I wrote this story a while ago and just ran across it. I never posted it anywhere but figured why not share it here because I can.
Copyright © by Dyanne Brown
Every day is the same. The days and nights blend together to the point that I can’t feel one pass into the other. I feel no warmth from the sun and the darkness creates no fear. The seasons pass with little notice because the cold means nothing to me. I have no blood to chill. Temperature holds no meaning and no concern. I have very little to care about. Every day is just another day. I can’t even call it a life. It’s not living. I am just existing.
The only feeling I am aware of is the dull, gnawing ache of hunger. It wakes me up and pushes me to walk the desolate streets in search of something I know I will never find. It’s been years since I’ve seen a human. The zombies I encounter are mindless beings, stupidly searching to fulfill their needs. I don’t know why I retained my memory and intelligence despite being infected with the virus. I can remember my human life and I am very much aware of everything, including how alone I am.
I dream at night. In my dreams, I am human again and I am living the life I remember. I spent my human life trying to obtain the American dream. I married my high school sweetheart after we both graduated from college. I got a job in Corporate America and my wife, Veronica, was pregnant a year later. She gave birth to our son. We happily moved from our apartment in the city to a huge house in the suburbs. We had another son a year later. We had the life that we both aspired to have. But, I was bored out of my mind. My whole life was work, bills and playing the perfect family.
Every night, I would have a drink before I left the office. I kept a bottle in my desk. When I arrived home, my wife would kiss me on the cheek and hand me a drink. Those drinks would continue throughout the night as I listened with very little interest to my wife telling me about the neighborhood gossip. She would tell me about the affairs in the neighborhood, but she didn’t know I knew she was carrying on one of her own. I stumbled across her messages with a teacher at the school. I knew what my wife was doing during the day while the children were at school.
I could’ve confronted her if I really cared, but when I thought of separation or divorce it didn’t fit into my plan. It didn’t match the image of the life I created. It was easier to pretend we were happy. I had my own budding affair with a woman at my job. Her name was Grace. She was tall, thin and beautiful. Her long brown hair surrounded her oval face. I could barely remember what she looked like, but I remembered how she would smile at me with perfect, white teeth. She had recently been transferred to our office and we were put on a project together. At first, I found myself excited when I smelled her perfume in the morning because it confirmed that she was in the office. Then, she started inviting me to share lunch with her. It quickly progressed to private conversations and drinks after work. She was married too, but she admitted that she was disillusioned when she found out how lonely it was. Her husband barely looked at her much less touched her. She offered her body to me and I was prepared to take her up on it.
When I finally decided that I was ready to be an adulterer, I booked the hotel room. We were supposed to meet in the afternoon. She never showed up. I thought it was because she chickened out. I later found out that she was one of the first to be infected by the virus. Her husband had blown her head off with a shotgun. When I dream about her, she is always walking into that hotel room. As we start to make love, her bronze skin slowly decays beneath my hands as I caress her. I can feel her turning cold and her eyes turn black as I stare at her face until I am jarred awake by the sound of a gunshot. I have the same dream night after night.
I still see my wife sometimes. She’s a mindless zombie like the rest of them. Oddly, she’s still somewhat beautiful. Her skin didn’t decay as much as the rest of the zombies. She looks almost like herself. Her long, blond hair still hangs to the middle of her back. Her eyes are dark and black. When I look into them, I can see that her mind his gone. Her clothes have been ripped and blackened with time. She rushes about as if she is an animal on the hunt and grunts instead of talks. When I see her, I wonder why I let her live. Sometimes, I think there will be a spark of recognition, but she quickly ignores me when she figures out that I have nothing to offer her. It’s funny that I play the same position in our death as I did in our life.
I remember the day it all began. I raced home after I found out what happened to Grace. There were screams all over the neighborhood as people were being attacked. I burst through the door of my home. My heart was racing. I was expecting the worse, but I couldn’t hear a thing. It was still. I could barely feel my breath as dread gripped my chest and squeezed. A loud pop shattered the silence. I didn’t move. There was a second loud pop from upstairs. My body came alive and raced up the stairs. My stomach dropped as I moved towards the bedroom. I kicked the door in. Veronica whirled around. Her eyes were wild and she raised the gun in the air. She whispered, “I had to do it, Sebastian. They weren’t our sons when they came home. They were monsters. I had to kill my babies. I had to do it!” Her words rose from whispers to the blood-curdling screams of a mother standing over her dead children.
I walked over and grabbed the gun from her hand. The tears were streaming down her cheeks. I pulled her in my arms and tried not to see my sons. I couldn’t help it. I had to look. I could see where their skin was changing, but they mostly looked like my little boys. I felt the tears burning my eyes and anger building. I gripped the gun as I held on to my sobbing wife. She pulled away from me and looked into my eyes. She said, “You have to kill me, Sebastian. The boys bit me. I’m dying too.”
I pulled her into my chest as I shook my head. I refused to lose her too. But, she insisted. We walked slowly downstairs. I was trying to mentally prepare myself to kill her. In my mind, I was trying to conjure up the feelings of anger I had towards her for killing my boys and for having an affair, but it wasn’t enough to want to kill her. All I kept thinking was how I didn’t want to go through this alone. I needed her. She held my hand as we walked and I could feel her palm going from warm to cold. She was already changing, but I was naïve about how fast the virus was moving through her system. I was mentally trying to craft a plan to keep her with me for as long as I could.
We stood in the doorway. She looked at me. A single tear slid down her cheek. I reached up and wiped it away. Veronica said, “You have to go now.” I nodded.
I asked, “One last kiss?”
Veronica shook her head. I pleaded with my eyes until I felt her hand drop from mine and watched her body relax. I placed my hand on her cheek and leaned down to kiss her lips. We kissed slowly and gently. It was the sweetest kiss between us in years. It made it that more difficult to leave her. As I pulled away, Veronica lunged at me and bit my lip. I started screaming and pushed her off of me. I pushed her so hard that she fell back against onto the coffee table. She didn’t move. I thought about checking on her, but I decided that it was better to get away. I turned, ran out the door and didn’t look back.
I was naïve enough to think that I wouldn’t get the virus. It took a matter of minutes before I felt my body going cold and my blood stopped pumping through my veins. It was like catching a flu. I felt sick and then I felt nothing at all, but the kneading, violent hunger. It propelled me to walk for days. I don’t know why I remembered everything, but my memories haunted me because I know exactly how terrible my life is now and how much I didn’t appreciate my life before. At first, I tried not to eat people. I raided a supermarket. I thought meat would satisfy my hunger, but it did nothing. Eventually, I had to give in to the hunger.
Ironically, my first meal was the teacher that Veronica had been cheating on me with. He had been cowering in the basement of his home along with a few other teachers. I didn’t feel bad eating him. I felt some guilt eating the other teachers, but the satisfied fullness helped to relieve my guilt. Over time, I learned how to kill livestock as a small meal to tide me over, but my true desire was human. It took a month before our suburb and the city was overrun with zombies and food was scarce.
I’ve been walking to other cities searching for food and companionship. I have no real hope of either.