O.K., I’m a sucker for zombie stories. It’s the hopelessness of it all that speaks to me. The necessary humanity (or not) that must be the response. How to deal with such stress? The Walking Dead is sort of updated Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre. We are what we make ourselves, but there are definitely outside influences shaping us too. No question. And given the situation, what would you do? Really?
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Outside by Eli Tarin
January 11, 2013-
I've been writing for what seems like an entire year in this book. I can't believe it has really only been four months. The plan was always to go to Pecos. It's such a small town and we would have had a better chance of surviving this there. I don't blame her. I shouldn't blame her. There were just too many variables to take into consideration. In reality, who knows if we would have even been able to make it there any way? The final live transmissions I caught on the radio before it started looping with emergency information said the highways were gridlocked and the roads were painted in red. That could have been us. Our food supply is low and the electricity has been off for two days now. I have enough propane for about three more weeks. The ghouls are out there just waiting for me to slip up. Waiting for me to get desperate enough to try something stupid. Her fever just won't break.
January 13th 2013-
Things have taken a turn for the worse. I figured out that the dead outside can hear her muffled low coughs bounce out into the street from her windows. That's why they have been gathering in larger numbers outside. Dark heavy gargled breathing surrounding our home and thoughts. There is no way I can get her out of here. She is in no condition to go anywhere. It's only a matter of time before the pieces of wood I reinforced our front door with give way to a flood of hungry rotting death. If I want to live, I have to leave now. Could I live with myself? Can I leave her here? All alone... In our bed... It may distract them and they'll come after me. Makes sense. It would probably increase the chances of her actually surviving. Protected by the off-yellow walls she painted for us. Make my escape through the second floor somehow. It would keep the integrity of the first floor intact. Leave her all of the supplies. I'll bring as much as I can into the room. Scavenge my own on the outside. Come back for her when the coast is clear. I remember when we bought this chair and how I hated that she put it next to this window. It's so calm out there, not like the when it started. This used to be her favorite time of the day. When the shadows were at their longest. So much to think about tonight.
January 14th 2013-
The look in her eyes. The morning sun drenched the floor and splashed her face. I was never any good at hiding secrets from her. She always read right through me. She was ok with it. She wanted me to go. She wanted to save me. She begged me to leave her. Her warm little hand squeezed my big paw and my love poured out through my eyes. I can't leave her behind. I just can't. I sat by her in our bed everything was blurred from the tears that I finally allowed to flow. Her smile has always made everything better.
Till death do us part.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
Send your flash to firstname.lastname@example.org.