Short Fiction - 'The Unfortunate Zombie'
They stood over the body.
It was clearly dead. It looked dead, at least – and, it definitely smelt dead. Yet, it was still moving. Struggling to pull itself toward them, leaving a dark red smear across the concrete behind it as it moved. Its legs ended in ragged stumps, just above each knee. Its pants were ragged and torn – seeming glued to its skin by dark dried blood. Its lower jaw was gone – just gone – torn away at some point in the past. Blood long since dried covered every inch of skin down its neck, and stained its torn and filthy shirt. Most of the teeth seemed to have been knocked loose from its upper jaw, as well, leaving behind little more than bloodied gums.
It pulled itself along with its hands. Each finger was worn down and bloodied – the nails either broken, or missing entirely. It made no sound as it moved.
"That's disgusting!", one of the gathered men commented, holding up his phone to take a few quick photos, "what is it?"
"I don't know", another shrugged, "zombie, I guess."
"What?", a woman asked, "like in those awful movies?"
"Oh, come on", yet another spoke up, "Night of the Living Dead is a straight-up classic... and, there are plenty of other good ones, too."
It kept on dragging itself forward as they spoke, lunging at the foot of the nearest man, gumming away with its toothless upper jaw – oozing blood and gore over an expensive leather shoe. "Ugh!" the owner of the shoe said, "what the hell? I think it's trying to eat me, or something?"
"Oh!", the man with the phone spoke up suddenly, "sweet! Hang on... hold still a moment!"
The man with the shoes held still, turning toward the camera-phone with a cheesy grin – pointing down at the thing gumming away at his shoe with one hand, giving a thumbs-up with the other. The man with the camera phone took a few quick shots. "Got it!", he said, triumphant, "oh! Awesome... you've got to see this!"
The man with the expensive shoes kicked the thing away, and joined the small crowd gathering around the phone. "Awesome", he said, to a general murmur of agreement.
The thing began to attempt a turn, then – dragging itself in a half-circle to move toward the crowd once more.
A police car pulled up nearby, then, and a uniformed officer slid out of the driver's seat. He looked from the crowd to the thing pulling itself toward them. "Another one?", he said.
"Huh?", the man with the expensive shoes asked.
"We've had a few of these things popping up over the past day or so", was the officer's response. He looked down at the thing once more and shrugged, reaching for his gun.
"Hang on!" the man with the camera phone said, "he's harmless. Look at him... he doesn't even have any teeth!"
"Sorry", the officer said, "rules are rules". Then, he took aim and squeezed the trigger.
The group flinched at the sound, and the thing fell limp. "Right", the officer said, slipping his gun back into its holster, "that should do it."
The officer pushed the car door closed and wandered over, looking down at the dead thing - nudging at it with one foot. "Yeah", he said ,"it's dead. Uh... deader. Really dead. You know what I mean. I'll put in a call, and have someone come out to clean up. Don't touch it!"
The officer seemed about to turn away, but paused once more, his attention drawn to an expensive leather shoe smeared with blood. "And, take those shoe off... leave them with the body."
"But...", the man with the expensive shoes started to protest.
"No 'buts'", the officer cut in, "I don't want to have to put a bullet in your head later."
"Uh... right", the man with the expensive shoes managed to look a little sheepish as he slipped the gore-smeared shoe off and left it lying near the still body.
"Move along, please", the officer wandered back to his car and leaned against the closed door, seeming content to wait as he kept a casual eye on the still body, "nothing else to see, here. You all have yourselves a good day, now."
The gathered crowd glanced at each other, then at the still body at their feet. Then, they each gave a shrug and went their separate ways.
© 2014 Dallas Matier
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