I Am the Walking Dead

I don’t know why I’m still here. I remember dying, vividly. It wasn’t a good death.

I’d heard the reports of the dead coming back to life and feeding on the living, but like most people I think I didn’t believe them. How crazy is that, right? Stupid, stupid, stupid is what it is! I went to the movies with my girlfriend. We were sitting near the front row because we got there late – girls take goddamned forever to get ready, you know? Anyway I was pretty pissed off. I’d wanted to see the movie, and it put me in a bad mood to be seeing it with my neck craned up the whole time.

I remember hearing screaming from behind me…and it wasn’t a horror movie. My girlfriend turned around to look and then she started screaming, so I turned around too.

There were dozens of them, flesh rotting from their bones, eyes staring straight ahead – those that had eyes – and they were feeding, ripping flesh off of the screaming, gibbering living. “We’ve got to get out of here” I shouted and grabbed my screaming girlfriend by the arm. Most people, idiots, were trying to run up the aisle to the main exit but it was flooded with zombies. There were emergency exits not 20 feet from where we were sitting and it was towards those that I pushed my girlfriend.

The alarm sounded as soon as we opened the door into a back alley that led to Copper Street, the one where the theater was. I think it was Copper Street. It’s hard to think right now, my mind feels sluggish. Anyway, we ran out and fortunately there weren’t any zombies that I could see right away. I could hear the screaming in the theater; it sounded like a horror movie was playing, except the screaming kept on going, wouldn’t stop.  A few other people came out behind us.

I heard a noise behind me, like someone burrowing in a garbage dump. I turned around and there it was, one of the living dead, burrowing in a garbage bin. It looked up and made a snarling noise.

I will say that George Romero, director of the Living Dead movies, got the look pretty much right. The skin was a bluish-red color, the lips red and dripping with gore. There were bruises all over their skin, and the marks of their demise were apparent. However, George missed a few details. For one thing, they didn’t shuffle like they were walking down the aisle at a wedding – they moved like normal humans pretty much. Also, there was the smell, an odor of corruption and decay that was overwhelming. It made you want to vomit.

There was one other thing, the noise. Zombies don’t growl, moan or groan. They scream, they howl. I can tell you from experience that it is the most unnerving thing you’ve ever heard. The sound isn’t quite human, it’s higher pitched like the vocal chords have changed. It’s different than the screams of their victims.

Some poor schlub came out of the emergency exit right at that moment and the zombie pounced. He had ripped open the guy’s jugular before he even knew the zombie was there. Frankly, I didn’t stick around to see what happened next. I yanked my girlfriends arm and started running towards the street, away from the feeding ghoul. As we ran down the alley I saw a 2×4 board leaning up against the wall. I grabbed it without stopping with my free hand. Might as well have a weapon, I figured.

When we got to the street, the scene was nightmarish. There were restaurants and bars aplenty near the theater and they were all filled with screaming zombies chowing down on the hapless patrons inside. It was total chaos; people were trying to get to their cars and zombies were catching up to them while they fumbled for their keys. A few had managed to make it and were weaving in and out of the carnage, trying to get away.

I knew where we were parked – in a lot around the block. The greatest concentration of zombies seemed to be away from where the car was so I turned right onto the street. My girlfriend was sobbing and crying that I was hurting her. Well honey, better hurt than dead…or food for the dead. I heard that distinctive zombie scream close by and saw one angling towards us. As it came close enough I swung the 2×4 at its head and it went down. I didn’t stop, even though the board had split and was really too short to swing again the way I had.

As we rounded the corner another zombie came out and stood directly in our path. I had to let go of my girlfriend’s arm and with both hands rammed the board into the zombie’s chest. It went down and again, I didn’t want to stick around to see if I’d hurt it. I grabbed the girl’s hand again and started running but my hand was slick and hers slipped out of my grip. “Come on!” I remember yelling at her and started running again. There weren’t any zombies that I could see and no people either. The lot was just across the street and I could even see my car.

I didn’t want to make the mistke that the other poor saps had made, so I fished my car keys out of my pocket, now that I wasn’t holding on to my girlfriends arm. I pressed the keyless unlocking button and heard the gratifying beep beep that signified my car was unlocked. All we had to do was get in it, start the engine and drive away to safety.

