By Daniel Mendoza
Ted woke up in a darken alley face down in a puddle of water and he had no clue how he got there. The last thing he could remember was walking up the steps of his apartment building and finding his girlfriend Sara waiting at the front door, after that everything went blank. As Ted was getting to his feet, he noticed the bit mark on his arm, the wound was quite large but the blood had clotted so there was no immediate worry of bleeding out. What did worry him was the fact that he had no recollection of being bitten and the bite did not look as if it was caused by any animal he was familiar with. He wasn’t a doctor but he could swear that something human had taken bit out of his arm. The thought passed through his mind that maybe he should see one of the doctors in the ER but he had a splitting headache and was starving like you wouldn’t believe. Ted looked around the trash filled alley and realized that he recognized the alley. It was the same alley the windows in his apartment looked out to. Ted pushed his wet black hair out of his eyes and walked towards the mouth of the alley. On the way to his apartment, Ted passed a large green trash receptacle and next to it was a red high heel shoe similar to a pair his girlfriend owned, seeing the shoe lying there on its side made Ted wonder if his girlfriend was ok. The first thing he would do when he got back to his place would be to give her a call.
Ted managed to stumble his way to his fourth floor apartment. It seemed like it took him forever to get there. It was as if he was walking through a muddy swamp. His muscles ached with every movement and it took all his energy to move a single step. Ted reached into his pocket and fumbled with his keys. It took him four tries to finally open the dark brown door to his apartment. The first three times he had dropped the keys as he tried to put the key in the lock.
There were long deep scratches on the front door that hadn’t been there when he had left the apartment earlier. The gouges were deep enough that Ted could see the wood beneath the paint. The scratches were very strange but Ted’s head hurt too much to give it much thought. His headache had moved from the hurting category to the killing him category and had pushed his hunger aside. Ted let the door slam close behind him and didn’t even bother to lock it as he shambled his way towards the bathroom to get some aspirin.
When Ted finally made it into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror, he was frightened by the image he saw. His eyes which were once sea green had a milky white film over them, his skin which had been blemish free and Carmel colored was as pale as a corpse. Something was definitely wrong with him that aspirin was not going to fix. He was going to need to see a doctor after all but first he was going to take something for his headache. Ted opened the mirrored door to the medicine cabinet and reached in and grabbed the white bottle with the blue Aleve label on it. Ted struggled with the child proof cap and when he was finally able get the bottle open, the tablets spilled all over the bathroom tiles. Ted dropped to his knees scooped up two of the tablets off the tile and dry swallowed them. He was in too much pain to bother with water. When he was able to get back on his feet he turned on the bathroom faucet and drank water straight from the tap. His mouth was as dry as a desert in the Middle East. It was as if his exocrine gland had stopped producing saliva. The water went down cool and smooth but the moment the water hit his stomach it immediately came back up along with the Aleve. Ted puked the water right back into the bathroom sink he had drunk from. The puking stopped after a couple of minutes but now his hunger had taken lead in the pain department. The hunger became so severe that it dwarfed his headache. Not only was he feeling the need for substance in his stomach but his whole body seemed to crave food. Ted made his way slowly towards his kitchen and as he did so he bumped into almost every single piece of furniture along the way.
Ted stood in front of the open refrigerator scanning the food within. Although the hunger pain was unbearable he still was unsure what to consume. He had a feeling that not just anything would relieve his hunger. He had a deep craving but he was unsure what would satisfy it. When his eyes past over the steak that he had been defrosting for a late supper, his stomach grumbled. Ted snatched the bloody raw steak off the plate and immediately began gnawing on it. He chewed on the bloody pieces of steak for a few seconds and then he spit it out. The raw steak tasted good for a few seconds but then he realized it wasn’t exactly what he was craving but it was close. He rescanned the fridge but there was nothing else that seemed to stir his craving. The pain intensified when his mind realized there was nothing to appease his craving inside his apartment. Ted slammed the door to the fridge door so hard that it shook. His hunger had pushed him into an irritable state, the more his hunger increased the angrier he became. Ted lumbered out his door and once again he didn’t bother to lock it. His all consuming need for food had overridden his need to protect his belongings.
Ted finally made it out of his building after twice falling down the stairs. He came to the conclusion that not only was his hunger affecting his mind but it was also affecting his gross motor coordination. He seemed to be unable to maintain his balance for more than short periods of time. The night was eerie quiet as the empty street greeted him. There was a twenty-four hour deli not far from his building and he was sure that he would find whatever he was craving there, all he had to do was walk through the park across the street from his building and the deli was across the street from the north entrance. Ted didn’t care how far the deli was, he would’ve walked a hundred miles if it would get rid of the hunger. He walked past a sign on an open large black gate that read, park closes at dusk. The sign was green and the letters were faded and in full view of anyone entering the park through the large brick tunnel. Just like everyone else in the neighborhood, Ted ignored the sign and walked into the urine smelling tunnel. Underneath the smell of urine, Ted could smell another scent, a scent that caused his stomach to growl. The smell wasn’t coming from within the tunnel but on the other side of the tunnel in the park. He had no clue what the park could offer that would alleviate his hunger but Ted didn’t really care, he just wanted to stop the hunger pains. He followed the smell out of the tunnel and along the stoned path towards a cluster of trees. The smell was coming from the bottom of a tree to the far right. The scent seemed to help his gross motor coordination and he moved with an agility he had not had since waking up in the alley next to his building. He managed to get over to the tree without tripping over his own two feet. He reached the tree and found that the source of the scent that had drawn him to the tree was a small grey squirrel. The sight of the squirrel caused his stomach to release a growl loud enough to be heard all across the large park. There was no mistaking that the source of his craving was this small feral rodent.
