Created & Written By: Marla So
“Dad, I’m sorry. I can’t go to you right now,” said Beverly, voice dim with static. “I have to drive to the preschool and pick up Adam before...” A sob. “Before the zombies get to him. D-don’t worry. There aren’t a lot of them in your area. I- I have to go now, Dad. I love you.”
Before Frank could protest, his daughter hung up. He swore and threw the phone at his sofa. No use trying to call her again. He didn’t know how to operate it, same as with almost every other thing in the godforsaken house. They were birthday presents from Bev, peace offerings to make up for visiting only during the holidays.
Something nuzzled at his pant leg.
Frank looked at the mutt Bev had gotten him for his fiftieth. She was a wrinkled thing with sad eyes, old and bent. What breed she was, he wasn’t sure. His daughter had gotten her from a shelter. Frank hadn’t bothered to name her, had thought she would die within a year, but the dog clung to life with a stubbornness he had to respect.
He gave her one last pat on the head, knowing he wouldn’t bring her along. It wasn’t practical. Then again, most of Bev’s gifts weren’t: a fancy knife set, golf clubs, abstract paintings that made Adam’s doodles look like Picassos, installing doors made of sliding glass...
Before he even registered the crash, Frank ran to the kitchen and grabbed a cleaver. He saw a zombie lurching down the hall. Once it was within range, he slashed at it. Thick blood spurted out of the gaping wound on its neck, coating Frank’s arms and chest. It grabbed his shoulders, jaws wide.
Frank tried grappling with it but was easily thrown down. The cleaver clattered against the tiles. He scrambled towards it, blood pounding between his ears. His shaking fingers wrapped around the handle. He heard a bark, just as the shadow of the zombie fell upon him. Frank turned around and saw the dog biting into his attacker’s calf. It kicked her aside, but the stupid thing kept coming at it. The dog launched himself at the monster’s chest, a flash of teeth and fangs. The zombie retaliated by sinking its teeth into her fur.
Body on autopilot, Frank rushed forward and hit the back of the zombie’s head. He brought the cleaver down once, twice, more and more times until it finally moved no more.
All was still. Frank panted, arm aching from the strain. More groans emanated from the living room. His dog weakly pushed herself up. She faced the hallway only to collapse into a whimpering mess. Frank ran a bloody hand over her fur, consoling her. A zombie appeared. Despite being no more than a few feet away, it did not attack. It raised its head and sniffed at the air.
Kind of like a dog, Frank thought. His eyes turned to his old companion.
Moping about not being the top priority in Bev’s life wasn’t going to get him anywhere, Frank decided. If she wasn’t going to come to him, then he was going to drive to her. He drove out of the garage. His car glistened with a light patina of zombie blood. Old Biter slept in a dog carrier in the backseat. Her eyes were white with the virus. A muzzle was securely fastened around her snout.
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