My name is Shawn Clyde, and if anyone is reading this, I'm already dead. I'm corpsified. Six feet under.
You get the idea.
Technically, I'll be laying in the bed I plan to be in when I swallow a few year's worth of pain pills, but it all amounts to the same thing. I know this may seem strange in such a time of renewed hope and opportunity as we now live in, but you see, that's kind of the problem.
I guess I'm not making a whole lot of sense. That's probably because I started at the end of my story. So let me try this again from the beginning.
My name is Shawn Clyde, and when the zombie apocalypse struck, I was ready. Don't for a second think I was some kind of badass or anything like that, at least not yet. No, I was just a nerd that still lived with his parents at twenty-four, but I had seen every zombie movie ever made. I'd seen every TV show, played every video game and read every book or comic ever created on the subject.
So when I was ordering a hot dog outside the stadium at a high school football game, and a guy came shuffling up with ripped clothes and grunting and started biting people, I was the only one that didn't panic. It was something I had always known was going to happen eventually. I ran away while everyone else moved in to help. As I pulled out of the parking lot in my beat-up old pickup, I saw the people that had been bitten turn on the ones that came to help them. It was a bloodbath.
Didn't these idiots know how this sort of thing worked?
I made a quick stop by the neighborhood grocery store and bought a couple carts full of canned goods. Sirens screamed in the distance when I was throwing the groceries into my vehicle. I hurried home and locked all the doors and windows. My dad was a gun nut, so I grabbed all the weapons I could find from their cabinets or shelves in the garage and loaded any that weren't already. I then placed them at key locations around the house. Next, I used the stack of old lumber in the basement to board the windows.
I was rather proud of myself. I already had a safe place to hide while everyone else was just starting to realize what was going on.
When I had done all of this, I realized it was a couple of hours past the time my parents normally got home. I felt sick. No, it was worse than that. Somehow I knew the zombies had got to them. It was devastating. I just sat in the living room and waited for hours.
It got dark outside, and I heard people screaming nearby. I peeked out a crack in one of the boarded windows and saw dozens of zombies shuffling down my street. The way they moved and their moaning and grunting was exactly what I'd always expected, but it scared the crap out of me anyway.
Right at that moment, something thumped against the front door to my house. The doorknob rattled, and then I heard a soft scratching sound. I crept slowly up to the door and peeked out the peephole. My mom and dad had finally come home.
But both of them were zombies.
I couldn't stand the thought of either of them leading lives as mindless undead, so I did the only thing I could think of. I grabbed my dad's shotgun, threw the door open, and blew both their heads off. Then I closed the door and hid in the dark as other zombies tried to get inside, drawn by the sound of the shotgun blast. They broke the glass out of the windows and pried at the boards, and I'm pretty sure I pissed myself, but eventually they gave up and shuffled away.
The next day I made a run to the local hardware store for some supplies to better fortify my house. As I'd always suspected, the zombies were less active during the day. I still had to put a few down, but it was easier in the light of day. The zombies weren't smart, and they were so absurdly slow. I think that was when I started to enjoy killing them.
I knew I should be upset about my parents, and I was, but it had already started to fade. There just wasn't time to mourn loss in a zombie apocalypse. It sort of just came with the territory.
I grabbed the supplies and turned my house into an impenetrable fortress. I even built a little stand on the roof where I could snipe wandering zombies if I was in a sporting mood. Things continued this way for weeks. I added to my house's defenses, looted guns and ammo, stocked up an insane amount of food and killed a whole lot of zombies. It was great. I was the happiest I'd ever been.
I know what you're thinking. What kind of sick freak would be happy after so many people died? After our whole world ended? Well, the truth is I didn't think about it much. You see, I never had a place in the old world. I was an ugly, slightly overweight nerd with no friends. Even my parents thought I was a disappointment. Hardly a day went by that one of them didn't make a comment about me getting a job or going back to school. And the extended family was even worse. None of them realized constantly putting me down ensured I never had the self confidence to make something of myself.
Then the zombies came, and nobody was there anymore but me and them, and I finally discovered what I was good at: killing the shuffling freaks.
I soon began to think of myself as the world's greatest zombie slayer. Nobody could dispute it, so why not?
I killed hundreds just from my rooftop perch, but soon that wasn't enough. I had to find more creative ways to take them out. I once found a dump truck with plenty of gas in the tank and the keys still inside. I went on a little highway rampage, mowing the bastards down like weeds, and by my count, at one point I killed thirty zombies in about seventeen seconds.
That has to be some sort of record.
My best zombie kill ever was the old warehouse, however. I doused an abandoned warehouse with lighter fluid and gasoline, then ran around with an air horn attracting the attention of as many zombies as possible. I led hundreds of them into the warehouse, hid in a cubby by the door, and when an opportunity presented itself, I ran back outside and locked them in. It was then a simple matter to set the whole building ablaze and watch it burn down around them.
I was in heaven. So how did I get from that point to where I am now, about to kill myself? I suppose anyone reading this knows the truth of the zombie apocalypse, so I guess the answer is fairly obvious.
It all went to hell when I was making a run to loot a downtown gun store. The street was more congested than I would have liked, so I crept across as silently as possible, taking a few of them out with a machete to the brain to avoid drawing undo attention. I found all kinds of good stuff inside, including a few grenades I couldn't wait to try out, so I filled my duffle bag quickly.
When I went back outside, a few dozen zombies had surrounded the entrance to the store. It seemed like a great time to use one of the grenades, so I fished one out of the bag and grabbed the pin.
At that moment, I heard a soft buzz in the distance. The zombies must have heard it too because they all turned toward it. The sound grew louder until I finally spotted the source: a small army of military choppers headed straight for us. It was so surprising, I could only watch them come motionlessly. I had been so sure everyone was dead. By the time I'd gotten around to checking the TV and the radio after the zombies came, all the stations were dead. It had seemed a safe assumption that everywhere else was affected too.
The choppers flew overhead. Small hatches dropped open in their bottoms and an orange gas poured out, raining down on us, on me. I tried to hold my breath, but when I finally gave in and inhaled the gas, it had no negative effect on me whatsoever.
I quickly turned my attention to the zombies, expecting to see them dying gruesome deaths. Surely the military had developed some kind of ultimate zombie-killing weapon . . . but no. No such luck. To my utter shock, the zombies started to get better when the gas flowed over them. The moaning stopped. They stood straighter. Intelligence slowly returned to their vacant eyes.
They became human again.
The gas was no weapon; it was a cure.
I fell to my knees in the street, my weapons forgotten. A sense of the most complete helplessness washed over me. I watched a couple of people that apparently knew each other embrace, crying into one another's shoulder. I realized they had never been zombies at all. Not really. Just sick people.
It was that moment when the guilt hit me. I thought of shooting the zombies from my rooftop. I thought of the dump truck rampage; thirty zombies in seventeen seconds? Dear God, what had I done? I thought of the warehouse burning with hundreds inside. I thought of my parents.
Tears poured from my burning eyes. My world was shattered as everyone around me rediscovered theirs.
The world had changed again, just like that, and once again I didn't belong.
So that's my story, and why I felt compelled to end it. I hope you don't think too little of me. I didn't know what I was doing, though even as I write the words, I know it's a poor excuse. So here's one last kill for the world's greatest zombie slayer.
I'm not a zombie, of course. But none of the others were either.
BIO: Paul Miller lives in Texas with his beautiful wife and three small children and writes in what little free time he can find. His stories have appeared in various online and print publications, including Every Day Fiction and Title Goes Here:. Check him out at paulmillerfiction.wordpress.com to find links to his other work.