by Jozelle Dyer

With no one else left to eat, and the long days passing slowly, the zombies in town were getting playful.  They would ring the doorbell and run quickly to hide in the bushes.  If we dared to peek through the boards covering the windows, we would see an eye or a tooth, maybe even a finger, left like an offering on the doorstep.  It was a race, of sorts, to see who would succumb first, David and I to the zombies, or the zombies to the carrion birds who flew overhead.  There were flocks of them circling the town, filling the sky until they blocked out the sun.  It was always night these days.

David and I also played.  For weeks we had been at each other’s throats, but on the day we found the body wedged halfway through the doggie door, we decided to call a truce.  We pulled out the family board games I’d collected over the years and waged war with each other over Monopoly, Scrabble, and Clue.  So things went for a while until the morning that David kissed me in the bathroom just after I had cleaned my teeth.  It was the day after we saw my now dead dog chasing a dead cat down the street and into a tree.  David had stopped shaving when his wife had died and taken the children, and his beard rubbed pleasantly.

After that we played a different kind of game.

“Grrr,” he growled.  “Argh.”  I don’t know how it started, but we began to make love—for it was a strange kind of love binding us together—as we believed zombies would.  As we believed our spouses would if we could chance letting them in the door.  I ran for the kitchen doorway, giggling.  He caught me at the steps.  Outside it sounded as though a storm was gathering: the zombies were pelting the windows with dirt from the garden.  They had churned up so much dust in the air that the birds swooped and squawked angrily, blinded.  David growled again, low in his throat then clamped his teeth on mine.

“Ava.”  He whispered his dead wife’s name even as he tugged hard on my nipples.  He bit them until I thought he’d draw blood, while I clawed at his back and called for Daniel.

I heard my name called in a hiss, and wondered at it.  David always called for Ava.  Then I realized that David—whose head was buried between my thighs—hadn’t spoken, and the hissing came from the direction of the dining room window.  I craned my neck awkwardly and could just make out the aquiline nose that belonged to my dead husband.

“Jenny,” he called as though his heart was breaking.  “Jenny.”

I pushed David away, but even as I did, Daniel began to laugh.

“Jen-ny,” he sing-songed.  “Jen-ny.”

Even as I began to realize—perhaps for the first time—that my husband was truly gone, there came a whisper from the direction of the doggy door, calling, “David, David.”  I could hear a wild weeping, and recognized Ava’s voice.  She had been my dearest friend, the best of neighbors, but now she was dead and had no right to be calling for her man at my back door.

My thoughts formed rapidly for I was unreasonably panicked.  We were inside, we were safe.  Then I realized that David was no longer beside me, but was moving like the undead himself to open the back door.  Before I could call out he was gone, into the arms of his lost love who was already devouring him greedily.  I could only slam the door shut, locking and barring it quickly even as Ava feasted on David’s tongue.

From the dining room I could hear Daniel’s call turn mournful, and I let my body slide down to the black and white tile floor.  I was alone.

JOZELLE DYER used to work at Tor Books, but has decided that she would rather write than edit. She is currently working on her MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Jozelle is afraid of vampires, werewolves, and zombies, but can never resist writing about them. It is Jozelle’s way of facing her fears. This is her first submission.

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