I originally wrote this prior to the end of the world we were all expecting on December 21st but for one reason or another didn’t get around to posting it. After experiencing the extreme heatwave in Sydney on Tuesday (nearly 43 degrees C) I feel slightly zombified, so I thought this story appropriate.
Here it is. My tribute to the Mayans and the end of the world that never came…..
Rina was looking forward to the end of the world. It would be a relief to not have to pretend anymore. To spend hour upon hour, minute upon minute covering things up. Covering the state of herself up.
She was so putrid she had to spray five bottles of lavender essence on herself throughout the day. Thank God you could get it at the two dollar store. It would have cost her a fortune otherwise. But because it was cheap it was obviously watered down so it was beginning to not cover up what it needed to cover up.
Decomposition was a bitch. You couldn’t do anything to stop it once it started and the smell, well it was enough to wake the dead. Even the living dead.
It had been kind of exciting when Rina found out she was a zombie, glamorous even. Zombies were such a huge part of popular culture these days there was something special about being one. Rina felt like a member of some elite club. She strutted around with her pus-encrusted, green-tinged lips like she was some kind of celebrity….it was the notoriety she had always wanted…until the realisation that she was decaying but not dying set in.
Stench. It was the only way to describe the state she was in… a mix of fruit left to rot in the sun, someone who’d wet themselves and hadn’t changed their underwear for two weeks and raw, rancid, mouldy chicken.
Rina was surprised she could stand it because when she was fully alive her sense of smell was so sensitive she would often dry retch at the slightest of stinks. That was probably the best thing about being a zombie…..no smells bothered you. Nothing. Nor did horrible sights. Animal roadkill, drunk people throwing up in the streets, car accidents where people went right through the windscreen…none of them phased her now she was a zombie. She had the strongest stomach ever. It was liberating.
But the decay was causing problems. People were running from her in droves. Rina could hardly blame them. She was rank. And it was extremely difficult to constantly advise people to stand downwind of her.
She didn’t know how the world was going to end. She favoured a Hollywood-esque type of ending with lots of explosions, meteor showers and maybe a few tsunamis. A bit of pestilence and plague wouldn’t go amiss, either. You liked a bit of pestilence and plague when you were a zombie.
Strange thing was you liked a lot of the things as a zombie that you had liked as a human – good movies, cool clothes, books you couldn’t put down (except that the real reason you couldn’t put the book down was because it had stuck like glue to all the pus on your hands…)
And you felt the same things – the doubts, the fears, the insecurities…highlighted by the fact that you were undergoing decomposition so quickly your entire body was turning to slime.
So Rina was looking forward to the end of the world. Being zombielicious wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
On December 21st she was excited, full of anticipation. She knew the Mayans were right. She just knew it. She hobbled to the town square looking up at the clock. Her neck creaked, freezing in a slanted, left-leaning position.
Noon came, late afternoon, evening. Rina had been standing for several hours in the sun, which hadn’t done her any favours in the body odour department. People edged past her, dry retching. As the hours drew closer to midnight she began to feel a little discouraged. Could it be that the Mayans had been wrong with their apocalyptic predictions?
The clock struck midnight. Rina heard footsteps coming towards her. At last. She turned around as best as she could with her wonky neck. It was a group of teenagers carrying spades, garden rakes and pick axes. They were wearing either Walking Dead or Call Of Duty T-shirts.
‘Dirty freaking zombie,’ one of them said.
‘Ewwww. She stinks,’ said another.
All the teenagers raised their weapons.
‘Get it,’ said one.
‘Hack it up,’ said another.
‘Wait. Wait,’ Rina muttered. ‘The world’s going to end in a minute, anyway. Why waste your final moments getting rid of me? Why don’t you just enjoy the sights and sounds of the apocalypse?’
‘Gross and stupid,’ said one of the teenagers. ‘Only a zombie would believe that Mayan crap.’ He raised his axe, lodging it in Rina’s chest, splitting her sternum in two. ‘Coming apart just like an over-ripe pumpkin,’ he said.
‘Wait,’ Rina begged. ‘Please wait. I want to see how it ends. I want to know if it really happens.’
‘Oh, it’s going to happen all right,’ said the teenager with the axe. ‘But only for you.’ He raised his axe again, chopping one of Rina’s arms off at the shoulder. His friends followed suit. For several minutes the only sounds in the town square were of a zombie being hacked, smashed, sliced and split into a pile of ooze that resembled nothing remotely human.
The teenagers finished their grisly work, congratulating one another with high fives and loud whoops. They left the town square looking for more action. Very little of Rina remained, only fragments of her clothes that had stuck to the pavement. It was a sad, slightly disgusting sight.
A light breeze picked up as the hands of the clock clicked over to a new day, a day without Rina in it….. to a multitude of unlived moments, unexplored possibilities, to a world that would continue to go on for as long as it should.