Can I clear up some common zombie misconceptions for you?
One: Zombies have aged, silver or green skin and nasty hair. Not true! I have smooth, caramel colored hair with natural blond highlights and tan skin from summers of relaxing on the beach. Some of us have tinted olive skin, such as my Nana, but we aren’t dyed green or gray. No pun intended.
Two: Zombies pop out of the ground. Nope. I popped out of the womb, like normal people do. But I’m far from normal anyways.
Three: Zombies eat brains. Well, this one isn’t completely untrue. Some zombies do eat brains, we call those zombies the Neurons, ones we never discuss. Other zombies, like me and my family, still eat normal food, but we have to have the substitute for brains - Tonic. It was made by an Original named Willow Sanchez who was just as disgusted about devouring brains as we were. So she mixed a few things together and voila! She created Tonic. Zombies can’t go too long without it, otherwise they’ll start to feel weak, and then they’ll go nuclear. Their skin will become a different color, and we’ll start to feel the hunger for brains until we devour a cup of Tonic. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.
Nobody knows that my family is a family of zombies - how could we tell them? Anybody who we love would panic. Only my grandparents know, but only because they are zombies, too.
I peer into my mirror and my reflection stares back at me. I inspect my emerald eyes dusted with flecks of silver, a trait that all zombies possess. My hair is in a sleek braid, and my almond skin is clear of freckles. I stare at myself in the mirror before turning away and walking out of my room, down the wooden staircase and into the dining room.
The table is covered with a scarlett tablecloth. Roasted turkey sits in the middle of the table, and the rest of the table is covered in delicious foods, such as jello and soft, buttery rolls. At the ends of the table, two pitchers are filled with Tonic. My mouth starts to water just at the smell.
My parents enter the room with such practicality I nearly gasp. My mom’s blonde hair is piled on top of her head into a messy bun, and she is wearing a purple dress dotted with flowers that brings out her bright eyes. My dad is in a black suit, a green tie resting around his collar, his hair spritzed with hair gel, his eyes twinkling the way they always do. Zara, who is three years older than me but thirty times more popular, is wearing a short blue mini-dress and her golden locks are flaunting soft waves that rival any hair I’ve ever seen. I suddenly feel like a slob in my jeans and crop top.
We all take a seat, and our waiter, Havier, covers our plates in food. He pours us each a glass of bright red Tonic - which he figures is a type of juice - and then he leaves the room.
“We have some news.” My mom says after devouring her turkey leg. She might look dainty but when she’s hungry, she can be vicious. “We’re moving to a small town in Oklahoma! Your father got a position there!”
I spit out my tonic and it lands on my food, coating them in a crystal red liquid. “What?” I screech.
My sister is clearly in shock. She is frozen to the spot, her mouth wide open revealing her perfect pearly white teeth. “You’re kidding.” she whispers. “You’re kidding!” she yells louder.
“Nope!” my dad says cheerfully. I leave the table. “Lulu! Get down here!” he calls. I ignore him. We’re moving? Without warning? I’m going to have to leave my friends? I refuse to believe it. The tears roll down my cheeks in large drops. I collapse on my canopy bed and cry myself to sleep.
I wake up in the morning to bright sunlight streaming through the large window in my room. I groggily walk over to close the curtains, before realizing that my curtains aren’t there. Neither is my vanity! My room is covered in boxes all labeled with perfect handwriting - my mom’s handwriting.
I stumble out of my room before looking over the wooden balcony. I witness my mom commanding men in hats titled, Marty’s Moving Men. I scowl and straighten my back before walking down the stairs.
“Then you take this box and collect all of the old fashioned- oh, good morning sweetie!” She directs the worker towards our living room and he hurries there, lifting the empty cardboard box. “Go sips some Ton-I mean smoothie.” She quickly recovers, for she doesn’t want the movers thinking anything was up. “We’re leaving today, as soon as we get everything packed!”
“Yay.” I reply sarcastically, but my mother doesn’t seem to catch it and beams at me.
I walk into the kitchen, but it’s completely bare. I peer into the pantry - also missing all food. I look behind the secret cupboard in the pantry - perfect. There are about 20 cups of Tonic - all hidden inside of soda cans. I open one and sip it, savoring the cool, sweet liquid. I walk out of the pantry after closing the cupboard door.
I gasp in shock - the house is completely empty! I know, there was barely anything left,but I’m still stunned by how fast those workers were. I walk out into the massive front yard, and I see my mother loading the last of the boxes into a large moving van.
“Alright, all Winston family members, get into the truck!”
My sister comes outside in pajamas, clearly upset. “We’re moving today?” “Yep!” My father responds and grabs her from behind then spins her around.
“Stop!” my sister screeches.
My dad looks surprised as he gently sets her down. She is infuriated. She hops into the white truck and slams the door behind her, producing a loud, BANG!
I open the door much gentler and slide into the seat next to her, crossing my arms so she knows I’m not happy about our dilemma either.
