“Pfwahh. Errh Brohtt ahhr ummk.”
“Gwaack, Hurmph! Rrerrm ibb fwapt.”
Oh. I’m sorry. How rude. You don’t speak Zombie, of course. I’ll just have to narrate this little tale for you, then. My name is obviously Brohtt. You’re not stupid—you gathered that much.
You caught me talking with my dear friend, Hurmph. Perhaps “dear friend” is something of an embellishment. We haven’t spoken since we bumped into each other in the Seventh Circle while celebrating the New England Patriots initial Super Bowl victory. Hurmph has always been a delight—so full of mischief, that one.
In fact, Hurmph has been such a consistent pleasure that I feel terrible having interrupted his meal. However, just as I’m about to take my leave, he asks me a question. Because you’re almost certainly an American and speak only English, I’ll translate for you.
“Brohtt, join me, old friend. This one has such a lovely flavor, and there’s ample brain to spare.”
“Thank you, Hurmph, but I must decline.”
Hurmph asks, “Have you eaten since our arrival?”
“Alas, no,” I respond.
“But why? It’s been an hour. These vessels are made all the weaker by our possession. You must gain sustenance if you wish to persist!”
Ah, Hurmph. Such a caring soul. Well, metaphorically speaking.
I pause a moment to bask in the glory of our surroundings. Everywhere I look, fresh humans are being gorged upon by my brethren. Magnificent Mile—indeed! What a serendipitous location for our revelation from the deep. The sounds of flesh ripping, explosions, bones crunching, fires blazing, screaming, and general death throes are a symphonic tempest forcing me to smile.
Whoops. Tooth just fell out.
Bother. Hurmph is right. These earthly bodies don’t last long even under the best of circumstances. Without nourishment after their death, they wither away to dust in no time at all. Speaking of which, Hurmph still awaits my response.
“Hurmph,” I say, “You must understand. I can’t simply ingest just anyone. I am in search of the perfect victim. The first eaten is always the most special—the one always remembered. I need someone who makes my heart flutter, my eyes brighten, my—”
“But you don’t have eyes or a heart,” Hurmph interrupts.
“Well, no, not literally, not of my own, but, confound it! I’m using magniloquence, Hurmph. Please try to keep up.”
Hurmph squints at me which, unfortunately, loosens one of his body’s eyeballs and it plops out. Oh, look at that. It’s still attached. It’s like an ocular tetherball—wondrous!
“Hurmph, you’re familiar with Tom Brady?” I ask.
Hurmph appears offended while saying, “Of course.”
You must understand that we all love the Patriots—every last one of us. We see kindred spirits in them. Which clearly makes Tom Brady our MVP. It didn’t even hurt that much when he joined the Bucs. We have many, many Buc fans in Hell as well because, well, you know … Florida.
You’re confused by the mention of Hell again, aren’t you? As you have assuredly ascertained, I’m more of a humanities sort of fellow, but I’ll do my best to explain the science of it all.
Most of you think that Zombies are the result of some kind of virus. Ha! If only that were true. I’ve seen your track record with vaccines. I’ll never figure out how you all managed to survive thousands upon thousands of years. Not to worry—my friends and I will end that dynasty.
Speaking of dynasties, isn’t Bill Belichick the best? Oh, he makes my heart swoon. I’d eat him with no hesitation whatsoever. Drat! I’ve lost my train of thought yet again. Anyway, Zombies—we’re not a virus. We’re people!
To be more precise, we’re tiny little demons spawned in Hell. We just love it when we’re set loose upon the mortal world. As spirits, we burrow into the human brain where the soul resides and then we take hold. Yet, when we do so, we suck up that body’s soul, which is a problem because the soul is what keeps these corporal humans ticking. Thus, the rapid deterioration begins, and so we must find more and more souls to eat, along with their gray, mushy little containers, if we are to keep one leg moving in front of the other—or shuffling. You comprehend the gist.
We can body hop, you understand, or we can stay put. Coincidentally, when we dine upon a new human soul but choose to remain in place, that tasty snack becomes a Zombie as well, just one without a handsome little demon like myself manning the stick. Before you know it, we create a dirty rotting gang of rotten scoundrels birthed by our actions, all of whom are rather thoughtless. Honestly, it’s very much like Bill Belichick’s coaching tree.
Dash it all! I’ve once again become lost in my oral wilderness. I must make amends for offending Hurmph.
“Yes, of course you know Tom Brady—how foolish of me. As you know, Tom won’t play with just anyone. He’s very selective about who he allows into his circle. I, too, must remain ever vigilant in order to maintain the sanctity of my essence.
Hurmph hurmphed, then said, “You’re kind of an ass.”
His low-brow insult missed its target, for at that very moment, I spotted her—the one! Oh, she is perfection personified—she’s even wearing a Patriots jersey! I must have her! To feel her soft, warm brain matter sliding down my body’s throat—ecstasy!
As I saunter towards her with my body’s arms outstretched, ready to embrace my very own Rob Gronkowski, she begins screaming, “No! No! Stay away!”
I do love it when they play hard to get.
I’m so close I can smell her sweet scent even over the putrid guts and bile tainting the street we dance upon, and that’s when she aims a crossbow at me.
Who in the Nine Circles of Hell carries a crossbow?
She howls, “No means ‘no,’ mother ******!”
My, that’s some saucy language.
D’oh. She got me right between my body’s eyes. I can feel the tip of her arrow jammed in far too deep, right into my body’s brain. The clichés are true—a brain blow is the only way to expire a Zombie.
Ah, well. At least I can say I never lowered my standards. Tom and Bill would be proud—I’ll see them one day, you know. Alas, better to have loved and lost than to—
Copyright © 2021 by Scott William Foley
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or articles.
I’m still laughing, crying, and wondering. Foley is an awesome story teller, and his imagine is boundless. (I’m still waiting for the sequel to “Borderline” though.)
Thank you, Jane! I had a great time writing “Hunger Pangs.” I was shooting for something really weird, and I think I hit my mark. No updates on “Borderline” — sorry!
Glad I had already eaten when I read this, haha. Your imagination amazes me. You have written another interesting and entertaining story😄