Barrage of the Dead

  • 2 Pages

Dan sat at his dining room table working on a new piece of origami when a mangled, bug-eyed, undead man, entered his house without knocking.

Dan remained captivated by his origami and didn’t notice the zombie plodding toward him with outstretched arms. The zombie made faint gurgling sounds as it approached. It was bald except for two patches of filthy matted hair on its head. Dirt was caked all around its bloodshot eyes and on the rotting skin of its cheeks.

Dan made a few more folds, all the while contemplating the symmetry and geometry of the piece in front of him. The zombie stalked closer, stopped gurgling, then leaned over and bit into Dan’s shoulder. The zombie ripped off a portion of Dan’s sweater along with a large mouthful of meat. The ghoul leaned back with despicable strings of Dan’s shoulder muscle hanging from a corner of its mouth, blood dripping down its chin. It chewed the flesh and moaned.

Dan screamed like a tornado siren, tensed all the muscles in his body, and shot up out of his chair to run away. He turned and noticed the zombie standing still and grinding its pointed teeth. He saw how slowly the zombie’s reactions and movements were and decided not to run away. He examined his injured shoulder, then filled his lungs with deep breaths to calm himself.

He glared at the zombie to see if he might recognize it — to determine whether he had known the thing when it was alive — but could only concentrate on the dangling strands of red flesh hanging from its wrinkled mouth and the eerie moaning sounds it was making.

“Who are you?!” Dan yelled. “What do you want?!”

The zombie chewed a few more times, then swallowed.

And Dan felt stupid for trying to talk to a zombie.

It plodded toward him again, lethargically, gurgling in a creepy monotone.

Dan gripped his chair, ready to hurl it at the intruder. He looked down at the origami paper he had been folding moments ago, debating whether he should take it with him when he fled. “Go back!” he commanded. Then he scooped up the paper on his table.

The zombie emitted a long agonized groan and wrinkled its mangled face. Then it rotated, still holding its arms out, as if it were examining Dan’s house.

Dan heard his back door wrench open. His neighbor, Tom, dashed in holding a Glock 34 at arms length. He was wearing a black bullet proof vest over a white t-shirt, as if he had slipped the vest on while in a panic. The zombie cringed when it saw Tom and his gun, then backed up on stiff legs. Tom blasted a shot into the zombie’s face. Dan watched the top portion of the undead thing’s forehead explode and shatter against the wall. Tom continued firing the Glock until the zombie’s head and neck had completely disappeared, and its body had traveled fifteen feet to a far corner of the living room. Dan stared at the zombie corpse and noticed something moving near its neck line. A tiny blue and black creature crawled out of the neck, then writhed and wiggled on the floor. The thigh of the zombie burst open and another black and blue miniature monstrosity climbed out of it as well.

Tom looked at Dan, slapped his elbow to get his attention, and began yelling instructions of some kind. But the roar of a descending helicopter prevented Dan from hearing what his neighbor had to say.

Tom stepped closer until he was screaming in Dan’s ear. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here! Freakin’ zombies are all over the place! And when you kill one, smaller ones form out of its remains! There’s a helicopter out back! Let’s move!”

They ran full speed out the back door. Dan had his origami tucked under his arm. And his brain felt as if it was doing flip-flops when he got outside and glanced around his yard. He saw hundreds of zombies with bluish-black decaying skin and blood-drenched clothes lumbering toward them from every direction. Tom slammed the handle of his Glock against a chin of one of the zombies as they made their way to the helicopter. Dan screamed, “What the hell is going on!” as the brutish horror of the situation struck him.

They climbed inside the waiting helicopter. Dan’s face was flushed crimson with pure dread. An army sergeant in full uniform took a cigarette out of his mouth, leaned over toward Dan, and yelled, “It’s only a matter of time before the whole town is engulfed by these ghouls. Didn’t you hear our warning broadcasts?”

“No,” Dan yelled. “I had no idea this was happening.”

“Well, are you hurt?” the sergeant blared over the rumbling helicopter blades.

“No,” Dan lied. He was worried about what the sergeant would do if he knew the truth. He covered the wound on his shoulder. “The zombie in my house didn’t touch me.”

“Good,” The sergeant stared down at the numb robotlike entities stalking vacantly and drooling over the ground below.

Dan looked down with the sergeant and recognized one of his neighbors, Mrs. Johnson, now a zombie herself, crawling around on the ground. She was apparently looking for her wig that had fallen off, which the zombies around her were trampling.

“What were you doing in there that you didn’t notice the emergency taking place out here?” the sergeant asked.

“I was making a piece of origami.”

“Origami?” The sergeant looked at Dan like he was from Neptune. Then he noticed the blood stain on Dan’s shoulder. His eyes flushed and his jaw dropped and vibrated with terror. “You’ve been bitten! You asshole! Are you crazy? Don’t you want anyone to survive on this planet? Time to go meet the zombies, you origami-folding pansy!”

The sergeant shoved Dan out of the helicopter. Dan howled a mind-twisting scream all the way down.

Tom lurched forward. “What the hell?! Did you just shove him out?”

“Had to,” said the sergeant. “He’d been bitten by a zombie.”

The sergeant peered out at the flesh-crazed ghouls creeping over the landscape like sleepy ants. He watched as they found Dan’s smashed body, tripped over it, then began ripping and gorging on his flesh. Dan lay perfectly still on his back below. Slowly dying and totally in shock from the barrage of zombies.

The sergeant smirked. He stuck a fresh cigarette in his mouth. “Gotta go find some people worth savin’ around here.”

And the helicopter flew off into the horizon as flocks and swirls of the undead flooded the ground below.

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