“Rob! Stop!” Fred backs into the living room as his longtime pal – a sandy blonde-haired, brown-eyed, chisel-jawed man who is as tall as he is handsome – gradually shuffles toward him as a snail stalking its prey… if a snail ever had prey to stalk. “Please, Rob! It’s me, Fred!” He stumbles as his friend menaces closer. “I’m your longtime pal! Your buddy from all the way back in high school!” But his pleading is futile.
Nothing can stop the inevitable as Rob inches ever so close. A once brilliant accountant, he would be calculating his moment to strike if he could still calculate. “Come on! You have to remember! You used to call me Fab!” Fred bumps a small table holding a red flower vase containing white roses as Rob stretches out his frigid hands to grasp his not-so-Happy Meal. “Ah, come on! The dreadlocks wigs! Remember the dreadlocks wigs! We looked liked assholes, but we wore them anyway!”
Instinctively, Fred yanks the table to the front of him as the red flower vase shatters on the floor. As the table obstructs Rob’s path, Fred aggressively points to the broken shards. “See what you made me do? That was my wife’s favorite vase!”
Carol. If only Fred had listened to her on the numerous occasions she warned him that a zombie apocalypse could happen any day now. If only he had joined her in the training and in taking the necessary precautions. If only he had watched all of those zombie movies with Carol rather than dismissing them as comically bad rubbish, he certainly would have at least soaked into his mind the rules of Zombieland.
Where was his wife, he suddenly wonders. She’s not here. A good guess is that she’s alive, somewhere, brandishing the .38 she always had strapped to her leg, putting to good use Rule #1 – Cardio, Rule #2 – Double Tap, and Rule #3 – Beware of Bathrooms.
Rob kicks the small table aside as Fred falls backward into the front door. His body trembles as he rises to his feet, feeling for the doorknob. He looks past Rob, to the broken vase on the floor. “Carol’s going to kill me.”
Fred yanks open the front door and is taken aback by a horde of zombies rushing up to the front porch. He sighs, “Well, at least none of them are Carol.”
He slams the door, turning to run away as Rob pounces on him, taking a chunk out of his neck like a vampire on steroids. The crowd of undead burst into the house, violently breaking the two apart as they tackle both Rob and Fred to the floor in a deafening hungered panic. Tearing into Fred’s flesh, they desperately try to satiate their appetites. It may not be McDonald’s, but they’re lovin’ it.
As Fred screams through the intense pain of being eaten alive, Rob looks up for one moment, just one moment, the only moment he needs to notice her. She looks up for just one moment, just one moment, the only moment she needs to notice him. The screams and gratuitously bad eating habits fall silent.
Their bloodshot, yellowed eyes lock while their jaws gradually drop, dripping blood and small pieces of half-chewed Fred from their chins. She angles her head in genuine curiosity. He stares in wonder, marveling at the fact that he’s never seen anyone so beautiful… gory, decrepit, and slightly decayed… but other than that, beautiful.
What is it about her that has him affixed in this yearning trance? Is it her death-stenched outfit; a tattered pink blouse matched with a dark purple skirt torn above her scraped knees? Is it her long, silky, raven black hair now matted with dried blood and other undetermined bodily juices? Is it the soft features of her face that make her look so young, despite skin not being present around more than a third of her jaw? Is it the gaping hole in the right side of her skull, exposing her brain in a way showing that on her mind right now, literally, is fifty shades of grey?
Staring longingly at one another, it’s clear that they’re hearing the same Whitesnake song playing in their heads:
He glances down at her ring finger to look for a wedding band, something Rob would do whenever he met an attractive woman. If he were still capable of having a joyous look in his eyes, it would now exist as he notices that her ring finger is one of the two fingers missing from her left hand. Apparently, she’s not married; at least, not anymore.
Gently rising to a stand, they each cannot help but to gaze at the other, studying every feature, being captivated by distinct qualities no matter how seemingly insignificant or completely disgusting. They begin moving toward one another, him with his achingly suave shuffle and her with a limp because her right knee is kind of bent out of place… but in a cute way. They come together to talk, an instinct from when they were still alive. She lets out a deep, “Grrrr.” He responds with a long, “Aaaaarrrgggghhh.” Obviously, he’s trying to impress her with big words.
Shifting his gaze downward, Rob takes in the magnificently horrible sight of this enchanting woman. He notices the white roses lying on the floor with pieces of the broken red vase scattered around them. Shuffling the short distance over to them, he bends to pick up one of the roses.
Turning back to the corpse of his affection, he brushes her matted raven hair back, gently placing the flower over her ear. If she still had lips, he would be able to see that she was indeed smiling. That is, until her ear falls from her head, the flower dropping to the floor along with it. They look down at the rose and the decayed ear, look back at each other, shrug, and turn to shuffle and limp out the door.
