|Zombified by Lyrica McKen|
"You know, it just makes me mad that the news thinks we aren't people too," I said to Neil.
Of course, my words were spoken in what we Zombies affectionately call “Slopar,” so he did not understand me. To him, it sounded like lots of moaning and noises, but I continued anyway, as I determined what part of the leg was the meatiest. I normally don't like the drumstick of a man, but I was feeling particularly hungry today.
In the days before I was completely transformed, I had heard the news stories about us, saying we were monsters. They said lots of things but the ones that stood out to me now were soulless and evil.
"We are people," I continued, as I sunk my teeth into his thigh, ripping off a piece, despite his protests. "Just because we are a little dead does not mean we are any different than you, Neil. Can I call you Neil?"
I was talking through mouthfuls of him. When he didn't respond, I continued to snack away on what I assumed, by the build, to be an athletic thigh.
“Are you a runner, Neil? You taste like a runner.” Happy with my choice of dinner, I continued my rant and made myself comfortable on the cement of the parking lot where we had stopped.
"Like, how they say that we lumber about in groups with no order, and that is just not true. We actually lumber around with our friends. The lady right over there, with only half of her arm, is my favorite person to walk slowly through an abandoned town with."
I was fairly certain that Neil was almost dead. The color had drained from his face and the blood had stopped spewing from the artery in his leg. In case he could still hear me, I continued to ramble. "There are exceptions. There is this one guy who has to walk in the back of the mob because he drags his leg behind him and it slows us down. We dated in middle school. I tolerate him, but his breath always smelled like cheese and he called me ‘tart.’ I hated both of those things."
I nudged Neil at my joke, but instead of laughing, he fell over. I debated staying there while I waited to see if he would become zombified, as well. Since my body did not move fast anymore, I figured it could happen before I made it across the parking lot, so I began my slow march toward my friend, Rose. She seemed to be enjoying herself, as I could see her happily eating the brains of a young blond lady.
As I passed by a car window, I caught a glimpse of my slow moving form and stared for a minute. "Zombie life does absolutely nothing for my complexion," I yelled, over my shoulder to Neil, as I took in a gray face with sunken in eyes.
Continuing on my path to Rose, I tried to push my appearance from my decaying mind. I wondered if it was just my imagination that I could hear parts of me rotting. I remembered my mother always telling me to take care of my body.
“Your body is your temple, Cassie.” She would correct my posture by jerking my shoulders back. “You should make sure you treat it as such.”
“If only my mother could see me now.” I was still talking to Neil, as my progress had not taken me out of his earshot. “She would really be proud of her baby girl.”
Of course, my mother was dead, and she would never be able to see my current state. She had been in the first round of the infected and they had disposed of her and hundreds of others before they had a chance to spread the disease. That is what they called being zombified in the beginning. They called it a disease.
As I continued to drag myself across the parking lot, I wondered how things could have been different.
The Longest School Day
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, and it was the age of foolishness….” The teacher was reading the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities while I was attempting to construct a note to my best friend, Ellen, about how good Brett Nathan’s hair looked that morning. He was the love of my twelfth grade life. Having just turned seventeen, I was now a woman. It was time to make my move. I was getting up the nerve to ask him out, but right now I needed to tell Ellen how fantastic he looked when he got out of the car that morning and the sun hit his perfectly shaped coif.
Horror filled me as I felt the paper slip from beneath the pen I was writing with. I looked up into Ms. Hamrick’s stern eyes, behind impossibly large glasses, and knew that my life was over. She was not happy with my note writing, and I knew for a fact she loved to read notes out loud. I prepared myself for the embarrassment of my innermost desires being revealed to a classroom full of Neanderthals.
She pursed her lips, which only made the fact that she had a hairy upper lip stand out. This woman had never seen a wax strip or a pair of tweezers in her life. I found myself momentarily mesmerized by the amount of hair in between her very unkempt eyebrows. The look of bliss on her face meant I was in for a big humiliation.
