Rising Dead

A day in the life

A quick note

For those of you new to Fiction in 50, last Sunday I promised (threatened?) my readers with this tongue-in-cheek horror flash fiction. Sundays are a hodgepodge of blog posts, longer fiction pieces, and whatever else I decide to put here. Enjoy!

Today had started out like any other. Ella had awakened in someone else’s house, unbarricaded the bedroom door, showered, borrowed fresh clothes and shared a meal, but not names. It was better not to get attached. Of course, they usually knew who she was.

Ella chose safe houses — the ones where the inhabitants were still breathing. She scoped out neighborhoods, watching for signs of life—or death, as the case may be. One night here, another there. She didn’t stay put for long.

Most people were excited when she came, happy to take her in. She had been a teenage movie star before, well, you know. Before the virus took hold and the whole world went to hell.

She had been Ella Prince, queen of the teenage rom-com. At least until her last co-star had tried to eat her face off when he turned right in front of her. At first, she thought he was trying to kiss her, then she saw the dead stare in his eyes.

Ella knew the score. She watched The Walking Dead. She grabbed a fireplace poker and shoved it through his eye. He had only been the first. People at the studio dropped as fast as flies. Ella ran for her car.

Her boyfriend, Jake, who doubled as her driver, sat behind the wheel, right where she had left him. Ella wasn’t taking any chances. Raising her poker to strike, she opened the driver’s door and started to swing.

“What the hell, Ella?” Jake threw up his arms in self defense. “I swear, she didn’t mean anything to me.”

“Who didn’t?” Ella altered the trajectory of her swing just in time. Instead of hitting Jake, her poker caught the inner car door, damaging it but leaving Jake intact.

“No one, babe. It’s only you.”

Ella narrowed her eyes. “Get out.”

“Ella,” Jake pleaded, but it was no good. She didn’t need a two-timing boyfriend, especially not now.

Jake got out of the car and Ella drove off. In the rear-view mirror, she saw a couple of zombies run him to the ground. She shed a tear, but knew it was going to be survival of the fittest from here on out.

That had been six months ago. Some people stayed put, hoping things would get better. The army did its best to contain the zombies but since anyone who died turned, you never knew if you’d wake up to a mindless killer next to you in bed. Ella always slept alone.

Her car had given up a few weeks back. With no way to fix it, she had abandoned it on the side of the road. Now she walked, or, if the occasion demanded it, ran wherever she went.

As Ella made her way out of what had been a relatively safe neighborhood, she spotted a burned-out house. Something bad had happened there. Instead of running in the other direction, she gave in to curiosity and decided to check it out.

Carefully watching for zombies, she inched her way to the front entryway. The remains of the door listed to one side, barely attached by a single, twisted hinge. She pushed her way past and found herself in what would have been an open concept living space. Other than debris from the fire, it was empty.

Ella set a foot on a charred step. It held, so she cautiously climbed to the second floor, where she entered a long hallway, which showed less fire damage but was filled with garbage. The wallpaper peeled from the walls like flayed skin.

The hallway stretched in both directions, with rooms to either side of the stairs. Ella picked left.

As Ella walked down the hallway, she stepped on a creaky floorboard. She froze. A naked zombie staggered out of one of the rooms ahead and lumbered toward her. A sound behind her drew her attention. Two more zombies came at her from the other direction.

Ella flourished her poker like a sword, grinning at her luck. Three of them! Yup. This was a day just like any other. A day in the life of a zombie slayer. She would need to borrow another outfit.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

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