The small grey squirrel looked up at him with small black eyes that feared the intruder in his domain. The rodent sniffed the air as if Ted’s scent did not match what it saw standing before him. The white stripe of fur on its back seemed to be standing on end as it was poised to take flight the moment Ted made a move towards it. Before ted realized it, he dove towards the squirrel in an involuntary action. His body was acting on instinct as he wrapped his hand around the squealing and squirming rodent. The squirrel clawed and bit his fingers but Ted did not release the rodent, instead he did something unbelievably bizarre. He lifted the squirrel into his mouth and bit its head off. He chewed on the flesh and fur trying to get at the brains inside its skull. The skull cracked open and hot juicy brains spilled into his mouth. He sucked down all the grey matter of the squirrel and when there were no more brains to consume he spit out the cracked skull and fur. With an empty mouth Ted opened his hands as the body of the squirrel twitched and his hunger grew more intense. The brains of the rodent had not been enough to quench his hunger. He brought the body to his lips and began chewing on the carcass of the squirrel. His actions terrified him but he couldn’t stop himself. He came to the realization in that moment that he was not acting on thought but on pure animal instinct and trying to stop that instinct would be like trying to stop the flow of a river. Whatever had happened to him between the time he reached his front steps and the time he woke up in the alley had changed him. He was no longer a man in control of his actions. The more he ate of the squirrel the more his hunger subsided. By the time he was finished with the carcass the hunger had quieted down to a dull ache. He tossed the undesired remains of the rodent on to the wet grass and looked upon blood stained hands. He began licking his fingers and only stopped when he noticed he had bitten off the tip of his index finger. His hunger was already beginning to increase once again.
Ted was barely able to lumber to his feet and stumble towards the playground. His gross motor coordination had returned to its substandard level. Somewhere in that playground another scent called out to him. As he made his way towards the new scent he caught a look at his reflection on a large metal slide. His mouth was caked with the squirrel’s blood and his milky white eyes had that same feral look as the rodent. He was no longer human. He was a far lesser mammal with an all consumer hunger. The scent drew him passed the swings to the benches behind them. Under the green wood bench was a stray tabby cat. The cat saw him coasting towards it and the black M on its grey fur forehead rose. The tabby arched its back and began to hiss intensely, yet it did not flee. The cat had been frozen in place when he scooped it into his arms. The tabby clawed and bit Ted much like the squirrel had done and much like the squirrel’s actions it did not help the cat. He pulled the leg off the cat and bit into it like it was a turkey leg on Thanksgiving Day. The tabby tried to squirm out of his one handed grip while he snacked on its leg but Ted had a tight grip on its throat. He devoured the tabby almost as quickly as he had the squirrel. He was also done with the last of the cat when he caught the strongest scent he had ever smelt. The intense scent moved towards him and as it did his hunger grew to an insatiable level, whatever it was he had to have it.
Ted looked up from the carcass of the tabby and noticed two young punks strolling towards him. They looked a bit befuddled as to what he was doing. As they got closer their scent grew stronger and the confused look on their faces became more intensified. Ted sat there on the bench finishing the last of the tabby as the two young punks came right up on him and the punk with the crew cut and pants sagging well below his ass said, “What the hell are you doing?” Their scent overpowered Ted and he dropped the tabby and grabbed the tattooed arm of the young punk with the crew cut. He took a huge bite out of his forearm before the young man could pull his arm away. Blood gushed from the wound as the punk managed to wrestle his arm away from Ted. A large piece of flesh with the head of a panther hung from his mouth and he pushed it into his mouth. The other punk in cargo shorts and white tank top saw this and back pedaled away from Ted as his friend screamed in agony.
“He’s a zombie yo,” the young punk who was back pedaling said.
Ted pounced on the screaming punk with the crew cut and bit into to his exposed throat. A geyser of blood shot from the punk’s neck as Ted came away with flesh and meat between his lips. The other back pedaling punk saw this turned and ran right into a tall black street light by the entrance to the playground. There was a loud banging sound and then the punk in the tan cargo shorts fell to the tarred ground and laid there unmoving. Ted ignored the fallen punk and continued to devour his friend with the same fever he had eaten the squirrel and tabby cat. Ted was covered in blood from head to toe by the time he finished eating the young punk with the crew cut. His belly had bulged five times larger than it had ever been at his heaviest weight so much so that the button on his jeans had popped off while he was eating the young punk with the crew cut.
