My stomach lurched as I woke up, At once I hurried to my bathroom to expel the previous night’s dinner of raw oysters and beer. I wiped my mouth and drank a full glass of water. I must have caught food poisoning from the local raw bar, couldn’t say I was surprised.
I washed my face and glanced in the mirror. My skin had a greenish tint with grey patches. I quickly dialed my doctor’s office to the din of hold music, and after a few minutes, it hung up. I dialed again to no answer. I dialed work, chose the option for a full day’s absence from the automated system, and left a voicemail for my boss. Today was going to suck, but at least I had sick time to sleep it off. Hopefully, I can reach the doctor’s office in the morning.
I woke up a few hours later and felt much better. I felt great, light, and effervescent. I went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee, but my hand drifted through the coffee cup as though it were a hologram. Desperately I tried to grasp the cylinder full of Folgers only to have it slip through my fingers. I had to be dreaming; I had some hangover or twisted fever dream from food poisoning.
A moan came from my living room. I tried to grab a knife from the kitchen, but my hand refused to grasp it. I saw someone groaning and running into the back patio window. They were stumbling about the room and slamming into the window with a single-minded purpose. Great, to top things off, a drunk invaded my house. The person looked exactly like me but had greenish skin. It rolled its eyes back, so only the whites were showing.
The person glanced up at me, sniffing the air, and cocked its head like a confused dog. Well, if this was a dream, at least I had some control over the creature.
“Use the handle,” I said.
The creature stared at me with a confused expression. I concentrated hard and tried to move the door for the creature, but the latch only wiggled. The beast grunted and pounded on the window, and glass shattered on the apartment floor.
“Damn it! There goes my security deposit,” I muttered as I followed the creature outside the door. The glass had cut the creature’s arm to ribbons, and black blood dripped to the ground. The zombie groaned, nonplussed.
The cul-de-sac nearby had groups of zoms milling around, all sniffing the air, ticking with confused expressions. I floated around, wondering what on earth had happened. I remembered movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Twenty-Eight Days Later. Couldn’t this be a zombie apocalypse? There was a horror marathon at the bar last night. This all had to be a hallucination. Yet there my body was, stumbling around with the rest of the zombies.
I’m sure I’d get a headache from frustration if I weren’t corporeally challenged. So, I floated over to my body.
“Over here! “ It grunted and stumbled in my general direction. In the distance, a black door stood. I glided toward the door, calling my body along the way as it stumbled after me. I could touch the door handle. It was ornate and made of polished brass, cool to the touch. Bright light seeped through from the other side. I had the urge to open the door and fade away forever. I glared back at my body, stumbling around.
Then, reluctantly, I turned away from the door. I couldn’t leave this poor creature to fend for itself. It was utterly clueless without me. My body stumbled down the street as a man in military fatigues walked down the road. The man spoke into a radio and ran in the other direction. My body and the other zombies rushed after him at full speed.
“STOP!” I screamed. My body stopped and pouted in my direction. “We don’t eat people!”
The zombies rushed past us. The soldier screamed as the crowd tore him to pieces. His arm rolled over to where I was. The creature picked it up like a drumstick.
“No! Bad zombie!”
My body pouted at me.
The zombie frowned, chucked the arm aside, and shuffled after the rest of the zombies. I floated behind. A tank rolled down the suburban street, its cannon aimed at the crowd.
“Duck! “My body grunted and cocked its head.
I floated over and downward. “Join me down here.” Finally, my body nodded and lay flat on the ground as the cannon fired, leaving the ground littered with limbs.
Floating over to the side of the road, I called, “Over here! “ My body followed me into a drainage ditch.
The zombie lay flat as a fleet of tanks roared, and planes and helicopters flew past us. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the caravan ended. My body stood and sniffed the air. It shuffled forward past the carnage. My once bland, suburban neighborhood was a war zone. Blood and body parts littered the streets. Heads separated from their bodies looked up at the sky, groaning mindlessly.
I wanted to wake up to a blaring alarm. Yesterday the worst thing I had to worry about was being late for work, and now there was nothing. The world was dying, and my body was content to shuffle through it.
After half a day of stumbling under my frustrated commands, we came to a gas station. People huddled in the shop’s corner. A little girl huddled in her mother’s embrace. My body groaned and slammed against the glass of the store.
“No! Bad!” I said, but my body ceased to listen. The little girl screamed. The hoard of zombies joined and slammed up against the glass.
“Y’all need to stop!” I pleaded, but not one head turned.
I flew off as fast as I could float toward the caravan; I caught up to them at a surprising speed. I entered a tank at the front of the line and concentrated on the engine. The lights inside flickered, and I could hear the soldier yell. I pressed the buttons of GPS to show them the coordinates of the shop. Both the soldier and the tank driver shook their heads. The color drained from their faces, their breath fogging the windows from the sudden cold. The driver nodded and turned the tank in the direction of the store.
The mother and child fought zombies on the gas station’s roof when they reached the shop. The tank driver sounded commands through his radio, and soon a helicopter flew overhead, dropping a ladder.
The little girl clung piggyback on her mother as she climbed up the ladder into the helicopter. Zombies soon overran the connivance store. My body was indistinguishable from the rest of the herd. Finally, a tank rolled up the store, firing its cannon into the mass of monsters. The store exploded, and limbs scattered in the sky. A zombie’s head rolled into the street, muttering dumbly before the tank rolled over it, squashing it into a pile of gore and grey matter.
I found my body lying flat in a ditch behind the store. Relieved, I floated to it.
Groaning, it followed the sound of my voice until it was well away from the crowd. The military set the store ablaze. Another zombie rolled into the street as a military tank unceremoniously crushed it, leaving a film of black rot and ooze on the road.
The black door once again appeared in front of me. I shrugged and turned away. I could save that little girl and her family by being here. Who knows, perhaps I can train my body to be helpful to me, even though it’s a bit of an idiot. But, for now, we will keep on shambling on.