by n dru
A nonchalant zombie gets interviewed for all of post-apocalyptia to see.
| Part 1
So, Mister…erm…well that’s not really important. Lets begin; can you tell me a little about yourself: What exactly are you? How are you the way you are?
I'm as dead as dead can be. Or at least I'm supposed to be. For some reason I'm still here; something went wrong. I'm not sure how it happened, none of us are. Our memories are hazed, lost. However; despite my rotting limbs and animalistic desire to feed on human flesh, I'm learning to live with it.
At least you’re getting on with it instead of giving up, eh. Anyway, can you tell me your name?
I'm sorry for not introducing myself earlier, its quite impossible you see as I lost my name long ago. Hardly any of us retain our names. We forget them and leave them behind. They seem just as trivial as a useless luxury item. We don’t actually need names to survive. I think mine might have started with an "A", but I'm not sure. It's funny, because back when I was alive I was always forgetting other people's names. I am finding that irony abounds in the zombie life, an ever-present punch line. But it's hard to smile when your lips have rotten off.
Heh, I bet. You mentioned a loss of memory, can you remember anything of your past-life at all? What about your occupation?
Before I became a zombie? I can’t remember. Sometimes, when I feed I get a slight blast of memory. Small things, streams of colour, familiar scents or tastes, voices. I think I worked in a florist. Or as a gardener. I’m really not sure, but the amount of flowers and scents I sense while I eat is unreal. The only other clue to my past are the clothes clinging to the remains of my body; a pair of low-quality combat pants, a tattered shirt of some original-unknown colour, now dyed grey by time and a pair of ruined boots. I would probably look pretty average if my intestines weren't dragging at my feet.
How long have you been a zombie? How many are in your community?
There used to be over a hundred of us living in a wide barren field outside some large city. We didn’t need shelter or warmth, obviously. We stand around in the dust, and time passes. I think we have been here for almost a century.
But slowly, over time, they all left. I don’t know where they all went, I have never actually seen any of us "die" of old age. Maybe we live forever, I don't know. I don't think much about the future anymore. That's something that's very different from before. When I was alive, the future was all I thought about. Obsessed about. Death has relaxed me.
Almost poetic, really. How about food; you mentioned craving human flesh?
We hunt every now and then…How this expedition begins is: one of us will get hungry and starts shuffling toward town. Focused thought is a rare occurrence with us, and we follow it when we see it. Otherwise we would just be standing around groaning. We do a lot of standing around groaning, and it's frustrating sometimes. Years pass this way. The flesh withers on my bones, and I stand around, waiting for it. I am curious how old I might be.
The city where the people live is not that far. We will arrive around noon and start looking for living flesh. The new kind of hunger is a strange feeling. You don't feel it in your stomach - of course not, since I don't even have a stomach. You feel it just...everywhere. You start to feel "more dead". I've watched some of my friends go back to being full-dead, when food is scarce. They just slow down, stop, and become corpses again. I don't really understand it.
What do you do with the bodies of your dead friends once they’ve starved?
We don’t do anything to them. There’s nothing on them worth eating, that’s why they died.
How foolish of me. Do you not come upon much resistance while searching for food? No soldiers, military to get in your way?
I guess the world has mostly ended, because the cities I wander through are decaying as fast as I am. I don’t think there are any countries anymore. Buildings are collapsed. Battered and rusted cars fill the streets. All glass everywhere is shattered. I don't know if there was a war, or a plague, or if it was just us. Maybe it was all three. I don't know. I don't think about things like that anymore. But that’s not to say we don’t meet resistance while we’re out hunting. When we find people, its usually a small group. They like to stay in groups of 5-8. Usually one or two of them will have a weapon, and usually we’ll lose a few of our number or some of our own flesh to bullet damage, but I don’t care. None of us do, after all, why fear death now?
What do you do once you have found and disarmed your meal?
Eating is not a pleasant business. I chew off a man's arm, and I hate this, it's disgusting. I hate his screams, because I don't like pain, or blood, or violence. I don't like to hurt things, but this is the world now, this is what I do. Of course, if I don't eat all of him, if I leave enough, he'll rise up and follow me back to our dusty field outside the city, and that might make me feel better. I'll have some company, maybe we'll stand around and groan for a while. It's hard to say what "friends" are anymore, but maybe that's close. If I don't eat all of him, if I leave enough...But of course I don't leave enough. I eat his brain, because that's the good part. That's the part that, when I swallow it, makes my head light up with feelings. Clear memories. For about three to ten seconds, depending on the person, I get to feel alive. I get traces of delicious meals, beautiful music, perfume, orgasms, sunsets, life. Then it fades, and I get up and stumble out of the city, still dead, but feeling a little less so. Feeling ok.
But why eat human meat? Why not fruit & vegetables, or other animal flesh?
I don't know why I have to eat people. I don't understand what chewing off a man's neck accomplishes. I certainly don't digest the meat and absorb the nutrients. My stomach is a rotted bag of dried bile. It is completely useless. I don't digest, I just eat until the weight forces it out my ass, and then I eat more. It feels so useless, and yet it keeps me walking. I don't know why. I don't know if we're the result of some strange global infection, or some ancient curse, or something even more senseless. Existential debate is not a major part of zombie life. We are here, and we do things. Life is simple. It's nice sometimes.
