Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Cooties

I should first say that I shy away from those subjects of horror that have been beaten to a bloody, indistinguishable pulp. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies top that list. But I saw the words ‘zombie’ and ‘love’ mashed together for a contest and this story came to mind.  So I wrote it down.

The rest of the zombieluv stories can be found at http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/AdQScg/marisrandomities.blogspot.com/2010/07/zombieluv-news.html  where you can do some voting as well.

The door lurched open and slammed shut again. Jessica Tremblay had her back against it, her feet touched the opposite wall, and her legs were locked.

“Jess-i-ca.”

Daniel was of a single mind, he wanted in.

Jess loved Daniel ever since they were children. She had to convince him that cooties did not exist before he would stand in one place long enough to talk. She would twist to-and-fro, making her dress twirl; a flower in a field of people.

As they matured, he became more interested in her. Well, there was another girl, Cindy Martin. But Jessica always won battles of popularity. By the time they were teens they were meeting in places other than church, like the Dan-dee Ice Cream Shoppe. She went to his high school football games and they went to all the dances together. They became inseparable.

The door she had her back against jerked weakly three times and there was a groan from the other side. It sounded like a garbled word, like “hungry.”

Daniel signed up for the Marines. He told Jessica he did it for the opportunities; he did it for the scholarship money; he did it for the travel.

He was sent to Falujah, which was a goodly amount of travel. In his unit he learned about semper fi, how to fire weapons, and how to fight. The last thing he saw was the Euphrates through dust and gun-smoke as he slid down a wall and the world went black.

Jessica attended the memorial service along with the rest of her family. The whole small town appeared to have shown up to see his flag draped coffin.

Audio speakers were set up outside Cavalry Baptist for the hundred or so who could not fit inside. They listened as one after another stood before a microphone giving testimony about their loss, their feelings for Daniel, and their love of the Lord, amen.

Afterward, Jessica went to stand by the grand old oak where she and Daniel had their first kiss. It was easy to remember how they each stood with their hands clasped behind, leaning in.

She hoped she would feel his presence there. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around herself and thought back to that moment when his lips touched hers and the world slowed to a stop just for them. Tears welled from her closed eyes.

She was startled back to the present by a voice, “I can help.” It was a croaky old voice that didn’t pronounce the letter ‘l’. “I can he’p you both.”

Jessica could only tilt her head with all the questions she had for this small, ancient black woman.

“I can bring him back for you. Would you like that?”

Jessica nodded manically, wiped her eyes, and asked, “How?”

The ancient HooDoo queen had been displaced by the hurricane called Katrina and was still living with reluctant relatives. She had a price which Jessica agreed to. More importantly, she had a recipe to reignite some semblance of life in the dead.

When Jessica first saw Daniel walking again, she swooned. But as he drew closer, she could see he was…different. His complexion seemed okay until she figured out it was mortician’s makeup. Daniel stood still for her as she cleaned his face which, underneath, was a pasty white bordering on gray. His deathly pallor was an early indication that all was not right.

She was proud that she and her family could look past the color of his skin; but even the way he walked was off. Her father leaned in before Daniel reached her to say, “What’s wrong with the boy? Looks like a bad case of arthur-right-tus.”

There was some banging on the other side of the door and she noticed the house was getting darker. The shadows in the house grew longer. The door jerked and shook on its hinges.

His voice, “Jess-i-caaa,” sounded desperate. “Hun-greee. Jess-i-caaaaaaa.”

Lately, hugging him was a little unnerving. Daniel’s skin moved around as if he were just a bag of bones. Then he began clacking his teeth, biting at the air and finally started aiming the effort toward her.

She ran, but not until after he had sunk his teeth into her shoulder.

“Daniel? Remember when I said Cooties don’t exist?”

An odd sensation coursed through Jess. She felt the pangs of hunger, the want of some food source she could not put a finger on. Her mind worked sluggishly, and there was a chill growing deep inside.

“Daniel. They do. They do exist. And you got ‘em.”

She held her arms out for inspection, twisting them to see. They had the same pale look that Daniel exhibited; a roadmap of veins rose on a stark gray landscape.

“Daniel, you gave them to me.”

“Hun-greeee.”

His voice, slow and monosyllabic, filled her with desire.

“Yesss,” Jess finally agreed.

The door lurched open again and slammed shut for the millionth time. The house grew darker still.

Jessica realized they were more alike than ever now. She drew her legs in and pushed herself up the door. When she opened it, the door hit her shoe, slammed shut, and she had to reopen it—careful of her foot the second time.

Daniel stared at her with a rictus grin.

She stared back for a moment, searching her own feelings. Wonder was replaced by acceptance which was illuminated by love and she smiled back.

Jess stepped out. He caught her hand and turned to walk with her. They shambled off into the night to search for the one thing they both craved, even hungered for.

*

This is an entry in a contest for flash fiction that has to do with zombie love. If you have an idea for a story of your own, give’er a go. The info you need to enter is below.
And below that, you’ll find an opportunity to let me know how you feel about this tale of zombie love. Don’t be shy, readers. I don’t bite—much.
 
 
Guidelines:
  • Word count: maximum 1.000
  • The story must be a romance between two zombies. Make it as horrific as you like. 😉
  • Stories containing animal cruelty, torture, graphic sex or violence, any form of exaltation of violence, racism or other forms of prejudice will be immediately disqualified.
  • Post your entry on your own blog, with a title resembling this:
Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Story Title
  • Copy and paste the contest logo and the guidelines at the end of your entry post.

So, here it is folks—the place where you can comment on the life altering story you have just read.

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27 thoughts on “Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Cooties

  1. David G Shrock

    Zombies are scary, but I’m pretty sure the cooties they carry is more scary. I like the classic romance feel. I love the line, “Lately, hugging him was a little unnerving.” Well positioned timing, and leads into a fun visual.

    Reply
    1. donaldconrad Post author

      ‘Cooties’ was just a throw back to their childhood. It was a way for her to define ‘it’ in the present. He actually bit her which created her infection.

      As for the layering, well, it seemed perfect for the tale. I’m glad you and everyone else enjoyed it.

      Reply
  2. Maria Kelly

    Donald, this is a great zombie story. I never knew that cooties could make you crave brains!

    Nicely written, despite the fact that you don’t write zombie stories. 🙂

    Reply
  3. TheIntentionalSage

    This is quite an interesting niche community – people who write about ‘zombie love.’ I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this page, but it was a rather interesting, to say the least, story to read.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    Reply
    1. donaldconrad Post author

      Thanks for the nice comment, Sage. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      You can find more great stuff by way of the #zombieluv and #fridayflash hashtags on Twitter.

      Reply
  4. Gracie

    Subtle, lovely writing here. Great atmosphere, and their relationship is clear and tender despite the horror.

    I really enjoyed this one. Good luck in the contest!

    Reply
  5. Cathy Olliffe

    heheheheheh! “Cooties!” Loved how you brought childhood’s biggest sentimental yuck into zombieland. And how she went from denying their existence to proclaiming he had ’em.
    And how the family accepted he had come back from the dead, only with arthur-it-is.
    You’re a funny guy, Donald!
    Best of luck in the contest!

    Reply
  6. Matt Merritt

    A lovely and terrible take on a childhood game. Plus, you did the zombie love challenge without having to stray too far from the usual parameters of what a zombie is and how it acts. Very nice

    Reply

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