It’s one thing when your beloved dies. The grief is overwhelming, a battering flood of agony that could leaves you scoured by salt. But over time anguish is spent, slows to a trickle. One moves on.
It’s quite another thing when your beloved is still shambling around with his – sorry, its – new zombie girlfriend, dead to your pain. New wells of suffering open up in the aisles of the supermarket, threatening the glistening packages of food and consumables that teeter on the edge. Or here in the bar of your local, when the undead stumble in, arm in rotting arm. Laughing out of the sides of their necks.
Now it is speaking, ‘Aaargrrh Ssshlufel,’ with much drool pooling from its lower lip, on its shuffling way to the bar.
‘Alright Steph? Pint of bitter please Tom.’ He checks wordlessly with his girlfriend, ‘And a dry white wine.’
Time to take a stand. I need weapons. How do you kill the undead? Romero makes it look so easy. Rodriguez’ practically implode if you poke them hard. This is more Resident Evil or the sprinters of Dead Set.
Maybe holy water?
‘What the hell? What did you do that for?’ He shakes beer out of his hair. ‘Christ’s sake Steph, what’s your problem? I thought you’d got past all this shit.’
OK, not water, that’s vampires and maybe the Wicked Witch of the West. But it had had some effect – it was definitely looking smaller. Maybe it was just looking shrunken in death; shorter, squatter than in life. Where was the noble mien, lost in this putrid horror? He had never been this … plain. Despite the cadaverous pallor and purpling wounds it was looking distinctly … ordinary.
Was that a maggot crawling from its hairline into its ear? Leaving its family of wriggling brethren to infest a wound half-hidden by shaggy hair.
That was how you killed zombies. Shoot them in the head.
Or batter them.
She headed for the alley at the side of the pub, where she knew scraps of lumber lay heaped up in a skip. Eyes straining against the failing light, she searched for what she needed.
This should do it. Hefting a length of 2×4 I wait for it to come out to smoke. I don’t have to loiter long – it seems nicotine addiction carries over into unlife post-death. The street outside the pub is crowded with people rushing home from work, or out for a night on the town and I watch as it moves towards the alley, concentrating on lighting the roll-up dangling from its mouth. Focused on keeping the flame alight, it doesn’t notice me until it is too late.
‘Steph, didn’t see you there … What? … What are you …?’
Why is it bleeding? They never bleed in The Walking Dead, just snap and ooze. But the battering does seem to have done the trick. It lies there, unmoving, eyes unseeing.
Finally! It is dead. I can grieve and move on.
So why is everyone staring at me and screaming, like I’m the monster? Is this the zombie apocalypse? Where is my weapon?