“Out of the way! You!” Tobias grabbed the arm of the largest man at the door, a man he vaguely recognized from his time in the militia. The man was built like a linebacker, weighted down with almost as much fat as muscle. He’d do fine. “On the count of three, we kick at the same time! Okay?” The man nodded, panting from exertion.

“One. Two~! Three!” They took their rear legs and shoved them into the door. For a second, Tobias thought it was going to give. “Again!” They kicked again and hinges began to give way. A final time  and the door cracked partway off its hinges, ready to be tossed down by the mob.

“Let’s go! Let’s go!”

The place they entered was pitch black and reeked of piss and blood. “Light switch! Find it!” The fluorescent lighting flickered on. Tobias almost wished someone would turn it off. People were pinned or chained to the walls, dying or dead. It was some kind of dungeon. The crowd walked through the room, dazed and fearful. Tobias spied a young woman in fair condition, if a little shaken up. Though her hair covered her face, he thought he recognized her.

“Sarah!” She writhed, as if the name gave her pain. “You’re Sarah Scarborough, ain’t you?”

“She won’t talk. She’s been raped too many times to respond to anyone anymore.” Tobias jumped at the croak of a man’s voice; he couldn’t have been sure that the man hanging there on the wall was actually alive or not.

“I was hired by Sarah’s husband…” Tobias started to say. It sounded strange now, as if it had happened to him in another life and he was just remembering. “To find…” His friends were all dead. He paused, staring into space, remembering that sound that could have been Theo. No. It had unmistakably been Theo screaming for death.

“What’s your name?” the man asked.

“Toby.”

“I’m Hermann. Dr. Hermann Schulz.”

This brought Tobias from his more painful memories. “You’re Dr. Z.”

His chuckle sounded like sandpaper. “Not by birth, I assure you.”

“Let me try to get you two out of those chains.”

“It won’t matter,” Hermann said. “The guards will be down here. They’ll kill us all.”

“The guards are dead. The city’s being attacked by zombies.”

“You act like that’s a better way to die.” Sarah began wailing. Dr. Schulz lowered his head.

“Somebody shut her up!” a man yelled and pounced on Sarah’s throat.

“Brady!” Tobias remembered the big man’s name. “Help me out!” Tobias tried to pull the man off Sarah. Brady took his hair and cracked his head against the wall next to Sarah’s head. This didn’t help her screeching. “Help me get them free, Brady!” He wasn’t sure if the man was dead or not, but it didn’t matter, as long as they could control the crowd.

The crowd, suddenly aware of themselves and their safety, began freeing the prisoners as well. Whether they were remembering their humanity or whether they just needed something to do to fight the fear, it didn’t matter. They all tried their best to break or pry the chains from the walls. Some worked on the barricades, stacking shelves and the shattered door up before the zombies arrived. There were many loud and strange noises, but no zombies. Instead, a thick smoke began crawling along the ceiling.

“Stay low!” Tobias yelled. “Stay! Low! The smoke won’t reach us down here!”

“Hell it won’t!” someone yelled.

“You want to run up there and die, go ahead! If you’re gonna stay here, just shut up! We need the air!”

They squatted down, staying silent for a good twenty or thirty minutes before Tobias noticed that the man was right. The smoke was still getting thicker.

“I’m going to go scout it out! Stay low!” He wrapped his coat around his face. Brady helped him clear part of barricade. “Thanks, Brady. I’ll be back.”

“Live and let die, brother.” It was one of the mottoes the militia spouted off to get themselves pumped up for raiding homes.

“Live and let die.” He clasped Brady’s hand and slipped out.

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Blood (revision of “Blood,” part 1)

Jerm used to be scared of crossing bridges when he was a tyke. Their Ma told them stories about the three billy goats Gruff and Jerm was always afraid there was a troll hiding in the creek, waiting to eat them.

“Hey you troll. I’m the biggest billy goat Gruff!” Micha would cry at the foot of the bridge, imitating the fairy tale. “If you come out, I’ll poke out your eyes an’ shit in your brain!” Micah always liked to give his threats some color. “There! Now the troll won’t bother us. Come on!” And they would cross the bridge together to eat the best peaches and bring home the second best.

Micah felt like the troll now, skulking about in the dark, searching for the reverend. The guards were all leaving to the entrances to block off the incoming zombies and refugees. In spite of it being an emergency, he took the elevator to avoid notice. This was a zombie attack, not a fire, after all. Not yet.

