No Zombie for a Neighbor
Part Three: Home Again
I believe that all of us screamed when the large pane of whatever material had been used for glass collapsed into the store. The window had not gone all the way to the floor, and there were items for sale set up for display through the window. Zombies thus could not simply move in, and they were too stupid to step over. Some just stood at the barrier like some toy, but a couple fell over forward. I rushed to send my crowbar into their heads before they could rise back up.
Keys jingled as Annette handed the gun to Sandra while saying, “I am going for what Henry has in his pockets.”
“Give me your padding as well,” the plump lady said. As the folded mass of paper towels was handed to her, she mumbled, “Not like I have ever fired one of these things either.”
I saw the plan, and moved back not wanting to be a target or otherwise get into anyone’s way. I turned hearing something behind me, but it was just Elizabeth who had a pipe wrench. I believe that she intended to rush up to make an attack upon another zombie that fell into the store, but I pointed to Sandra indicating that she needed to be wary of her actions.
The bullet tore through the left chest of a zombie, which caused me to yell, “Aim for the head!”
“I was. That one.”
She pointed to the one on the floor. I felt the fear of bullets ricocheting inside the store. I thus signaled to Elizabeth as I said, “We can get those inside. Fire at those outside.”
I could tell from the way that she moved that the recoil from the gun had caused her pain. She however did the same thing that I did. Sandra set the rifle determined to fire again whatever the cost.
This time the head of a zombie standing before the window suddenly developed the problem of having a hole through it. I could only smile seeing Elizabeth realize the same thing that I had learned, which was that skulls were rather tough things to crack. Both ladies looked to each other with expressions of being pleased having had some success, then they set themselves to do it again.
Another zombie had its head put out of commission, but we screamed as a running zombie caused a number to fall forward into the store. I joined Elizabeth in the work of bashing skulls. I could not help but jump at the sound of gunfire, but quickly went back to work feeling relief that another zombie would not enter.
Annette said, “I am going to rush to Henry.”
I told Elizabeth, “Let’s scream. We need to pull the zombies away from Annette.”
She shrugged, then gave out a rather disturbing shriek as she made her next attack. We all laughed when I tried to match it. We did not allow the humor to stop us, but continued to shout and scream as we fought the zombies.
I turned upon hearing a jangle of keys to see Annette showing off her trophy of one particular key on a keychain. We cheered even as we stayed at work. She however spoke as if we could stop.
“Come on. Let’s go!”
“No,” Sandra said. “Load up the truck with what you can. As long as it stays like this, we can handle it. Let us make certain that we don’t wish that we had taken something with us.”
We all began naming things for the Rita and Annette to load in the truck. The conversation kept up the spirits of those of us working to kill zombies. Between the blazing fire and the retorts of the gun, a number of undead stayed coming in our direction. When the ladies spoke of being tired, I reminded them that those loading the truck were not speaking of seeing zombies, and that we needed to keep it that way. We thus continued to check on the progress of the other two ladies as we worked to increase the attrition rate of zombies.
Finally, Annette said that they had loaded what they could. Sandra had run out of bullets, so had gone to get some lighter fluid. After squirting a couple of bottles upon the fallen zombies, she lit them with a match. While the fire might not stop the zombies from attempting to enter the store, it would probably prevent live zombies from reaching us. I fled with the other ladies to the back of the store then through a door to a truck waiting there.
The vehicle was large. While there were five of us ladies, we all sat comfortable. I looked back to see the rear of the truck loaded with what we had mentioned. Feeling that we were leaving nothing behind, I watched as Annette drove us away.
Sandra screamed to Annette about her driving. The rest of us however told the lady to keep moving. Zombies reacted to the sound of the motor, and with a number already coming due to the roar of the inferno and the gunfire, once out of the back of the store there were a number of walking bodies ahead of us. Sandra mentioned that most of the stuff in the rear was loose, so we were losing some items due to the wind, but the rest of us mentioned simply wanting to stay alive. I gave her directions, and almost as soon as the words left my mouth Annette had the vehicle maneuver to where I needed to provide the next set of instructions.
We did not leave zombies behind. The roads were manageable. Annette had to make some hard turns to avoid some accidents. She drove through a couple of yards. My mother actually lived in a nice house, although it did not have much of a yard. Annette barely slowed down as she turned into the driveway, and I felt the truck lurch as the front left wheel moved over cement steps to a side door. We all screamed seeing zombies move in our direction.
Only words of relief sounded when my mother opened the door. She spoke of being glad to see me. I spoke of being glad to see her, and tried to give the names of the ladies with us. As fast as we could we unloaded the truck. Mother commented about some of the items we brought inside, but kept the door open as we brought it all in.
After closing the door and all of us finally taking a moment to rest, my mother said, “Livonia, I actually expected you to bring a man home with you.”
“I had one, Mom, a good white man. He got bit yesterday.”
I did not want to tell her that I had to kill him. I did not want to tell her that I could be pregnant with his child. I did not want to talk about a lot of things. I believe that my mother sensed a lot of what I did not say.
“Well, why did the ladies with you decide to come here? Surely they had mothers as well.”
I looked at my companions as I said, “They might decide to do that, but I believe that you were the closest.”
Rita said, “You got a brave daughter, Mrs. Abraham. We were basically being slaves to a white man, but Livonia killed him.”
I replied, “He was stupid, mother. The one that I was with was a good man. He died protecting me.”
“I will want to hear your stories.”
Sandra said, “Yeah, but first we need to check on our situation. Have you been in contact with anyone?”
“No. Somebody hit a pole somewhere, because the phone is out. Livonia had me get satellite TV, because she wanted some channel the cable company would not provide. I thus still have TV.”
Some of the ladies had phones, but Sandra kept my mother’s attention by asking, “How about your neighbors?”
“They are zombies. I saw things that I wished that I had not seen looking out the window.”
Annette interrupted to ask, “Do you have a bath?”
That question caused the conversation to break up, as all the ladies with me had not had a bath in a number of days. I had a good shower the day before, so I showed the others around the house. My mother was not a large lady, just as I was not. The only clothes that I thus could offer were some shirts of my father’s that my mother had not thrown away. The ladies were grateful for what we could provide even as my mother promised to wash what they had.
While the ladies bathed, I helped my mother store away what we had brought. She made comments about the amount of alcohol, but I mentioned that most of the good beverages had already been drunk. She complained about some of the food items, but I reminded her that what we had came from a convenience store. Mother mentioned not having much, so finally allowed that she was grateful for whatever we brought.
We were discussing what we would fix for supper when my mother simply grabbed me and began crying. She had been alone these past few days, so had been forced into solitude worrying about me, herself, and all sorts of other things. In having me alive, she found herself with one less thing to worry about along with someone with whom she could release all of her other worries upon. I held her and listened to her sob.
Finally, she asked, “Livonia, what do we do now?”
I thought of Al as I spoke of his plans. “We choose a direction, and slowly go house-to-house removing zombies. If a house has people in it, we do what we can.”
“Can we do that?”
“Food and other things are going to run out. We need to start planning now.”
Sandra said, “There are a lot of us for this one house. It would help if we could spread out.”
My mother replied, “Both houses next to me have zombies in them.”
I tried to sound confident as I said, “Then the first order of business will be to remove those zombies from the houses next door. You don’t need zombies for a neighbor, Mom.”
“No zombies for a neighbor. Yes, that would be good.”
“Well, we will do that tomorrow. Right now I want to relax.”
The other ladies agreed. They took over making supper, so I spent time telling my mother about Al, then about those in the stores. The ladies spoke of Henry. We all had enough stories to stay talking until late.
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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