Read the first part of this story here
After our game, in which I lost both of the baby arms I was gifted, the troupe rose from their seats and, in plastic grocery bags, packed up their winnings. It looked like they were about to leave and I was confused as to why until I saw Googlyeye thrown on a pair of purple 2018 shaped sunglasses with the 8 scribbled out and a rough 9 scrawled on top of it. They must be heading to some kind of New Years celebration together. They didn’t tell me to stay, so when they all filed out of the house, I followed. Coffinbreath seemed pleased by this and chuckled his nasty breath in my face again as we all hobbled down the road; destination unknown.
Walking was always one of my favorite things to do. I love the serenity of birds chirping, the breeze blowing through my hair, and the smell of each season. Calling it exercise just seemed silly when I enjoyed it so much. Before the whole “thing” happened, I would take every chance I could to walk, even in the rain and snow. It felt like I was a part of nature and that I was wholly experiencing my surroundings. It made me feel small and powerless but at the same time, a part of something bigger than myself. None of that happens now that I’m an undead creeper. Since the nuclear rain storm, the birds have all died, the wind is like sandpaper, and essentially the world is crumbling down around us. We still don’t know the extent to which the world has died or what the future holds for us but I sure do miss those birds.
It was nice, however, to walk along this road I’ve travelled a million times in the calm silence of others’ footsteps. I didn’t know where we were going, but I was glad to be surrounded by people who knew what I was going through. It was a weird human moment amid feeling like I was dead. None of us could actually talk, so it was weird to not have the pressure of conversation looming over us. Googlyeye held back from the group a bit to walk beside me and, after rummaging through her bloody prize bag, she pulled out a matted brown wig. Well, it wasn’t so much a wig as it was the scalp of a victim that had shoulder length brown hair.
Googlyeye, her one detached eye swinging from side to side as she shuffled her slippered feet across the ground, rubbed a coarse hand over the sparse hair on my own scalp. She slapped the mass of flesh and hair onto my head, and with a wry smile, patted me on the shoulder and let out a contented sigh. I nodded in appreciation and straightened the knotted brown hair around my face with as much of a smile as I could manage. From her bag, she fished out a string of plastic beads as well and placed them around my neck.
As our walk progressed, the sunlight dimmed and a starburst of green, blue, and purple hues lit up the toxic clouds on the horizon. The evening was falling on my first night away from Chris and I felt weird that it didn’t feel weird. These zombies weren’t like the ones Chris told me all about. They weren’t out for blood, they weren’t brainless, thirsty animals. Rather, they had feelings just like I did, and just like me, had to do what was necessary to survive. Maybe we couldn’t speak, and maybe we decomposed at a faster rate than was normal, but hey, I’m still in here, and so are they.
Darkness fell on our small group as we walked through a small suburban neighborhood. Figures popped out from behind houses, from bushes, and in parked cars. The sound of loading weapons could be heard, and in the distance, a torch illuminated the choppy purple haircut and black choker of its owner. The group immediately went into defensive mode and, dropping their bags of limbs, hissed and moaned towards the attackers now making their way closer to us. Things started to feel a bit too familiar when I suddenly heard a gym whistle ring out through the night.
If I had a heartbeat, it would have skipped. It was Chris and her small band of hunters. She had this routine perfected at this point. I would watch from a distance sometimes just to see her kick some ass but being on the other end of this was terrifying. First the ambush, then the whistle, then the fire. I tried in vain to wave my good arm and warn everyone to scatter, but it was too dark for them to see me. The torch flew through the air and landed on Googlyeye. Her hair was the first to catch and she threw the “wig” down just in time. Unfortunately, no one saw the flame catch Paul’s uniform as well and he was soon engulfed in flames. However, being a zombie, this didn’t kill him, it just turned him into an angry fireball that was now running towards the nearest hunter with his arms outstretched. Chris’ foolproof plan was for one zombie to catch, run off alone, and get taken down by a headshot.
“That way we can get ‘em one by one without risking the safety of another hunter,” she would say.
Paul played his part perfectly, and as the bullet that zipped through his skull disrupted the silence of the night yet again, more weapons discharged into the small group of zombies.
Grunts, moans, screams, squelching noises and snapping bones came in a thunderous noise from behind me. I stood alone, unrecognizable with my new hair and covered in blood, unsure of my next move. Chris, now more visible thanks to the firey corpse of Paul, ran up to me, and without hesitating sent a bullet through my right shoulder. It didn’t hurt, but I started to cry and sank down to the ground holding up my good arm in surrender. Her lip curled and her eyes dilated. She pressed the barrel of her shotgun to my forehead and screamed as she pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. She checked her gun and patted her pockets for more shells. It wasn’t like her to be unprepared like this, but I took the chance when I had it to rip off my wig and reveal who I really was. She stopped short and dropped her weapon. Tears fell from the eyes that had only a moment ago been filled with hate. She stormed off just in time to keep herself together. The whistle blew again, and several pairs of feet ran across the pavement behind Chris into the darkness.
Coffinbreath nearly led a charge to follow them, but I put my hand on his shoulder and shook my head. He nodded, and we started our clean up of the gory scene. The twitching bodies of hunters laid on the ground around us, Googlyeye mourned the loss of her favorite wig, and Paul’s body was properly buried in a front yard. The winners of the poker game fought over disembodied heads and arms that had fallen from their prize bags. Noseless, who had been snacking on the brain of one of the hunters, pulled it from their skull and munched on it like an apple watching this all unfold. It wasn’t long before we got everything sorted and moved along, following Coffinbreath to our destination.
Bloodied, battered, and tired, we arrived about 20 minutes later. The hum of generators giving power to hundreds of christmas lights strung above the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart announced our arrival. A swarm of zombies drinking from Solo cups, picking at actual finger sandwiches, and miming out their conversations was heartwarming. With party favors, hats, and streamers, someone who worked here must have raided the New Years stock and thrown a party. A small cheer emanated from the hoard as we arrived and we were soon decked out in beads, sunglasses, and cardboard party hats.
Drinks were served, food was eaten, and I met some really awesome zombies. One guy, decked out in full samurai regalia, gave a demonstration of his swordsmanship skills. What was more impressive is that the guy didn’t have a head. At another point, a zombie dressed in a sparkling red dress sang the tune of “Auld Lang Sine” into a karaoke machine through groans and mumbling moans. It was beautiful and the whole crowd erupted in applause after her performance. We had acrobats, artists, and even a clown. Next to a giant display of un-lit lights shaped into the numbers “2019” a frantic human man stood crying and screaming with fear in an inventory cage with a padlock on it. Next to him was a giant flagpole. It didn’t take the crude drawing of his impending impalement for me to gather that this man would be the ball that rang in our new year. It was perfect, and for the first time I felt like part of a family.
Standing on the outskirts of the party, I watched as others had lively conversations and enjoyed each other’s company, sipping on some spiked blood punch, careful to make sure what I drank made it down my throat. I smiled to myself and felt at peace for the first time in months. I was sucked from that feeling when I heard a loud whistle blow from the distance and watched a torch fly over my head and into the crowd. She had followed us.
Last Week’s Story: A Very Undead New Years Special (Part 1)
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