“I have two spears,” the biggest billy goat Gruff would say. Micah was dressed in a guard’s uniform, courtesy of the man on the first floor. Nobody would recognize him, and there was blood on the shirt, but a second’s hesitation was all he needed. The guards were all at the door with their rifles. Like fish in a barrel.

“Hold i–”

“I’m not a zombie!” Micah shouted, raising one hand in the are. He pulled the trigger three times. The last man clipped his shoulder. The blood ran heavy and dark down his arm. Grimacing, he shot them in the head, one by one. He’d heard one of the local boozers call it “buying zombie insurance.” He breathed heavily. Normally, security would be tighter than a hawk’s ass in a nosedive. Perhaps this really was God’s intervention that he was able to get this far. Micah took one of the dead men’s rifles. He kicked at the door, backed up and shot at it. The door began to bust apart. He shot again at the door handle, picked up another gun.

“I have these stones to crush your bones,” said the eldest billy goat Gruff. The door gave way and Micah’s bullets painted the room red. He blinked once, knowing that he should be dead now. These men were all unarmed, shot in the back. They’d probably been praying. Micah tried to swallow down the horrible bile of guilt that threatened to tear apart his guts from the inside out. He closed his eyes and all he saw were corpses. Be strong. This is for Jerm. Cut the beast off at the head.

“Oh, God…” a man breathed, frightened. Did Jerm beg for his life? Did Micah’s brother know the reason why he had to die? This man had been standing at the pulpit, higher up than the others. Micah had only shot out his legs. He must have been preaching. That makes him…

“Father Taddeo. You have sinned.”

“God!” he shrieked. Micah butted the man in the face with the rifle. He surveyed the room, looking for surivors. There was an adjacent room, a kitchen, most likely added by the Rapturists when they moved in. The staff was still there. Micah unloaded his rifle into the room. They were going to die anyway and Micah already had blood on his hands. Better now than in the fire.

“Father, you have sinned,” Micah said with tears his eyes. He reached out, wiping a bloody palm on the man’s face. “Pray for forgiveness.” He dropped his gun, using his good arm to drag the wretch to the kitchen.

“Forgiii-!” he cried in pain.

“What did you say?”

“Forgi-hiv me! It hurts!”

There would be no escape for this wretched man. He would not know why he had to die. He need not know. He would merely suffer and die. The only mercy he would grant him was the gift of not becoming one of the undead.

Micah began by cutting out the reverend’s eyes. “I have two spears,” he said. “To stab out your eyes.” Micah started up the food processor, sticking the reverend’s hand into it. Then the other. “I have two stones,” he said, “to crush your bones.” The troll hiding under the bridge. Micah would have to kill him to protect Jerm. To protect Jerm, so they could cross the bridge together. The bridge, across the creek with the troll. The troll kept screaming. Micah dragged the troll to the meat slicer and slammed his face into it, setting the machine to auto slice. Micah fought with all his might to keep the troll there as the machine sliced him away, a little bit at a time. Finally, the troll stopped struggling. Micah turned on the gas stove and threw him on. He dragged all of the bodies inside the room, corpses to fuel the fire.

Micah walked back into the main room, up to the podium. He looked out the window at the sky.

“The sun is so close, Jerm,” Micah said, tears streaming down his face. “Why’s the sun so close when it’s so damn cold up here? I don’t understand… those peaches tasted good, didn’t they? Bet you’re enjoying one right now, you bastard.” He closed his eyes and put pistol to his temple. Jerm would have to cross the bridge alone.

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Traditions (“Hindsight: Christmas Miracle” Revision)

“Oh, sweet baby Jesus,” Sarah says over and over to herself, teeth chattering. Her husband’s, Travis’s, old pickup truck didn’t insulate the heat well enough, in spite of the blankets they jammed throughout the interior, covering the windshield entirely. She looked out of the little peephole in the passenger side window, but there was no sign of Travis. Travis said he’d be back by sunrise. By sunrise, everything would be better again.

Her husband took the rifle but they kept a pistol in the glove compartment that he had taught her how to use. “Oh, sweet baby Jesus,” she repeated, huddled up in the old quilt her mother had made her when she was a child. It had animals painstakingly sewn into the fabric. She shivered. “Travis. Please be okay out there.”

Nights are the worst. Sarah sees creatures in the shadows, ones that are there as often as not. She usually never knows for sure until she can see the creatures well enough to hear their hooves crunch through the snow. One time, a squirrel jumped onto the windshield and tried to gnaw through it to get to them. Sarah thought, in a situation like that, that she would have screamed hysterically. But she just sat there, gun pointed at the squirrel, heart hammering against her ribs. Travis never woke up and she never told him about the incident, either. There’s enough terror in the daytime without Travis hearing about the sound the owls make when they’re dead. When undead birds sing, there’s no music in it. There’s just a low, long whistle. Sarah thinks that the owls sound deeper and sadder than anything she’s ever known. Nights are the worst, but Sarah chooses them. She’d rather stay awake through the horror than never wake up.

