Probably The Last Zombie Story I Shall Write
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
Author's Note: This
story was written specifically for my old friend Priya D'Souza, who fell in
love with zombies after I wrote about them. Here you go.
we walked up from the old fountain by the square, I got jostled and pushed down
a flight of steps, rolling all the way to the bottom. I ended up with my face
pushed into a pile of drifted leaves, discarded chocolate wrappers and
associated garbage. It didn’t, of course, hurt me, but when I pushed myself up
again some of the gunk had entered my nostrils and had choked my olfactory
The sun was flooding down, but I
scarcely felt its heat. Squinting, I brushed some of the dirt away from my
eyes, so I could see again, and turned to go back upstairs.
The rest of us were still
flooding past the head of the stairs, so I climbed up back to them, working my
way, with some difficulty, back into the stream. More than once I almost got
jostled back down, and there seemed to be something wrong with my right leg.
The knee buckled whenever I put any pressure on it.
I stepped on someone who was
dragging himself along the ground, his back broken so that his hips and legs
were twisted at an angle. He growled at me angrily, snapping at me with grey
teeth, but I managed to take a long enough step that he couldn’t connect.
I no longer knew where we were
headed, since my sense of smell was almost completely destroyed with the muck
inside my nose. I could only follow the flow, and hope we were going somewhere
there was food.
Food! My body craved it.
How long was it since I’d eaten?
I had no memory, even, of my last meal. Hunger was a constant, gnawing ache,
much greater than any other urge I’d ever had. Much greater than sex.
Sex? A random memory came to me
with that word. I had a vague impression, blurry, of a dear and familiar face,
and warm lips on mine. Who was that man? When was he? I ran my hands over my
face, pausing to look down at the grease and dirt caked into my palms. One
fingernail was gone completely, the rest broken and ragged. He had loved to
kiss my fingers and tell me he loved them. I thought of that and felt a
once-familiar sensation, an urge in the pit of my stomach and between my legs.
Who, I thought, was I?
Some other vague memories. Wasn’t
there a time when I used to run through this park on our right, giggling at the
sensation of grass on my bare feet? The concrete under my feet now was cracked
and chipped, but the sensation barely registered. I was barefoot, but might as
well be walking in thick boots.
I touched my face with my
fingers, again, and could hardly feel anything. In a sudden urge, I stabbed at
my cheek, scraping my broken nails through the skin. There was a faint feeling
of the skin stretching and tearing, but no pain.
My knee was finally bearing up
again by the time we turned the corner at the crossroads where the big old
statue used to stand. Some kind of accident had taken place, and the figure had
toppled over, crushing the truck which had struck its pedestal. I could see an
arm hanging out of the squashed window of the vehicle, waving around aimlessly.
The crowd streamed by it, not looking, not bothering. Ergo, it was not food.
Up ahead, finally, I could see
the building where we were all headed. Ramps led up from both sides of the
entrance to the door, which was guarded by steel shutters. Many of the crowd
were banging on the shutters with their hands, howling with the hunger I felt
in me, too. The press was so great that try as I might, I couldn’t get to the
Something cracked past my ear,
and someone just behind me went sprawling over backward, taking two or three
others down with him. I looked up and saw a silhouette, scrambling over the
roof. Again I heard the cracking sound, and someone else fell. But I no longer
cared about the cracking. My attention was fixed on the figure on the roof, which
had been joined by a couple more. Food.
My hunger was a burning fire in
me now, so intense that I almost staggered. The food were running from one side
of the roof to another, raising their…guns?...and shooting down at the crowd.
Many were falling, but it made no difference to the other, and certainly not to
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