Fear the Night of the Return of the Walking Zombies

It’s October! Spooky Month! That means 31 days of flash fiction, vignettes and fragments for your reading pleasure — with accompanying AI generated art! I am starting off with the lowest of low hanging fruit: Zombies. Enjoy!

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The first time you see a horde (hoard? — shit, I can never remember) of zombies (I know, I know, we aren’t supposed to use the “Z word” but come ON) the thing that gets you isn’t the thing you think will get you. First of all, it isn’t that they are dead — because they aren’t. At least, not like we think of as “dead.”

People know “dead” even if they have never seen a dead person. Maybe your cat died, or you had to go to an open casket funeral. Or maybe a squirrel got crushed in the road in front of your house where you stood waiting for the bus and no one ever picked it up and nothing ever ate it and it just was THERE, every morning of second grade, for MONTHS, and since it was fall it didn’t even rot it just lay there, bloody and smashed and — anyway, where was I?

Right, people know DEAD and zombies aren’t it. Dead doesn’t move. Dead doesn’t even hint at movement. It’s so still it is eerie. It is, I don’t know, slack, like gravity has taken full control. But zombies move. They don’t move RIGHT — they shuffle and they jerk and they grope and they lurch — but they move. They aren’t dead. They are something else, and whatever it is, while it is horrible and disturbing, it isn’t dead.

It isn’t even the rot which, don’t get me wrong, is gross. Especially in summer. I mean, Jeezus Motherfucking Christ, the smell and the maggots and the, I don’t know, oil? pus? Whatever that drips out of them. But that is just disgusting. That isn’t what gets you.

No, the thing that gets you when you see the horde (I’m sure it is h-o-r-d-e) is that they are HUNGRY. You can sense it immediately. That shuffling and jerking I mentioned? It is in YOUR direction, with a purpose. They want to eat and they want to eat YOU. Not since the African savanna fifty-thousand years ago have we been honest to God prey, but we remember. Deep down inside, we remember what it felt like to be on the menu, and zombies bring it right to the surface.

I think that’s why so many of us don’t make it past that point. We freeze, or we run blindly. We can’t deal with being on the menu and freak the fuck out. And it always leads to a mistake: trip and fall, sprain and ankle, end up with your back to the wall, whatever. That real terror takes over and then you’re lunch.

And then you are one of them.

So, if you find this, read it twice then leave it for someone else to find. Maybe one of you will live.