October 20, 2012
by Douglas Robert Turek
“Braaaaiiins.” It shambled towards the end of the hallway. He screamed, having nowhere else to go and nothing to do. It caught up to him and strangled him and spent the next fifteen minutes bashing him head in.
“Brains,” it mumbled as it dug out the brain from the head in chunks and ate them. After it was done, it slumped against the wall and its eyes drowsed.
The sun shone in the park, Theresa smiled and looked beautiful in her new sunglasses and her Pink Floyd shirt. A couple of college kids played frisbee. He sipped a drink, which turned out to be Coke. It was as good as he remembered, maybe better. The world spiralled as he was caught in a wave, salt water flooding his mouth. His feet found bottom, and he pushed up. His surf board was only ten feet or so away. Theresa shouted at him from the beach.
“Are you okay?” She was standing up from her towel, holding a paperback. She must be his girlfriend or wife.
“Yeah! I just took a tumble.” He grabbed his board and carried it to the beach.
A boy stood there. ”Dad? Help tie shoes.”
“You need help, buddy?”
“Tie shoes, help tie shoes.” He bent down and tied the laces of a little boy’s shoes. He stood up.
A TV showed helicopters flying towards New York.
“That’s so terrible,” said Theresa, “I can’t believe they’re leaving people inside the city.” Her eyes were wet. Their friend Jossie said, “It is terrible, but they think it’s lost. There are more people dead there than living.”
“Isn’t it a disease? Can’t they immobilize the victims? This seems like a draconian measure. I can’t fucking believe we’re letting New York City rot! That’s fucking disgusting.”
“I know.” He said.
“Quiet,” hushed Samuels, and gestured towards the door. It pushed open, and one of the zombie dead walked out. ”Br…brrrr….bray….brains.” it said.
The radio crackled. ”That’s the only one. Go for it!” They all pointed their rifles and shot, taking it apart with puffs of smoke and flesh, tiny clouds of blood spattering the doorway.
“I’m taking the boat! We can’t stay here!”
“Terry! We’re almost done! It’s just clean up at this point. Even New York has been cleaned out. People are headed back.”
“That’s a terrible idea, Freddie. The city has a billion hiding places. They could still be everywhere.”
“But the military say it’s safe again, and the place is crawling with soldiers. It’s probably the safest place on the coast now.” Theresa said something back, but it was muffled and murky.
The sky was bright, and almost blue. The water was rushing past his head, though the pressure was gone. He paddled out on his surfboard, the cries of gulls making small distorted squeaks. A shoe was blue with cartoon characters, then gray and black.
The click of a rifle sounded like a dull thud.
The taste of cola was a faint bittersweet.
Life was delicious, but fading. It went too fast. It carried itself too slowly, it diminished. Eventually, it was a few mumbled phrases inside his head and he didn’t understand.
The sky was gray, with light gray clouds. Then it was dim.
A small twinge of regret filled his heart for a moment, then it too faded away.
It woke up. An acrid smell hung forever in what was left of its nose. The world was blurred as its corneas decayed. A constant buzz in his head made its noise endlessly, ever since the day it died. It struggled to stand, and then walked away slowly. A hollow grew within. A craving filled the hollow. Brains.
It needed brains. Only brains made the world feel like anything, brains.