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Friday, May 24, 2024

Romero’s ending – A Zombie Story

            The world ended three months ago. I think it was three months, I can’t be sure, I had more important things to do than checking the calendar. The fact that I didn’t actually think to bring a calendar plays a part in my confusion too.

It seemed pointless to try and keep time, since no one would benefit from the knowledge anymore. There was nothing more to record, no countdown to absurd holidays like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, birthdays and name days and whatever other celebrations we invented to make our lives more exciting. Knowing how much older I was seemed equally unimportant. Who cares if I am now old enough to vote?

All I took when I ran away from the too cramped city of L.A. was my car and the gun my father insisted on giving me as a present. I kept it right next to my porn stash, something I used more than my gun before this. Since I had no girlfriend it came in handy. No pun intended. It’s surprising how things change.

I used to be happy, or so I thought. Happy with my books and my cats, my loud neighbours and the Chinese take-out at the corner. I wasn’t successful, nor was I a particular failure. Nothing special about me, just average as average can be.

I remember how disappointed I was each morning, staring at my reflection in the mirror. A small pimple always showing up on my too pointy chin, no matter how many “magic” creams I tried. I needed a haircut last time I did that. Looked into a mirror. I needed a haircut and a visit to the dentist to remove my braces.  It is why sometimes, when I look at the hordes of the undead moving in their tailored tatters, remnants of a better life, I wonder how come I made it, while they are nothing more than rotting corpses, animated by…I don’t know what, actually.

I don’t know what makes them tick. Is it the devil? Some odd puppeteer who got bored one day and decided to play with the humans, or what was left of them? A disease? There had been no notice, no conspiracy theorist coming out to warn people with his insane rants, absolutely nothing.

One day people just got up and started devouring each other, like whatever killer instincts they had left after eons of evolution, had kicked into overdrive. I wish I were more surprised, more confused by it, but I can’t be. We’re nothing more than animals, maybe even lower than them, we kept saying it’s a dog eat dog world out there, but guess what? It’s not the dogs that I’m worried about munching one of my legs off. Not like I’ve seen dogs in a while…I miss dogs.

Three months, give or take forever. I suppose women have a better system to keep time than men. But does it matter? Really matter? Why should it? What satisfaction would I get from waking up one day and realizing it’s been a year? Twelve whole months of nothing but rot to surround me, no beauty…just puss filled wounds that ooze death… aren’t I a cheery one?

I suppose my optimism levels dropped last week, when I realized I haven’t seen anyone in three months, anyone with a pulse that is. Never before had I stopped to acknowledge the fact that I was alone. Nothing around me but corpses, walking, bumping into each other, stopping for a moment to appraise one another, like they’re saying sorry. A sickening parody of what would’ve happened before all this. I wonder what would they say if they could talk?

“Oh, excuse me! I was in a rush to my next meal…”

“By all means, it’s my fault, I just had a fat butcher for lunch and I wasn’t looking where I was going. Do go on, I left a piece of him still twitching…”

And then they laugh and move on to their merry lives or deaths. Do we even have terms for what they are? Other than stupid movie names?

 I never realised that the mind numbing television set I had in my room before this whole thing,  provided so much entertainment, until I started scripting the zombie encounters with one another. If only I were a scientist…all of this bumping and groaning they do would start making sense, I would have an epiphany and cure the world. Is it language? Is it just…like the creaking of a door, a noise, but no significance behind it?

But is there really a world left to cure? Does it deserve to be? I’ve been moving from place to place since this thing started, never staying for longer than a few days in any town that had some resemblance of civilisation and I am losing my ability to see the point in rescuing this rock I called home. Maybe the Earth or the Gods or stupid aliens with entertainment issues, decided we needed to be reset, give someone else a chance of surviving this world, so why bother? Why interfere?  Maybe it’s the bugs they chose?  They are supposedly the best of the best when it comes to adapting, right?

A million years from now, some spaceship will come and have a nice chat with a pair of flies about the horrible events that have transpired, the rise and fall of the human race. Will they even call us that? Humans. Or maybe those horrible creatures that used to swat our ancestors?

I used to say I hate the human race—that people are stupid and deserve all the shit that gets thrown at them—but I miss it. I miss someone to talk to, someone to hold my hand and tell me everything will turn out right.

Okay, maybe I don’t miss that, it’s a lie, a copout, a way of making myself feel better about the world and all that shit. But I do miss talking to someone other than myself. These long winded monologues will eventually draw the dead to my position. I know I’ll go crazy if I stop talking, but then again, am I still sane? Was I ever?

