Todd walked in the front door, smiling with his brown teeth. Skin that peeled down from his forehead dangled below his chin making his cheek muscles visible.
“Honey, I’m home!”
Emily walked past the ceiling falling down in the kitchen, kicked aside stones and glass scattered across the house. The wind blew from the window that had been shattered through her gnat-filled hair as she greeted Todd.
“Welcome home, sweetie!” Emily hugged Todd and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Remnants of blood laid on her lips.
“What have you been up to?”
Todd chuckled and ran his hand across his cracked, rotting scalp, “Well there was this human…”
“You didn’t, did you Todd?”
He raised a rotting leg up in the air, “Well, I brought us dinner!”
“Ugh, I hate cooking leg. Well, we need to wait for our son to get home. I’m sure he’s out with friends.”
Emily decided to get dressed up in the nicest clothes she could find in her closet before dinner. She unbuttoned her shirt and looked into the partially shattered full length mirror. Her reflection showed a ribcage popping through her torn skin. The arm bones had no skin protecting them and it appeared that bugs had made her skull their home as they crawled in and out of her eye sockets. Emily’s heart was visibly pulsing through her chest.
“Honey, do I need to lose weight?”
“Are you serious? You’re skin and bones, Emily. Literally skin and bones.”
Emily lifted her arms as she was putting her dress on. Crunch, crunch, snap. She looked down, “Ugh, another rib broken.”
The door squeaked open and then slammed shut making the front window shatter the rest of the way, “Mom, dad, I’m home!”
Emily ran out of her room to the front door. “Oh Zach, we missed you! Where have you been?”
Zach walked over to his mom and slid his jacket off showing a bone of his arm dangling. “Mom, I may have gotten hurt.”
“Oh sweetie, not your arm. You need your rest, come sit down and have some dinner with me and your father.”
Emily, Zach and Todd sit down for dinner.
Todd points to the leg, nail dangling from the tip of his finger. “Pass me the foot!”
Emily laughed so hard she coughed up soot, “Pass me the thigh, sweetie!”
“Ew, mom, this isn’t KFC!”
Emily, now the only one laughing, “Eat your heart out!”
“Only we don’t have hearts!” Todd slapped his knee while beginning to cut up the leg meat.
The table grew quiet and all that was heard was loud chewing and knives and forks scraping against ceramic plates.
Emily pulled one of her molars out of the thigh meat. “This guy must’ve been a runner.”
Todd raised his eyebrows, “Emily. He definitely was, you don’t know what I went through to capture him.”
Pop! Creaaaaaaaaaaak! The front door opened.
Everyone at the table put down their meat.
Todd rubbed the palm of his right hand against his mouth and licked it. He jumped onto the table and started sniffing around.
Emily asked Todd tugging on his torn pants leg, “What is it, who’s here?”
Zach shook his head and scratched a scab on his scalp. “Mom, Dad, um, I forgot to tell you.”
Todd jumped off the table and continued to raise his nose into the air. “I smell human.”
“Oh, mom and dad, my girlfriend is here and well, she’s human.”
Jumping back, Emily and Todd stared at their son, then turned around and peered around the corner at the front doorway. “He’s right.”
“Mom, I was going to tell you, but..”
“I knew you’d never approve. Dad, I thought you’d try to eat her.”
Todd wiped the drool from his chin and slowed his groaning.
“Hello? I would’ve knocked but the door was already hanging off.” Liz walked further into their home, looking around each corner until she reached the dining room where three rotting bodies stood arguing and groaning and growling. Todd’s flesh hanging from his chin was wiggling, ready to release from his face.
“Come on in.”
Zach’s girlfriend continued to move slowly into the dining room staring at Emily and Todd.
Emily and Todd gasped. “No Zach, No. You weren’t lying. She really is..”
“Liz, I’m Liz. Yes, I’m one of them. Human.”
Emily’s arms started to straighten and she began to lean forward and drool. A loud deep growl rolled out of her mouth.
