Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

By Kirsten Austin

 

I haven’t been the same since

that lifeless bastard bit me. He was all

tooth and nail and savage beast when

he ran for me and took that chunk out

of my arm. Wait, maybe I should start

from the beginning.

I met him on the stairs. He had

eyes to make your heart dissolve like

an Alka-Seltzer tablet in hydrochloric

acid. He deliberately ran into me, and

I didn’t mind that my stack of books

went tumbling down each stair in

consecutive thuds and whirs of pages.

He was as smooth as silk

drenched in lubricant. Next thing I

knew, I was going on a date with the

hottest guy in all of Boston.

His name was Skyler and aside from his horrifying

obsession with converting

me into a Christian, he was totally amazing. After

dinner, I spent almost three hours convincing

my date to take me to “Dawn of the Dead.”

It had just come out, and I was dying to see

it. There’s nothing like a good zombie

movie and a bucket of buttered popcorn

that’s been sitting out just long

enough to acquire the texture of

styrofoam. Maybe I’m

just morbid, or maybe it was

Skyler’s Bible thumping upbringing, but I

never thought anyone could

be truly frightened by a horror flick.

Within the first 15 minutes, I realized I

was wrong. He was worse than my fiveyear-

old sister, nearly bruising my hand

from squeezing it so hard. After that

night, he started to get the nightmares.

Every other night he would call me

before the moon even had a chance to

start its way to the horizon, crying about

how the zombies were chasing him.

He said the Devil was sneaking into

his dreams to steal his soul. He started

reciting Bible verses from the book of

John or Max or whoever, every time he

got freaked.

At that point, I really had to break

it off. He was getting too clingy, and I

just couldn’t deal with such a pansy.

Plus, I think the reciting the Bible thing

was actually making him worse and

giving me nightmares. I let him down

as nicely as I could, but he didn’t take

it very well. I wish I had known how

mentally unstable he was before I

agreed to that first date.

We went a few days without seeing

each other; it was a relief to be free of

him, but I missed him nonetheless. It’s

like getting rid of a puppy that would

always piss on your carpet. He was a

nuisance and a pain to clean up after,

but so cute and fun to play with that

I couldn’t help but want him back. I

decided I had to see him again. It was

Sunday so I went to the one place I

knew he would be, his church. The First

Baptist Church of Boston was really

close to my house, along with all the

other first churches in the city. Why is

it that they all claim to be the first, and

why haven’t I seen a second church of

this or that?

Walking up to the front doors, I

realized that these people were more

like zombies than any mindless flesheating

corpse I had seen in the movies.

They all smiled and shook my hand

so eagerly that I was nearly waiting

for their ambush. I could see them

22

screaming, “Convert the sinner!”

With my eyes and ears on guard,

I cautiously entered the building and

immediately spotted Skyler. I ran and

wrapped my arms around him. Shocked

and apparently delighted to see me, he

told me how much he missed me. I told

him how I missed him too. But that was

obvious; why else would I have entered

that insane asylum? He convinced me to

stay for the service by telling me I owed

him for making him see that movie. I

was probably more freaked out than he

was during the horror film and told him

so. He admitted quietly that most of the

people here were the zombies in his

dreams.

We made a quick escape from the

church, thanks to me, and headed out

for lunch. Afterward, as we drove down

my street, Skyler muttered the words

“déjà vu” and his face went white. He

muttered that something reminded

him of his dreams as he pointed to

a staggering man covered in blood.

Freaked out, I frantically asked Skyler

to stop the car to help the injured man.

He ignored me as he accelerated. He

started going on about how this always

happens, how every recurring dream

he ever has always comes true. I looked

back at the bloody man as the expanse

of pavement between him and the car

continuously grew.

The tires screamed as he swerved

into my driveway and jumped out of the

vehicle. He grabbed me and dragged me

into the house, locking the door behind

us. I walked slowly into my kitchen,

scared out of my mind. It couldn’t be

real, could it? Zombies? He must have

been playing a joke on me. Suddenly

my roommate stumbled out of her room

into the hallway, chewing on what

looked like a giant turkey leg.

Her hair was wild and tangled, and

her skin was so white that it was blue.

She looked dead. That is when I realized

that she was, and the giant turkey leg

she was eating was her boyfriend’s

arm. I wouldn’t have recognized it if

it weren’t for the spider tattoo on the

wrist. I screamed hysterically, running

away from my zombie roommate and

out the door. I jumped into Skyler’s car,

and then realized that I neither had the

keys nor Skyler.

I looked down the street to see

a group of the undead advancing my

way. I recognized one of them. No— it

couldn’t be! Not Mrs. Bryce, anyone but

her. She was the sweetest neighbor I

ever had, always bringing me leftover

dinner. And there she was — well,

her walking corpse rather — literally

eating little Timmy from across the

street’s face. The zombies were eating

my neighbors. The zombies were my

neighbors!

With a big stick in hand, I crept

up to the front door. I called for Skyler

and slowly twisted the doorknob. What

used to be my roommate was now in

twitching pieces on my living room

floor. I remember thinking, “Wow, those

stains will be hard to get out.” Then I

saw Skyler standing against the opposite

wall, staring at the minced and mangled

corpse. He looked to me and dropped

the butcher knife he was holding. I

looked him up and down. There were

no visible bite marks or blood that

appeared to be his. I ran and hugged

him with relief.

