I didn't win (I would have written here if I had!) but since I didn't, it means I can post it here!
I'm totally late with posting it, and I could have shared this at a more appropriate time of the year, such as Halloween, but for those of you needing a break from Christmas shenanigans, here is a story about zombies.
Warning: This is not a pleasant story.
Scott was having the time of his life.
He was also dead.
No thoughts, no feelings and no responsibilities dampened his spirit. Scott knew only desire and instinct: desire for flesh, for food, instinct to hunt and conquer. It was like a never-ending stag weekend.
It was the desire that changed things. As Scott lurched down a shadowy alleyway one evening, a busty woman fell to the ground ahead. Scott’s gut growled, stomach digesting itself for lack of food. Hungry as he was, his craving for food was squashed by a primal instinct to take the woman as his own. All men had needs—even the dead ones, and his body hadn’t yet forgotten the desires of living men. He felt no concern or pity, thought not of her wellbeing or even of his own. Scott staggered towards her.
That was when the humans attacked.A tazer struck Scott and his body convulsed as electricity coursed through him. He fell and the humans quickly restrained his arms and legs. The woman from the alley stepped forward and placed a metal cage over his head. It locked into place and Scott snapped at her, but the steel bars prevented his teeth from reaching their mark.
She gazed at him coldly and barked an order to the soldiers. “Get moving before any others show up.”
A soldier brought out a hypodermic and injected its contents into Scott’s arm. Scott lost consciousness and was swiftly borne into a waiting van at the end of the alleyway.
When Scott awoke, his head was pounding. Despite the sick feeling in his stomach, Scott was starving. He wanted the biggest, greasiest burger he could find.
The last time he’d felt like this had been on a lad’s weekend, aged twenty-one. Scott had been so drunk that most of the trip was a big black hole in his memory. It had been a good weekend. Obviously he’d just had another one. He wasn’t sure how many days he’d lost this time.
Then Scott realised: this wasn’t his bed, or his room. It was far too clinical.
And he was strapped down.
The door opened and two faces loomed over him: one male, one female.
“You’re awake, good.” The man smiled, though his wrinkled eyes didn’t.
“Where am I?” Scott croaked. He cringed as his vocal chords protested. The words felt alien in his mouth, throat sore from uttering but a few syllables.
The man didn’t seem to hear. “You must be hungry,” he said. “We shall send in your meal shortly.”
“Then we’ll start on your rehabilitation.” Unlike the man, this woman’s eyes smiled when her mouth did, but in a cold, sterile way. She squeezed his arm, her grip surprisingly powerful. “Welcome to your new life. We’re glad to have you on board.”
“What?” Scott was confused. Why couldn’t he remember how he got here?
“All in good time,” said the woman.
“But why am I here…?”
Ignoring him, the doctors left the room.
Dinner was some kind of burger, cooked rare and served with chips. Scott ate the burger as a nameless nurse fed it to him, but refused the chips. He was surprised a hospital would even allow its patients burger and chips.
Scott tried to find out why he was there, but the nurse didn’t give any indication of having heard him. After he’d eaten, a TV was wheeled into the room and Scott was left alone as images appeared on the screen. Scott watched idly. It seemed to be some kind of zombie film. At first it was pretty engaging, a typical humans vs. zombies, guns blazing, head-bashing guts-o-rama.
But the more he watched, the sicker Scott felt. As the story unfolded, Scott began to realise it wasn’t a film: it was a documentary.
He saw himself, skin pallid and eyes rolling as he gorged on the flesh of a man he’d killed only moments ago. Scott’s stomach growled hungrily as old cravings rose up, but instantly the craving was overcome by the need to vomit. Scott turned his head to the side and his stomach disgorged its contents, foul-smelling and a horrible shade of meaty pink. The smell nearly made Scott vomit again.
Images still flickered on the TV screen and Scott blearily glanced at them. He saw the humans capture him. Then the screen went black.
Scott felt ill. This had to be some kind of twisted prank. How could he be a zombie? He didn’t remember eating anybody! He couldn’t remember anything!
Shortly after the documentary finished, a team of men walked in, dressed in blue scrubs. Scott was injected again. Unable to feel his body, he felt as though he was floating. It didn’t occur to him to panic. They strapped him into a sturdy wheelchair and wheeled him along white, characterless corridors to a room with a large window. The doctors were waiting.
Scott read the names on their ID tags: Dr. Irvine Wallace and Dr. Maria Carver.
Dr Wallace greeted him with a smile. “You’re doing well, Scott. Did you enjoy the film?”
“You are, as you suspect, a ‘zombie’. A reanimated corpse with a hunger for flesh,” Dr. Carver spoke up.
“Zombies aren’t real…” Scott replied weakly, though he wasn’t convinced anymore.
Carver glanced at her colleague. “We’ll tell him the truth,” she stated. The older doctor nodded. It was clear to Scott that she was in charge. “Zombies are real, Scott. Originally named The Disposable Corps.” She chuckled. Beside her, Dr Wallace smirked.
“The D.C. was the work of Dr Wallace. Beginning five years ago, it was a Government initiative to reduce the number of war casualties by utilising reanimated corpses within our troops. Using the dead to save the living.”
“Unfortunately, I made a mistake.” Dr Wallace admitted. “We tested our new soldiers too soon.”
Scott nodded. He’d seen this in the documentary.
“Members of the DC escaped. We discovered that the chemicals used to reanimate the corpses had mutated into a contagious toxin. Hence, their victims also became zombies.”
“It became a problem,” Carver spoke up. “The country has been quarantined. We’re currently under threat of nuclear action.” She looked smug. “But I found the solution.”
Scott arched a brow.
“We fight fire with fire,” Carver replied. “You are one of our new troops. You’ll find you hunger only for the flesh of the dead – like the burger you ate earlier. You’re self-aware; you will hunt down and dispatch zombies. A new antibody runs through your veins, so your bite is no longer contagious.”
“How do you know it works?”
“I tested it on myself.”
Scott stared and Carver rolled her eyes. “Don’t look so surprised. I was bitten, I injected the antibody and after I died, I woke up like this. Normal, just undead,” she said in a bored tone. “Are you ready to begin your training?”
Scott smiled and nodded, suddenly excited. This sounded like a video game, in real life.
Carver and Wallace exchanged glances. Scott wouldn’t be told about the neural implant controlling his desires. It was their little failsafe. They wouldn’t have problems like before.
Scott was released from the wheelchair and helped to the window. A city sprawled out below him. He could see zombies in the streets and longed to destroy them.
“Die you b******d!” Scott screamed as he tore the head from a stinking, groaning corpse. This was his second day in the field after three months of intensive battle training, and he loved it. He and his comrades would dispatch the zombies, they would kill them all.
Scott dropped the head to the ground and stamped on it, boots grinding slimy brain matter and fragments of skull into the pavement. He spotted another zombie in the distance and set off after it, grinning madly.
At the science headquarters, Carver and Wallace monitored Scott’s movements on CCTV.
The headless corpse fell to the ground, its jacket bearing a logo identical to that worn by Scott: D.C. -Disposable Corps-.
The doctors shared a smile. Their problems would soon be over.
And Scott? Scott was having the time of his death.