Norman wakes up with strange cravings.
|Writer's Cramp entry for 10/24/09. PROMPT: Write a story or poem about someone who wakes up one morning to discover that he or she is... A ZOMBIE!!!
Breakfast of Champions
Norman woke up in the dark feeling a little delirious, his skin itchy, his throat a desert. He still felt ‘away,’ like he normally felt after waking from a deep dream. Strange that he couldn’t remember the dream or focus on a single thought, really. Must’ve picked up something from one of those Haitian gang members he’d arrested a couple of nights before. Damn, his arm itched. He scratched but there was no relief and when he curled his fingers to force his nails into the task, his fingertips became slick.
He knocked over bottles of medicine on the nightstand as he reached for the lamp. He fumbled with the light switch for a minute then had to switch hands because of the slipperiness. When the lamp clicked on, his pale skin was broken in four long, red rows along the top of his left arm.
He rubbed his eyes as he kicked off the covers and staggered to the restroom, his bare feet slapping the wood floor. As he passed the large vanity mirror on the way to the toilet, something caught his eye, freezing him for a moment. He swayed, lightheaded, and leaned back slowly. His jaw dropped when he looked into the dead man's eyes.
His face was gray with thin, blue veins branching out across it. Dark circles surrounded his sunken, blood-red eyes. He touched his face and it made him think of cold meat. Backing away from the mirror, he was able to see his ashen torso and it made him nauseous.
Or was that hunger? But how could he be so hungry at a time like this? He looked extremely sick. In fact, he felt around his wrist, his neck and his chest but could find no pulse, confirming his worst fear.
He backed into the wall and slid down it, crying tears of blood. Pulling his knees to his chest, he wept quietly, wanting to wake up because this had to be a dream.
"Honey, are you okay?" It was his wife, Sharon, her hoarse, middle-of-the-night voice emitting from the bedroom.
He opened his mouth to say 'no' but he was gripped by the sharpest pain he'd ever felt in his stomach. It made him tip over into a fetal position.
He tried to say something but his voice clicked. There was no control over his mouth to form words. All he could do was open and close his mouth. Open and close.
The pain subsided into an extreme hunger pang but he wasn't craving food.
"Baby. Are you there?" Sharon asked.
She was so pretty, even in the morning without make-up, she could turn heads. Those full, pouty lips that looked so good around his--
God, he was so hungry and he thought of how her lips tasted. She had that naturally sweet taste all the time, even in the morning. But the meat of her lips was what he craved; soft meat, drenched in blood. Her tongue, probably not as soft as her lips, would compliment the snack.
And those hazel eyes. So juicy. So--
No. He couldn't do this. He loved her.
He forced himself to take a breath and yell for her to get out of the house but all that came out was a deep, straight-forward scream.
* * *
His yell made her skin crawl. She jumped out of bed, only imagining what was wrong. Was he having some kind of seizure? A stroke? A heart attack? It couldn't be that; he was too young. He couldn't die. He couldn't leave her alone in this cold world.
When she ran into the hall, he was on his hands and knees, halfway into the corridor. The light from the bathroom illuminated his face, allowing her to glimpse the face of the monster whose dead eyes dripped blood down his cheeks. She screamed but despite his hideousness, she knelt by his side. As soon as she put her hands on him, she could feel the coldness of his back.
He looked away from her, shaking his head.
"What's the matter, Norm?" she said, her voice quivering. She knew he was beyond sick but she wanted to hear from him what had actually happened, what he was feeling. He looked like something out of a movie, for Chrissakes.
She grabbed his chin to turn his head and when he faced her, he yelled using his new, guttural voice. He shoved her away from him.
"I'm calling 9-1-1," she said, scrambling back to the bedroom.
She punched the numbers into her cell phone and waited for the--
"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
"My husband. He's…he's..."
"Calm down, ma'am. What's wrong with your husband?"
"He's…ahh…just send an ambulance? Send one right now. Hurry!"
"Okay. One's on the way. Is your husband breathing?"
"I don't know. Yes, I think so!"
She turned around and found herself looking directly into Norman's bloody, undead face. His mouth was wide open and he chomped down on her bottom lip. She was too shocked to scream, dropping the phone as she tried to push him back. When her faculties finally allowed her to scream, she opened her mouth and he found what he'd been craving, latching onto her tongue, biting down hard, muffling her cries.
* * *
Five minutes later, the doorbell rang. Norman peeked through the blinds of the bedroom window and saw the ambulance parked in front of the house, its red lights flickering in the dim, glimmer of dawn.
Norman and Sharon lurched down the hall, bound for the front door, he in the lead, she trailing him, her bloody teeth exposed in the absence of lips. Their chins, necks and chests were stained crimson.
Two EMTs stood on the other side of the front door, their blurry shapes visible through the frosted, oval glass.
Breakfast had arrived.