Content Warning: Zombie child death. Normally I wouldn’t warn about a zombie death but “child” death is a bit different.
I spent a couple of days going from apartment to apartment collecting what food had been left behind. In a couple of apartments, I found small half full cases of bottled water. In the end I had enough to last a few weeks. Maybe, I thought, I didn’t need to go back to the superstore and risk running into Andy. I hadn’t found large stock piles of food and water but it added up. I would have to leave the apartment complex if I wanted to keep finding anything though.
The next day, I walked into the neighborhood that bordered on the apartment complex. Before the zombies, my roommate and I had walked around here for exercise. We had looked at the changing lawn decorations as holidays had come and gone. Judged Christmas lights in the winter and counted flags during the summer.
Now I was looking supplies and hoping to avoid zombies. I hadn’t seen any in the neighborhood the last time I passed through but it had been more than a week. I approached the first house. A moderate sized one story house, probably two bedrooms. The backyard was fenced off with a short chain link fence. I walked close to the house and heard shuffling inside. Peeking through the lacy curtains I saw two figures in the middle of the room. I waited and watched them bump into furniture for a couple of minutes. One of them must have died in the house, come back as a zombie, and killed the other. I sneaked away wishing I had a way to mark the house. A can of spray paint would have come in handy.
I moved on checking around the corner before crossing the lawn to the next house. Most of the driveways were empty from the rush to get to “safe zones” but this one still had a car in the driveway. I crept by the front windows, the blinds were shut but the front door was open. I slowly peeked around the door frame into the house. A zombie stood in the hallway. I froze hoping it hadn’t seen me. It’s head turned and it began moving toward the door quickly gaining speed. I ducked back to the side of the door and pulled out my machete. As it reached the door, I swung my machete. My aim was high and hit it across the bridge of its nose, sliding into its eyes. I tighten my grip on to the machete as the zombie continued past me threatening to take my blade with it. The machete bound for a second on the cheekbone until the zombie’s momentum pulled it free. I readied myself for the zombie’s next charge.
The zombie continued into the street before stopping and turning in a circle. It made several revolutions before stopping. I waited. A bird took flight from a nearby tree and it jerked toward the sound. I stared at the gash across its face. Dark almost black blood oozed at the edges. Had I blinded it? I crouched down and tapped a pot on the porch with my machete. The zombie turned and took a step forward. I stood back up and carefully began making my way behind the zombie. Its head turned toward me a couple of times as but it remained otherwise motionless. Once behind it, I lined up my machete and chopped into its neck with all my force. It collapsed nearly pulling the blade from my hand. I grabbed the zombie’s ankles and dragged it to the shallow ditch by the street. It wouldn’t be hard to spot but at least it wasn’t in the street.
I walked back to the house it had charged out of and looked inside. The door frame was broken from the zombie bashing its way inside. In the hallway a side table had been toppled, some random items littered the floor. A struggle in the hallway? But there was only one zombie so the person got away. If they got away, why didn’t the zombie chase them out of the house? Were there more zombies inside?
Taking my machete out I rapped it against the door frame loudly while hiding just outside the door. Nothing. I did it again louder. Still nothing. I almost wished another zombie had come out. I debated I closing the door and moving on to the next house for a minute before walking inside with my machete at the ready.
The living room was empty and untouched. I found the kitchen next but left it alone until I checked the rest of the house. From the kitchen I looked out at the empty backyard before moving on to the bedrooms. In one bedroom, I found a couple of packed bags. They were going to leave but a zombie got them first. But where were they then? The other bedroom had been converted into a home office. I checked the bathroom and closets to be through but the house was empty. I loaded up my backpack from the kitchen and left the house closing the door behind me.
The next house over was separated by a tall hedge row. I peeked around it and saw a zombie. It began running at me. It was short, barely over three feet tall, skinny, and wearing a cute pink dress. A little girl. She reached me in seconds and I hesitated to swing my machete. She slammed into me knocking me back a couple of steps and began pounding at me with her small fists. They hurt but I wasn’t in danger of being knocked down. I pushed her away and she fell to the ground. She got up and came at me again.
I dropped my machete and grabbed her wrists. She struggled but couldn’t break free of my grip. Not right away. I could restrain her with my greater strength but I would tire eventually, she wouldn’t. Her expression was as blank as any zombie’s I had seen. Eyes clouded, unblinking. I could handle killing adult zombies but this was breaking my heart. She couldn’t really hurt me but I couldn’t leave her running around either. She… it had to be put down. I pushed her… it away again. I picked up my machete and kicked h… it down as it started to get up. I blanked my mind of what I was doing. I put a knee in its back, brushed her hair out of the way, and with a single chop took its head off.
I sheathed my machete, while swallowing a sob and blinking away tears. It wasn’t a zombie anymore. It had been a zombie that wanted to kill me. A zombie that was too weak to kill me but still had to die. And afterwards it was a dead little girl. Strange how that happened. I looked around for any more zombies. None in sight. We were mostly out of sight so I didn’t have to move her body far. I turned her body over and cradled it against mine, one arm under the legs one arm behind the back under the arms. I looked away from the messy stump of a neck she had left and walked further back between the hedge row and house and laid the body down. I went back for her head and brought it to rest by her body. There wasn’t anything else I could do, so I turned and walked away.
I had had enough zombie action for the day and headed back to my apartment.
I cleaned off my machete and put away what I had found in the second house. I counted my supplies. Some many days of food. Not as many days of water. Even fewer days of hrt. I knew where I might be able to find more but I might need help.