This is more background from zombie series I’m putting together. It will eventually become a novel titled “The Rise”. This one specifically can be traced back to Undead Dentistry. I suggest you read it first to fully understand this.

Living Smiles

Call me an accessory if you want. I only did what I had always tried to do. I tried to help. You can choose to not understand and stow me away. You can talk all you want about how I’m more one of them than one of you, but you’re missing the point. While you’re only concerned about the living, I still find room in my heart for all of us, living and dead.

When Todd, his white teeth screwed into his Jaws in eight places, left my office, I really thought I was done. I knew I’d never do the kind of work I had come to love again. Things just weren’t the same. I expected to go home and wait for the end. I wasn’t ignorant; I knew Todd was a special case. We had history, and he needed help, that’s all.

That’s what I thought before they showed up at my house, all of them.

After two days and two nights, rifles and pistols loaded, keeping an almost constant watch on the perimeter of the yard. Finally, I gave in to the exhaustion. I woke to find they’d surrounded the house. For just a second I thought, the attic, I can hide there, but then they saw me peeking through the curtain. I moved only slightly, but as soon as I did, they took a step in unison toward the house, then another, and another, until they were close enough to touch the new vinyl I had installed last spring.

I started to cry, I hate crying, always reminds me of when Patty died. She’d only been 35 when the accident happened, and we’d still been trying every month without fail to have the baby we wanted so badly. It never happened, and then she was just gone. Twenty years later I couldn’t even hope she’d come back. Even if she hadn’t been cremated, nothing would have been left.  I looked out at the faces around the house. Their grey, yellow and red eyes stared back, timid, but hungry. I had just about decided I would have to see just how bad gun oil tastes when a voice rose from outside.

“Dr. Ragoon, Doc, we need your help. We won’t hurt you. We know what you did for Todd.”

Todd, my first and best referral, he’s the reason Living Smiles Undead Dentisty got started, and why I found a new love for my job. It’s funny, the dead don’t fear me, but the living always did. I’d always felt inadequate and uncertain with the living. I guess the living have unrealistic expectations, while the dead are happy just living again.

The way I see it, the dead may not have chosen the path they’re on, but it’s not nearly as bad as I imagined it would be. They’re all genuinely happy when they leave my office. Maybe it’s just that they don’t feel pain, maybe it’s because life is worse than death, and maybe, just maybe, it’s because they’re not afraid of needles anymore.