This is a continuation of “Religeon, Revelations, and the Zombie Ressurection” but will also stand on its own…the conclusion comes next week.
Leftovers pt. 1
By Jason Warden
I had found my calling; I held no doubt in my heart. God had called, I had listened and soon, very soon, I would share the word with those who were lost. It seemed the angels were singin’ in my soul. I simply could not wait to witness to the left behind and the lost.
As the door swung open, the two I had seen before at the restaurant stepped in. Alex and Billy, a couple of the smart ones, Talkers, as they call them now. Even with the joy I felt within bursting to get out, the look of them scared me unlike the look of the other, less together ones. I think it was the calm in their eyes, the sense that they already knew what to do with me. Sure, the dead ones, the really dead ones, could have torn me apart, but at least it would have been quick. These two, they had plans, and with each step they moved into the room, my mind cowered away from images of cooked meat.
The sun beat down full from overhead. The heat that should have baked me and sent me looking for water simply wasn’t there. I felt no nothing at all, as if my entire body had fallen asleep. Only the pressure on my arms as the two pulled me to Billy’s truck gave me any reason to believe any of it was real. My feet barely touched the ground the whole way. There would be no escape.
We rode to town, all but Alex and Billy crammed in tight in the back of the garbage truck, and I thanked God for my lack of sensation. It seemed they had brought the whole town, although to my relief, Lazarus was not among the dead who were pushed up close to me. A few of them were not only rotten, but were more gone than there. Limbs were missing or attached by little more than the sleeves of their clothing and their skin had dried, was drying like apples peeled and left lying in the baking hot sun. I watched as new cracks formed around their open mouths, mouths that all held enormous teeth. I tried to tell myself it was only because their gums had wilted, receded, exposing more than could normally be seen, but it did little to help. I was frozen, my call to witness to these horrors dead in my throat.
Anyone who tells you pain ends with death is a fool or a liar. They took everything I had and left me groveling, crying in pain and torment even as the tears refused to come from my dead eyes.
Once back in town, we circled the square and pulled in front of the restaurant Alex had brought back to life. In front, cages were lined up like a Chinese market. Most were meant for rabbits or chickens, but in nearly all of them were men, women and children, the living remnants of a dead town found themselves naked and pushed cruely inside. Even in the middle of the day, with the night’s meal hours away, I was bathed in the smells of cooked meat. It seemed there were sensations I could still experience, but the more I considered it, the more I realized I was not smelling it with my nose as much as I was tasting it in my mouth. My stomach gave a tremendous groan and the next thing I knew Billy had me by the arm and was pulling me away from one of the cages. I gasped, ashamed at my lack of control, but knowing I simply knew no better. Like a babe in the woods I was at the mercy of new needs, new feelings. To defeat them I would need all of God’s strength. I crossed myself even though I’m not Catholic. Billy and Alex laughed, a chorus of undead quickly joined them, but there was no laughter in any of their eyes, only cold hate and unsatisfied need.
Alex managed to stop laughing first and spoke over the others who quickly stopped their laughs dead in their throats.
“Okay Rev, you pick. Who will nourish our bodies tonight?”
I was shaking my head, refusing to comprehend what cage was asking me to do.
“Either that or we pick for ya,” Billy added, kicking the cage of a small girl.
She shook within it and grabbed at the chicken wire to steady herself. I looked into her blue eyes and instantly knew her. Emma Thomas, Al Thomas’s granddaughter. She was naked except for the gold cross she wore around her neck. The one I’d given her at her baptism. She was only twelve years old. I looked away from her with what felt like the last of my strength and tried not to soil my thoughts before Christ’s mark, but the smell of her flesh tempted and I found myself calling for forgiveness before the Devil’s thoughts had even fully formed in my mind.
Al had been my neighbor back before he and Millie packed up and headed for Florida. Emma didn’t speak, but her silent cries to God flowed through my head and I prayed along with her, for strength, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.
“So what’s it gonna be Rev? Billy asked.
I looked back down at the rows of cages. Nearly all were full and I wondered at the ones that weren’t. Between two empty cages a man stared out, his eyes already dead with shame. He saw me see him, and his face crumbled. It was Brother James Thomas, Emma’s Dad.
James had done the math, but was unable, or unwilling to offer himself in his daughters place. His father would have. Al wouldn’t have even thought about it, but as they say, the younger generation is more inclined toward selfishness, and less toward Godliness.
There was a commotion to my right and I saw one of the Dead ones had reached past Billy, his will broken by the taste most likely, and he had one hand inside the door of Emma’s cage before Billy could pull him off and drive a cheap Popular Mechanics screwdriver into his eye. The red and black handle stuck out like he had somehow fallen on it while shambling away. He staggered only a couple of steps then fell face first driving the sharpened end through the thin decayed bone of his skull.
My body felt no sensation, but my mind heaved and for just a split second, I did feel the bile crawling up my throat.
“Couldn’t let him get his hands on your choice meat now could I? You’re our newest guest, and that just wouldn’t be polite,” Billy said and kicked the broken head of the one he’d killed.
He turned to another of the dead ones and said, “Get rid of that!”
“Now, what’s it gonna be Rev? I still have to make the marinade.” Alex Added.