I have been looking forward to the Zombie Walk ever since I joined up, and I'm so happy that it's finally here. It's finally time for you guys to meet one of my very best friends. I addressed my pet zombie in a previous post. I implied that he is an asshole, which he is. But he has a reason for it, so I can’t blame him too much. He doesn’t like me very much, I don’t think. The only reason he stays with me is because I feed him. I don’t really feel comfortable telling you how I feed him (legal issues); but regardless of how it’s done, we’ve established a nice symbiotic relationship. I feed him; he keeps me safe from psychos at night. That was the deal. One night, when we were hiding from one of those psychos, he told me a story to alleviate some of my distress. He agreed to let me share his story with all of you (maybe he’s not such an asshole, after all; I think I’ll go give him a hug when I’m finished). It might not be verbatim, but it’s close enough and should adequately explain why he is the way he is.
It was only a couple of years ago. I woke up in a box – no, a coffin. It’s taken a lot of mental power to be able to refer to it as what it was; but that’s what it was. A coffin. After a bout of hysteria, I managed to claw and climb and dig my way out. I noticed that I had torn a good bit of the flesh away from my abdomen. It hung in strings and dripped with blood; but, strangely, it didn’t hurt. I could hardly feel it.
I couldn’t remember anything. I didn’t know my name, where I was from, where I lived – nothing. All I knew was that, for some reason, I had been buried alive, and I needed to find out why.
I went into town and tried to talk to a few people. I thought, maybe I was in my hometown and someone knew me. They could tell me where I lived and I could start from there. The first person I approached – a man in his mid-thirties probably – screamed like a little girl and ran away from me, flailing his arms. Yes, he was actually flailing his arms. The second person was an elderly woman. That ended in about the same way, except the old woman couldn’t run properly and ended up falling face first into the pavement. I made sure that someone helped her up before I left.
I gave up on talking. I couldn’t figure out why they’d run from me. I knew I was dirty and covered in blood, but I figured that would give them enough reason to help me. I was wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I hid underneath a bridge. I was homeless then. I had nowhere to go, and I figured that the best place for a homeless person was under a bridge. There were no other people – no other bums to speak of – and I was glad for that. The last thing I needed was someone else screaming in my face. I did see a bird, though: a small blackbird the color of midnight. It was late, and the birds coat shone in the moonlight. I remember thinking how beautiful that bird was, and I suddenly realized that I was famished. I considered eating the bird right there. I couldn’t figure out why I’d think something like that. But I didn’t eat the bird, because I realized that it smelled absolutely horrid. I watched the bird for a few minutes before it flew away.
I just sat there, perched on a hard rock, and thought. There were so many questions, and I didn’t know where to go to get the answers I needed. Somehow, I guess I found some sort of calm and fell asleep. The next thing I knew, I was waking up to an old man looking down on me. He asked me how I was, but the only thing I could think about was the fact that he was not running away from me. Why, when everyone else seemed so terrified of me, was this man speaking to me so calmly? As if he cared. He told me that he could explain everything - that I would remember. So I followed him back to what he called his office.
His ‘office’ was nothing more than a little run-down shack. He called himself a doctor, and I hoped this wasn’t where he practiced, because it was a shithole. The first thing he showed me was a photograph of a man in his mid-thirties. He had dark brown hair and green eyes. He told me that it was a picture of me, but I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t even know what I looked like.
He went on to explain that I’d been part of an experiment: his experiment. He’d been trying to cure death, that crazy old bastard. There was screaming and I called him crazy, and he treated me like a child; told me to sit down and listen to what he had to say. And I did, because I had no other choice.
I had been dead. Not buried alive, but dead. Only a couple of hours before, I was a corpse. I know now, but I didn’t believe him then. Not until he handed me a little handheld mirror, and I saw my reflection for the first time. My skin was raggedy, falling off in clumps and exposing bones. One of my eyes looked like it was about to fall out of the socket, but it felt completely fine.
