A pair of zombies inched their way towards me. One crawled on the ground, his legs too torn up from all the rounds I fired at it to walk. I was mortified to look at it and recognize it as Sonya, my neighbor. Distorted and deranged it was of course no longer her, but a shadow of her image remained and it shook my soul. The other slugged its way towards me, arms out, mouth wide, blood dripping from its tongue. This one too I knew—Mario, Sonya’s husband. I had barbecued with the man numerous times, watched football with him and drank beer. Now he was trying to eat me. Not him of course, but the monster he had become. I lowered my gun and stared at it in awe. The thing I had been most afraid of and thought I had prepared for was about to kill me. If only I hadn’t gone fishing.
“Do you know what this is? Now would be the time to say something.” I nodded. “I think so. But you are not going to like it. And it is going to sound crazy to you,” I began. “I don’t care,” Ted admitted. “Something is very wrong. I have no idea what it is, but you seem confident so tell me what you think is going on.” I took a deep breath. I checked the truck once more, then I looked Ted square in the eyes and without a hint of irony I told him, “I think this is the beginning of a zombie outbreak.” “What? Like in the movies? Zombies? You are crazy. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. With everything that is going on I can’t believe you would waste my time with that.” “I told you it would sound crazy.” “You were right,” Ted snorted. “Just because you brought us here, and I truly am grateful for that, how in the hell do you think it is zombies? I didn’t think there was even such a thing.” “I have no proof that it is zombies, I am only reacting in the case that it is. I know that the government has taken serious measures to prevent this virus from spreading, people are scared, panicking, and I would rather be wrong and overreacted, than right and not done anything about it.” There was that stupid line again. “I agree that things are pretty tense right now, but zombies?” “I’ll tell you what, go check on your mother-in-law. Either way, I will leave.” “What will she tell us?” “I am only interested in finding out how she got sick.” “What do you mean? If this is something to do with zombies, how will she get sick?” “You don’t know?” I laughed. He wanted to talk trash about zombie movies but didn’t even pick up how people are turned to zombies? What a joke. “Look you’re the freaking zombie expert, just tell me.” “Well the virus lives in the brain. That’s why zombies act brain-dead. The virus actually kills all of the brain matter that controls cognitive thought and leaves only basic functions like movement. It can be passed through a bite however, which is why I want to know how your mother-in-law got sick. With just base instincts, zombies focus on very little beyond eating.” “Fair enough, zombie man,” he mocked. “Let’s find out.” Ted had a smirk on his face as he raised his hands as though surrendering. He didn’t believe me. I was looking forward to how stupid he was going to feel when he found out I was right, but also, I was a little worried that I was actually the one who was wrong. We walked to the bedroom where Erin’s mom was sleeping. We found Erin in the dimly lit room by her side, stroking the older woman’s silver hair. I stayed in the doorway so that I was out of the way. Ted went to Erin. “How is she?” asked Ted. “Not well,” Erin answered. “What’s wrong with her?” “It seems she has the virus they were worried about. She has a fever, she is sweaty and pale.” “That could be flu though right?” Ted asked. “Doesn’t all that sound like the flu?” “I suppose.” I was growing impatient, but I wanted to know how she got sick so I butted in and just asked. “Did she tell you how she got sick?” Erin looked up at me with her eyes squinted and face tight but answered, “She said she went today to see the neighbor’s daughter who was sick and later she started feeling ill. She said their kid was really sick. I guess the girl had been sick for about a day and her skin was really hot and her eyes were bloodshot. She said the girl had gone crazy from the fever.” “Crazy? Like what? What was she doing? Did she say?” I asked, body tense, voice rising louder than I intended. This was the moment of truth. “She said the girl was moaning strangely and she even bit mom when she tried to help her.” “She bit her? Are you sure?” I pushed. “That’s what she said.” I shot a glance to Ted who was wide eyed. I smirked and nodded. I nailed it again. I didn’t say another word, just went to the truck. Ted followed me out. “Is that what you were looking for?” he shouted at me. “Is that what you wanted to hear?” I was losing patience. I shouted, “That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it was what I expected to hear! Look I told you what I thought and I told you how a zombie virus would spread and then turns out I was freaking right so believe me or not but don’t waste my time right now.” I was spitting as I ranted and pointed my finger into Ted’s chest. Real attractive I’m sure, but I was feeling real confident and wasn’t in the mood to be second guessed, especially before I knew my family was safe.
I’m working on this story at last with the goal of getting it out there by the end of summer. In an effort to grow as a writer I’m trying to do some things differently. I’m going for first person for this piece and also really trying to nail the voice. I’ve been pretty serious and dramatic in my writing so far but I’m actually pretty freaking funny most days so I would love to transfer that into my writing. With that… here’s the first paragraph of the story in which I’m trying to nail both…
“I’m not much of a story teller to be honest. But seeing as how I’m basically the hero of the story, it’s sort of mine to tell. I didn’t want to have someone else write it anyways. First of all because they would probably mess it up, and second of all because that would mean I would have to reveal who I really am and it may sound crazy but I don’t really want anyone to find out because I’m not sure what they would do to me. The whole thing was kind of unbelievable anyways and so it would be easy to make me disappear or discredit me because I was never very important and I probably shouldn’t have made it out anyways. But that’s why you’re reading this. You want to know how I survived. You want to hear from the guy who made it. You want to read the story of the man who conquered the zombies. You want to know what really happened because there are a lot of accounts of that event that are confusing or worse, “official.” But there is only one true story and I have it. So, you’re reading the right story and I don’t really care if you believe it or not. It happened all the same.”