Flash Fiction: I, Zombie

by Olivia Tejeda

Living dead. That’s what I am. A zombie. A corpse. It took me a while to realize it, but now that I know, it makes sense.

I try to pull myself out of this brain-dead stupor, but its allure is undeniable.  I’m seduced into surrender, and I let it bury me. I don’t know what time it is, or even what day. Something deep inside me wants to claw its way back to the surface and escape the pain, but I know it’s futile. I lie in the darkness, twitching and shivering.

Something was wrong. I ignored the foreboding and focused on everything else that needed my attention. Now I’m paying the price.

When I wake again, I want to get my bearings, but a hazy film crusts over my eyes, blurring everything into a jaundiced fog. Whatever’s left of my body twinges with pain. My joints feel too big for their crumbling sockets. I feel a deep ache in bones I never think about, my femur, my clavicle, my nasal concha. I hear groans and labored wheezing. A fire fills my nostrils and burns a path to my lungs as I gasp and realize it’s me. I’m making those disgusting snorting sounds. I think my nose has fallen off. Everything goes black.

Nightmares trap me in a leaden limbo filled with fear and anger. What’s happened to me? Who did this? I think of that Goth freak at Safeway. She had a zombie look, and she was standing so close I could feel her tainted breath. I bet she put this voodoo whammy on me when she saw me staring. I didn’t mean to stare, but I’ve never seen so much metal in one face before. Is that what my zombie future holds? Is that what I’ll become?

My pulse flutters, and I try to move again. I strain to shift my legs off this suffocating slab, but their dead weight exhausts me before I make any progress. What remains of my will to live begins to decompose. More shivering. More pain. More darkness.

A tiny crack of light wakes me and slowly widens until I’m squinting into its brightness. I sense that my misery is reaching its end. My salvation is near, or my damnation, I don’t care which anymore.

An astral image looms closer until it’s shadow overtakes me. I see it reaching toward me. I can’t move away. I give up and wait for its touch to end my suffering.

A hand rests gently across my forehead.

“Your temp’s back,” my husband whispers.

‘”Huh?” I grunt.

“This flu is kicking your butt. You want more Dayquil?”

Dot yet,” I slobber, grateful for the attention, “but I deed more tissue.”

Thank you for reading my flash fiction. Please share any constructive criticism and feel free to let me know about any errors you find here. To read more flash fiction from a great group of writers, search #fridayflash on Twitter or visit Mad Utopia.


© Olivia Tejeda and Liv Loves Lit, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Olivia Tejeda and Liv Loves Lit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

34 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: I, Zombie

  1. Oh, I have definitely felt this way once when I was kicked by a flu!

    Feeling so sorry for the zombie and then your twist! And I was relieved for her. Though being sick with the flu is not a great condition. At least, she can still come back to life after she gets better.

    Very funny last sentence!

  2. Nice, I too have put the boot into Goths/piercing freaks.

    Liked the seamless switch from horror to slice of life hallucination through illness.

  3. Love, love, love this Olivia! This may be your best yet. My favorite line …” hazy film crusts over my eyes, blurring everything into a jaundiced fog.” -so vivid. And I laughed out loud at her nose falling off.
    Great work!

    1. Thanks!! I was inspired by my own bout with the flu this week. Granted our main character is a tad melodramatic, but that’s what I like about her. I laugh at the nose falling off, too! I’m so glad you liked it! ~ Olivia

  4. Yay! I love this and I totally relate – I’m a huge weenie when it comes to even a headache – so any flu or sinus infection and I AM the living dead. Heheh, your descriptions are spot on for all the aches, pains & agony – real & imagined.

  5. This is hysterical. You had me hooked from the beginning, and the last line made me gigglesnort. I especially love it when she realizes it’s HER making those disgusting sounds. Heh!

    Great piece 🙂

  6. Loved this. In this instance even if I weren’t a zombie I would hope that my nose fell off.

    Did not see a humorous conclusion coming after that GREAT horror filled build up.

    Very nicely done!!!

    Karen :0)

  7. Literally lol’ing at the ending here. It would have been effective as a bleak, horror piece, too! Great job!

  8. Nice! Loved the twist. As I was reading I was musing on all the psychological metaphors your beautiful physically descriptive language was giving me, composing my own interpretation of her as an existential zombie…Then boom! And thought how wonderfully, wonderfully apt the description was for that horrifically high fever flu state. (Once I read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness with the flu–a fever of almost 104–NOT for the faint of heart…) Enjoyed this very much. 🙂

  9. LOL! I think this would have been good even just as a zombie story, but then the ending was so funny! Loved your voice on this one, the melodrama was perfection!

  10. I loved the twist and the fact that when you understand it’s a case of the flu you can go back and re-read and make the connections and enjoy it all over again.
    I was really taken in by the Zombies.
    Last line was great!

    Really enjoyed reading this.

  11. Hey, this was just right. Like everyone else I was wondering at how eloquently you had translated the ughs of zombie-speech, then I considered that you were doing some sort of Poe thing, but no again!

    Lots of nice flowing lines in this.

  12. I must confess I did roll my eyes at another zombie piece (oops), but I found myself chuckling at ‘my nose fell off’ and decided to give over and enjoy some great flash and then the twist! Fantastic 🙂

  13. You had me going! I thought she was changing into something supernatural. The twist ending was well done and caused me to breath a sigh of relief. Fun read, well written!

  14. Great story, Olivia! I’ve felt like this for much of the winter! I guess I’m making up for my relatively sickness-free winter last year! lol Well done!

  15. hahahahahah– well, ain’t that just the darn truth! That’s how you feel when you’ve got the flu, that you’re dead rights to decomposing. I was reading it and thinking, ok, this is one of those weird vampire-zombie-being-operated-on-without-being-fully-under kind of stories, been there, done that, but it’s well-written so stay with it for the ride … and then WHAM! It’s not a zombie, it’s just MOI, all dosed up and freaked out on cold medication and mucous! I giggled out loud, honest!

    1. Thanks for these great comments! I’m not a horror fan or zombie writer, but this came fairly easily because it’s exactly how I felt when I was down with it last week. I’m glad everyone’s enjoying it. Maybe I should be a horror/zombie writer.

  16. Hahaha, I have been there too – especially with the nose falling off! I tend to refer to it as “localised leprosy of the nose” but localised zombyism sounds much better!

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