by Eric J. Krause
The chains on the bed rattled, jarring him from his uneasy slumber. Meredith needed to feed again. Sean headed for the kitchen for the raw hamburger. She calmed down, seemingly aware of what he was up to.
Sean clicked off the radio, unable to stomach any more talk about the new zombie epidemic. Besides, he was almost home. He'd take Meredith up to their cabin in the mountains. It was fully stocked with food and water for emergencies, though he'd always figured the crisis would be an earthquake or flood, not zombies. Whatever. They'd beat this. Together.
As he pulled into the driveway, he saw something lying on the front porch. Something mauled. Something bloody.
He put the car in park and leapt out. Tears filled his eyes as he guessed what this was. They'd been here and gotten to Meredith. He broke down right there when he saw he wasn't mistaken. Her body was decimated by bite and rip marks; her head attached only by a few sinews of muscle.
The hamburger disappeared fast. Meredith took big bites out of the middle, but ate carefully around his fingers, even though he wore heavy-duty work gloves. Was this thing trying to lull him into a false sense of security, or was she still in there? Best not to dwell on it. The isolation was close enough to driving him mad without such thoughts.
With the meat gone, she licked and sucked the excess off his fingers. A week or so ago, before she'd been constructed of rotting flesh, it would've turned him on. Their sensual play with food had led to many a night of passionate love making. Now though, as he felt the pressure of her lips and tongue, it was all he could do to keep from vomiting.
She lay passive, staring into his eyes. He'd learned during the week that if he talked to her, she wouldn't respond. Nothing about her showed any sort of recognition, any sort of humanity. It pained him to converse with her like that, so he stopped. He left her chained, unmoving on the bed, and went to wash off the glove.
"Sean, did you see this report? There are actual zombies roaming the streets of New York."
"Yeah, I saw it earlier on CNN. I thought they were just making up a funny news story or something."
"No, it seems legit." Meredith paused. "Do you suppose they wander around, arms outstretched, moaning for brains?"
He looked and saw her mouth fighting a smile, trying to stay serious, and that did it. He busted up laughing, and she joined him.
The power flickered. The generator wouldn't hold out much longer. He hadn't heard anything outside in quite some time, but that didn't mean it was safe. He'd taken pains to make sure nothing could squeeze though the boards on the windows and doors. That meant he couldn't see out, either. The Internet had been down for days, and his satellite TV picked up nothing but static.
He wouldn't worry so much about the power--the raw hamburger for Meredith was almost gone, and he'd been eating out of cans for a few days anyway--except for how stuffy the house was. He'd been running electric fans around the clock, and he could still barely tolerate it.
He sighed and looked at the bed. If her schedule held up, it'd be feeding time in an hour or so. What would he do when the meat was gone?
Sean carried her remains to the bed, tears so thick in his eyes he couldn't see straight. Before he lost it altogether, he needed to protect himself. The work would keep his mind clear. He washed Meredith's blood off the porch, hooked the generator up in the garage, and boarded up the house.
With the physical labor done, he came inside to mourn his dead wife, but stopped in his tracks at the bedroom door. Her flesh. It was growing back. It looked dead, rotted, but it was there. That could only mean she'd be moving soon.
He rushed into the garage and grabbed the rope of heavy chain that'd been there since they'd moved in. He had no idea what the previous owners had used it for, or why they hadn't taken it, but at this point, he didn't care. Good thing he'd never gotten around to tossing it like Meredith wanted.
He wrapped it tight around her and secured it to the bed frame with padlocks. There. If that didn't hold, he was a dead man. He didn't have anything better. There was nothing left to do now but wait for her to wake up.
Meredith sucked the last of the hamburger off of his glove with a hearty smack. As she did so, she gave him a lusty gaze. But no, that was impossible. This wasn't actually his wife. It was just a moving shell, a monster. Right?
He looked around the kitchen, but found little he could feed her. There was plenty of canned ravioli, but somehow he didn't think that would satisfy. And he couldn't let her starve because, god damn it, what if that really had been her soul staring up at him?
He sighed and slumped to the floor. He was sick and tired of this fucking isolation. But it didn't have to be like this. He could set her free. What better way to say "I love you" than giving her his flesh? It'd grow back. Hers did. And then they could be together forever.
Sean rushed into the bedroom before he could rethink this, and worked on unlocking the padlocks. Meredith shifted, as if she could sense his intentions. As he folded the chains off of her torso, allowing her to sit up for the first time as a dead woman, he giggled. Would they wander the streets, arms outstretched, moaning "hearts" instead of "brains?"
* Word count: maximum 1.000
* The story must be a romance between two zombies. Make it as horrific as you like. ;)
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Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Story Title
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