Yes, I feel guilty.
You would think that after you die, you wouldn’t have any guilt.
That everything you did, or everything that had been done to you when you could still breathe the sweet polluted air, would be water under the bridge. Nothing is truly important anymore.
Not that book I had been reading.
Not social media.
Not how much money I was making, or not making. All of it loses its meaning. Well maybe the book I was reading. It still bothers me that I haven’t finished it. I mean, I had three chapters left. Three. I don’t think I’ll ever know how it ended.
Anyway… For the most part, you would be right. I was a decent person. Didn’t hurt anyone.
My guilt doesn’t come from anything I did when I was living. But from what I didn’t do when I was dead.
How did it start? Let me think… an epidemic. We found a cure, or so we thought.
But it was like spraying water on an oil fire.
It worked for a hot minute. Until the prions mutated.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. The tiny yellow very fluffy baby chickens ran around his feet. An odd thing that, chickens seemed to be able to see him and knew he wasn’t dangerous.
Hummm? Oh, prions are a highly infectious disease that mutates the brain. I don’t know any more than that.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.
Yes. Just like Mad Cow disease.
Any more questions?
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. They were so cute.
Good. This new disease would sit inside its host, and, for lack of a better word – germinate, for months. I’m not entirely certain, but I don’t think anyone was contagious until they started showing symptoms. But the symptoms looked just like a cold, or severe allergies. Those cold-like symptoms went on for weeks. Spreading from person to person. By the time they realized what it was doing to people, it was too late.
Lucky for the survivors, it spread through bodily fluid. If you hadn’t kissed anyone, or had sex with anyone, or drank from the same cup, or ate from the same plate as anyone with the disease, you were fine. Until the infected started changing.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. The baby chickens were circling around him and for a moment he thought they were going to eat him.
Yes, I know it’s the dumbest cliché you have ever heard. Like, every Zombie movie ever.
Do you want to hear the end of the story or not?
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. They were so cute. With their fully little yellow bodies.
We entered the full-on zombie apocalypse. And this is where my guilt is.
The baby chicks began pecking at the ground, and each other. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.
You know if you hold your questions until the end, this would go a lot faster.
Anyway… I was at work when it happened. I should have listened to the CDC when they were trying to get people to do the whole social distancing thing. It would have saved me, I think. Or at the very least, I would have survived the first fifteen minutes. But I had to pay my rent, and I had to eat, so off to work I went. Trading my time for money.
My desk was closest to the door. I didn’t last more than fifteen seconds when they came in. I didn’t have time to register what was happening. I remember one of them riding me to the ground. My memory goes a little blank there.
I couldn’t have been unconscious for very long because when I came to, I could still hear the shouts and screams. Maybe two and a half minutes. I didn’t feel any pain. Just an awareness that I was dying. An awful awareness of what was going on in the room. The screaming. The growling. The shuffling of feet. A door slamming closed. More shuffling feet. Silence. Then I snapped into more of what I would call a standard ghost form.
A ghost body and all the perks that come with it. None. There are no perks. I can’t change clothes by imagining myself in something new. I can’t move from point to point. I walk. Everywhere. Travel takes forever. And I can’t cross bodies of water. I have to go around, if I can.
And that theory about ghosts passing through walls… yeah, that’s a myth. I’ve gotten stuck in so many walls. It’s far easier to find an open window. Who knew being dead would be so much work? Lame sauce.
Where was I?
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Oh, yes. I watched my body get up off the floor.
Yeah. Ain’t that some nonsense. My body turned into a zombie.
The white light appeared.
My body started shuffling toward the open door.
That was when I made the call. I didn’t go. I should have. I regret the decision to stay behind. But I also stand by it. I did the right thing. I didn’t want my zombie body to turn anyone else into a zombie. That was the moment when I decided to become a ghost. And haunt myself.
The magical white light faded.
And I followed my stupid staggering corpse down the stairs and out of the building.
Honestly, it was disappointing. My body stood there, moved a few feet, stood some more.
Until a horde came along.
I will say, I did not approve of the new throng my body fell in with. Very negative. All they did was moan. And I do mean moan. All the time. And corner screaming victims.
… That got dark… haha
It took me a couple of weeks to learn how to knock on a door or wall. It took several months before I could lift small objects.
It’s handier than you would think. I woke up someone who fell asleep on guard duty. Knocked on his helmet. He was able to save himself and his buddies.
I will never forget the day I was first able to lift a cup and hurl it at a wall.
Best. Day. Ever.
I didn’t like crowds when I was alive. I hate them now. Horrid. Usually smelly.
My zombie body had some of the same tendencies I used to have when I was alive. It would stop on street corners and look around. Like the habits were still there. Once, I saw it pick up some trash, carry it around for a few days until it stumbled by a dumpster, then throw it in.
It also liked to hang out near the back of the horde. Less of a chance for food. Very strange. I guess that’s a good example of nurture over nature.
I lured my zombie self into an abandoned house with the cat.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. There seemed to be a complaint in those sounds.
Don’t worry. I made sure the cat escaped out a window. I’m not a monster.
The horde moved on.
I was glad. For a few weeks.
My zombie body did little things that I used to do. It would sit on the couch for a while staring at a blank tv screen. Then stand in front of a bookshelf. It never touched the books but stared at them. Then it would move back to the couch and stare at the tv some more. Sometimes, it would hold its hand up, like it had a cell phone and was scrolling through… well I guess it doesn’t matter.
Oh, and one time, it tripped over the coffee table.
That was the single most exciting thing that happened during that time.
That was where I got careless.
I got tired of watching my zombie do the same things –day in and day out. Sit on the couch, stand in front of the bookshelf, move to the kitchen and stare out a broken window, back to the couch.
I didn’t want to spend eternity as a ghost locked in a room. I mean, this is the chance people dream of. I figured that my zombie self would eventually fall apart. I had it locked away. There was no one around.
Any survivors would have some crazy good instincts. Should, I don’t know, stop and listen before opening any doors. If you hear strange noises, like the moaning of a zombie or something that sounds like a screaming moose walking across glass – move on. Go to the next house. How hard is that? Or here is one. If you hear a zombie coming, walk briskly in the other direction. Or even at a normal pace. They are half rotten corpses. They aren’t fast.
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Yes, I know they got me. But I was killed off by the first wave. I didn’t know what was happening. These other survivors have no excuse.
Let me tell you. I am very disappointed in whoever opened that door and then left it open. It took me three days before I found my zombie self again.
It had cornered this family. They had trapped themselves in a supply closet. All their supplies on the side with the zombies. The family looked hungry, and tired, and thirsty. And afraid. They looked so afraid.
My zombie could have found a weird little child friend along the way.
I hope that’s what happened. But I have a nagging feeling. There were four backpacks. And only three people in the closet. I feel bad about the little girl.
I should have left my zombie with the horde. It would have been easier to keep track of it. How hard is it to keep track of a horde? It’s not like they aren’t always together. You find one, you found the rest.
It took me twenty minutes to lift the gun and take a clean shot.
When the child zombie started eating my zombie, I managed to grab a metal bowl, and smashed her head in.
For a while, I followed this family around. Mom, Dad, and Zack. I helped when I could. Watched over them while they slept. Scouted ahead. Tried to warn them when danger was near. We managed a rudimentary communication system. Sometimes though, when I’ve done too much, I couldn’t knock on things, or move things. It was unreliable.
They crossed a river.
I stood on the bank until they were out of sight.
No. They never talked about the little girl. And no, I don’t know her name.
So, what do you think? Did I do the right thing by staying, or should I have gone on? Moved into the light and passed into… whatever?
I don’t really know what to do now.
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