Scratch, scratch, scratch
I can say for a fact that there’s nothing more inconvenient than waking up inside a coffin. Satin, everywhere my bleary eyes gazed I saw this annoying fabric. Who the hell thought of putting that in a damn coffin? I grabbed handfuls of the fabric and yanked on it several times before it gave way and fell over my face like a death shroud. The irony didn’t escape me on that thought but freedom could if I couldn’t break out of this coffin.
How can a person do it, especially since there isn’t much room for proper leverage? I pressed both of my hands on the lid and pounded on it as hard as I could. Nothing happened. Frustration got the best of me so I shoved up like I was doing push-ups. The coffin lid budged but an avalanche of loose dirt cascaded inside. For some reason, this didn’t bother me. I should’ve been terrified of suffocation, but the only thing I was experiencing was a hunger so strong that I thought my stomach would eat itself and me too if I didn’t feed it.
Somehow this gave me the strength to shove the coffin lid open more and then I became buried once more. So I was now buried by dirt in a coffin that had been buried underground. Whoever did this to me was going to get hurt. I wormed my way up through the loose soil as more came tumbling down on top of me. How is it that I’m breathing? Shouldn’t I be suffocating by now? I dug upwards and shoved the soil past my body like a swimmer. I wasn’t sure whether I would ever see the light of day because it felt like there was no end to this cascade of dirt.
Whoever did this to me must not like me at all. Why bury me alive? As far as I knew, I hadn’t pissed anyone off…lately. Maybe this was some sick, twisted psycho’s game of torture he was playing with the police. A cat-and-mouse game where either they find me alive or suffocated because the cops in this town aren’t the brightest and didn’t have any brains combined! Oh damn, for whatever reason, the hunger increased tenfold at the thought of…what? Dumb cops?
I felt something wet dripping on my face so I looked up and could barely make out a small hole. I clawed upward, digging my feet into the sidewall of my grave like a rock climber, spurred on by the prospect of freedom and food. With one last thrust upwards, I managed to break through the topsoil and nearly slipped back down into the hole. It was raining heavily and the grass was saturated and hard to grip. I jabbed my fingers into the ground like my life depended on it because knew if I slipped back into that hole I’d never reemerge from it. I guess I should be hitting the gym more often than I did. I had the sense that I was weak from not eating so maybe that’s why I was struggling right now?
I growled as I heaved my stiff body up over the edge and then collapsed face first in a nearby puddle that was forming from a divot created from my long journey upwards. For some odd reason, I wasn’t thirsty. How could I not be after spending so much time underground? Exactly how long I was down there was another mystery to me because I have no recollection of the events that led to me being trapped in that casket of doom.
I rolled over onto my back and let the rain wash off the dirt and grime from my body. Looked down at myself and notice two things. I was a muddy, filthy mess and I was dressed up in a nice suit. I had on a navy blue blazer with a blue and white tie, a sky blue button down shirt and gray pants and my black dress shoes that were coated in mud. Who was I kidding, my whole damn body was caked in mud! I sat up and saw that whoever did this to me went as far as to erecting a tombstone with a name on it and everything. Robert Lunger, was that my name? For the life of me, I didn’t know if it was or not. Why would I not know my own name?
Through the rhythmic pouring of rain, I made out the sounds of gunshots and screaming coming from every direction. My body seemed on edge as it responded to these sound, but I didn’t feel anxious at all. More like excited and with that, the hunger grew exponentially. I rolled over and sat up on my knees as my senses seemed heighted to all the chaos in the air, my eyes darting back and forth. As I stood up, I noticed that my legs were wobbly and it felt like I would collapse but I didn’t.
How long was I down there in that coffin? All my muscles felt stiff and I got a sense of atrophy just from looking down at my hands. My skin appeared gray like ash and I could distinctly see all the bones, like I was ninety years old. That would explain why I felt like death warmed over but I knew somehow that I wasn’t that old. If the tombstone was correct, then I was way younger than that but I couldn’t say exactly how old. Mid-thirties maybe? It’s like all my math skills as well as my memory was gone, the only thing I had was vague notions.
As I walked towards the exit, I noticed that whoever buried me alive must have thought it would be great if I was in an actual cemetery. Nice way of doing it I guess, making it the last place anyone would look. To my left, I hear the sound of shuffling feet sloughing through the many water puddles. I glance over and see that’s a woman, or what use to pass as a woman. Her flesh was rotted off everywhere and gaps in her body the one could see through to the other side. Half of her hair had fallen out and she had no eyes, only sockets filled with a putrid yellow puss. If it wasn’t for all the rain, I’d say she looked like a dehydrated husk of a person. She half looked my way by careening her head and uttered and a sickly and scratchy word.