I’d started to cross the street when I heard my girlfriend scream behind me. A couple of zombies had evidently been behind us and one of them had grabbed her. She looked at me with eyes like saucers, and while my memory is fading, getting dimmer, this was one thing that still remains very vivid. “Help me,” she pleaded in a little girls voice. It was already far too late though.

They wrestled her to the ground and the screaming began. One of them ripped a chunk of her face off and another had reached her blouse and yanked it off, then started feeding on her breasts. I guess he liked his meat more tender.

I stood there, watching it for a moment, mouth gaping then I turned away. Dead was dead, and there was nothing I could do for her. I started running for the lot and then I heard a noise, a car horn. I turned towards it to see an SUV barreling down on me and I could see the panic-stricken eyes of the person driving it.

The impact wasn’t as painful as you might think. I remember flying through the air, my limbs flopping around like dead fish. I landed on my skull on the pavement as the driver who had hit me raced onwards, not stopping. Smart guy I remember thinking. It was the last thing I thought as everything went black.

The next thing I know I was standing up and I could see my body on the street. The skull had been caved in and it  looked like one of my legs was broken and my hip was shattered. I’m dead I thought to myself and there was a sense of wonder about it. I looked back and could see five or six zombies crouched down around my girlfriend whose eyes had glazed over. I think she was dead too, or close to it. She had stopped screaming at least.

They say that when you die you see a light. I did, but it wasn’t the pure, white light they talk about. It was spotty, unstable like the power source had been compromised. The light flickered in other words. I went towards it and I got a sense that there were people I loved waiting in it, but I couldn’t make out who. The light really began to flicker and I started running towards it with a sense of urgency. I could feel a deep sorrow emanating from the light and then it went out. I felt this awful pain then, one of the emotional loss of not going where I was supposed to go. The other was physical. I began to scream.

I wasn’t on my feet any longer. I was lying on the pavement where my body had landed after the SUV hit it. I sat up. I could feel my injuries – apparently Romero got that wrong too. My leg was definitely broken but I got up anyway. I had a horrible headache and I was slick with my own blood.  A zombie walked past me and paid me absolutely no attention. The realization hit me – I was one of them. A zombie.

The worst pain was not from my broken leg or my fractured skull. It is the pain of the hunger. If you’ve ever gone more than 24 hours without food, you might have an idea of what it is like, but even then you have no idea. It’s that need, so pressing that your whole body feels it. I guess a heroin addict in withdrawls might feel this bad, but having never used heroin I couldn’t say for sure. I just knew I was hungry.

I didn’t want to eat human flesh but I knew, instinctively that living human tissue was the only thing that could ease my pain. I walked back over to my girlfriend. Some of the zombies had left but there was still meat to be had. Her chest was open and some of her organs were still inside. I grabbed her heart and began to chew on it. Tears were streaming down my face. Oh God, what have I become?

It’s been a few hours since then. I’ve been walking down the street, limping more like. It is getting harder and harder to think. I can feel my humanity draining from me, and it scares me, scares me shitless. In another hour, maybe two at the most, I’m going to be like them, mindless screaming monsters marauding for human flesh. The hunger is beginning again and I know I will not be resisting its call. I am walking towards the suburbs, the development where I lived. I know there are lots of people there, flesh to feast upon. I want to turn and walk away, walk somewhere where there are no people but I know I can’t do it. The need is just too great.

I wonder if it was the same for all of them, the gradual loss of their humanity instead of the sudden change from person to zombie. I can’t say for sure, but I know how it is for me. I just hope the military gets here and figures out a way to kill us permanently. I hope they do it before I feed again. The taste of my girlfriend’s flesh is still in my mouth. It tastes foul and wonderful at the same time.

I can’t remember her name. I can’t remember my name. I’m glad I found this internet cafe so I can post this on my blog. I hope I remember how to do it. Maybe it will help someone to know, to figure out how to stop this. It won’t be me. I can’t stay here anymore. I must go and feed. God help me. God help us all.

1 thought on “I Am the Walking Dead

  1. My favorite part…..so well written, especially the last sentence here:

    “They say that when you die you see a light. I did, but it wasn’t the pure, white light they talk about. It was spotty, unstable like the power source had been compromised.”

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