“Mom, she’s my girlfriend. Not food.” Zach pushed the three strands of hair on his forehead to the side. He walked over and Liz stepped back as he attempted to reach out his arms. Liz reached out to reciprocate. “Come sit down;” he said, pulling out a chair.
Liz sat next to Zach on one side of the table while Emily and Todd sat on the other. The occasional tick of leaning on top of the table biting the air came out while talking.
“Would you like some of our dinner?”
“No thank you, I’m full,” Liz replied while pushing her hands outward in the direction of the food.
Liz and Zach couldn’t stop staring at each other lovingly.
Emily leaned forward, her eyes became a more vibrant yellow as she forced them open to make eye contact. “So why are you here, Liz?”
“Well, Mrs. Zee, that’s your name?”
“Please, call me Emily”
“Emily and Todd, I wanted to ask Zach to prom.”
They looked at each other, “PROM!? That still exists? Well, we have to think about that in our vulnerable state..”
“Well, we are an open school and accepting of everyone. “
Zach leaned over and smiled at Liz.
“I need you to do a few things with me before I can say yes to prom. I need you to come tomorrow and help me run errands. I want to show you how we do things.”
Liz grinned and squeezed Zach’s arm. “Yes Mrs. Emily.” Since she got the answer she came for, she left for the evening.
The next morning, Liz arrived at Zach’s home to his parents cleaning blood off of the kitchen floor. Emily quickly stood up. “Hi there! I want you to come with me and see how we grocery shop.”
“I love shopping, that sounds great Emily!”
Emily took her gloves off and collected her things. They stepped out the door and got in the car. On the way to the grocery store, the car ride was quiet. Liz stared out the shattered window at the zombies along the road.
“Do you guys always take a car?”
“Oh yeah, we rarely walk. We understand we’re slow and lack a functioning brain. When we need to get something done, we take a car.”
“Oh ok, it makes sense now. I always wondered how groups suddenly appear.”
Emily smiled. “Yeah, we take a bus when there’s a group of us.”
They pulled into the abandoned grocery store parking lot.
“You shop at an actual store?”
“Yes dear, we do. We used to be people.”
“But..Emily..you guys don’t eat people then?”
“Oh no honey, we do. Especially when the grocery store is out of meat.”
Liz grasped her pants and pushed her hair back as she stepped out of the car. “So what’s going to happen to me in the grocery store?”
Emily chuckled, “LIz, follow my lead, nothing will happen to you.”
Both of them stepped into the grocery store shoulder to shoulder. Emily quickly straightened her arms and stiffened her legs. She dragged her right leg behind her and began to grunt. “Psstt, Liz.”
Liz followed Emily’s lead and they passed zombie after zombie as they chose food they could find.
“I need you to help us pick out dinner, one we can eat together.”
Smiling from ear to ear, Emily nodded. Dragging their legs, grunting, and slowly moving, they left the grocery store.
“Hey you!” A random voice shouted in the parking lot. “Come and get me.”
Emily perked up and started snapping her jaw.
“NO Emily, NO. Get in the car.” Liz began to approach the strangers. “Listen guys, I got this one. She’s mine. Take some of my food as a means of keeping the peace.” Liz turned around and got into the car.
“Emily drive, drive!”
“But I thought you talked to them.”
“Humans aren’t as easy to trick.” Liz clenched the side door handles as they drove from the left to the right side of the road, swerving around trash cans, zombies, down trees and broken down cars. They quickly arrived home and got into the house.
“How’d it go, mom?”
“Zach, I had a great time. We tricked some zombies and tried to trick some humans.”
“I failed so miserably at convincing humans to cooperate..and I am a human! I think I might like Zombies better than humans.” Liz chuckled and gave Emily a hug. Emily tightened her shoulders in shock.
Todd entered the room. “So honey, do you think Liz is a good fit for our Zach.”
“Yeah mom, what about prom?”
“Well, I think Liz could fit in with us. You guys should go together” The corners of Emily’s mouth peeled from the skin being so dry as she smiled at Liz and Zach in acceptance.
Tugging at Zach’s torn sleeve in excitement.. “I can’t wait!”