Zombie – A Short Story

Do not look at me, do not look at this broken shell of a human being I have become. Do not look. Do not stare. Do as your mother would tell you would she spot me in the street. „Run,“ she would scream. „Run.“ And so do I. Run, run, my little friend.

I dare not look into the mirror for I fear the traces of disgrace and decay in my face. I am no longer myself, I am the worst of my wandering nightmares. I am no longer human.

I am a killer of men. I tear at their warm bodies, rip away their flesh and bury my hands deep in their chests. I squeeze their hearts until no life is left, I shred their veins until their blood is spilling all over my hands, my arms. I am what I am.

I drink their pain. I drown. I swallow their despair. I choke.  I lick away the last traces of life. I die. Every time I leave a bit of myself behind. I am no longer human.

I do not hunt. It is not part of my nature. I stumble along the streets, creep through flats and houses. Do not cross my path for I cannot guarantee your safety. I do not hunt and none the less I kill. I am no longer human.

You might look at me and think I do not feel. That is what the mysteries tell, is it not? That the heart dies along with the brain, shrivels like rotten flesh. It does not. I am no longer human but my heart will not understand, it still clings to a reality that is no longer a truth. My heart has no eyes to see, no mind to comprehend, no mouth to swallow the taste of death. I am no longer human. But my heart still is.

I do what my kind does. And every bit of my body feels the pain I am causing. I wish I could cry but all you will ever see is the rotten mask nature has damned me to wear. I kill. I kill. I kill. I am no longer human. I kill. I kill. I kill. Do not call me by my name, scream in fear of what I have done. I am Death wearing the damaged costume of a man.

Do not linger, do not stay. Run away. Run away.

Do not linger, do not stay. I am a Zombie on its way.

Why do you laugh about my silly rhymes, brother? You are the first to fall. I stare at your tear-streamed face the moment you break. I break you. Always the strong one, but gone within the blink of an eye – who would have guessed you had a heart after all? See how small it is in my monstrous hands.

My brother. I could tell you so much about him, of who he was before I happened. My brother has always been the stronger one of us two. Born eight years prior he was already father’s big boy when I was still screaming in my crib. How I adored my brother, how I looked up to him in those early years when I was far to small to be of any interest to my father, before he started to form me into a man. I was a sweet little boy with curly hair and a bright smile on my lips. Mama, I laughed so often when you threw me in the air. How my brother must have envied me all this time.

My stoic brother never spilled a teardrop when father’s wrath fell upon him, he, who took all the beating without even flinching. So studious and bright and still not bright enough to prove my father he was a worthy heir. “Do not cry, little brother,” he said when father finally found some interest in his younger son. “Do not let him get to you.” How could I not? The little boy so adored by mother and brother, never touched by anything foul and cruel. I was five years old and stopped speaking for a month. Long enough to prove my father I needed further education. How could I, the unruly one, ever fit in shoes that were too big even for my brave older brother?

When he left for boarding school I was suddenly all on my own, my father’s attention focused on me alone. I never forgave my brother for that. Even as we grew older and my mind began to grasp he was no more at fault as I had been, the small little boy in me still refused to forgive, to forget. And so all he ever earned were snide remarks at best and complete rejection at worst. He cared. I knew all along. When I became an unruly teenager only to be beaten back into discipline, when I fell into depression and refused to eat, to sleep, to drink – it was always him who nudged me to come alive again. My lifesaver. My brother. And when finally came the day I was prepared to tell him he was loved all along, I killed him instead. My brother. My brother.

A look at my broken body was enough to make him understand it had all been his fault. This decay, this loneliness that in the end had brought death to my mind – all caused by his good will and the wish to make the world a little bit better. Even if this did cost his beloved brother’s life. I had refused to do anything against the slow process of destruction only out of fear you could find out, my brother. And you know this. You know.

