Evening all, another Friday and another short story for your pleasure. This is another zombie related piece, but I promise that some slightly more varied fiction is on the way. Honest.
And now, to the fiction!
She had died too soon.
As he stood over her freshly dug grave, the shovel in his hands leaning gently on the soil, he said a silent prayer for his dearly departed wife. A single white rose lay on top of the cross he had fashioned for her, an amalgam of leftover boxes and wire that he’d kept in the garage. It wasn’t much, but it was the best he could put together with what little they had left.
A good storm would wash away the headstone and his hastily written words, but it didn’t matter. As long as there was a headstone now, at her burial, that would be enough. There was no permanence in the world now.
He wiped a tear from his eye as he thought back to their lives before. She had always been the smart one. When the old world had started to crumble, she had been the one insisting they go out and stock up on food, water, essentials. She had been the one to suggest barricading their home, to stop the baying hordes outside from getting in. Her best idea yet had been to destroy their staircase. If the dead did happen to break inside they would find nothing but what was left of the gutted downstairs rooms. He’d had to admit it was a clever idea. She said she’d read about it in a book.
So they had worked together, hacking away at the staircase until there was nothing left but scraps. They kept it all in the spare room upstairs, to be used as firewood when the winter came rolling in. With the power out it would be bitterly cold.
They had settled down to see through the end of the world together. Their lives had been as perfect as they could have been under the circumstances. They had both been happy.
And yet in the end, she had been bitten and he hadn’t. There was something cruelly ironic about this world. At first he’d wished it had been him instead, then realised she would have had to go through exactly the same as he was now. He wouldn’t have put her through this.
The tears continued to flow down his cheeks as the soil began to writhe and move near his feet. A hand emerged from beneath it, reaching out tentatively at first, then began grabbing desperately at the air when it reached the top.
He staggered back in alarm. He had known that this might happen, but the cold reality of it still made him recoil in terror. It had been a mistake burying her in such a shallow grave.
Slowly but surely the remains of his wife clawed their way back up into the world. She snarled with every move, her mouth fixed in an angry rictus. Her teeth were now permanently bared, her lips having been pulled back completely as her skin had dried out, her features now seemingly plastered firmly against her skull.
Now she was nothing more than a horrific reinterpretation of his wife. All that he had loved about her was gone, both in body and in spirit. Her skin, covered in soil and grime, was a pallid grey. Her hair was matted and twisted. Her face… he couldn’t bear to look at her like this.
But she had seen him. Now, with increasing speed, she began struggling over to where he stood.
As she clawed her way over towards him, he raised the shovel above his head. Could he do this? Did he have the strength to do what he knew must be done? Wouldn’t it just be easier to let her bite him too? There wasn’t much left in this world now that she had been taken from him. It would be better if he ended it now, on his own terms. One bite, that’s all it would take.
His eyes closed, he listened as the snarls grew closer with each passing second. What to do? In those seconds he weighed up every decision that had led him to this point. All the possibilities that might lie ahead if he chose to live. What he would regret if he lived on.
A hand grabbed his boot. In that instant he made his decision.