Zombie Flash #6, but again also a stand alone. the previous entries are here
The Death of Art
By Jason Warden
That bastard Art Falkner across the street there, he wasn’t the type to come right out and say he hated you. He’s the type that’ll just let you go along and figure it out for your own damn self. Like we’re just supposed to sit back and take the scowling looks, the snide comments under his breath and are you telling me that white house with white shutters and a white picket fence isn’t an obvious statement? Asshole. He was and I guess, still is, one of those; “I’m not a racist” son’s-a-bitches, although every action and gesture says otherwise. Me and my girl were in the shop-n-save one day and he said, “Excuse me” as he passed us but his tone said, “Die”. Like if he had to even look at us one more second it might just put him in his grave.
I didn’t say a word though. I wanted to, but Daddy always told us, “Stay true to yourself. Don’t let them make you somethin’ you ain’t.” I never forgot that but when Art pulled up to the curb in that new white Caddy and I saw that bumper sticker; the one that said “This land is my land, this land is my land”, I just lost it.
Guess it probably wouldn’t have mattered either way, but marching over there I felt like I could stomp a mudhole in his ass the size of a tractor tire. Of course, we all know now that was the day the shit really hit the fan, but hell, it had been three weeks and all signs said the Rise as they were calling it on the news, had stopped. Still, I would’ve done it if the cocksucker hadn’t died on me. Funny thing is he didn’t change right away like I thought he would. I was kinda let down really, not at the delay, but that he died in the first place. I didn’t even touch him, just sat right there on his couch, stinkin’ up his white upholstery, and watchin’ him die. That’s how I came to meet my first “Talker”.
Those morons on the news with their “In depth reporting” don’t know the half of it. They’re so concerned with comin’ up with a catchy slogan or event title they missed the whole point. They didn’t even know what caused it. I swear, only good thing to come out of them shuttin’ the lights off was we didn’t have to listen to their babble no more.
Now, when I saw him stir, my first thought was he’d been playing possum, just hoping I’d go away. After all, I hadn’t even got started, let alone finished, when he grabbed at his chest and fell back in his chair. ‘Course, I didn’t give him no chance to prepare, didn’t even knock, just barged right in after him. He turned around, then just kinda gave me a disgusted look and grabbed at his chest before I could even say boo.
Truth is I never even saw him start to sit up, when I finally did, I thought for a second I was gonna end up on the floor with him. My old heart jumped up in my throat, couldn’t breathe there for a second, you can imagine, I’m sure. I had been just about to leave, having finally found something to cover him with. Don’t get me wrong, I hated the bastard, and I was somewhat glad he’d saved me the trouble of killin’ him, but I still knew it wouldn’t be right to leave him lyin’ there like that. When I turned with the afghan in my hand, I saw him sittin’ there, all grey eyed and sunken in somehow. I guess somthin’ had been tellin’ me to get movin’ ’cause I turned away from him to leave and I was already at the door.
“Fuckin’ nigger thief.”
Now that word usually makes me crazy, ain’t no one never said nothin’ like that to me and walked away without a black eye for their trouble, but his voice seemed detached from reality, like he’d forgot how to express emotion at all. His eyes hadn’t though, they were filled with cold, dead hate. I just looked down at my hands and dropped that tattered afghan. For a dead guy, he sure could move. By the time I got my eyes back up, he was almost on me. He had a remote in his hand, looked like he was gonna brain me with it. I just backed through the door, down the steps, keepin’ my eyes on him the whole time but never really lookin’ right at ’im. I’d heard they were terrible to look at, but for me I think it was just that I knew him.
“Stay outta my house. Stay off my lawn. You’re stinkin’ up the place, you fuckin’coon,” he said, again in that odd monotone voice that could never match the hate in the words and eyes.
You know, I don’t even think he knew he was dead. If he weren’t already, he woulda been after that, but I thought, hell, let him have his hate. It really is all he has now.
He didn’t come after me, just stood there on the porch yellin’ as I crossed the street. By the time I got home I couldn’t help but laugh a little, least-ways till I heard the gunshots and the squeal of burning tires.
“Ahh shit,” I thought. “Another drive-by.” Things were gonna get bad, real bad, and soon. I have a feeling the worst is still to come.