With the zombies growing closer

with every second, I darted outside

with Skyler right behind me. We threw

ourselves into his car while the stinking

mongrels clawed at the doors. We sped

out of the neighborhood, where poor

little Timmy was now running after

other neighborhood children who had

lost their mommies, trying to get a bite.

I couldn’t laugh like I did at the movies;

this was real. Instead, I cried like a baby

that just got pinched with razor blades.

As we neared the interstate, I

started feeling better, like we might

escape. But then I saw it, miles and

miles of cars. They weren’t moving at

all. The traffic was literally dead—and

running around looking for their next

meals.

Skyler turned the car around.

We drove away from civilization. For

hours, we drove through forests and

fields, spotting the occasional zombie,

staggering its way down the empty

street. I ran over in my head all the

zombie movies I had seen, comparing,

contrasting, and trying to figure out

what was going on. I went through

everything in my mental inventory from

“28 Days Later” to “Night of the Living

Dead.”

Eventually we drove for an entire

hour without seeing a single waltzing

corpse around. We drove up to what

appeared to be an abandoned cottage.

I stepped out of the car and walked

a few feet towards the door. I looked

back at Skyler, still sitting in the driver’s

seat. It was the first time I had really

looked at him since we got in the car.

He was pale and his eyes were white

and expressionless. His veins were

blue through his seemingly thin and

transparent skin.

He told me that he was dying,

that he was going to turn into “one

of them.” He showed me the teeth

marks on his stomach. They had just

barely penetrated his skin, just enough

infected saliva to get into his blood

stream and take over his body. He told

me that there was a gun in the glove

compartment. I reluctantly retrieved the

pistol and a box of spare bullets just in

case.

Suddenly my dead boyfriend’s

body started twitching violently; he was

about to come back as an appendagemunching

monster. I tried to forget

everything about Skyler and obtained

a completely murderous state of Zen.

Skyler’s corpse was rejuvenated with

animalistic hunger. He lunged for me as

I pointed the gun to his head. I pulled

the trigger. Nothing happened. No

loud noises or bullets penetrating any

zombie skulls, just tiny little clicks and

one hungry-looking corpse headed my

way.

The gun wasn’t loaded. That

was when he bit me. Yes, that bastard

freaking bit me. He took a chunk out

of my arm the size of a tennis ball. It

hurt like hell. So I ran, because I would

rather turn into a zombie than have

more chunks of flesh and bone ripped

from my still-kicking body.

After gaining a good amount of

distance on zombie Skyler, I fumbled

with the bullets and managed to load

the gun. I heard some rustling in the

trees behind me, and turned around to

see Skyler in a sick and savage state. I

looked and asked him, “Where’s your

God now?” as I shot him in between the

eyes twice, just to make sure that I did it

right the first time. Cerebral matter and

bits of skull sprayed onto the towering

pines, as Skyler fell and twitched for the

very last time. I knelt down next to him

and apologized for having to shoot him,

then cursed at him for not telling me

that the gun wasn’t loaded.

I headed in the direction we had

been driving before. I didn’t bother

trying to drive the car; I wouldn’t be

able to do so for much longer. I figured

that I could always go for help, but if I

couldn’t find it in time, then I was sure

that I would be getting very hungry

soon. Luckily, it turned out that we had

been fleeing from one civilization and

nearing another.

After only a few minutes of

walking, I came to an intersection–

complete with gas station. There was a

taxi getting gas, and I asked the driver

if he could take me to the nearest mall.

I chose a mall because it had to be

every zombie’s dream to eat there. Talk

about a buffet. I handed him a twenty

and climbed into the back seat. The

driver told me that I should be going

to the hospital, not a mall. I’m sure

by this time I was getting all pale and

veiny, and the blood from my arm had

completely soaked my clothing. I told

him not to ask questions, and gave him

the rest of my money.

We were at the mall in only a few

minutes. I was feeling extremely weak,

so I got out of the taxi and went to the

first bench I could find inside the mall.

I looked around and saw that everyone

was perfectly healthy. There were no

zombies in this town. Well, not yet. That

was when I blacked out.

I woke up and felt an overpowering

hunger in the pit of my

stomach. When I opened my eyes,

everything was red, and the only thing

I could think of was how good human

brains would be for dinner.

There was a crowd of concerned citizens

surrounding me, and I bolted for the nearest

one.

Everything was a blur of flesh and blood.

I ate, and ate, and ate. I could never fill my

stomach. I always needed more. I went

on a feeding frenzy in that shopping

mall, but there was no one left to

eat.

I have plenty of companions

now, walking around all lifeless and

hungry, but I don’t like them very much.

It’s always a competition with them.

It’s always a battle of who gets to eat the

little girl’s intestines. Well, you know

what? I want the little girl’s intestines,

and I’ll be damned if I don’t get them.

I got out of that mall and took

to the streets, but it’s hard to find any

life around here. I fear that soon I will

starve, and the entire world will be only

zombies, and there will be nothing left

to eat… ever. If my brain could think

about anything besides my hunger for

human flesh, I’m sure that I would be

missing Skyler or wishing I had shot

myself in the head, but all I can see is

that little boy hiding in the sewer, and

he’s looking pretty tasty.

I haven’t been the same since

that lifeless bastard bit me, but now

I’m a lifeless bastard too, so I guess I

can’t complain since we zombies don’t

talk much. Besides, it’s time to eat

someone’s neighbors.

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