No Zombie for a Neighbor
Part Three: No Zombie for a Neighbor
I hung up on Mrs. Daniels to check on Theo. If he had been bit, I would kill him. It would hurt. It hurt when I had to kill Al. I was crying as I rushed to my husband without even having to do the deed.
The dog was dead. The room the animal had been kept smelled bad, but the door was still open. Theo was in the hallway taking off his socks by the time that I arrived. He saw me crying, and I saw water form in his eyes as he pushed the crowbar to me. I looked to the animal to see its small size while making a promise that my children would never have a pet.
I thought of Al as Theo checked his foot. The white man would simply repeat, “I don’t care.” I could not go there. I did care. Theo looked at me strangely, then grabbed his shoe.
“He didn’t get me. He bit on a seam and it was the edge of the section of leather that I felt.”
I was still crying as I asked, “Are you sure?”
Theo pushed the crowbar just an inch more toward me, then said, “Yes, I believe so.”
I had him move into the bathroom where we could inspect the foot and what had covered it. The bottom of the shoes had a strange scum upon it, so I had him take off the other one and throw them into the bathtub. I did the same with his socks. I then washed his feet. He commented about my actions being a little much, but I kept crying as I washed his feet while telling him about having to kill Al.
We did not have sex. Theo held me as I cried. We then found the most serious cleaning agents to use on his shoes and socks. Then we put them into the washing machine. As the machine started cycling, I considered having sex, but Theo put his attention to the room that the dog had been in.
Water had seeped in from a crack at the foundation. There was not much feces, but what we saw indicated that the dog had been managing to somehow survive living off its own wastes. That had probably lowered its natural immunity to infection, and when the polluted water came into the room it easily became a target for whatever undead agent was present.
I called back the owner of the house to tell her about the water seepage. She spoke of knowing about it, but that the appraisals to fix it had been more than her or her husband could presently afford. She cried understanding that their financial problem had resulted in costing her dog its life.
While she was on the phone, I opened the doors to the rooms letting her know that the rest of the house was in good shape. I then opened the refrigerator to tell her what I was taking. She mentioned a separate freezer in a storage room in the garage. Thanking her, I wished her the best.
I was about to hang up, but replied, “Yes?”
“Are you going to expand your area in our direction? I have my children here, and they would like to play outside.”
“Truthfully, we need to secure food. I was thinking to expand in the direction of the pizza parlor, as there are probably other businesses out there that could help us.”
Theo showed that he understood what was being said even though he only heard my side of the conversation. “There are also the Herrings behind us. It might help to work in that direction.”
I delivered the words to Mrs. Daniels. “My husband mentioned an old couple behind our house, and said that the other option would be to expand in that direction.”
“Well, I am glad to have you for a neighbor. Look forward to meeting you one day.”
I told her the same, mentioning that it would be good for our children to have others to play with. I hung up wondering if we would ever meet. Thinking of the children, I went in search of their room wondering if they had toys that my niece or nephews might enjoy.
The Daniel’s yard was not closed, so we watched for zombies. It was nice being able to move without being swarmed by undead. Two did come with one of them a runner. Theo and I rushed to toss our bags of frozen steaks over the fence, then we turned to meet the zombies. I dropped to slam my hammer against the legs of the runner. It had enough momentum that my strike barely bothered it, although my husband made a positive exclamation as his strike with my crowbar bit into the side of the undead’s head. He rammed it upon the metal spurs on top of the fence, and the creature got stuck there. While both of us worried about it, we teamed up to take on the slower zombie. My hammer cracked the skull on the first shot with Theo easily sending the crowbar into the brain matter. With the slow undead no longer a threat, we turned back to the fast creature stuck on the fence and soon had it no longer animated as well.
Theo and I both looked at the sacks as we lifted them. The strange scum could be seen on the outside. We moved into the back yard, then stared at the faucet. I did not say anything to my husband about him using the hose to blockade the street. He did not speak an apology. Theo simply worked to take out the steak packages separately without having them contact the scum, although we still washed the plastic outside before putting them in our own freezer.