As she spoke it, my body went into overdrive as the hunger took complete control over me. I look to the streets and saw more people being tackled to the ground, their flesh being ripped off and skulls being bitten open like it was made out of wafer cookies. Just the sight of those brains made the hunger pains worse, like an addiction that needed a fix and yet I’d never in my life considered eating brains of any kind. Wait, does this mean that I’m surrounded by zombies? If so, then why isn’t this dead woman next to me coming after my brains? Oh dear God! Am I a zombie?
Maybe that’s the reason I was in that coffin. I was dead and buried and now I’m not and it looks like brains are on the menu for the rest of my dead life. Was this insatiable hunger what droves zombies to eat people? I think it’s high time that I chew on a few brains and see if it will quiet down the hunger, but how do I locate my lunch? It’s not like I was handed a manual on how to be a zombie, no Handbook for the Recently Decease left in my coffin for some light reading before I rose up to eat the world.
As I stepped onto the sidewalk, I stood there motionless as I searched for an unsuspecting person to be found as more of my undead brothers and sisters shuffled past me. Their moans and hisses made me question if any of them were like me. Could they think or did they wander aimlessly around for food? I was hoping for the latter because since I can sort of think, I might have the advantage that my brain-loving brothers and sisters lacked. I may not have whatever skills or memories I once had when I was alive, that didn’t mean that I couldn’t learn new ones.
I closed my eyes and sniffed the air and used my hearing, which seemed more sensitive now, to ferret out my first zombie apocalypse meal. I figured since I now have super hearing, why not see if my other senses panned out. I could hear the normal screams of terror and gunshots off in the distance, but just under that, I heard the sound of something shifting around. It was muffled, like someone was hiding, but I could make out their heavy breathing. This one was scared and I could hear it! As I sniffed, I opened my eyes towards the direction I believed the muffled sounds was coming from and saw an old, beat up sedan.
I walked towards the sedan but each step seemed like a chore. I felt like a drunk leaving the bar at two a.m., my legs and upper torso jerked in different directions. Is this how I’m to be for the rest of my undead existence, doing a drunken walk of the dead? Several zombies that walked by the sedan would look at it and more on. I believe they knew someone was in there but they couldn’t be certain so they ignored it. I was having my doubts too but when one of the zombie’s bumped the car accidentally, I could barely make out a soft cry.
Excitement seemed to take a hold over me as I hobbled forward. I can’t explain it but for some odd reason, my hunger responded to my new heightened state. The thrill of the hunt, that had to be it. What else could it be? I’m no expert but I’d assume that now that I’m more of a predator on the hunt for my prey that this is what it must feel like. As I reach the sedan, I can feel my left foot buckle and I fall down on the street, my head bangs against the bumper.
I can help but think to myself, “Great, so this is how I die again? Re-die due to being clumsy.” Though my memories of my life were gone, there were areas that hadn’t atrophied away during my supposed eternal slumber like knowing the name of objects and apparently pop culture references. I knew this because I know that in all zombie movies, the way to kill a zombie was a blow to the brain which I did all by myself. Go me! As I watch the shuffling, decayed legs walk past me, I awkwardly raise my hand up to my head and feel my head.
Strangely, I feel no pain from the blow and furthermore I couldn’t tell where I hurt my head. I looked at my hand and saw that it was covered with blackish/yellowish fluid. Obviously, I cut my head but I’m also still alive, sort of. I grab onto the bumper and lift myself up and as I do this, I spot a young blonde woman on the floor board looking at me in terror and trembling as she yanked the blanket over her head. I move along the side of the sedan, using it to support me because my left foot was bent inward. I should fix that after supper, I guess. I gazed down at the door handle and fiddled with it, trying to figure out how it works.
Just out of my peripheral sight, I noticed the blonde woman had moved her blanket and was peeking out. I could see that she was looking out the back window and then let out a relieved sigh, the blanket obscured her from seeing me. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” played over and over in my head. Being blonde woman, I suppose that’s what triggered my Romero memory. Getting frustrated by the door handle, I reared back as best as I could and slammed both of my fists at the glass, shattering it instantly. Wow, I wasn’t expecting it to break so easily, I guess I must be stronger now that I’m a corpse. The blonde woman shrieked in terror as glass flew everywhere in the backseat. She desperately kicked to get the blanket off and for some reason, this excited me more. Cue the dramatic, scary music!
