At the End

For those who haven’t checked out my blog, The Odd Ramblings of AJ Brown, here is a story I posted over there a couple months ago.  Enjoy…

At the End

We met by the merry-go-round when we were both five, she a month older than I. Her brown hair was in pigtails, white socks rolled down, pink dress that went below her knees. She had rosy cheeks. Tamela had lost her grip when Bill Breathington pushed the merry-go-round a little too fast. She spun off, her feet connecting with the ground first, breaking both ankles. I remember her scream, even now, so many years later and with many… of life’s events long gone. I held her hands as Mrs. Marjorie ran inside and called emergency… and I never let go.

Not even now, as we both rot away, the heat of the summer sun cooking our decaying flesh.

Tamela walked with a limp long before she died and, well, rose again. Even after setting her ankles, the limp was there, her feet pointing inward like a pigeon’s. I guess that is one of those things that endeared her to me, that crooked hobble that was more graceful than most could ever know.

Sadly, we died before we could marry, the sickness claiming our bodies, but not our lives, our souls. You see, we zombies still feel, both physically and emotionally. I can still think, can still hurt; I still have memories, like the first time I kissed Tamela under the wisteria in her mom’s yard. Those moans, that isn’t hunger surfacing, it’s our begging for someone to understand that we’re trapped in our bodies, no escape, except for maybe a bullet to the head or possibly an axe or bat or…

Through death and resurrection, we remained together, my Tamela and I, two lovers having not been apart for more than a day or two at a time since we… since we met that day when she broke her ankles.

Hunger burns worse than anything. Well, almost and Tamela was hungry. It’s not that she meant to attack that kid, but he was there and we could smell the blood flowing through his veins, could sense the fear exuding from his pores. I tried to stop her, but she was quick—faster than the living may have thought us zombies could be—and she latched onto that boy and sunk her yellowing teeth into his cheek before he could react, let alone scream. She tore into him and before he stopped squirming, he had attracted all the wrong type of attention.

I shambled out of the shadows, hands outstretched, not for food, which my stomach grumbled for, but for Tamela, to pull her away before…

The others left the sanctity of shadows—the one thing the living feared more than us were the shadows we lurk in—and swarmed in on the kid.

Gun shots rang out through the air and I saw Tamela drop. She crumpled forward, her body landing on the kid’s as the other zombies lurched forward. There were so many of us—no way they would be able to save the kid, but they took out as many of the undead as they could before the resistance gave way to panicked running.

Have you ever heard a zombie scream? Well, I did… as loud as I could. My stiff joints made it difficult to pull the other zombies off of her, their bodies heavy and void of life, just as I knew Tamela’s was. At the bottom of the pile lay Tamela and her last meal, still ripe with plenty of flesh for the hungry. My mouth watered and my stomach bellowed, knotted, but Tamela…

The bullet went in just above her right eye, exited behind her ear. It was a neat little hole that left her skull intact while doing enough damage to kill her once and for all. Her once brown eyes stared into nothing. I tried to close them, but the lids popped open.

It was a struggle, but I bent, and eventually lifted her in my arms, her body less stiff than before, as if the bullet had rendered the tissues soft again, at least for a while. Then I disappeared back into the shadows, Tamela dead, my heart broken. I cried… I still do, even now…

Just ahead sits a brick school building, the children long gone. Around the back is a playground complete with a slide and swings and monkey bars and… a merry-go-round. The sun is hot and I’m not sure I can make it much further, but I have to.

The merry-go-round comes into view and my heart—yes, it still works, even if it doesn’t pump blood—quickens. Thank goodness the gate is still open. Not like anyone would have thought to close it when the world went to hell. I shuffle through and stop near the rusted out merry-go-round, its reds and blues and greens replaced with weather worn metal and rust. Gently, I lay Tamela on its hot surface, her brown hair, though brittle and dirty, forming a halo around her head. Her feet still point inward.

I sit down and heat rises through my tattered pants. Lying back, I place my head next to hers. My feet dangle off the merry-go-round, one of them touching the ground. I try hard to push off with the one foot until finally, the merry-go-round is moving slightly. The sky above us is blue with white cotton ball clouds blowing by with the wind. I fancy one of them to be a heart.

I smell the blood—someone living is near by. I hear the click and long to close my eyes. A shadow falls over me. I reach for Tamela’s hand for comfort and await the gunshot that will end this whole mess…


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