Once upon a time, I had a name. What was my name? Sholonda Addams was my maiden name but it doesn't matter anymore. Facts like being black, female, forty years of age and a wife and a mother stop mattering the moment I stopped being human and became what I am today. When news broke out about the dead coming back to life and devouring the living, I was a major doubter. It wasn't until the City of Houston, Texas, fell, that I began to believe...
"We have to leave," said my husband Lincoln Browne, and he took my arm, while our son Wilson looked at us expectantly. We piled into the Rav4 and took off. We skipped the highway, and took the backroads. We managed to make it as far as the Appalachian Trail, to the American wilderness, since we'd learned that fewer people meant fewer zombies. We made our way there, and that's when everything started to go wrong.
One night, they came, the men with the guns. They wanted what we had. I pleaded with Lincoln to give them what they wanted, but he refused. The men with the guns shot all three of us. I remember crying, horrified, as my son Wilson died before my very eyes. We went down, all three of us. When I came to, I was...changed. I didn't know that any human being who dies will rise as one of the ravenous undead unless he or she has been properly disposed of.
The gunmen shot Lincoln and Wilson in the head, ending them forever. I took a bullet to the chest, which killed me, but hours later I came back as one of the undead. I stood there, looking at my husband and son, and I wanted to grieve for them but I couldn't. The living know grief, the dead know nothing, and the undead know only hunger. It was hunger which drove me to track down the three gunmen to their camp, and I found them, after walking for days.
I bit them, all three of them, and they died, and came back. They joined the horde. Male and female, pale and dark, friend or foe, any dead person whose brain hasn't been destroyed will rise as one of the ravenous ones. We swarmed the great cities of America, Canada and Mexico. In time, the zombie outbreak spread to Europe, Africa and Asia, and even Australia and much of Oceania. No place on earth was left untouched by the zombie plague.
Today, I venture into one of my favorite places, the remnants of a church. I sit in a pew and bow my head, something I remember doing often as a living, breathing human woman. When I was alive, I was an avid churchgoer, which isn't surprising since everyone knows how religious black folks are in the southern United States. I went to church with my parents and siblings and later, with my husband and son. We had just come home from church one Sunday afternoon when news broke out about the zombie apocalypse.
"Lincoln, CNN has lots its shit, they're talking about zombies now," I said as I sat on the living room couch, clicking the remote and changing the channel. I went to watch one of my favorite Netflix comedies, and relaxed until it was time for Sunday dinner. I sat with my husband Lincoln and our son Wilson and said grace, then we had a sumptuous dinner of white rice, brown bean sauce, pork chops and of course, lots of lemonade and Pepsis. I like to spoil the men in my life. Yes folks, in my time, I was a good wife and mother.
"Sholonda, look, it's still on," Lincoln said, as we lay in bed, much later that day. Lincoln was watching the televised football game between our alma mater Texas A & M and those clowns from Vanderbilt University. I was on my phone, checking up on my new favorite show, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. I liked that feisty blonde gal Heather G. Lincoln grabbed my arm and pointed at the TV, and I frowned, wondering what was so damn urgent...
"Law enforcement are being overwhelmed by reanimated corpses in Dallas," said Sybil Lorne, the pretty blonde reporter for KTRK Houston News. I gasped in surprise as I watched three officers get mowed down by shambling corpses. At first I thought they were drunk people, or homeless people, but then I watched the cops riddle them with bullets and the damned things just kept on walking. I don't care how drunk or crazed a person might be, bullets frigging hurt.
"Mom, Dad, there's zombies on the TV, " Wilson shouted as he burst into our room. Our son Wilson, nineteen years old, spending the summer at home before returning to Paul Quinn College in the fall. I'd been getting on Wilson's case about getting a summer job but all he liked doing was playing video games and hanging out at the mall with that big-booty heifer Tamika. He'd better not get her pregnant or some shit like that. When Wilson came into our bedroom without knocking, I was ready to rip him a new one...
"Sholonda, it's what I've been trying to tell you," Lincoln said, and I looked at the TV, then nodded at my husband and son. We gathered in front of the TV, deeply frightened and wondering what was happening to the damn world. To the bulk of humanity, the world ended when some scientists unleashed a chemical which reanimated the recently dead and awakened a primal hunger in them. They were trying to create a hunger suppressant, for dietary purposes. I think they failed rather spectacularly, won't you agree?
For me, the world ended when some rednecks killed me, my husband and my son, and I was the only one who reanimated. I'm a zombie now, which is bad enough, but I don't have my loved ones with me. I can't even grieve for them. The hunger is all that I know. Sitting in the church remnants, I look at the ceiling. A sensation washes over me. I am shocked to be feeling anything. I hear nothing and smell nothing, but I feel...something. I hear the sound of gunfire, and shouting voices. The sounds of the living as they clash with the dead.
By the time I made it outside, the others are dead, for good this time. Hundreds of my fellow undead, cut down by men and women with guns, riding Jeeps. Three of them step out of a Jeep, guns at the ready. A tall, dark-skinned and silver-haired male in military fatigues, and a plump, dark-skinned woman, and a younger man who appears to be their son. I don't sneak up on them. I don't moan. I don't roar. I step out of the church calmly, and walk right up to them.
"Kill me," I try to say, but it comes out as a guttural, almost animalistic sound. The silver-haired man spots me immediately, and cocks his rifle. The others shout, for they recognize what I am. A zombie. A member of the ravenous, shambling undead. The enemy of all life on the planet earth. That which will bring about the end of humanity. I make my way to the family, and stop five meters from them. The man looks at me, then at the woman, and at their son. Once upon a time, I was very much like them, and they know it. The man shoots, and the bullet pierces my brain, and in that millisecond, my hunger vanishes, and I see my family again. A smooth darkness embraces me. My hunger is gone, and I know no more. If I could have thanked the gunman, I would have...