“Where are you, Travis?” the warm air leaves her mouth like a ghost. She huddles up in her animal blanket, hiding from the creatures in the night. Sarah feels warm in her mother’s patchwork. If the zombie outbreak had never occurred, she and Travis would be celebrating Christmas at her parents’ house in Michigan. They’d be eating ham and watching the wild turkeys hobble by outside the glass sliding window. One of their family traditions was to roast up chestnuts and eat them by the fireplace. She would always fall asleep there, feet toasty warm. Sarah dreamed sweet dreams back then…

* * *

It’s still night, but Sarah is following a star, almost as bright as the sun. It looks pale and lonely in spite of its light. She finds a barn where she can take refuge. There are people and animals inside. They’re all standing still, looking at something. Sarah has their pistol out; they’re quiet but they all look alive.

“What are you all looking at?” Sarah asks. No answer. She leans forward to see Joseph and Mary sitting over their child, looking every bit like the ones in her parents’ nativity set. “He’s our Lord and savior,” says one of the wise men. They’re all standing still and staring like in a painting. Sarah leans forward to look at the tiny child in the manger. Its jaw hangs loose. Its eyes are gray and dead. It reaches out to touch Sarah and she backs off. Mary’s neck is broken. Joseph’s jaw is missing. His tongue hangs loose onto his robes. One of the wise men, eye holes bleeding, lunges at her and she backs into a llama with filmy eyes and crooked teeth. It hisses and bites her.

* * *

“Sarah! Open up!”

She pulls out the pistol and points it at his head.

“Christ! Sarah!” he ducks. “I’m not a zombie yet! Put the gun down!”

She looks through the peephole. The sunlight is barely grazing over the trees, making the tops look yellow.

“It was a little farther than I remembered. But look!” He holds up the gas can. “It’s a Christmas miracle!

Sarah says nothing. “I think we have as much as three gallons, but the stations just tapped out now. We’re lucky that there was anything at all. People probably just haven’t used this one because of how far away from civilization it is.”

Sarah remembers her parents’ home, walking in and seeing the glass door broken, a corpse strewn out on the kitchen floor. Red entrails stretched out on white linoleum. She couldn’t even recognize it as her mother, or maybe she didn’t want to believe it at the time. Travis looks into Sarah’s glazed over eyes. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah…” she says, shaking her head. Those memories won’t do her any good. She has Travis and that’s all that matters now.

Her husband runs his hand through her hair and puts his lips to her head. “Check me for bite marks,” he whispers to her forhead. She shrinks back from his touch.

“God dammit, Travis! I don’t care if you’re turning or not.”

“Don’t say that.”

“No! No!” she swats away an arm aimed at comforting her. “It’s not like we can help it! I’d rather die too!”

“Sarah. This is important. It would kill me if I…”

“You’d already be dead. Just drop it.”

“All right. I just…”

“Drop it.”

They sit for a minute, looking out at the growing light outside. It’s a silent morning.

“I’m sorry,” Sarah says.

“For what?” Travis asks. Sarah has never apologized after these arguments, but then she wasn’t apologizing about the fight anyway. She made up her mind that she would stick with him when they got married, before she even knew that the dead could get up and walk again.

“I was asleep when you got back. I had… I had a bad dream.”

“Sarah, I’ve been thinking about something,” Travis says, clutching his gas can. “I don’t think we can do this anymore. We need to make good use of this last gasoline that we were given. We may be able to get close to the coast on just a few gallons. I don’t know why I thought we could hide out forever, but maybe immigration has settled down a bit. I mean, the initial scare is over, so I don’t think they’d shoot us unless we were the undead. Sarah?”

“Hmmm?”

“Sarah. What do you think?”

“About what?”

“Civilization.”

Sarah wraps her mother’s quilt around them both. “I think… I want to sleep together without taking shifts. I don’t care what happens today. I just want to sleep her with you.” She rests her head on his stomach.

“Merry Christmas,” she whispers.

“Merry Christmas,” he replies, setting the gas can at his feet.

Outside the window, the sunrise gives the snow a reddish hue. Just this one time, he pulls the quilt over both their heads and they dream sweet dreams.

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Filed under FEATHERTON III, Flash Fiction