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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Zombie Stew: Step one - 1 dash of possesed undead

Category: Issue 1, Short Story Winners

…And so this old mangy dog, gray and ragged and flannel, staggers down the alley towards us. Paul picks up a rock, and skips it towards the pooch, who is really barbecued and shriveled from the sun, dragging his jowls hobo like in the dust. I’d swear the sumbitch was dead, but he just kept trudging forward as if he were drunker than hell. The rock pegs the poor sucker square and slap right in the kisser, but the sagging mongrel sallies forth.

“What the hell?” Paul giggles.

“I’ve never seen such insanity.” I says, aside like.

“Let’s get the fuck on down the road.”

…Creepy…

We turn and wander forth, the heat shining off the cracked pavement, baking and glowing with warmth.

“Where is everybody?” Paul decries. “Today is very strange.”

“Every day is strange.” I retort.

“Got a point there…” He agrees.

We turn back and the dog is dragging in the distance, furry and elusive.

“If he keeps following us, we should catch him a buzz.” I proffer.

We turn the corner and there stands three or four ragged souls, hovering over a pair of disarrayed legs. One guy looks up our way, right at us dead in the kisser. There is a crimson beard burying his mug, actually, there’s different crimson drippings covering all their mugs now that they gaze our way.

“What the fuck?” Paul says, as the limp, crusty dog takes a listless bite from his leg. “…Holy Shit..!” He shrieked, all freaked.

“Don’t worry,” I commence as he shakes flapping doggie onto the street, “I know a doctor cat that is hip. He’ll help, ya’ diggit, so let’s flee.”

“Dan.” He mutters my name. Ghost like, he points a trembling finger. All the ragged dudes rise in a slow mass, shrugging towards us. All are wearing crimson mugs. The dog rises again, yawning drops of blood.

“Screw this!” I insist, yanking my friend back through the alley, shrinking the way we came. Paul was fading blue like. He turns his shaking finger towards a little blonde boy crying in the alley, who has appeared in the street. The boy is a tattered angelic vision. Dirty, disheveled, and scared, he is shrinking from a stiff backed maw that is goofily chasing him from inside a row home.

“Save that boy.” Paul insists in gurgling voice.

This is where it gets all strange and dreamlike for me, you see. I know I’m still hung-over from yesterday, and my brain is still spacey from the couple of morning tokes I inhaled to chase away my raging throws of pounding headache. Perhaps this whole thing is just a hallucination, which leads me to believe that perhaps all life is an illusion.

I feel like throwing up. Guys are slumping towards us only feet away, as deviled doggie is right on us licking chops.

“Hurry…” Paul insists with fading voice.

“…And do what, exactly?” I ask.

“Man…” He’s gasping in death burble. He falls on yellowish cement in spastic fits and fatalistic convulsion. His bulging eyes grow gold and stingy. I look up and see all in one instant that his eyes are dyed golden brown like the dingy fiends limping towards us and that stupid dog. I kick the pooch back trying to help Paul. “GGGHHOOOO!” He gurgles, twisting in knots of agony.

Dog and friends scurry forth like maggots in the sun. I fall backwards up the hill, not knowing where to run. I’m next to a church, so maybe I should get inside. I grab the boy, plucking him from outstretched hands of his yellow eyed Maw. I glance back over my shoulder as the ragged troop descends on the husk of Paul, diving in as pups at chow. They forget me long enough to consume their prey. I hear Paul’s screech as I enter the church.

The old stained glass eyed building is cold and dark, quiet with the smell of a wicked cheating library, dew and moist. I hear my fear rising in my heart chambers. I smoke some radiator grown tea leaves to calm my nerves. Inhaling with nothing, exhaling with relaxation…

The boy is tired & clingy, whimpering in the quiet, “Maw, oh, my mommy…” He cries, his whole world tossed like a scared bird in an angry storm. I see a girl sitting on the steps, torn dress and beat, make-up spilled down face from sticky tears.

“Bring him to me.” She croaks. I hand her the sad child and she comforts him as I have been unable to do with hug and affection. “It’s okay.” She whispers soothing in his ear. I pat his tiny head as she rocks him to blissful sleep. “Shhh…” We are children of a catastrophe, an instant family borne of necessity and fear.

I hear steps off in the pews.

“Be careful.” She whispers placing single finger over trembling lips. “There are zombies everywhere.”

I know this. I think I’ve known this forever and hidden from it, waiting for the facts to confront me and back me into a corner. My buzz begins to fade, and I can feel pain tingling all through my body. I am alone and alienated with nowhere left to turn and nothing left to hide.

I tiptoe over to the doorway, peeking at another mass of people huddling over something fallen before the lectern. I cannot see what it is they are praying to. I feel their joy, and creep forward from the shadows into the light. Perhaps I can feel safe once again. I am humbled by the thoughts of this place in the shadow of my plight.

The father, a young man, slowly ambles towards me, stagger, stagger, and slump. I see his white collar and smell his grace. I see the people kneeling on the floor, writhing, praying, becoming one, and I want peace like that.

The father raises his religious arms and takes a bite out of my neck as the crimson masked faces of the masses seek my pale grimace.

“GHOOOO!” My voice screams

I am tired, diggit? Perhaps my sacrifice will buy them some time, because that’s all I can do for anyone.

I relax and enjoy my fate, suckered in like the rest of them.

I have found my peace in the pain of tearing flesh and aching blood, my suffering is at journey’s end. I commiserate with my new brothers and sisters while they descend on me as one, delighting in the remains of my wasted earthly vessel. I’m sorry for everything I ever thought about doing, I was just born wrong, full of bad intentions and desires from within the void.

At long last, I am finally home…