When I came to, it was to the sound of laughter. I opened my eyes and was staring straight into the dead face of my former attacker. “Oh shit!” I yelled and pushed myself off of the creature but my pants were still wrapped around my calves so I stumbled backward and landed hard on my naked ass. I scrambled backwards up the ditch in a crabwalk from the thing I’d just killed.
The laughter only increased at that. I turned my head and saw at least twenty guys laughing so hard that they were bent double. I lay back and jerked my jeans up over my thighs and zipped them up. I spotted Jesse just as he yelled out, “Jesus Christ Chuck! That’s probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, definitely since the start of the apocalypse. What the fuck were you doing? You know you can still catch their disease by fucking them right?”
My face burned bright red from around my mask as I realized what it must have looked like to the guys who’d ran over here to help me out when they heard my shouts. It was times like this that I wished I was witty, but I couldn’t really think of anything to say.
“What, that pretty little thing you’re with not giving you enough pussy?” someone yelled.
“Hey, I’ll show her how a real man fucks!” another yelled as several of the men made rude gestures and motions.
I rushed up the hill, wiping the gore from the creature’s throat on my pant legs as I came. I was ready to beat the fuck out of somebody, all of them if I had to, but Jesse stepped in. “Shut the fuck up!” he roared. “If you fuckwits would have done your job, he wouldn’t be down there.” The catcalls and dry-humping of the air ceased almost instantly.
“I was taking a shit when that thing came up on me. Fuck. I don’t know how the hell I held him off, but I choked it to death.”
“Holy shit, you killed a zombie with your bare hands!” Robert exclaimed. “That’s fucking badass man!”
Jesse tapped one of the guys on the arm and gestured towards the creature. He ran down into the ditch, pulled out a huge knife and grabbed a gloved fistful of the zombie’s hair. Then he systematically began sawing the thing’s head off. The men stared in awe as the blade bit deeper and deeper into the flesh. Diseased blood ran freely from the wound. Even from twenty feet away, it was so quiet that we could hear the disgustingly wet slurp of the blade as the guard pulled the knife through the meat. He grunted and put a little more effort into it when he hit the vertebrae, but eventually the head separated entirely and he carried it up to me.
“Do you want it for a souvenir?” Jesse asked.
“Uh, no. I’m okay, thank you,” I said.
“Ok, suit yourself, but you only get one first kill, and to do it by strangling one of those bastards is pretty good.”
“I still think I’ll pass, thanks.”
“Alright then. Now to the ugly part Chuck. I need you to strip down so we can ensure you didn’t get bitten,” he said.
I nodded numbly as I unbuttoned my borrowed shirt and wondered if I’d been bitten or if I had any open cuts that would look like bites. One of the men who’d helped me carry peanut butter came over with a baseball bat on his shoulder. I guessed that if they suspected me of being infected, it was his job to bash my brains out.
As I re-slid my pants down and held my arms open for all to see. Jesse slowly circled me looking closely for bite marks. “I think he’s okay. I don’t see anything on him,” he told the group as he shook his head no to the man with the baseball bat, who slid silently back into the crowd of men.
“Get your clothes back on. We’ve still got a lot of crap to do…No pun intended buddy,” Jesse said as he slapped me on my back. All of the men, including me, chuckled at his little comment. “Don’t take it personal, everyone who has a run-in with a zombie is checked over and, well, disposed of if they become infected.”
“I know. It’s our new way of life,” I said. “You know, I was thinking. These things aren’t really zombies. I mean, I’ve seen them bleed to death and I just killed this one by suffocating it.”
“Oh yeah, totally. They’re not the old Hollywood zombies, that’s for sure, but they’re close enough and we don’t have anything better to call them, so the name’s just kind of stuck in Virden. A lot of the folks coming in call them that too, so that’s what we’re going with.”
—— To read more of this section, you’ll have to wait until Snowball Earth is complete ~Aug 2014! ————-