This is the eighth in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.
Letter from a Zombie, Or How I Came To Stop Eating Brains, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 12th December 2012
Word count: 932
Theme: zombie apocalypse, apocalypse, redemption, monster, zombie, saviour
Across the world the dead rose, and humanity trembled.
The dead were a plague upon the cities, upon the people. The dead needed something the living had, life.How did the dead get it? The brain. The dead needed brains.All the flesh was tasty, but the brain, that kept the undead alive.
The undead had no minds of their own, they were undead after all. The brain brings thoughts, feelings, even memories are occasionally rekindled. Yes, if you’re wondering, it even brings remorse. I know this all too well, I was one of them, I guess I still am.
It all started with my death, I wasn’t eaten by zombies or anything. That’s just a misconception, the undead bite does not transmit the virus, as far as I’ve discovered it was airborne, and once infected didn’t die off, though the airborne virus dissipated over months. No, I died from plain old asphyxiation, I was killed. Not by some random stranger, but by my own wife. We were having financial difficulties, and I guess she figured the pay out would solve everything. Of course, I doubt she could get a pay out, the next week being a zombie apocalypse and all.
I arose from a mortuary, and set about trying to get at what instinct drove me to find. My first hit of life after death was a mortuary assistant. I remember those flashes of life, the influx of memories I couldn’t sort, and that disgust at myself. It lasted only seconds, and then instinct drove me to seek out that feeling again, and again, and again..
I must have travelled dozens of miles searching for food. I was one of the lucky ones, if you could call us that. The undead were destroyed in droves, being so slow witted, having limited mobility we were easy prey, only our numbers made us such a terrifying force to be labelled an apocalypse.
Obviously you can deduce from my writing that something different happened to me. I was just like every other zombie, and then suddenly I wasn’t.
During my zombie state, I managed to make my way to a private boarding school. Now they’d done everything they could to defend this school, but little lapses occurred, and I, and many of my brethren were able to gain entry. To say it was an all you could eat buffet might understate the devastation we caused.
It was as I ate my third childish brain that something strange started to happen, the memories flooded back, the thoughts the feelings as usual, hte revulsion, the remorse as I found myself, looking down at the brains in my hands. The affect lasted an unsuferable number of minutes, and left me twitching on the floor racked by guilt, and inner misery. I was just contemplating taking my own life, my undead life when it passed. I was unthinking, immoral, and dead again.
It happened again as I munched down on a teacher who had died valiantly trying to save what few survivors were left.The others had their few seconds of fear and revulsion, but it didn’t last a few seconds for me, it lasted minutes, and then minutes more, and then just carried on. I was alive, and the teacher before me was dead, her brains were upon my tongue, which could taste again. I tried to vomit, but while certain functions are rekindled by the virus, the gag reflex wasn’t.
I’m ashamed to say I fled, as fast as my dead body could carry me, (which wasn’t very fast at all). I did not stay to protect the children and teachers that were left, and it will go down as one of my deepest regrets. The only good I could say I did was that at least some of the zombies that had invaded the school followed me, suspecting that I knew of some other establishment of fine dining. Maybe that relief was enough to save someone.
Ultimately I made my way home, with my brain working the clumsy traps to keep out the undead were nothing. I watched as my followers fell upon my wife, I did not feel remorse for her though. She had killed me after all an event that had led to my current soulless state.
Since then I have been working to understand what happened to myself. For some reason I’m smarter, understanding virology didn’t take long, and learning the secrets of the zombie virus itself took only weeks. I have a cure now. Well not a cure for me, a cure for the world. A new virus that specifically targets the undead virus. Once it spreads all undead will cease to function, and they can return to their slumber.
Unfortunately that includes me, and so I leave these scratchings as proof of my second life, my remorse, my guilt, and my hope for redemption. You’ll also find a book of notes on the two viruses, should we dead ever rise again, hopefully they will do some good and save more lives.
Henry R. White
Undead with a soul
N.B. to the families of my victims I wish I could leave more, but I know of no way to atone for my actions other than to attempt to save the world. Your loved ones death was not without cause, and I hope you can understand.
I also request that at the first opportunity this body of mine, once more devoid of any form of life, be cremated, and the ashes scattered as far as humanly possible. I do not wish to suffer this again.
From my research, zombies are a mainstay of the Flash fic trend, and I doubt I’ve done anything truly original. I like the idea of a zombie finding life again, only to give it up in the hope of ending a zombie apocalypse. It’s been done before, the monster that finds it’s humanity, just in time to prove that humanity by sacrificing itself to save the rest of humanity. In fact it’s one of the most common themes among monster and scifi stories and movies. It’s so common for a reason though, it’s a lovely idea. You see it comes down to redemption, we all know at heart we’ve done things that make us monsters, but if a true monster can find redemption there is hope for us all.
So I played the theme out, and I liked it. I’m not ashamed it’s not the most original story in the world, because it was fun. If I’ve managed to implement it in anything approaching an original twist, I’d be happy.