Good evening all, I hope you’ve had a good week (assuming you’re only popping along every Friday for a short story and not one of my regular film reviews). This is part 4 of the I, Zombie story. Where will the story go? There’s only one way to find out…
“You realise that’s a stupid name for him, right?” Howard shook his head. He glanced into the rear view mirror and looked at the newly christened Pops. The presence of a zombie in such close proximity unnerved him, no matter how docile and compliant it seemed to be.
“You got anything better?” she shot back.
“No, I got nothing” he replied, switching his attention back to the road in front of him.
Abandoned vehicles had been left all over the road, but it looked as if somebody had already been through this way and cleared a path. All the better. The less time they had to spend out in the open the safer Howard would feel. He manoeuvred the jeep around a school bus that had overturned. It looked like it had been there a while, probably happened right at the very beginning of the outbreak. People had panicked, tried to get out of the cities as quickly as they could. They hadn’t realised that the virus had been airborne. It didn’t matter where you went, it would find you.
Pops wasn’t sure he liked the name that he had been given, but it was better than nothing for now. He looked around, feeling as if he was watching events through someone else’s eyes. It was like he was trapped inside this body, inside this mind, and there was no way his true identity would ever be seen again. Not that he knew anything about himself. Just the bodies in that hotel room, the blood…
It was then that he noticed the corners of his vision beginning to dim, the telltale sign that the hunger fog was beginning to descend on him once more. It was a subtle change, one that would have gone unnoticed had he not been paying attention to it.
Pops moved his hand towards his mouth in what he hoped was a gesture to show he needed food.
“Pops is hungry” said Jenkins, nodding her head at him.
“So what?” said Howard.
“So unless you want him to start chomping on us, you should pull over.”
Howard sighed and moved the jeep over to the side of the road in the first clearing he could find.
“Let it be noted on the record that I think stopping again is a bad idea.”
“Noted.” Jenkins said before turning to Pops. “Out you get.”
Pops stood and almost immediately fell over the side of the jeep straight to the ground. He landed with a solid thump and a cloud of dust. Jenkins covered her smile and jumped out after him.
“Here.” She offered him her hand. She wasn’t wearing gloves. All it would take was a quick bite and the hunger would be satisfied again.
He banished the thoughts as quickly as possible. He did not want to give in to that temptation. As soon as he did, his life such as it was would be over. He focused on the hunger itself, on an alternative food source. The cravings reduced until they were nothing more than a dull ache in his mind and in his gut.
Jenkins helped Pops to his feet. Her attention was distracted as rubble from the buildings nearby shifted, smashing on the ground below. Howard was already out of the jeep, his rifle loaded and ready to fire. Jenkins was a second or two behind him with her own. Pops stood behind them both. He could sense that something was amiss, but couldn’t place exactly what.
“Over there. Something’s moving.” Jenkins pointed towards the nearest building, 200 yards away.
Howard adjusted the sights on his rifle and looked down the scope. Sure enough, there was movement amongst the buildings.
He fired a warning shot.
“Come out with your hands where I can see ‘em!” he shouted into the darkness.
More rubble shifted. A zombie emerged from the building, drawn by the sound of the shot. Within seconds there were a dozen more, appearing from almost every building in the vicinity. As one they all made their way towards the jeep. Jenkins gasped. More and more of the dead were appearing, joining the crowd, following the herd.
It was as if every zombie within the city was descending upon them.