That’s just about all we’ve got time for tonight, I’m really tired and I’m sure you’ll be wanting to go groan with your friends. I’ll be back in a few days to ask you more questions, thanks again for your time. Good night.
Welcome back, Mister A. I trust you’re ready for another round of questions and answers?
I died ready.
Hah. Loving the humour, great touch. Lets begin; you mentioned that you enjoy ‘standing around in a barren field while time passed’; do you do anything else? Any recreational activities, or anything really, which you do to kill time or for enjoyment?
I never said that I ‘enjoyed’ standing around in a barren field. Its just what we do. Do you enjoy breathing? No. But you do it anyway, it just happens, however that may be a bad example as you must breathe to survive. Now, to answer your question; I sometimes start walking in a circle for no reason. I root one foot in the dirt and spin on it, around and around, kicking up clouds of dust. I can do this for days at a time. But eventually I stop walking, and I stand still. I’ll sway back and forth, groaning a little as I find my balance. Then, maybe, I’ll go and find another of my kind and groan at them. They will most likely, in return, groan back. This however, unlike walking around in circles, will last only a few minutes. I don't know why we groan. I'm not in pain, and I'm not sad. I think it's just air being squeezed in and out of my lungs. When my lungs decompose, it will probably stop. I’ve encountered a few of my kind unable to groan, but mostly I find that they’re lacking the required components. The rest of us must have dug too deep while…converting them, for lack of a better word.
Right, my bad. I apologise, my memory is just a little hazy. Its hard to remember every little detail from a conversation, even with someone as unique as yourself. Self-preservation has became the law of the land, the only truly worth-while exploit nowadays. Anyway, this interview isn’t to find out about me, so lets move onto our next question; Sex. What happened to your sex drive once you died? Does it still exist? I must admit, the thought of two zombies exchanging bodily fluids is quite revolting.
Agreed. That is revolting. However…There is someone of the opposite sex I enjoy being around. I first saw her a few months ago while I was hunting for food in the city. She was human at the time, I was careful not to dig too deep into her while I ate. Then I stayed with her until she rose again. She doesn't sway or groan, her head just lolls from side to side. I like that about her, that she doesn't sway or groan. I stand beside her for a few nights while she gets accustomed to un-life. I wheeze some kind of greeting, and she responds with a lurch of her shoulder. I like her. I reach out and touch her hair. Her skin is grey and her eyes slightly sunken, but she has no exposed bones or organs. Her death outfit is a blue/black trousers and a snug white shirt, with a blue/black waistcoat. I suspect she used to be a shop worker of some kind.
Pinned to her chest is a silver nametag.
I can read her name. She has a name.
Her name is Tesco.
I point to her chest. Slowly, with great effort, I say, "Te..ss..co" The word rolls off what's left of my tongue like honey. What a good name. I feel warm saying it.
You know that…never mind. But you have feelings for this woman, you are attracted to her for some reason. Why? Is it mental or physical? Or both?
I don’t understand the question. All I know is that Tesco’s cloudy eyes widen at the sound of me pronouncing her name, and she smiles. I also smile. Then maybe I think I was a little nervous, because my Achilles tendon snapped, and I fell backwards into the dust. Tesco just laughed, and it was a choked, raw, lovely sound. She then reached down and helped me to my feet. I have fallen in love with Tesco.
Love? May I be so bold as to mention that you’re probably the worst thing that could have possibly ever happened to her? You killed her for Christ’s sake. Besides, what could you two do together; I mean sexually. There must not be much two zombies can do in terms of sexual intercourse, is there?
I’m not sure you understand my motives for doing what I done. I freed her. While alive, humans have to constantly fight for survival every single day. Whether it be foraging for food or trying to power their shelters, every single aspect of their lives revolve around protecting themselves from us. They search for scraps during the day, then hide and pray we don’t find them during the night. They never have time to just sit and chat idly, or have any fun. There is no free time for them. That, in my opinion, is hardly worth living for. As a zombie, she has as much free time as she could ever possibly hope for.
I suppose you have a point - however its not all bad, we may yet one day find a cure for zombification and rebuild civilisation. But whatever, can you just answer, what is zombie-love like?
This is simpler. Before, there were complex emotional and biological factors at work. Sex was there, in everything, confusing everyone, like hunger. It created longing, it created ambition, competition, it drove people to leave their caves and invent motorcars, space craft, and atom bombs; when they could instead have just sat on the couch until they died. Animal cravings. Subconscious urges. Sex made the world go around.
This is all gone now. Sex, once a force as universal as gravity, is now irrelevant to us. Ambition and longing have left the equation. My penis fell off two weeks ago.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Aye, it’s a crying shame. Want to see it? I carry it with me.
No, thank you. I’m fine. But I can tell that this interview has now served it’s purpose. Perhaps, if I receive any decent suggestions for questions to ask you I’ll return one day. Oh, and i trust you will enjoy shopping at Tesco. If you know what I mean.