Only yesterday I had a zombie pinned under my car, a cop, judging by his outfit and I had a half an hour talk with him about the too lenient rules that probably lead to this disaster. I went on a particularly long rant about the pharmaceutical industry that was allowed to test on humans. Animals factored briefly in that, but only briefly. Since there were hardly any humans left, I was feeling biased. I took all of his grunts for approval. I actually felt a bit sad when I stepped on his head repeatedly until he took his final breath. Officer Roberts…at least he helped me out a little.  Protecting and serving right until the end, right? I wish I didn’t find that as funny as I do.

Who needs therapists anymore? People that just sit and look at you while you spill your deepest darkest fantasies on their overpriced leather couches? All you need is to trap a dead or rather, undead man off the street and boom! Instant relief.

Too bad it’s short lived, just like about everything else in this world. The new world. I wish the song “It’s the end of the world as we know it,” by R.E.M. wouldn’t constantly play in my head, it’s like everything else I’ve ever heard before was erased. I remember band names, good and shit ones, but the only song I hear is this one, over and over again, like the record is broken or it got stuck on repeat.

Each time it starts I realize I made it so far, farther than I would’ve given myself credit for. It’s truly a feat, I’m not exactly strong, or a survivor, but I made it. Skinny ol’ me! So what now? What am I actually surviving for? The promise of a better tomorrow? For three months I haven’t met a soul, not one breather, no one. Not even a cat! What am I saving my life for? Who?

If everyone died and I’m the only human, do I have some stupid hope that some aliens will drop by and take me to a zoo for endangered species? Or a museum of extinct species of the Universe? Is that the fame I want??

Huh, I guess I did go insane, aliens and gods and devils are mixing in my mind, but in a truly human fashion, fame comes first. Well, the Universe might worship at my feet, the last human alive! Woo-hoo! Great for me! I should do a little dance.

Shit, they’re moving again! Don’t they ever sleep? Do I ever sleep? Am I even still alive? Or awake?  Perhaps I got bit three months ago and I’ve been moving through life thinking I still have it.

I…I think I get it now. This is hell! It’s the perfect punishment, isn’t it? We all think we’re alive, surrounded by the dead, when in fact we’re part of the larger pack…Maybe that’s how I survived this long.  No one attacked me because they recognize me as one of their own.

But I still hear my voice, don’t I? They don’t talk…they grunt. My mother used to say I loved the sound of my own voice, judging by the amount of talking I did when surveying the rest of the world, I think she might have been right. Hm…I used to work at a theatre, maybe that’s where my penchant for long winded speeches comes from. I wonder what came of that place?      Are people still trapped inside, watching the undead perform The Romeo and Juliet, zombie version?  How would that work? A zombie with a soul and a girl with necrophilia? Where would they meet? The cemetery as she was trying to molest his dead body?

Well, if I still had hopes of being normal, I think that is now out the window. I suppose trying to stay normal in this world is absurd, it’s not like anyone can come up to me and call me on my lack of sanity. There’s no one left! I wish that wasn’t so funny in my mind. Not as funny as the cop, though.

Is this really worth it? Survival? I don’t want it anymore, I don’t. My gun has become my best friend in the past months, the one thing I can’t let go of, the one thing I cherish more than food or water. I think it’s time we made a true commitment to one another, one that unlike marriage can’t be broken. By anyone, demon, god, dead, undead…

One tiny press of the trigger and I will be done, I would join the chirpy angels in the sky, that supposedly sit on their cherubic asses all day long, watching us struggle with our lack of existence. Fuck them! Just for that alone, I won’t do it!

Coward or brave, which one am I? Clinging to life versus abandoning it…the choice should be easy, shouldn’t it? There’s nothing left, so I should probably just give up. Remember what I said about humanity? One of the things I hate about it it’s the fact that we’re desperate to survive no matter what. I hate that in myself.

Oh, God! They’re coming! Two of them are coming right at me! No…no…I should fight! I should run! But I can’t…I just can’t! What’s stopping me? What happened to my will to surv…


Cristina Bogdan
Cristina Bogdan
What's there to say about me? I love the sci-fi and fantasy genre when I read, but I am in no way limited to that alone. I do think Frank Herbert deserves a statue for his writing(if there is one, point me in that direction, please). I enjoy writing quite a lot, but I am also kinda lazy. If you want to make me happy give me books or Doctor Who collectibles. Or a real TARDIS, in which case I will love you forever.

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