And I Am Alone


Something remains of the bright wavy pattern of the old lawn chair. Faded, there was a dim suggestion of those colorful lines which once so proudly advertised themselves in the store. Now they were colorless, drab and unremarkable; the chair was a piece of sun-beaten junk in a cluttered yard rarely visited.

He approached it cautiously, worried some spider or other foul thing might have made a home in it. Extending his arm, he put his finger on it, just pulling it a little from the wall. As it came forward, the thing began to unfold, and its seat opened with a little clank, the rusted frame striking the cracked walkway.

Brushing away what cobwebs and debris he saw, L. sat down. The glass of lemonade was cool in his hand, and he balanced it on the plastic armrest, keeping his fingers close so as to steady the whole thing. Now and then he would lift the cup with the painted yellow flowers to his lips, sip, and then let the drink return.

Hours passed, and L. never moved but his arm. The sun worked to set, and had it a face, would have given L. one questioning glance to see him out of doors for so long and not yet returning to his home when night was sure. The night itself might have thought it odd to find L. out of his place, but was far too busy to really mind. L. minded nothing; he just sat contentedly, his finished glass set aside.

I myself, seeing L. out this late, paid him no heed, and went about my sordid business. I thought I would wave good-naturedly. The effort was too great, and by the time I passed his house, it was too late. He was safe anyway; the zombies wouldn’t get through his gates.

A shuffling form down the road caught my interest. Shining my light, I saw the grey flesh of a dead man excreting its glistening slime. I walked along the path before me, my arms slumped against my sides. I found it hard some nights to even lift my head. My hand touched the five pound sledgehammer at my side, and the cool metal head electrified me, shivers running down my spine.

Readying my hammer, I met the zombie. I watched as he crouched, and with a sudden spring lurched, his stiff arms stretching out, his swollen fingers darting toward my face. I stepped to the side, and he staggered into the empty air. As he turned to look at me, I brought my hammer down across his temple. The force drove him to his knees, and he slumped to the black pavement. Taking aim, I swung at the base of his skull, shattering the bones in his neck. The body went limp. Still, the jaw moved, opening and closing, and the eyes could still see. They were colorless, empty eyes, eyes wanting to be filled; they were the eyes of hunger.

Dropping to my knees, I begin to beat his head in, crying and screaming in the night as his rotting skull slowly caves with blow after blow after blow. When there is nothing but black bile, dark sludge against dark ground, I keep beating and beating away, holding on, trying to feel something.  My hammer slows. Soon the numbness returns, and I am all alone.

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