In honor of Short Story Month and Zombie Awareness Month, I decided to try my hand at some second person, present tense prose. I whipped it up quickly so it’s raw and unpolished, but then again, it is a zombie story, so perhaps raw is appropriate . . .
By Michael Rappa
The hunger. Oh god, the hunger. What is this compulsion to eat raw flesh? The taste—the foul, foul taste. You want to vomit but your body craves the blood, the sinew, the ligaments. You grow stronger with each bite of spongy muscle. You wish you could just starve yourself into oblivion but it seems the will to exist persists beyond death.
So you move on in search of your next meal—your next victim. You can’t stop. When a human enters your line of site or wanders into the radius of your supernatural sense of smell, primal instinct takes over. You’re a shark on feet . . . well, one foot and a stub (the zombie that turned you into this abomination ate most of your right foot for dinner). Last week you consumed your first child. You live every day with her screams in your head. The undead never sleep so the screams never stop.
You beg people for help but they don’t seem to understand what you’re saying. You try to let them kill you but your body fights back when they attack. You have no control. You’re a slave to the affliction. You’re terribly lonely. You can’t even communicate with your fellow zombies. They’re not kin; they’re competition.
You just want to go home, to see a familiar face, to forget this hellish existence—even if only for a moment. So you hobble down a corpse-littered street to the crimson-colored cape cod of your youth. Surely your parents won’t turn you away. You knock (bang) on the door and call (groan) their names (something unintelligible). Your father opens the door and points a shotgun at you.
“Go away!” he hollers as a tear rolls down his cheek.
You plead with him, but he only pumps the weapon in response.
“I said go! You’re not my child! You’re a monster! My child is dead!”
“Please, don’t shoot!” you hear your mother cry from inside the house. She runs out to stand between you and your father. “Please don’t shoot our baby!”
The gun shakes in your father’s hand and he breaks out into a sob as he drops it to the ground. He slumps down beside it. Your mother turns and opens her arms. You rush to embrace her. She will make everything better; she always has.
You want to ask her why she’s suddenly screaming but she always told you never to talk with your mouth full. Your father tries to pry your teeth away from her throat but you cling to her flesh like a ravenous animal. He reaches for the gun and points it at your head, but by this time the neighborhood zombies have been alerted to the commotion and he is overrun. The undead mob scratches and claws and you soon find yourself on the outside of the feeding frenzy that quickly turns your parents into mounds of meat.
So you begin to walk away. For a moment you pause and look back, overwhelmed by sadness and guilt—but only for a moment. Then you move on in search of your next meal. You can’t stop.