Also, pretend there is a cool graphic of a zombie right here.
Oh, actually no. Pretend that this picture isn't shamelessly stolen from The Walking Dead.
Hot Dogs and French Fries
A Zombie Story
by Patrick Shand
No one in the world understands me.
I can see the looks of disapproval in their yellowed eyes. Those of them whose faces remain intact stare at me in slack-jawed astonishment as I eat my meal. “Blasphemy!” some of the more pretentious ones cry. “Disgusting!” the women say as they watch me swallow my food and lick my lips. Some of the younger ones say, “Mommy, what is he eating?” to which their parent responds, “Don’t worry about it, sweetie. Move along.”
Yes, I am the strange one. The freak.
I wish I could say that I was a nonconformist, but I wish I could be like them. I wish I could find their meals savory. It is what’s expected. What’s right, the leaders say. But as I watch them grab the human prisoners at random, crunching through their skulls and tearing, chewing on, devouring, lapping up the insides of their craniums, I have to wonder… why do they like brains so damn much?
Thanks to my graveyard being within close proximity to Matheson Power Plant, I was one of the first to be reanimated when the incident happened. The good folks at Matheson tried to cover up their mistake, which is funny considering every cemetery within fifty square miles was churning within forty-eight hours. Within the week, the country was in a state of all out war. Within the month, the world was ours. Enslaved humans, total chaos, free reign for us, and skulls filled with brains waiting to be eaten wherever you looked.
When I first lumbered away from my grave, confused to be back in my body, which was a lot more malodorous than I’d remembered, I had one clear thought. I was hungry. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew that my stomach needed to be filled. I looked around and saw the others, the kind folks I’d been buried next to, were outright attacking humans. Babies were thrown about like footballs, men were taken down by packs of my kind, and women were lured into dark alleys and devoured by the skeevier ones.
Everywhere, they were eating brains.
Well, I figured, That seems to be the thing to do.
I set out on my quest. I approached a couple sitting out on their deck. They’d fallen asleep, and were oblivious to the mass hysteria that was taking place before them. Silently, I crept up on them as silently as I could, which, granted, wasn’t very silently, as I was dragging my broken right leg behind me like a sack of bones and flesh.
As I ascended the three steps with a thonk, thonk, thonk, the woman woke up, staring at me groggily. Before she could react, I was upon her. As I dug my decayed teeth into her throat to silence her, I felt the scream vibrating through my mouth, and I swallowed it, stifling her. The taste of blood stinging my tongue, I pulled her away from her still sleeping husband and pressed my teeth into her skull. My canines slowly sank into her head, and when I felt the resistance of bone, I pressed harder. With a loud crunch, I’d hit home. I rubbed my hands together, curious to engage in the same culinary ecstasy that my brethren were enjoying all around me. I pressed my mouth to her head and began to suck up her brains with all the gusto I could manage.
The taste overwhelmed me like the stench of a passing garbage trunk. I gasped, falling back into the sleeping husband, coughing, spitting, trying to force myself to vomit in order to rid my mouth of the awful, rancid taste.
“AHHHHH!” the husband screamed, pushing me away. He repeated his scream, albeit a few octaves higher, when I was out of his line of vision and he saw what I’d done to his wife.
“Garrrrrgh!” I cried.
“Monster!” he screamed, tears streaming down his cheeks.
“Garrrrrgh,” I repeated.
“Please, don’t kill me too,” he said, “please. Please. We have a kid, please…”
“Garrrrrgh,” I said, already quite tired of the exchange. The husband proceeded to collapse to his knees, needlessly pleading with me to not kill him. I didn’t want to do anything of the sort. I just wanted mouthwash.
I lumbered away, confused and displeased.
Maybe, I mused, she was an exceedingly dumb woman. Maybe dumb brains taste awful.
I continued to lumber down the street, wondering what to do. My hunger starting to scratch at my stomach, and I needed sustenance. I continued to walk on, until I found myself at the local university. There was a feisty young zombie on the walkway, feasting on the brains of a bespectacled man in a tweed jacket. The victim looked to be a professor.
Intelligence, I noted.
“Barrrrg,” I said to the young zombie. May I have a taste?
“Rackle marrf!” he replied. Get your own, mister!
A brief digression: Humans assume, based on the tropes of film and literature, that zombies are unintelligent creatures who live only to eat and kill. Incorrect. Humans have only seen the earth. We zombies have died. We’ve seen what comes next, and we have returned. Humans couldn’t dream of understanding us. Not our desires, not our intelligence, and especially not our language, which is so linguistically complicated that humans are just unable to hear the subtle nuances in our communication. What sounds like “Ughhhhh” to the untrained ear might just be, “Excuse me, don’t flee! I don’t wish to eat your brains! I’d simply like you to point me to the nearest hot dog stand” and what people may hear as “Garrrrrgh” is actually “Excuse me for gnawing through your wife’s skull, I was simply curious. My sincerest apologies!” and what may be misconstrued as “Braaaaaiiiinss…” well, that… yes, that is actually just “brains.”
So, back to my encounter.
“May I have a taste?”
“Get your own, mister!”
“I’d hate to have to resort to fisticuffs,” I warned the young zombie.
“Fine. Jerk,” he said, pushing the bespectacled man at me.
I shifted the weight of the man to my good side, as to not apply too much pressure to my broken leg. I sniffed the open skull of the professor, smelling nothing, which might be due to the fact that my nose had fallen off in an earlier stage of decomposition. Shrugging, I tentatively stuck my tongue into the folds of his brain, bringing a morsel of grey matter into my mouth.
I instantly dropped the man and vomited a black substance all over the poor young zombie. It was the first and certainly not the last time that one of my own called me a “freak.”
More to come! If you offer me love, devotion, and the hearts of twenty seven virgins. I kid. Twenty seven is way overkill.