What if a person became a zombie by accident?
Word Count: 1081
On the pocket of her shirt a label was still affixed by a tiny pin: it read Maggie. A smear of blood or viscous fluids covered the surname. It probably read Ansel, or maybe Winn, she couldn’t read it anymore. Her eyes were covered in cataracts and she navigated mostly by smell now. Memory was gone; she vaguely remembered slivers of her life. Like hearing pieces of her life through a wall.
It didn’t matter anymore. Who she was then bore very little resemblance to who she was now.
A rank human scent caught her attention, she whipped her head to the left and right, her lank dirty hair swinging. Her other sense, her hunter sense, searched and searched, coming up empty.
The scent must have come in on the wind. Maggie no longer felt the wind or the heat she moved her limbs erratically with no fear of pain, no expectation or anticipation of sensation.
She was, after all, dead.
She had died in her home one morning on her way out the door to work. Purse in hand she’d been reaching for her coat, wondering how brisk the spring morning air would be when the shot had broken out a single pane in her front window, impacting her in the side of her head. Instantly, she had fallen down dead.
Well, not quite dead. She rather thought it was like death, when she thought at all.
The bullet had been a 22, a small bullet fired from far away and chancing upon a direct path to Maggie’s window. It had slowed considerably breaking through the glass and once again when it had impacted her skull. It had traveled within her brain cutting through tissue, not killing her outright, but lobotomizing her.
Now, this. This half life. This half death.
Maggie shifted on her feet, she shuffled forward, down the hall. Stopped. Swung around, smelling, smelling looking for what?
She hadn’t eaten in three weeks, not since the dog, her dog, Barney. Not since her cat Jezebel and her five kittens.
She wasn’t hungry, the bullet having stolen her appetite, leaving her beyond hunger. She was thinner, but she’d been a bit portly before, a thinner physique suited her.
Wouldn’t he be proud of her now? But who was he?
She passed by the mirror in the hall, not seeing it or herself or remembering that she once had a reflection that she cared about.
She bared her teeth and clicked her teeth, snapped them.
Dust swirled around her legs.
She stood in front of the door, slip sliding through the pile of mail that had amassed inside her doorway. Lots of letters with pink and yellow and blue insides.
Air whistled through her vocal cords, a grunt resulted. She didn’t hear it. She listened for the mailman instead, knew he was due, at some level she still understood time. Or perhaps she smelled him, his truck down at the end of her block, his human scent wafting through her broken window.
The click of the metal mailbox opening, the whisper of new envelopes hitting the pile. His scent, filling the entryway and Maggie’s teeth snapped and snapped. Sliding in the mail she crawled, then clawed at the metal flap, it clinked, barely moving, her fingers clumsy. She snarled and snapped until his scent faded away.
She stood, then resumed her shuffle around the long empty house.
Sometimes, she passed a photograph on the wall and paused before it, swaying back and forth, her eyes cloudy but her memory providing her snippets of a man. Dark haired, rough cheeked, smiling, his arms round Maggie, a wedding band on one hand.
He belonged to her somehow. She could feel the connection even if she couldn’t identify it.
Ross or Rick. Rick, that was it. Rick Ansel. She pushed a little farther but nothing more surfaced.
Through the living room, past the bathroom, down the hall, to the kitchen through the doorway to the dining room. Circling back again. Day after day and all day long her pants legs getting dirtier and dirtier. When the sun slipped below the horizon, went down she lay down where she stood and didn’t get up again until sunrise. She approximated sleep. Her mind stumbled through what little of her life she remembered, struggled to piece it all together. Night after night.
One day she stumbled in the mail, pitched on the stairs, began to climb them. Reached the top and began to walk through this new hall.
New smells assaulted her, her own scent, a perfume, linens, bathroom cleanser. At one door she paused, her head whipping around trying to find the origin of the man scent.
The man, yelling, eyebrows furrowed, his hands a busy whirl. On that day the bed hadn’t been made, the blanket had been a messy pile and on top, a suitcase.
The man, Rick, had been filling the suitcase. Overfilling it, then slamming it shut.
The memory faded away. She could never hold onto them.
She circled the room, knowing the Rick scent wasn’t there to be found; it was old. Circling anyways because her stomach had grown hungry.
The clink of the mailbox, a gasp, then another clink. Silence.
She found herself back in the hallway unable to make sense of the stairs. Going from room to room and back out again. Back and forth, grunting.
One day, the rattle of a key in a lock, the scrape of dozens of letters shifting across the hardwood floor.
“Maggie?” A cough. “Maggie!”
Her ears pricked.
The voice, she knew it, if she could only remember….
The words forming in her throat, thick, slurred. “RRRRick.”
Her hand in his, her body pressed against his, his smile, his eyes, ricocheting through her mind. A thousand memories, a deluge. “Rick–” clearer now. She moved towards his voice. Her Rick. Her husband.
“Maggie!” Louder now. Fast steps down the hall. Fading. Returning.
The Spring wind lifting the scent up the stairs, finding her in the bedroom.
Overpowering reason. Clouding clarity. Elucidating hunger.
The thump of his feet on the stairs, bounding towards her, entering the room, touching her arm, swinging her around.
His scream. Her fingers entwined with his clothes, pulling him toward her. Her teeth snapping.
His flesh. Her belly aching with hunger. Her nose full of his scent. His screams cut off abruptly as blood lapped over her tongue.