I boiled two pots of water. One was for us to drink, the other I put in two of the steak packages. I did not cook the meat in that manner, but I wanted to make certain that no zombie germs were going into our food.
I called mother and told her about my day. I mentioned the scum, and suggested that she boil her drinking water. She told me that the water still seemed good, although I commented that Bruce Williams would be commenting upon it tonight. What she said in return however caught me by surprise.
“Them zombies have been decaying strangely.”
I had not really been paying attention to the corpses. We tended to toss them to the ditch or somewhere out of the way. There were just too many live zombies to worry about the dead ones. Mother really had not been outside with the rest of us. I thus wondered how she would know. Her next statements answered that question by telling me that she had been paying attention.
“The zombies had been walking the street; I saw them misstep a number of times as they walked on bodies. Human bodies go through rigor mortis, then swell. Zombies bodies just lie there and go soft.”
I thought back upon the last few days. The corpses did seem to go away. While we had used fallen zombies as obstacles for other undead, the ground often was not such a problem to their feet later. It could have been due to the zombies walking all over the corpses and smashing them into mush. While the bodies surely did not disappear, considering that they had dissolved away just did not seem right. Although it was a theory that I had to give support considering our activities over the last few days.
“Then they dissolve in water?”
“I don’t know about that. Those walking around don’t seem bothered by the rain. It would be nice if the undead would drain away.”
I thought back upon what I had seen during the day as I said, “The ditches seem to still be full. Could it be that they clogged up the pumps?”
“Maybe not the pumps, but they are blocking the flow of water somewhere.”
Worried, I altered my view of outside to look at the sky. It had been mostly overcast all day. I however had not been watching the television, although could hear it in the background at my mother’s house. I thus asked a question of her.
“Is it supposed to rain again tonight?”
“I think so.”
I spoke to her of the problem in the Daniels’ house with the crack. We both then spoke of what the water had done to one of the pizza men and the dog. Mother then mentioned a concern about the scum should the water not drain it away. She mentioned that if the bodies of the zombies did not break down as normal, then it might not fully decompose as normal either. Instead of becoming nutrients for the plants, a perpetual residue might be on the ground making it deadly for anyone. Thinking of the children, I finished speaking to my mother to do an inspection of my home.
Theo proved that he had again made sense of just hearing my side of the conversation as he said, “I don’t ever remember a leak.”
Declaring that I was not afraid of showing my feeling around the man, I asked, “What about the children? Are they never going to be able to play outside?”
He had only heard one side of the conversation, so needed to be informed of things that my mother had said. I saw him move to the window and look as I mentioned the scum. He knew about it, and had taken it into consideration during the day. We had not that long ago washed plastic containers of frozen meat to keep the scum from affecting us or the children. He thus did not argue with what I had said, and his words in response were very dire.
“We do have more rain coming. I have never seen this section of town flood however, so we should be safe. About the ground… I don’t know. If we get rid of the zombies, then the residue of the zombies will fade as well. Nothing stays forever. The chemicals of whatever the zombies are will break down.”
“How long will that take?”
“I don’t know. We just keep taking things one day at a time.”
He approached me and grabbed one of my boobs. I looked at him with a serious expression, and saw no joy in his face. His other hand however came behind my head and pulled it to him for a kiss. I did not resist him, although I considered it. I truthfully wanted to ask him what he was doing, but felt no fear of letting him do things with me. He had not hurt me or the children. While there might not be any enjoyment in his actions, I allowed that there would also be no pain. He continued to hold my breast as his head moved from mine to speak.
“It is my job to worry about the zombies.”
I clarified my words. “I did not say that I would not worry about the zombies, but I even said that I would worry about the children. This matter definitely involves the children.”
“True.” He released my body, then said, “But I want it said that I am holding you to your marriage vows, Mrs. Tork. I am also saying that I understand my part in the agreement.”
“I have not said anything complaining about you.”
He now smiled as he said, “And I am saying that I still feel that I gained a wonderful woman. I wanted to cop a feel, okay?”
“Oh.” I actually felt silly, although realizing that I had not resisted the man I returned, “Any time, Mr. Tork.”
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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