Marie held her breath against the stench of rotting flesh. The thing lumbered past her hiding place with the remnants of a rabbit carcass held firmly in its decaying fingers. She watched it chew at the dead animal, blood and gore dripping from its lipless mouth. Once it passed her, she stepped out from behind the dumpster and called to it. It slowly turned and gawked at her. Thanking God for the slow reflexes of the dead, she ran at it full force, knocking it to the ground on its back. Carefully avoiding the snapping jaws, she clamped her hand to its throat and plunged the business end of her long screwdriver into its eye socket.
When it stopped twitching, Marie pulled her weapon free and used the things shirt to wipe away the black goop. She stared at the half eaten rabbit. Her stomach growled as she contemplated trying to salvage some of the meat. She was starving. Looters had taken everything worth eating and those things had gnawed their way through all the cats, dogs and rats that might have provided a little protein.
A shuffling sound caught her attention. She spun around and watched a dead woman in a blood-stained nursing uniform wander through the street. She ducked behind the dumpster and held her breath as the thing approached. To Marie’s horror, the moldering nurse clawed the rabbit from the dead mans hands and staggered out of the alley.
Sitting back on her heels, she cried softly. There was nothing to look forward to but a slow and painful death. She could already feel her stomach trying to digest itself. This brief outing had left her completely drained. Grabbing the fire escape ladder, she climbed up to her
apartment. The hunger pains intensified as she collapsed on the bed. She closed her eyes and thought about the juicy cheeseburgers she had once eaten, the countless pizzas and chocolate milkshakes. Her stomach churned and complained as she cried herself to sleep.
When Marie awoke a few hours later, she sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her face with both hands. This was no way to live. This was not living at all. There was no electricity, no running water, no one to talk to and not a crumb left to eat.
It had been weeks since she had seen another living person. For all she knew, she was the only one left. It was a losing battle, she was waging. It was merely prolonging her own suffering. Climbing out on the fire escape, she stared down at the street below. Her body was screaming for food. There was none to be had. She sighed and climbed down the ladder into the alley. If she was going to die anyway, she might as well go ahead and get it over with, put an end to the hunger, to the pain. The screwdriver felt incredibly heavy in her hand. A frightening groan arose from the end of the alley. One of those things stood there looking at her. As it clumsily made its way toward her, she panicked, plunging the screwdriver into her own throat. She fell to the pavement, jerking violently. Unable to defend herself, she looked up at the dead things snapping teeth. Death was not coming fast enough. The screwdriver was still embedded in her neck, keeping her from bleeding out. She reached for it, trying to pull it free as the world around her turned black.
Marie opened her eyes and stared up at the strip of sky between the two buildings on either side of her. She blinked, forcing herself into a sitting position and looking down at her blood-drenched body in confusion. Her legs were badly bitten. Huge chunks of flesh were missing from her calves. Miraculously, they did not hurt. There was no pain in her throat either, though she could see that the screwdriver still protruded from it. It was a struggle to get to her feet. She was disoriented. Her movements were slow and awkward, as she stumbled out into the street. After a few moments, a familiar feeling began to form in her stomach. As she stood there pondering what it might be, she became aware of her lips. She sucked one into her mouth. The taste of flesh seemed to drive her into a frenzy, morphing the abstract feeling inside her into a fierce lust. Hunger. The feeling was intense hunger. A pitiful groan escaped her as the realization set in. Even in death, the seemingly infinite emptiness craved fulfillment. She chewed off her other lip and set out in search of food, teeth snapping.
Marsha Smith Sullivan, inhabitant of Georgia and single mother of four, has only written poetry in the past. Having fallen in love with the zombie genre, she thought she would try her hand at short stories. This is her first coffee-fueled attempt.
Stalk Marsha on Twitter!! @mishinmite