#picturefiction #flashfiction #zombie
It had been three days since the Master was executed by the occupiers. For three days Miram waited for the chance to properly care for his body, to say the prayers and anoint him with the blessed oils.
She walked up the long, lonely hill to the cave where the Master’s body had been placed. She prayed that the soldiers who had been stationed there to discourage vandals were still present otherwise she did not know how she would move the enormous rock sealing the entrance.
The trail curved to the left bringing the cave into view. No soldiers stood at watch, no one lounged playing at dice to wile away the hours. The enormous round stone stood to the side and the cave stood open to the outer world.
Fear followed by outrage gripped Miram’s heart. The Master had many enemies as well as fanatical followers. If one of those factions had broken into his sacred resting place and defiled or stolen his body there would be no peace. She vowed to her own God as well as to the many gods of the occupiers that she would avenge any sacrilege enacted on her beloved Master’s body.
Miram approached with stilted steps, fearful of what defilement might await her. The dark cave mouth yawned like the mouth of Leviathan ready to swallow her. Dank cold air spilled from the opening and formed a wavering mist in the desert heat. Miram could not see into the darkness and hesitated on the first stair.
“Silly woman,” she muttered. “It is only a tomb, face it.”
She closed her eyes and stepped into the cave. She stood still for a minute allowing the darkness to seep through her eyelids until the burning afterimage of the desert was gone, then she opened her eyes. The cave was the simplest of tombs, rough hewn walls and equally raw ceiling above, barely high enough even for her to stand upright. A low dais of stone occupied the left side of the tomb leaving a narrow space for funeral attendants to stand on the right.
The linen shroud which she and the other women had wrapped the Master with lay spread across the dais but the Master’s body was gone.
Bitter tears sprang to her eyes. She could see the blood stains on the cloth that had wrapped his poor shattered body.
“I will find you my Master and repay those who have defiled your resting place.”
She heard a sound and turned toward the entrance. A dark shape stood in the doorway. It was a wavering silhouette against the blinding light. Could it be? She knew this shape as well as her own. She could make out the ragged cloth around the hips that was all the fiends permitted her Master for modesty.
“Master,” she moaned. “You live,”
Miram staggered to the entrance and fell to her knees before her risen Master. Truly he was God incarnate as some believed. He had thrown off death and she would be the first to follow him in his second life as they rose up against their oppressors.
The Master stepped closer, allowing her to finally see him clearly. He bore the wounds of his torture but his face was more sunken than she remembered. Bones jutted as if trying to burst through his skin. His eyes rolled in their sockets looking like bloody yellow eggs rotted from the sun . His teeth were gleaming chisels covered in blood and bits of flesh.
“Brains,” the Master groaned and reached for Miram.
She did not know whether to scream in joy or terror as the teeth ripped into her skull.