The blonde woman frantically rolled onto her side, trying to reach for the door handle. My nostrils flared as the aroma of her blood wafted up as the broken glass dug into her flesh. I also noticed that along with her blood, I believe that I could actually smell her fear. How could anyone do that? I am a zombie, what other explanation did I need? I bent over into the car and grabbed handfuls of her clothes and slowly pulled her towards me. Her body contorted at I pulled her to me. She flailed her arm, trying to break my hold I had on her but to no avail. As I tugged her from the sedan, I heard something snap and it didn’t come from me.
The blonde woman screeched loudly as I hoisted her out and slammed her down on the street as my bad foot caused me to fall down again. Yep, I definitely need to fix that. Blood was gushing from the woman’s leg where her bone had pierced through the skin. I put my full weight on top of her as I straddle her waist. She did her best to push me away by shoving her hands against my chest but I believe that she knew as well as I that it was a futile gesture. Tears streamed down her beautiful pink cheeks and for a moment it seemed almost a shame to kill her, but that thought didn’t last as my hunger became ravenous while my prey squirmed beneath me.
I let her hold up my full weight as I eyed the top of her pretty little cranium where that beautiful, juicy brain of her awaited me. I can see the strain in her face as she fights to hold me up and I can feel her arms buckling. As I drop on her, her weaken arms are pinned beneath me. I grabbed two handfuls of the woman’s blonde hair and pull her head up to where she is looking directly at my chest and as she’s pleading for her life, uncontrollably I hissed out one word.
I wasn’t sure how this worked, I mean was it really possible to bite down and get to that yummy gray matter so easily? It’s not like I was given some skull-cracking hammer when I woke up in my coffin. I opened my mouth and could feel drool oozing out. Sorry lady, I guess you’re brain is mouth-watering. The woman frantically shook her head but it didn’t stop me at all. I heard a small pop and then I felt my teeth sinking into the woman’s brain. I clamped my jaw shut and pulled a small chunk of her brain into my mouth. I let my tongue swirl it around in my mouth as my eyes fluttered in pure bliss. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before and since I can’t recall what eating was like when I was alive, I suppose that nothing compares to it.
Her brain was both soft and firm and add in the pieces of skull, it gave it a nice crunchy texture with each bite. The woman was shaking erratically beneath me and it didn’t feel like she was trying to escape any more. I suppose that’s a natural response a person would have when they have part of their brain ripped out. As soon as my first bite slid down my throat, I leaned in and took another bite, savagely tearing away the skull. I got to have more of her delicious brain! Before I knew it, I had one side of her skull removed and I lovingly gazed down at her blood-coated, half-eaten brain. I reached my hand inside the cranial cavity that I made and yanked most of her brain out and stuffed it into my mouth.
Out of the corner of my eyes I saw more zombies approaching me, each one of them had their mouths snapping or quivering. I glared at each one as I protectively held the lifeless woman’s head against my chest. MINE! GO GET YOUR OWN BRAINS! How dare these pricks try and take my kill! I got this brain for myself and I will be damned if I’m sharing it. I greedily scrape as much of this woman’s mouth-watering brain out and slipped them into my jacket pocket. While I licked my fingers clean, several zombies dropped down on their hands and knees and began eating away at the woman’s body. I looked at them as I still cradled the woman’s empty head against me and wondered if I could stave off the hunger by eating the flesh like they did.
I let go of the woman’s head and let it drop, causing her skull to crack open more, and rolled off of her to examine my foot. It was crooked and looked bad so I reached down and pushed it back into place. Despite the bone grinding and popping, I felt nothing. One of the perks of being a zombie was no pain, except when the hunger hits. Now that I had my first meal and the hunger has been sated, I noticed that I felt a sense of calm. I was feeling stronger too and my senses appeared sharper than before. Was it the brain I consumed causing this change or was it because I fed? I stood up, wanting to test out my foot and I noticed that I could use it like it hadn’t been injured at all. As I walked, I could tell that I wasn’t walking like a drunk. I had more spring in my step and had a feeling that if need be, I could chase down my next meal with no problem. Do all zombies act like this or am I an anomaly amongst the dead? Why feed on the flesh when the brain is so irresistible and worth fighting over?
Was the brain first come, first serve and everyone else help yourself to the rest? For some reason, this felt right though I wasn’t sure why. If that’s the case, then everyone better watch out because I have a ravenous appetite!