This story was first published in the author’s short story collection: Zombies Come In All Shapes And Sizes, available at all fine digital booksellers, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Copyright is held by the author.
YOU DON’T know what it’s like until you’ve been there. Walk a mile in my shoes, that’s what I say. Don’t judge me until you know me.
I’m not like what they say on TV.
I’m shorter, for one thing. And I wear glasses. How many zombies do you know wear glasses? None, I tell you. And my glasses are well cared for, not broken, like so many things are broken these days, with thick dark frames that stay firmly on my head. And I keep them polished; sparkling.
I care about my appearance, such as it is.
How many zombies comb their hair in the morning? Very few, I tell you. Because it is not an easy thing to do.
But I am motivated. I comb it smooth and even pull it into a ponytail.
How many zombies comb and pull their hair into a sleek ponytail every morning?
See? I am unique.
People think we are all the same but I’m here to say that we’re not. I’m short and I wear glasses and I style my hair in the mornings. I can’t do much about the state of my skin — it’s decomposing, I’m sad to say — and make up is so hard to come by, these days.
I do try to choose clothes that lessen the greenish tinge. That is why I am wearing a blue dress. I think I look quite well, all things considered.
I look dashing. Ready for anything.
But mostly, I am ready for LOVE.
Yes: LOVE! Does that surprise you? Does anything really surprise you anymore?
I feel love for someone. A man. A hu-man.
I understand the tragedy in that, given that I am a zombie and zombies and humans are at war with one another.
But I have to try, don’t I?
I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t try to make my feelings known.
He doesn’t know it yet but today is the day. Today is the day I tell him my feelings!
Here I go! Watch me now! I’m going to point the video camera out the window and down the street.
So you can watch me.
Here. I. Go.
All right, that didn’t work out very well.
First, they tried to shoot me. Then they came at me with long poles and machetes. And then they tried to set me on fire! Really!
I was just trying to say hi to him.
Don’t they understand I’m not out to hurt him?
I just want to talk!
It’s that guy he’s with. The tall, handsome heroic one. The one who can’t seem to keep his shirt on. He keeps doing things to show off his muscles, like moving the heavy furniture, pushing it up against the doors. All without his shirt off.
He is so annoying!
If I can just get him away from him! If I can just get him to understand me!
I’ve got to think of something. I’ve got to come up with some plans.
Humans never credit zombies with having any brains. Well, brains of their own, I mean. Not just the ones they’re eating.
But I’m smart. I have brains.
I’ll think of something.
OK. Here it is. Plan B.
I’ve gotten some flowers, as you can see. A bouquet of red roses. And I found a kitten. A little, white fluffy kitten. He actually seems to like me! I’ve got him perched on my shoulder.
It’s amazing that I found roses and a kitten, given how much is destroyed around the city. This must be a sign. A sign that I am on the right track.
They can’t mistake my intentions now! I come bearing gifts. I carry peace offerings! Who can resist roses and a cute kitten? They must talk with me now. They must hear me out, so I can explain my intentions.
I come in peace!
So, here I go. One more time. I’ve got the camera pointed out the window. I’m ready to go.
Here. I. Go.
All right, that didn’t go so well.
It’s that guy again! The muscular one, always showing off, and so quick to anger! He started attacking me as soon as I got within fighting distance. I didn’t stand a chance.
The roses are trashed on the ground now, petals drifting away on the wind, like the ever present tendrils of smoke in the sky.
In the fray, the white kitten got scared and jumped away from me.
He rescued it from behind the cedar bushes, and brought it inside to join them.
It’s on their side now.
And with it goes all my hope.
No! I can’t let myself get discouraged. The best things in this world are worth fighting for, right?
I must fight for my voice to be heard.
I have to let them know my feelings, even if it kills me. I must give it another try.
The muscular man is still not wearing a shirt. Flexing his rippling biceps, he points out the dirty, broken window as he sees me approach:
“Look,” he tells the man standing beside him, the one I want to reach. “Here it comes again. The zombie in the blue dress.”
“Why does it keep coming here?”
“They’re relentless,” says the Muscle Man, fiercely. “They’ll never stop. Never!”
“What’s it holding?” He asks. But the Muscle Man doesn’t see. He dashes out the door to confront me.
“No!” shouts his friend. “Wait!”
But heroes like him never wait.
It’s a trap. He unleashes a rope rigged to the outer wall and a concrete block crashes from above, hitting the ground down right in front of me. It misses me but the close force of it knocks me backward. I fall.
The camera I’m holding crashes to the ground, but amazingly, it does not break.
It does not break!
“It’s a video camera!” The Muscle Man shouts, sounding panicked by this. He is about to attack me with a wooden club but his friend yells out: “Wait!”
I knew he was different from the others! I knew he would be more thoughtful and patient! More understanding!
He rushes up to the camera, even though it is so close to me. But he takes the risk. He stares down at it and adjusts his glasses.
He is the closest he’s ever been to me.
He glances at me.
Our eyes connect for a moment.
Does he see me? Does he truly understand?
He picks up the video camera.
And my heart blossoms in my chest.
My heart has been delivered. My message has been received. He’ll watch the footage and now he’ll know. They’ll all know. How mistaken they have been in their assumptions about zombies.
We have feelings. We feel.
“Thank you,” I say to him. I hope he can decipher my words within my zombie groan.
My eyelids flicker shut as I see him press the rewind button.
And I feel a keen sense of peace, the likes of which I haven’t felt in a long time.
I did it. I accomplished my goal.
We have a chance now, a real chance . . . to create a “happily ever after”. Don’t we?