This was the most hollow feeling I have ever felt. Tears of regret rolled down my face. If only there was a way to go back and change things, maybe I could have saved myself from this torment, maybe I could have saved him.
It was a mistake. I am a fool that wandered blindly into a web of lies and casual self-mockery. He seemed ok, sincerely here and yet not. He seemed alive.
I prefer the dull ache though to the thought of being cold again even as it starts sinking in. Where are the fires of anger that would warm my heart and protect my thoughts, cauterising the wounds in flames of derision? From where comes the restitution to my old self?
Let go of the memory. The dead eyes, blankly staring from his face. He shuffled towards me with no intention. I moved toward him, drawn hopefully, smiling even in excitement. Coming closer, he leaned in and tried to bite. A zombie then, not just unreachable and shellshocked but dead. When he died I don’t know but the rot had started sinking in. It would show as a shadow in the light, something you wouldn’t see unless you were really looking. A fresh kill. He would have been so beautiful in life. Animated and a force of his own. You could still see the remnants, the slight promise.
But, now his face is drawn, mouth open and hungry, compelled without thinking he bites the air again but I am too far away. If he had been a thinking thing maybe he would have got me but a zombie has no strategy or guile.
It had been so long since I had seen another like myself, they were all like him now. The feeling that I could open my heart again and let hope in, that I wouldn’t be alone was so strong it took me over and I had no control. How close I had come to dying at that moment! And still, I think that I might like to die, to be like them. Then we could all pass each other looking for those living things but without feeling, only hunger. I would never feel alone again.
I walked down the litter-strewn street and past the empty parking lot on the way out of town. Past the familiar oak tree, its branches reaching out in agony to the sun, twisted and old and probably dying inside too. My shoes kicked up dust from the stony dirt road and I wished I could feel angry. If he had at least attacked me out of spite it would have felt better.
I will go into town again tomorrow. The beans I had seen sitting solitary on the IGA shelf would still be there, and hopefully, the zombies would not. I might see him too and pretend he is still alive, maybe I will talk to him, maybe I will let him eat me and we could be together.
© E. Landon