He wanted me to eat people. I asked him for a cheeseburger, and he told me to eat people. I called him a crazy son of a bitch, and he sent me to a little room to ‘learn to accept my new life.’ He sent me in there with a photo of a woman I didn’t know. He said it would help.
I stared at the photo for what seemed like hours, and nothing came to me. Finally I gave up and fell asleep. You’d think after sleeping for two months (the time that I’d been in the ground), I wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore. But that was all I seemed to be able to do.
I dreamed about her: the woman in the photo.
She was my wife, Angelica. She was beautiful, and I loved her once. Loved her more than anything in the world. We tried to have children, but it wasn’t working out. I worked for Dr. Curtis. I was his assistant, helping him out with his experiments, which were usually conducted on small animals. One day, I went home from cleaning up shop like Dr. Curtis told me, and I found my wife in bed with another man. I was so devastated I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to live without her, but I couldn’t stay with her after what she’d done. The only solution was death. I wanted to kill myself, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So, I went to Dr. Curtis, albeit quite reluctantly. I knew everything about his experiments. And, most importantly, I knew that in order to fully study the aftermaths of his ‘serum,’ he had to murder his subjects. I told him I wanted to be his first human subject, and he refused for a while. But my persistence eventually convinced him. It was painless. I remember that somehow, that I’d died painlessly. He told authorities that it was an accident, and since he was a doctor they believed him. He checked back at my grave for a while, and he feared that his experiment had failed. But two months afterwards, I had risen from my grave.
There were bugs, obviously. Death had not been cured. I had still died, but it just wasn’t permanent. Dr. Curtis knew that if he could perfect his serum, he could prevent death from occurring altogether. But he wouldn’t get the chance.
I was not happy. No, not because I had been turned into a zombie. I was angry because of what Dr. Curtis had done to me. He was my best friend. How could he? You see, Dr. Curtis hadn’t planned on my remembering. That, or he hoped that I wouldn’t. And he surely hadn’t planned on my coming back as a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating zombie.
‘I remember,’ I told him. He only nodded, obviously displeased with this information. ‘You pretended to be my friend,’ I said. ‘You made me believe you were my best friend, and all that time you were sleeping with my wife.’ He couldn’t say anything. He sat there and took it. ‘You wanted me dead, didn’t you? You wanted her all to yourself without having to hide it. You acted like you didn’t want to do it, but you’d been considering for a while.’
I knew what had happened. I knew exactly, no matter how many times he denied it and begged for his life. I knew.
I jumped onto the doctor and ripped his throat out with my teeth. I gouged his eyes out, ripped out his heart. I gutted him and tore away at his flesh until what was left was completely unrecognizable. I said goodbye to the good doctor, my friend Curtis. Fuck you, good riddance. And I felt better than I had since the whole ordeal began; Dr. Curtis was most definitely the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted.
I fled back to the cemetery. It was my home – it felt right. There, I met a young girl named Jenny. She was strange, that Jenny. She was visiting her sister’s grave, and when she saw me she just…sat there. She wasn’t afraid at all. She knew what I was, because she asked and I told her. She knew that I could kill her in a split second, but she did not run. She didn’t scream. She seemed excited about it. She looked over me for a while, and then said: ‘Are you hungry?’”
Braeden’s is a story of love, loss and betrayal – so it is quite understandable that he is afraid to get close to anyone. I haven’t hurt him yet, though – I’ve stayed by his side, a loyal friend to the very end. When he finished his story, I asked him what happened to Angelica, his wife, but he wouldn’t say. I wanted to know if he found her, if she was still with the doctor…I guess he wasn’t ready to relive that part of his story just yet.
Not long after Braeden came to stay with me, he met another zombie who calls himself Spook. Braeden changed his name to Braeden Skelly, and they started a rock band. They've both lost most of their bodies, but they're pretty happy, I think, just eatin' brains and playin' rock-n-roll!
Skelly & Spook!
Be sure to check out all the other zombie posts, and enjoy your Zombie Walk!