The smell of Streaker lingers in the air.
I must be dead!
I woke up naked and covered in blood. Teeth marks littered my arms, creating holes and revealing muscle. Someone or something attempted to gnaw off my elbow.
I’m alone! So, maybe, I’m worse than dead.
If friends and family abandoned me, I must have turned into a Streaker. On second thought, it’s an easy “no” to eating body parts.
The idea of brains for dinner disgusts me.
I only see one option ahead, and that’s to find my family and ask why they left me as dinner for the undead.
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His glance was quick and furtive. Nostrils flaring, Eric recoiled from the gore around him and the smell of death saturating the air. He held back a scream.
Where am I?
The irregular beat of his heart pounded in his ears like a truck accelerating under a bridge. Although the room was murky, the red ochre stains decorating the floor and walls like abstract paintings remained vivid.
What had happened here?
Eric sat naked, covered in blood, but alive. He lifted himself onto his knees. Everything hurt. He stared at the carnage that was his body and gagged.
Teeth marks littered his arms, creating holes and 1 revealing muscle. Someone or something had attempted to gnaw off an elbow. The tears in his thigh reached bone. Eric yanked his hand to cover the wound then tore it away. Half-healed scabs and open sores covered from fingers to wrist.
Is this what it’s like to be dead? How long have I been here? Like this?
Memories surged back to him. A few days ago, he and the rest of the survivors had taken refuge in this old movie theater, but Streakers found them.
The maggoty swarm had assembled along the large glass windows and doors. Agitated, held back from their sustenance, the zombies writhed and swayed against the barrier.
Dead eyes had stared from outside. Decayed, naked bodies, twisted limbs, peeling skin, and pustules, the Streakers blurred into a mirage of rot and decay. Many lacked clothes, leaving everything that hadn’t decomposed dangling in the open air.
His friends, Jenna and Caleb, had tried to herd Eric and his twin brother, Billy, to safety, but he’d pushed them away. Nearly sixteen, he had wanted to prove himself.
The shattering window had left him frozen in fear. One of the zombies focused its lifeless eyes on him.
A sound? Eric’s thoughts rushed into the present.
What happened to his friends? Had they all perished? Worse, had they abandoned him?
The crunch and crackle of broken glass had Eric jumping to his feet and heart thumping against his ribs. Adrenaline flooded aching limbs into action. Frantic, he searched the ground for a weapon but found nothing. He sprinted, pain in each step, to the corner and waited. There was little else to do.
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at a local community college. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and fosters dogs.