The scent of the other punk that laid unconscious by the black street light called out to him despite his too full belly, his hunger would not be deterred even to the determent of his stomach. Ted pushed the corpse off his lap and managed to get to his feet after several tries. He waddled towards the unconscious punk ready to feed again when another scent overpowered the one of the punk. This scent was different than the two punks and not appetizing or enticing. The scent seemed to be coming from a figure off in the distance. The figure moved toward the punk by the street light and its scent grew stronger and familiar. He recognized the scent as decaying flesh and rotting meat, it was the same type of scent that lingered on his own body. The figure got close enough for Ted to make out that it was a woman. The woman got closer still and he noticed that she was wearing a red dress. That was when he realized he knew the woman with the scent of the dead; it was Sara, his girlfriend. She shambled towards the corpse in the same manner he had shambled towards the squirrel and tabby cat. Her eyes had the same milky film as his and there was a huge chunk of her cheek missing from the left side of her face.
Seeing her face gave him total recall of the moments between the time he reached the front steps of his building and the time he woke up in the alley. He remembered walking up the steps and noticing that Sara was standing by the door with a large blood oozing hole in her left cheek. His first instinct when he saw the large hole and her white milky filmed eyes were to run to his severally injured lover and he did. He raced up the steps and heard a growl that seemed to come from deep down in Sara’s throat. It was the only sound she made since he saw her and he worried that she was in shock. To be sure she wasn’t in shock Ted asked her, “Honey, are you ok?” If she answered him he would have known that she contained some of her senses but that didn’t happen. What did happen was he reached out to touch her shoulder so he could shake some sense into and she bit into his shirt and flesh and came away with a large chunk of both. Ted stumble away from Sara and fell backwards down the stairs. Sara came after him and when she took the first step she fell on her face and slide down the last of the remaining steps. She came to rest inches from Ted’s sneaker. Sara lifted her head, grabbed his foot and tried to bite off his toes through his leather sneaker. He could see that her nose and cheek bone had broken in the fall but that did not deter her hunger for his flesh. Ted used all his strength to pull his foot from her grasp and get to his feet. He ran to the corner of the building and into the alley between the two buildings.
As he entered the mouth of the alley he noticed Sara getting to her feet and he knew she was going to come after him. He quickly ran behind the large green trash receptacle and hid. Ted waited for what felt like forever until he heard the scraping sound of Sara high heel against the concrete ground, it sounded as if her ankle had broken in the fall. Ted heard her staggering towards the trash receptacle and he held his breath in fear. Her moment seemed to stop right on the other side of the green can. When seconds passed and he heard no more movement from Sara he chanced a peek around the side of the can. He saw Sara sniffing the air as if she was a feral wolf hunting her dinner. Suddenly, Sara caught a scent and Ted prayed it wasn’t his but he knew it was when she made a move towards his end of the can. She was about two steps away from his position when a man dressed in a suit appeared behind her and said, “Lady, are you ok?”
Sara turned in the direction of the man’s voice and shuffled towards him. The man stood his ground despite Sara’s appearance Ted wanted to call out to the man and warn him but he worried that Sara would reverse her direction and come after him. The loss of blood from the bite in his forearm made Ted too weak to fight off any attack, especially one from the corpse of his girlfriend. He felt guilty about letting the man in the suit fend for himself but self preservation prevented him from acting on the man’s behalf. Sara reached the man and the man reached out to help her and that’s when she struck. She grabbed his hand and bite off his index and middle fingers. Blood shot out of the wounds and the man stumbled backwards and tripped over the fire hydrant behind him. The man fell to the ground and lifted his arm to ward off any further attack from Sara. His arm did little to protect the man but it did offer a tasty snack for Sara. She grabbed his elbow with one and the hand with the missing fingers with the other and bit into the arm. The suit jacket slowed Sara down some but she still managed to get to the flesh and meat under the clothes. Sara finished with the arm and took a bite out of the man’s chest and that was when the man screamed, “please someone help me.” No one came to the rescue not even Ted, all he could do was watch as Sara made a meal out of the man. Ted knew if there was any chance of getting out of this alive he needed to move now while Sara was distracted. Ted got out of the crouching position and up onto his wobbly legs and took two steps before falling face first into a puddle. With the little energy, he had left he turned his head to the right out of the puddle. That was when he noticed that bite on his arm had bled a lot more than he realized. Sara had bitten through the ulnar artery in his forearm and he hadn’t noticed. He longer needed to worry about Sara coming for him because he would be dead before she ever came to dine on him.
That was how he woke up face down in a puddle in the alley adjacent to his building. Ted now knew what had happened. A zombie Sara had bitten him and he had died from her bite. He awoke from his death a zombie just like the punk in the cargo shorts had said. Now, he would be forced to roam the earth eating the flesh and meat of the living until someone managed to put a bullet in his head. Ted wished he could kill himself but his never ending hunger wouldn’t allow him to think beyond the need to eat. Sara reached the unconscious punk and began ripping his stomach open with her blood drenched fingers. With his all consuming hunger beckoning him forward, Ted ambled over to Sara and shared one more meal with her; even in death they still had one more thing in common.No tags for this post.