Thursday, July 16, 2015



Episode 3: Please Do Not Leave Your Dead Children Unattended

Setup: We’re one week into the zombie apocalypse. Our zombie-fighting hero, Derek Grace, has been put in charge of a grab-and-go mission at the local Wal-Mart. Hijinks ensue.

Panga in hand, I jog down the wide aisle separating the grocery from the dry goods. There are display islands in the middle of this aisle. I’m come to the clothing section and the racks enclose the right side of the aisle like little banyan trees concealing the predators beneath.

A hand claws at me from beneath one of these and I miss a step, my foot coming down on that hand. But that gives the other hand a chance to grab at my boot. It’s a small blue hand, with stubby blue fingers and yet I can feel its death-rigored grip through the leather.

I pull my panga and swing but the child is wrapped around my boot now—a little thing with a yellow ribbon in her hair and the fatty child skin chewed away on one side of her face. An eyestalk hangs eyeless from one socket but the muscles about her jaw are intact and working. Her little baby teeth are bearing down hard on my boot. I lift up my foot and kick at the display in the middle of the aisle. A small ribbon of intestine trails beneath her waist; she has no legs, not even bones.

Her teeth bear down harder.

I pull my hammer and smack it into her yellow-ribboned hair. The pain in my foot intensifies and I snap-grip the handle in my wrist as if the hammer was a drumstick and her head the snare. Her little skull cracks open and her body falls limp.

Rigor clamps her little jaw fast to my boot. I shuffle towards the end of the center-aisle display. No one is in this food aisle to the left so I ease towards it, propping my backside against an end-cap shelf so I can figure out how to get little Brittney off of me.

I grab a fistful of her hair and try pulling her head back. I see the gaps in her front incisors; if her adult teeth were in—hell, even if her originals were still there—they would have broken the skin of this boot. I need thicker boots, steel-toed. And thick socks. Save for that strip of intestine (which has since slithered off the rib bone it was caught on) the girl’s torso appears to be hollowed out. No insides, no stomach to even hold her meal and yet she crawled along, with this sick, pointless hunger. How many more are scuttling along like this out there?

When I found this deluxe claw hammer in the garage I thought it might double as a convenient tool with which to break into things. I never thought I’d be fitting the broad tines through the top gap of a small child’s teeth. The rotten blood in her ruined gum runs down my boot, adding one of those special nuances to the boxed-in stink in the air that makes me gag. 

It’s when I see the tracks of tears through the dirt on the good side of this child’s face that I unload my breakfast into the aisle. I jerk the claw-end up hard and snap this flesh-and-blood reminder from my boot, this notice of how our position on the food chain has adjusted. Just as lions think nothing of culling the young of a zebra herd, something got hold of this once-five-year-old charmer in a pink Disney Princess T-shirt and made a meal out of her. And in turn made her into this….

I let out a furious yell. Goddamn it, come at me, you ugly, fucked-up shits!

I push myself away from the endcap, stepping carefully to the side, not wanting to slip, not wanting to see the remains of the child face up in a puddle of vomit. Unable to rid myself of the sight of her remaining eye, the terror and agony of a little girl’s last moments sealed within its dry, dead glaze…

…Claire. Jesus. I think of my daughter Sybil….

I listen and hear the slow shuffle-slide throughout the store, coming down any of the dozens of dark, hot, stinking aisles. I’ll have my chance with whoever-whatever killed this girl soon enough.

NEXT: Fatty foods are bad for dead and living alike 

Bleeding Kansas Copyright © 2013, 2015 by L. Roy Aiken.

All photos from Google Images.