The Tell-Tale Zombie

Title: The Tell-Tale Zombie
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Genre: , , ,
Pages: 39

The zombies were dead - really dead this time.

It is one year since the last zombie was reported to be destroyed and the world is slowly recovering.

Demi is a survivor who harbors a dark secret. She lost her husband to the undead and will do anything to protect her young daughter.

Neighbors and friends pry into her life, trying to learn her secret. To protect her secret and her daughter she will do the unthinkable.

The Tell-Tale Zombie is a short story of survival in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. This isn't your normal zombie story with rugged survivors battling hordes of undead in the streets. This story examines the human toll in a world where the line between life and death has become blurred.

The zombies were all dead - really dead this time. Less than a year ago the five mile hike to the neighboring enclave was life endangering. Today she strolled without fear toward her home after trading two dozen fresh eggs for three pairs of new pants.

Old habits die hard. She scanned every rusting car, and every crumbling doorway in each burned out building. Every shadow was a hiding place for one of the dead. Her belt held the well-used tomahawk and the pistol she had taken from a dead cop so many years before. The grips of both weapons were worn smooth from constant use during The Troubles.

She chuckled as the newly minted name describing the prior nine years sprang to mind. Humans are a resilient bunch. It had always been the way of the world to remember the past in a better light. The horrors are minimized and the good times amplified in memory. If there were only bad times, people referred to the past in a less disturbing way. What had once been the Zombie Apocalypse became the less horrifying The Troubles.

The last of the dead were officially destroyed just over eleven months ago. Everyone Demi knew still kept watch and started at shadows. The world still carried the reek of corruption. The smell of the dead, burned buildings, decay, and rot would cover the world for years to come. The world was a corpse.  New life now sprang from its soil but it would never feel alive again for those who lived through The Troubles. The scent of death drifted on every stray breeze. Every shattered building was a reminder of death. Demi's hand dropped to a weapon with each new smell, each shift of rubble. Every moan of the wind moving over broken pipes and through desiccated trees caused her to look for a shambling figure. Those threats were finally gone, or so they said.

Demi hitched her backpack higher and shook off her dark thoughts. The sun was shining, a bird - an actual live bird - was singing. Life was returning to the world. It was almost a pleasant hike back to Sunset Acres, her enclave.

Some walled communities had been built as havens for residents to feel elite and separate from the common man. Other walled communities were built to defend against the criminal elements of society. It was ironic that they would be turned into fortresses to protect the surviving members of the human race.

She always hated the name Sunset Acres but it was on the sign which had graced the gated community. Nobody was going to waste time worrying about a stupid sign when the dead were attempting to kill them on a daily basis. Now the dead were finally at rest, but no one could spare time from rebuilding. The name remained even though it made Demi feel that she was living in a retirement community.

A new scent drifted to her - smoke. Demi stopped and raised a hand to shade her eyes as she scanned the horizon. There, to the north, a column of thick black smoke; someone was having a funeral. Cremation was the final solution to keeping the recently departed in their graves. The first few months after the last zombie horde was put down, the sky was black with the smoke of mass cremations. Every body had to be burned to ash and the bones ground to dust to guarantee there would never again be a rising.

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