The Zombie That Ate the Last Person Alive
Day 1: The thigh bone gristle it's been chewing on for a few hours
now just kind of dissolves back into its throat though it keeps grinding
its teeth hopefully. What now, it thinks to itself. Eat,
the answer comes back, EAT!!!! "Eeeeeeaaaaaaatttttt!!!!" It
realizes it's mumbling to itself again. It shambles out on
to the porch. It found its food holed up in a lonely farmhouse. It
enjoys the hunt, the windows to break, the screaming the food makes. But
it'll be a long shamble back to the city. It gets going. On
the way it thinks about things like food and eating and eating food. Something
moves in the bushes. It stops but realizes it's a bunny. Mouth-watering
but too fast. It shambles on.
Day 4: The zombie finds some of its kind loitering outside a blown up gas station. It stops to loiter. They moan to each other. Moan. Loiter. Loiter. Moan. No food appears. It shambles off.
Day 23: The zombie thinks it sees some food twitching under a collapsed wall but turns out to be one of them. The zombie sees another one there who stares longingly at the kicking legs connected to a torso that disappears into rumble. The zombie shrugs to the other one. They are all so hungry. "Eat?" it says. "Eaaaat," the other one says back. The two moan. The zombie grabs the other's arm and bites down. It spits out the chunk of decayed matter that is clearly not food. "Owwwwwww!" the other zombie says.
Day 78: It finds a mannequin. It knows that, though it shares the shape of food, it is not to eat, but it tries anyway, gnawing on the head and then the ankle. Finally, it gives up but keeps holding the mannequin, missing something.
Day 102: The zombie stares at the river moving as if it were alive and, therefore, food. The Mississipppppiiiii, it thinks. It realizes if it concentrates real hard it can think. It concentrates. Thinks there is more to undeath than eating and food and eating food.
Day 130: Reconsiders thinking there is more than food and concentrates on hunger.
Day 159: The zombie decides if it thinks hard enough it can solve its food problem. So far it has come up with these points: it wants food, no food around, must find food. It thinks some more.
Day 206: It has checked everywhere: old farm house basements, malls, army bases. Conclusion: there is no more food.
Day 314: Spends time in library reading the books. Tries to eat some of the leather bound ones.
Day 353: The zombie has a plan. It has gathered as many right-thinking undead as it can in a big auditorium. It can't get them to sit, and they crowd the aisles, pushing and shoving, occasionally knocking one another down. It takes the stage. "Food," it begins. "FOOODDDDD!!!!" comes the response. It launches into an impassioned speech detailing what it knows is true: all the living are dead, so there is no more food. In order to feed, they need to make more living. It has discovered something called "in vitro fertilization." That process, plus the finding of sperm and egg banks intact and a lot of hard work, and they just might be able to make more food. "It willl take luckkk, sweattt, and brainnns." "BRAAAAAIIIIIINNNNSSSSSSS!" comes the response. Then, the crowd rips into the seats, yanking them loose, tearing into the upholstery—they shovel yellowed stuffing into their mouths. When they are done, they moan and loiter awhile before dispersing, leaving the zombie on stage.
Day 420: The zombie is back staring at the Mississippi. Thinks it is being used as a weak environmental allegory for irresponsible overconsumption of resources. Feels cheapened. Also, it is hungry.
S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.’s work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Pedestal, and others. He blogs at I Don’t Know What I’m Talking About .