No Zombie for a Neighbor
Part Two: Establishing Boundaries
I heard what Annette said, but I trusted Theo. At least I was willing to see if he could be trusted. Wanting to give my man a chance to defend himself, I told Annette to put Theo on the phone.
The man was panting as he said, “Don’t worry, Livonia, I’m safe. You will need to take care of the children for a while.”
“Well, I really don’t want you sleeping with Annette. There is a window where I removed the screen. You can run to my mother’s house."
“Yes, that is my plan. I need to meet your mother. Also, she has the gate. For the rest of your life, Livonia. Just remember that. For the rest of your life.”
Those words actually scared me in a way. While I did enjoy the sex, I somehow felt Theo gaining power over me. Giving a man the authority to claim my body always before tended to provide me with some control over the relationship, as what I had given I could also take back. I however realized that Theo was asserting an actual bond over me. Yes, he had requirements as well, but he was letting me know that he was fulfilling his obligations. Worried that I would be walking around in the nude for the rest of my life, I tried to put some strength in my voice as I made my reply.
“For the rest of your life, Theo. Don’t make it a short one.”
“No zombie for a neighbor. The children need to play outside. All that will happen, and I will keep a wonderful woman as my wife doing special things for me. Sounds like a good life to me.”
However much the thought of continually putting on displays for the man bothered me, I found myself admitting that Theo was a good man. “I want you back.”
“I’m yours, but I have things to do. It might not be until tomorrow. Let’s see how well you can do alone with the children.”
Yes, that was part of my agreement as well. I have to admit that I suddenly felt trapped by my own words. Theo had not set any terms upon our relationship, but I had made the promises contingent upon certain agreements. He was letting me know that he was going to hold me to fulfilling my part of the bargain.
“Do what you need to do, Theo. The children and I will be fine. You stay fine as well.”
“I have a plan, Livonia. We will all be fine.”
Not really having any other choice, I ended the phone call. I had not done what I did that morning to inspire Theo to run off and put into action some crazy plan. However, my words to him were for him to put his mind to removing the zombie threat. He had come up with some idea, and looking at the Phillip’s house, which was now empty of zombies, I had to admit that Theo could think rather clearly when under pressure. I found myself wondering if Theo thought I was really that pretty when naked when I heard the voice of another calling out.
“HEY! LADY! What is going on?”
The guys in the cab of the semi they hoped would allow them to safely deliver pizza were climbing out of the door that was now on top. One of them moved to stand on the upper side as he shouted at me. I did not think they were too smart yesterday, and looked at them now wondering if their pizza actually tasted good.
“Keep your voice down. Wait. Just wait.”
I moved into the Phillip’s house. I dug around and found a broom, but I did not feel that the handle would be effective against a skull. I actually brought a bowling ball to the front window with the broom. Not really knowing if the combination would work, I opened a front window to the house.
I waited for my first zombie to arrive at the window as I asked, “Don’t you white guys know it is not safe for you to be in a black neighborhood?”
“Yeah, well, screw…”
His companion told him to be polite. He then watched as the first zombie came near my window. I used the broom to get its head inside, then slammed it with the bowling ball. I was scared the blood would splatter, but the heavy sphere just cracked the skull. As an ooze came from its head, I pushed it back outside while hearing a better worded statement from the man.
“Black people eat pizza too, and most of our usual customers are black. We felt that we were among friends.”
I looked for my next zombie as I replied, “You’re okay. We have some white women right now in those houses across from me. We are all in this together. What are your names?”
“Al, Al Blaine. That is Steve Conrad.”
“I dated a white guy named Al, so I guess that it is a popular name for white guys. Anyway, glad to meet you. My name is Livonia. That was my husband, Theo, who ran by earlier.”
“Nice to meet you. We sure could use a bathroom.”
Another zombie came to the window, and I treated it as I did the one before. The streets were not swarming with the undead. While I still considered Theo taking a definite risk in doing what he did, I felt that he was more of a man than the pizza guys. While waiting for my next zombie, I spoke in return.
“Right now, I would suggest that you just do your business off the side. You will have ladies looking at you, but you are just going to have to deal with it.”
“If we run to you, will you open the door?”
Seeing another zombie move to me, I really did not give them good odds, but I did reply that I would open the door. Both men stayed where they were. They did not chance simply dropping down, much less dashing through the undead.
Al asked, “Do you think the chain and garden hose will hold?”
I pointed as I replied, “We have a fence bent over by a mass of zombies. If you remember, you had your truck tipped over by zombies. No, if you make a scene, you can get enough undead to break it.”
Neither man looked especially pleased with my reply, with Steve saying in response, “We thus should probably stay where we are.”
“Listen, the zombies move. They do not know how to work the knobs, so I will have the door unlocked. When you feel that you have a chance, make your move.”
I heard a sound, and saw Theo fall into my mother’s yard. I guess that he had a problem jumping the fence. I looked for zombies following him, although had to shift my perspective to dealing with another at my window. As I pushed another corpse from my sill, I looked to the truck only to turn my head at the sight of the men relieving themselves.
After killing another zombie, the men had finished their business and were wanting to talk again. “What is the plan?”
“I guess put the gate back on my mother’s fence, then move the truck to try and block the street from another spot. We can then work to kill the zombies inside while doing more to secure our little barriers.”
My phone rang, and I answered to hear my mother say, “I like your husband.”
Accepting that I would be spending part of my future making coffee in the nude, I replied, “Yes, he’s a keeper. What has he told you?”
“He is discussing putting on the gate with Rita and Sandra.” I heard a door shut, then mother said, “They must think that they can do it, because there they go.”
“Well, you take care of my man.”
“I will. I am going to cook a roast.”
I told the pizza men that I had children to care for, but that the door would be unlocked. They thanked me while admitting it was probably wise for them to stay where they were. After agreeing, I checked to assure that the front door was actually unlocked, then left out the back to return to the children.
The boys were playing in the hallway, although ran to me when I came in through the door. They needed their diapers changed, then I started to work on breakfast. I tried to look through the front window as much as possible, but whatever Theo and the other ladies were doing they stayed out of sight. I however found that the children did accept me, and that I could indeed manage to live with them.
I moved back to the window as Claire said, “I see Uncle Theo, Aunt Livonia.”
He, Rita, and Sandra rushed to the truck carrying the gate. I heard bangs as the top to the corner post was removed. Doing their best to stay oblivious to the zombies moving in their direction, pieces were realized not to slip down the post due to the connection of the fencing material. The top was banged back on as the pieces were undone so they could slip around the fence post. Theo helped the ladies work certain bolts completely from their place, then he climbed into the bed of the truck to strike at zombie skulls while the two ladies worked at putting the pieces back together after placing them around the fence post. Theo had to jump down occasionally to lift the gate or do something that they felt required his strength. I had not found him that strong in relation to other men that I had been with, so actually felt that the other ladies were simply having him do things because he was a man. Determined to assure everyone knew that Theo was my man, I watched him and the other ladies put up the fence.
It was Claire that pointed out the animals. I found myself wanting to use the phone to warn the group working on the gate. I however again had to remind myself that such an act was deadly. Of course, being attacked by zombie animals was a fatal act as well. Instead of trying to use the phone, I told Claire to stay still and quiet as I moved to the door.
I stepped out the front door and yelled about the animals. I believe that I specifically mentioned dogs, but it did gain my husband’s attention and he dropped what he was doing to take the crowbar and swing at a cat. I felt momentary relief in knowing that he was all right and warned, although I felt fear realizing that I was unarmed when one of the zombie dogs turned in my direction and jumped the fence.
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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