Since I fancy myself a writer, I try to challenge myself with new projects to keep me going. You ever have something floating around in your head, try to write it down and it’s just not coming? This was one of those moments where I saw a contest to write a story starting with “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over…”
I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over. I pulled back and looked at him; his puckered lips and closed eyes. I said his name. He didn’t hear me. I said his name again, louder this time. He opened his eyes and looked at me with a profound sadness.
“I really wanted this to happen.” He stepped back as he held my hands and looked at the ground.
“I know. I wanted something to happen too, but it’s just not there.” I stepped a little further back and kicked at the ground, covering my shoe in brown earthy dirt.
We had been through good and bad times together. This was a very difficult time for us. How to stay strong during an apocalypse? How do we stay focused on the task at hand, with something brewing between us that neither of us could explain?
I slid my hands out of his and wiped them on my dirty jeans. He stepped back and raked his hands through his soft brown hair and looked at me with those sky blue eyes.
I wanted him to change into someone else. I wanted my boyfriend that smelled like fresh soap and bread dough from the pizza parlor where he worked. I wanted to run my fingers through his short black hair, feeling my hands covered with styling gel and laughing about it. I wanted to feel his stubble brush against my cheek as he held me. I missed Juan, my boyfriend.
We turned and walked back to the field of tents that looked like soft pillows on the ground. We heard the sound of children running and playing in the trees and yet, despite hearing such happiness; I knew he was sad.
His head hung low and his shoulders slouched forward; I felt him drifting away from me. I liked him but I didn’t want that to happen. He was physically moving away as well. I stopped and looked at him.
“Lance! Lance!” He stopped and turned to face me.
“You know, it just wouldn’t….because I was…” I tried to remember the words as I looked into his eyes, but my mind was going blank.
It was beginning. I was losing my memory. All the beautiful things like a warm sunrise, the laugh of my nieces and nephews and the touch of my boyfriend, were drifting away from me like leaves swirling helplessly in the breeze.
“Dani, don’t make it any worse. It already hurts enough. I just should leave.” He started to walk away.
“Lance, please don’t. Don’t leave me. I-I…I can try…again.” I sighed and sat on a nearby boulder. I felt the dampness through my jeans and jumped up, wiping the water off me.
“How can we try anything? You still love what’s his name…”
“Exactly,” he nodded.
“But, all this time I’ve spent with you has really meant something to me and I want you to know that. I feel like we’re cousins or something.” My stomach lurched and I was on my knees; bile at the back of my throat.
He dropped to my side to touch me and his odor was an intoxicating mix of weed, burnt wood and patchouli. He mouthed some words to me but I couldn’t hear them. This was happening faster than they said it would. I was given a vaccine. I wasn’t supposed to…
I was on the ground; face in the earth writhing in pain. I rolled over on my back and looked at Lance. The look on his face was horror as he stepped away from me. I heard people running over. I raised my hand and saw the inevitable; my skin rotted rapidly. I looked up at the sky and saw the fluffy clouds and felt my eyes glaze over. My vision was going. I forced myself to stand. My clothes slid off me; along with my skin. Someone told me the transformation would be painful. This wasn’t hurting; it was annoying.
I looked at Lance. He was so close. I leapt towards him and put what remained of my mouth on his and kissed him. Literally, I melted into him and I felt the pain in my back as I heard the word screamed. I fell off Lance and on the ground; I tried to look at the sky again.
“Zombie!” someone yelled.
“But she had the vaccine!” Lance howled.
Someone shot her through the head, “Vaccine didn’t take.”
Contributor: Tracy AC