My parents hop into the car, and my dad says, “Who’s ready for a road trip!” The van stays silenter than a mouse. My dad takes this as a yes, and shouts, “Let’s go!” The engine roars to life, and the car takes off onto the road.
I look out the window and stare at the other cars rushing by me. It’s calming somehow, and I feel my eyelids droop until they close, blocking out all of the light.
I slowly open my eyes to reveal my family unpacking into a shabby little house, unlike the mansion we used to live in.
I snap my eyes open, and leap out the car. I rush into the small home, before gasping at the sight. It’s covered in dust, the walls are a hideous shade of maroon, and there isn’t any sign of wifi. I walk up the creaking stairs to take a look at my room. It’s horrifying.
There are no windows, like a jail cell, the walls are yellow and there’s a dead mouse in the corner! I scream, and rush down the stairs. “Mom! There’s a dead mouse in my room!”
My mom stays calm, and responds, “Then go throw it out.”
My jaw drops! She couldn’t possibly expect me to touch a dead vermin! But I know that she was serious. I equip myself with gloves and exterminate the mouse. Ew!
My bed is already there, and the comforter has been changed to match the mustard-yellow wallpaper. I flop down on it and stare at the old, ripped ceiling.
My stomach rumbles in protest. It’s near dinnertime, and I haven’t had any lunch. I creep down the stairs before snatching a Tonic from the back of our car, and then I sprint to my room, jumping into the bed and sipping the drink. I pull out my phone, and lucky for me, there is the tiniest bit of reception.
I scroll through social media, and see a pic of my best friend, Jenna, lounging lazily on a chair, with a tropical smoothie in one hand and the other hand perched on her sunglasses. I scroll to my texts and say, “I miss you! I just moved to a small town in Oklahoma. I know, so sudden! But I’ll miss you tons!” I sip the last of my drink and curl up in the bed. When will the agony end?
I wake up to birds chirping annoyingly. I sigh, and check the time.
7:00! The bus stops by at 7:30! I have to get ready for school! I brush through my hair and pull all of the strands into a high ponytail, before loading makeup onto my face, and slipping into an oversized tee, skinny jeans, and black sneakers.
I run down the stairs and after struggling to find a cup, I pour Tonic into it. I scour the cabinets for a plate, before finding one and popping wheat bread into the toaster. I scramble for butter in the fridge, and once I am satisfied, I walk over to the counter and pop my toast out of the toaster. Not roasted, just slightly burned. The way I like it. I slather butter on the crispy bread and munch on the bread before sipping my Tonic.
I check the time on my phone. 7:15. I hurry upstairs and brush my teeth. I look around the musty hall. Nobody else is awake. Zara’s school doesn’t start until 9:00. Lucky.
I open the door to reveal the chilly wind. I shiver and pull my white wool sweater over my head, much better. I walk over to where I assume is the bus stop, for I see kids my age gathered there. I walk with my head down low, but everyone notices me.
This particularly small girl about my age walks up to me. “Hey, are you new?”
“Um, yeah.” I respond, surprised.
“Hi! I’m Summer!” She’s really friendly, maybe too friendly for her own good.
“Wanna sit with me?” The bus pulls up and I nod. I hop onto the bus and slide next to her.
“When did ya move?”
“Today.” I reply.
She smiles and says, “Nice to meet you, um,”
I cut her off. “Lulu.”
“Lulu. That’s a really pretty name!”
A smile starts to spread on my face. “Thanks.” The rest of the bus ride we chat, and when the bus pulls up to the school, I feel like we’ve known each other forever.
“Wanna walk to class together?” She asks. We both have Ms. Ohana for homeroom. “Sure.” I say.
We arrive at Ms. Ohana's class and I’m surprised by how young she looks; I expected an old cranky woman. She has short brown hair and green eyes, and she looks at me kindly. “Hello! Everyone, welcome Lulu! She just moved from LA!” My cheeks burn as the class conducts a chorus of, “Hi, Lulu.” I take a seat next to Summer, and Ms. Ohana takes attendance, then goes on about a history club. Once she’s done, she finishes with, “Lulu, please see me after class. I have some things to show you. The rest of you may go 10 minutes early.” The class files out of the room leaving me and Ms. Ohana. She struts over to the door and closes it. “Hi, Lulu. I just wanted to tell you - I know that you’re a zombie.” “What are you talking about?” I play dumb. “Give me your lunch bag.” She commands. I oblige, expecting the worst. “Tonic, yes, I knew it. Pathetic. Join me! This useless replacement is nothing compared to the delicious taste of human brains.” I nearly barf. “Brains? Ew, no.” I reply. She walks behind her desk, and pulls out a small device from her desk. “You disappoint me. Alas! If you won’t, they will.” She pushes a green button on the device, setting off a loud humming noise. I can feel the pulse, and it draws me towards her. “What did you just do?” I ask, staring at my hands, which are now turning green. She smiles smugly, her real self revealed. She’s turning a shade of silver. “Oh, no big deal. I just started a zombie apocalypse. Now, no humans will roam the earth!”