I wish I could have spoken to you the moment your heart stopped from all the pain I was causing you. I wish I could have told you that I forgave you a long time ago, ask for forgiveness myself.  But I could no longer open my worthless mouth, the tongue is so heavy and my body no longer listens to any of my commands. I am dead to the world. I am no longer human.

Blood. Blood. Blood. Is it still flowing in my veins? Or has it stopped like everything else that once was part of my human form? Blood. Blood. Blood. I have spilled far too much.

The second to fall was the girl in love. I devoured her heart. It tasted delicious.

But the third was the one I regret most. My friend, my companion, my soul mate. I saw how he started shivering when he first approached the body that once was me. I begged him to go, I begged without words my lips again failing me. I asked him to go but he was as stubborn as ever. I was careful this time. I ate him slowly, every day a bit more. He grew sinner every time he visited me. Oh, my lovely one, why did you never listen, when it really mattered? Why did you have to come over and over again. There is not much left of you and all I can hope for now is my death. May it come before I have the chance to destroy you completely. I am a Zombie. I am an eater of men. I am your death. Run, clever boy, run!

I still remember the day we met. I never understood why I spoke to you in the first place and even less why you responded the way you did. With a smile and not with the stain of regret and loathing plastered upon your face. I have seen that so often. But not with you. Never with you. I warned you I was not an easy person. I warned you that I would destroy you one day. But you never believed, you were there for all these years. No matter what I did, you refused to go. You always said it was what friends are for: Staying when everyone else was leaving. Fidelity. Friendship. Trust. Why did you have to stay? Why did you let me break you?

I died once and now I am dying again. This time more slowly, more painful. They have sedated me now most of the time. I am drifting away. My brain is rotten, eaten up by this parasite, this cancer that claims more space than I would allow him to have if I had a chance to forbid. To live. I am hallucinating now. Not the doctors, the nurses. The others. The ones that mattered.

My brother holds my hand while I desperately try to breathe. My lungs are the first to fail me. He is crying like a little girl. “You don’t deserve to die, brother.” Even the woman in love is stronger, holding my brother from behind as sobs shake his whole body. “You don’t deserve this. You don’t…”

Oh I do, brother love. I do. For now I see most clearly how I have ripped you all apart. Every man leaves a trace in other people’s lives but now I wish I never had. I should have been all on my own. All alone. It would not have hurt that much. I am a Zombie, my body destroyed by medications and an illness I can no longer fight. I am an eater of man. I have devoured your souls. And I am sorry. So sorry.

And there you are. You do not cry. I knew you would not. You touch my bold head with soft fingers, tracing the lines the operations have left on my skull. You sit down on the other side of my bed. You do not look away. You have become so thin my friend, there is not much left of you. And it is my fault. All of it is my fault alone. I am so sorry, my friend. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave you. I want to tell you but my traitorous mouth fails me. But a teardrop falls down from my eye and slowly flows over my face towards my lips. “Don’t be”, you say. “This is not your fault. I am angry but not at you. I know you did your best.”

My eyes are never leaving you even as my eyelids start to flutter and the heart monitor starts to make these nervous sounds mixing with my brothers weeping and her comforting whispers. “I am here, I always will be,” you say. And so will I. Long after my body will be gone I will be lingering around. With you. Always you. I ate away your soul day after day you came visiting me in hospital. But now I am giving it back to you. Take a part of mine as well, my friend, so you can feel me long after I have passed away. I am no longer an eater of men. I am eaten. Death devours me, death takes me.

I take a last deep breath but no air fills my lungs. I try to hold on to you. I try. But I feel myself fading away. I open my lips one last time. I try a last time to tell you all how sorry I am. “I know,” you say again and my brother holds my hand a little tighter. The girl in love finally starts crying as well. And than I close my eyes to never open them again. I hear you sucking in your breath. A loud beeping sound rings in my end. I know you cannot hold back your tears now. “I love you, god. I always have. My friend.” You think I never heard you. But I did. It is the last thing my ears will ever listen to. The last words. And I will take them with me. Now. Forever.

 The END

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