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Fiction #423
(published February 26, 2009)
Zombies: A New Perspective
by Kevin Gaussoin
The zombie apocalypse had all but burnt out. There weren't many survivors either way. The doctor told me that many of them were different now. They were tractable to the point that they would take orders from us under the right conditions. With their help, maybe we could start to rebuild. I was selected to take part in what I was told was a program crucial to our continued survival.

I waited in the lab. I was so afraid when it was led in the room, my blood ran ice cold. I couldn't even look at it for a while. The doctor brought it up near the metal stool where I was sitting and reminded me that I needed to be specific when I gave it orders.

"Face away from me. Sit down. Don't move. Don't speak," I said, trying to keep my voice from wavering.

The doctor led it in front of me and like some grotesque undead chimpanzee, it obeyed my orders and crouched at my feet. It had been . . . changed . . . for so long, it's skin was paper thin and I could see it's beef jerky dried muscles clinging mockingly to its bones with tenacious oily sinew. Just looking down at its shoulder was hard enough. I didn't want to face it, but all the same, I wanted to know it's capabilities and state of mind.

Is that weird? I guess I just figured that the more I knew about it, the less afraid I'd be.

I took a deep breath and steeled myself. "Face me."

It turned to face me with an ease of movement far too smooth for something so dried out. It wasn't even rotten anymore. Its eyeballs were dark prunes deep in the sockets of its skull. Its head was so big in comparison to its body. You never get used to the ones like this. It should be a kid, not . . . like this. It was disconcerting to just have it silently look at me with its dark shriveled eyes, so I spoke.

"Can you see me?" I asked it.

It paused as if I should have already known the answer. "Open your eyes," it said in a sweet familiar voice, telling me more than I wanted to know with those words. I opened my intangible ghostly eyelids revealing my own shriveled prune eyes behind them. I wished they were not so very dried out and dead, for I ached so badly to weep at the sight of my child. At the realization of my state I moaned loudly.

I barely noticed in my lament the doctor locking the door behind him as he quickly left.

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