“Write about a day in the life of a member of the herd. I mean horde.”
–Zombie Prompts: Creative Writing for the Apocalypse
* * *
Everything was gray.
The sun raised up and peeked through the fog. It cast long, dark shadows across the red-streaked concrete. It ambled from one side of the driveway to the other, slowly dragging one broken foot behind it like a club. Every other step made the same sssshhhhhht-crack! sound as the exposed bones ground against the hard surface beneath it and painted a crippled, bloody line.
Once, the thing may have felt the warmth from the first morning rays like a blessing. Once, it may have recognized the passing of time, the dawn of a new day, and all that could come with it. Now, though, it recognized only one thing, and that thing didn’t depend on sunlight or warmth or any of the other things many people found comforting these days.
All it felt was hunger.
The other senses were dulled or dead. Its eyes recognized only movement. Its skin was numb to rain and wind and bullets. Its ears heard nothing but the moaning of others like it, others also wandering the suburb, looking for a meal. Its nose was full of the stench of rot. There was no fresh flesh here.
No matter how much it consumed, it was always hungry.
The sun continued to rise, fighting the gray morning away to show homes with overgrown lawns and broken windows. Cars were left abandoned, haphazardly, in the middle of the streets. Blood and body parts littered the narrow spaces–bathrooms, closets, and pantries where people trapped themselves in an attempt to be safe.
That’s where it had woken up–in a closet several houses down, several hours ago. What had happened before that, what it had been before that, it didn’t know. All it knew was that it needed to eat, and there was no food nearby.
But the rest of them, of the others like it, were wandering together, shoulder to shoulder, in one direction. It followed, slower than many without broken bones but faster than those missing entire legs or lower bodies. The sssshhhhhht-crack! followed behind it, as though it meant to alert its pray that it was being hunted.
They moved like an organism, and it became lost in the group as the mass came together in a tight, groaning form. It was pushed and bombarded, like a koi in an overcrowded pond. But it, and them, meandered along, down the street, slowly, nonchalantly.
That was, until it heard the first scream.