“Well, Ms. Williams,” here it came, “while I am sure that Ms. Davis desperately needs to know that Mr. Nathan is way hotter than Leo, with an ass you could just cling to; we have a book to read through. Start at the third paragraph.” She walked back to the front of the classroom, as the idiots around me erupted into laughter, and I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment.
|Author Lyra McKen|
I pulled my dark brown hair around my face to hide. I was thankful I had opted to wear it down that day. Too bad it was summer and I was wearing my favorite baby blue tank top instead of a sweatshirt. I wished the worst things ever on my teacher as I began to read from the book. I was just thankful Brett was not in the classroom to hear that display of teenage puppy love. How ridiculous it sounded when she read it out loud that way. There was no doubt in my mind it would get to Brett. I felt like the bathroom would be as good a place as any to eat my lunch today.
I stumbled through the third paragraph, my face burning with embarrassment. The smug look on the teacher’s face made me angry, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Ellen gave me a sympathetic look when Ms. Hamrick finally called on someone else to read. I shrunk down in my seat and willed time to go faster.
I looked at my oversized, white Fossil watch and saw the time was five until two. One more class for the day and I could go home and relax with my favorite book.
When the bell finally rang, I rushed out of the classroom, to my locker, as fast as I could. Ellen was there shortly after and I rolled my eyes at her as I slammed the locker shut. I jammed my hands in my distressed dark jeans and looked dejected. I was glad I had worn my favorite pair of tennis shoes, with the pink laces, so I could make a quick get-away if I saw Brett coming.
“Ms. Hamrick is a mean old witch.” I was angry and taking it out on the teacher was the best thing I knew to do.
“She is, and that was beyond embarrassing.” Ellen lowered her voice to a whisper. “You wrote me about his butt.” She tilted her head and we both giggled at her statement.
I sighed loudly and hoped like hell people would just forget about it, and then something amazing happened. An announcement, from the principal, came over the speakers telling everyone to get into a classroom and lock the doors. The school would be on lockdown until further notice. Ellen and I locked eyes, standing still for a minute, not sure what we should do.
Panic ensued, and there was talk of a shooter in the building, or some type of wild animal; no one knew what was going on. Of course, Ms. Hamrick’s classroom was the one we were closest to, so we all got ushered inside.
I was horrified to see that not only were most of the kids I had just experienced the single most humiliating moment of my life with were there, but so was Brett. He must have been caught in the group of students Ms. Hamrick pushed into her classroom. He caught me staring at him and flashed an adorable smile. His teeth could be the stars of a tooth paste commercial. Getting out of my head, I pulled my gaze away from him, knowing I had stared too long. I thought the day could not possibly get any worse, but I could never predict how wrong I was about that.
I checked my watch and it was almost three o’clock. An hour had gone by and we still hadn’t heard anything from the principal. We were all supposed to be quiet and Ellen and I were writing notes back and forth to pass the time.
I squinted at her chicken scratch across the page. Brett is in here.
I wrote her back. Duh, I am not blind; I see that.
Just then, a guy caught my eye outside the classroom window. The blinds had been pulled shut, but I could see him through the cracks on the side. He looked bloody and his movements seemed slow. He reminded me of an ant that had just been stepped on, the way he jerked almost as if it were painful to move.
I stared for a minute before I drew attention to him, trying to figure out what he was doing. I raised my hand and watched Ms. Hamrick look at me and look back down. Why was she acting like that?
I nudged Ellen. “Look, something is wrong with that man.”
The clothes he wore looked torn and his shirt was hanging open. I wondered if he had come from the street and been in some kind of accident. His skin was a little gray-looking and his cheeks were sunken in like he had been hungry for a while.
Putting my hand back down, I watched him walking slowly towards the classroom. The look on his face was scary and his eyes stared straight ahead. I couldn’t be sure, but I didn’t think I saw him blink. He kept coming at the same steady pace like it was difficult for him to walk.
He didn’t stop when he got to the window; he pressed his face up against it and opened his mouth wide, revealing blood inside. There was definitely something wrong with this guy, and I was scared. He started to bang on the window of the classroom, and I began to scream.
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