His hand debates taking hold of her hand in a loving gesture; he doesn’t want to risk accidentally pulling her arm off. But maybe touching her hand is worth such a risk. He wraps his large fingers around her frail palm and as she closes her hand around his, he is comforted by the fact that her arm remains attached, and that he’s now attached to her.
Walking along the street, they scan the sky. The moon peeks through dark clouds illuminated by only a splash of moonlight; the wind whispering of the day’s chaos to the fires subtly crackling through the leftovers. Dimly lit vehicles pepper the street and sometimes front yards, displaying obvious signs of the destruction that has taken place recently as those vehicles have been smashed or abandoned or both.
One car, however, has grabbed the attention of Rob and his lovely lady; a car in the distance uttering the sound of someone trying to start it. Slowly looking over at his love after death, Rob gazes into her eyes, one of her dark set eyes barely visible through a string of lengthy hair draped over half of her face; the half with skin still attached.
He motions toward the car as he lets out a groaning, “Uuuuurrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhh.” There are those big words again.
Rob and his date quickly shuffle their way toward the car, in a menacing way, sizing up what’s on the menu. They draw nearer to the unsuspecting teens while the boy panicking in the back seat turns to notice the terrifying sight. “Jesus fucking Christ!”
Seeing what’s got her friend so scared, the girl slams back against the inside of her door. “Shit!”
“Hurry up and start the goddamn car!” the boy screams.
The guy at the wheel fumbles with the wires he holds as he strikes the metallic ends, the car wailing as it fails to start. “Would you stop taking the Lord’s name in vain, we fucking need him right now!”
Rob beats his fists against the back door window, the pounding reverberating through the entire car. The boy turns to the opposite back door, only to be met by the horrific face of Rob’s beloved as she blocks his only path of escape. Shattered glass sprays into the back seat over the boy. Rob reaches an arm through the broken window as the boy frantically kicks at Rob’s attempts to grasp his leg.
With Rob distracted, the girl frantically opens her front seat door, diving out to the dirty pavement as the guy scurries after her.
The boy looks up as Rob takes a fistful of the boy’s pants leg. “Don’t leave me!” He sees them jump into the next car up. Disbelief fills what he knows will be his final moments as the sound of that car’s engine quickly roars to life, his friends speeding away to safety. At least, he thought they were his friends.
The boy willingly gives up, breaking down into tears of not wanting to die.
Seeing the boy not struggle anymore, Rob releases him and backs off. Rob takes hold of the car door, intending to put on an impressive show of strength for the rotting woman of his dreams by ripping the door from its metal hinges. But seeing as how he needlessly broke all of the knuckles on his hand smashing his fist through the window, Rob considers another way to impress her. Reaching in, Rob unlocks the door from the inside and opens it.
Lunging into the back seat, Rob grabs the cowering boy, forcefully yanking him out; dragging the victim to the pavement while he uselessly sobs for his life. Rob’s undead lovely makes her way around the car. Together, they ferociously dig in; the boy squealing at every bite and tearing of his flesh until he loses consciousness as a stream of crimson flows into a nearby storm drain.
As they finish their meal, Rob and his dreaded date look up at each other, look over to the back seat of the car, and then stare back at each other. Surely, they’re hearing the same Jason Aldean song playing in their heads:
They rise and shuffle and limp to the car. Facing each other, she takes hold of his shirt and pushes him into the back seat as she wants to be on top. He enjoys her forcefulness.
She meets him eye to eye. He places a gentle kiss upon the tip of her nose, hoping to not pull the skin from it. She holds her head back to meet his intense gaze. He forms a smile on his lips, the very lips that sprinkle gentle kisses onto the cold, lifeless flesh of his beloved as she leans close to nibble his ear.
Brushing her hand along his torso, she stops to undo the button on his pants. He reaches his hand down, caressing over hers, and taking hold of his zipper. Pulling down his zipper, he notices that there seems to be something missing, something that had always been there before.
It must have fallen off sometime during his, so far, brief undead life without him knowing. Maybe it popped off in the heat of a crowded feeding. Perhaps it slipped down and fell out of one of his pants legs while he was shuffling along. Maybe he could find it if he retraced his steps. That is, if a dog hasn’t buried it.
Rob knows he must act quickly. He can’t allow his beloved to discover a problem not even Viagra can solve. But him being a slow moving zombie, he’s too late in stopping her hand from sweeping over his deflated crotch area.
Confused, she lets out a, “Uuuuhhhh?”
If there’s one thing Rob now knows, it’s that she now knows. He can’t hide this fact and might feel ashamed of it, if it mattered to her. But it matters not.
She softens her eyebrows, clasping her teeth together in what is generally considered a smile for her. Laying her head on his chest, they nestle into the comfort of their tender embrace. She’s certain that she is with her love and he is certain he’s with his.
They would wish to have the connection that living lovers have, if it mattered to them. But it matters not, for they are together.
Love can survive anything… even the zombie apocalypse.