I woke up with the worst stomach ache of my life. It was probably something I ate from the raw bar, a mixture of bad oysters and cheap beer. Dialing work, I listened to the automated message and picked the option for a full day absence, and left a voicemail for my boss. Today was going to suck, but at least I had sick time to sleep it off.
I was walking to the bathroom and threw up yesterday’s dinner. I washed my face and looked in the mirror.
My skin had a greenish tint with grey patches. Great, I would have to call the doctor about this. I had food poisoning. I dialed my doctor’s office and waited on hold, but after twenty minutes, no one answered. Shaking with a river of sweat pouring from me, I hung up the phone and wrapped myself back in bed, and fell into a deep sleep.
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 floated through my coffee cup. 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, and this was all a twisted fever dream.
A moan came from my living room. I tried to grab a knife from the kitchen, but my hand refused to grasp it. I crept carefully to see myself groaning and running into the back patio window. Perplexed, I observed the situation. Whoever this person was, they were pretty intoxicated. They were stumbling about the room and kept slamming into the window with a single-minded purpose.
I went to the patio window and floated to the other side. 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 in my direction with the same confused expression. I passed my hand over the patio window’s handle. My hand passed through, but the latch wiggled a little. The creature grunted and pounded on the latch. My body slammed the sliding window so hard all the glass shattered, and it sauntered through to the other side.
“Damn it! There goes my security deposit,” I muttered as I followed the creature outside the door. The glass had cut my body’s arm to ribbons, black blood dripped to the ground. The zombie groaned, nonplussed.
The cul-de-sac nearby had groups of people milling around, all sniffing the air, ticking with confused expressions. I floated around, wondering what on earth happened? I remembered movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Twenty-Eight Days Later. This couldn’t 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 if I wasn’t corporeally challenged, I’d get a headache from frustration. I floated over to my body.
“Over here!”It grunted and stumbled in my general direction. In the distance, a black door stood. I headed toward the door, calling my body along the way as it stumbled after me. I could touch the door handle. It was cool and made of polished brass. The door swung open with a bright light on the other end. A pull to go through on the other side and fade away forever.I glared back at my body stumbling around.
Then, reluctantly, I shut 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 rest of the zombies rushed past us. The soldier screamed as the crowd tore him to pieces, his arms and legs being tossed high into the air. A portion rolled over to where my body was. The creature reached down and picked up the leg like a drumstick.
“No! Bad zombie!”
My body pouted at me.
The zombie frowned and chucked the leg 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. 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 lie flat as a fleet of tanks roared past, 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 groaned mindlessly toward the sky.
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. A hoard of zombies joined and slammed up against the glass.
“Y’all need to stop!” I pleaded, but not one head turned.
I took off as fast as I could float toward the caravan; I caught up to them at a surprising speed. I found the 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 buttons of the GPS to show them the coordinates of the shop. Both the soldier and the tank driver nodded at each other. The color drained from their face.The tank turned course, and by the time they reached the shop, the mother and child were fighting off the zombies on the roof of the gas station. 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 they both climbed up the ladder into the helicopter. Zombies soon overran the connivance store. My body was indistinguishable from the rest of the herd. A tank rolled up to the store, firing its cannon into the hoard. The store exploded, limbs once again scattered in the sky. A zombie head rolled out into the street, muttering dumbly before the tank rolled over it, squashing it into a pile of gore and grey matter.
My body said nothing. The tank aimed and fired into the store. My body ducked and lay flat. Relived, I floated over it.
Groaning, it followed the sound of my voice until it was well away from the crowd. The store was now set 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 useful to me, even though right now it was a bit of an idiot. For now I would keep on shambling on.