Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance (3 page)

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
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Wyclef remained grim. “Don’t go getting pets, Mister Bruce. Dogs and cats go crazy around zombies. Dey know when someone’s dead and walking and dey don’t like it.”

“Great. Parks and nice neighborhood walks with my zombie wife are out of the question.”

“Don’t let this bother you a bit.” Wyclef smiled. “You gonna have plenty to do together.”

“What about the long term?” I wondered what would happen to Sheri if I died and she remained on Earth. “If I pass on and she’s still a zombie, then what’s gonna happen to her? Our retirement funds ain’t gonna do her any good.”

Wyclef began laughing and slapped me on the shoulder. “Mister Bruce, you gave her mouth-to-mouth, no?”

“That’s right.”

“You blew your mortal breath into her, mon. She’s got a piece of your life inside her. She gonna die with you when you go to the udder side. That’s how it works.”

This idea made me smile. I found it...romantic. Sheri expiring at the moment of my own death reminded me a bit of the tragic
Romeo and Juliet
, though Sheri and I were never “star-cross’d” lovers, but rather soulmates meant to be together—even under zombified circumstances.

22

“I go now.” Wyclef picked up his candles and chicken parts and boxed them up.

“Where’s your cleaning supplies? I’ll get this blood and feathers off da floor.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll handle it. Just get home to your wife. Please shower first.”

Wyclef let loose a booming laugh. “Okay, Mister Bruce. I’ll do dat.”

Questions filled my head again. I looked at Sheri and I loved her more than ever now. I turned to my neighbor as he collected his things. “One last question, Doc.”

Wyclef wiped chicken blood of his face and torso with his shirt and threw it in the box with his other items. “Yes?”

“What about rot? I mean—”

“Don’t worry. She gonna stay fresh. But you need to wash her, Mister Bruce.

Don’t let her get too nappy.”

“Right.” I thought tending to Sheri like an invalid, but I pushed the negatives away. I watched Wyclef with box in hand heading for the door. “Need a hand?”

“No.” He reached the door and opened it. He turned and said, “You gonna be fine, Mister Bruce. You got lots on da brain and you be thinking how unnatural all dis is. But don’t despair, it all works out and you’ll find your way. I seen dis many times.”

“Okay.” I breathed easier though my chest and heart felt heavy. “What am I gonna tell people?”

“Don’t worry, mon. It’ll work out. Plus, I got your back.”

Wyclef blasted me with one last smile and was out the door. I turned to my beautiful Sheri, my zombie wife and kissed her cold cheek. “Let’s go to bed, love.”

* * * *

23

Sure enough, Wyclef had my back. He assisted and gave Sheri an official Doctor Wyclef Moliare physical and mental evaluation. He provided substantial paperwork supporting his diagnosis that my wife suffered massive head trauma and remained catatonic.
Catatonia
: another word for zombie, I guessed.

In the following months, there was much explaining to do and a lot of changes made in my marriage.

My parents came up from Arkansas and saw Sheri once since her return to the living. I explained how she experienced a debilitating head injury and how her speech and motor skills were impaired. My parents believed me. They comforted me, hugged and kissed Sheri and conveyed their sympathies and advised me to be strong.

Sheri’s few friends were told about her accident with the boat and I reiterated how she’d suffered a terrible head injury and would never be the same. I used Wyclef’s medical records and word to endorse all the bullshit I told everyone.

After the first six months passed, I didn’t hear from Sheri’s friends outside of holiday cards and an occasional e-mail wishing us well.

Despite my reservations, Wyclef assured me I could be intimate with Sheri without being a deviant or doing anything illegal since my wife was “technically” alive in an animated state. But this was the same guy who said she was dead and a zombie. The words
dead
or
zombie
doesn’t help my libido any, but I got past it and I make love to Sheri often.

Sheri’s been wrapping her arms around me on her own. She once nibbled on my ear and I jumped, thinking it was
Dawn of the Dead
time. It turned out to be innocent and 24

unexpected in a delightful, yet macabre way. Perhaps she has a flicker of loving inside her? I don’t know, but I hope.

I’ve taken the liberty of placing green contacts into her eyes in order to lose the undead gray and bring back the sweet color of her gaze. I bathe Sheri every day in her favorite bubble bath and scrub her with her favorite body wash while whispering sweet nothings to her. I also dress her in her favorite outfits, spray her with her favorite perfume, and I play her favorite bands on the iPod dock every day just to give her a sense of herself and the things she left behind when I lost her in Lake Michigan.

That’s true love in my book.

I love my dead wife. Again, let me re-phrase that. I love my
zombie
wife. I love Sheri more than anything in the world and we’re together and living life—well, one of us is. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. She’s my soulmate, the love of my life and she owns my heart. I believe our love will outlast time itself, even after the physical marriage is dust.

’Til death do us part? It didn’t work out that way.

25

Revenants Anonymous

by Francesca Lia Block

I saw him at the Revenants Anonymous meeting I had started attending. I heard he was going to be the speaker the following week so that night I managed to pull myself together enough to put on a cute outfit of tight black jeans, high-heeled black boots, and a white shirt that still smelled faintly of bleach. I had even put on makeup so I wouldn’t look so pale, and flat-ironed my black bob. Around my neck I wore a giant silver heart-shaped watch on a thick silver chain, as if to imitate what I no longer had inside my chest.

I was pretending to be un-dead (meaning not dead, rather than one of the undead) because my sponsor, Rachel, had told me to act “as if.” It had worked for her. She was now successfully employed and had a nice, if somewhat clumsy, boyfriend who took her on vacations and told her she was beautiful and that he cherished her. I, on the other hand, couldn’t sell a story to save my life (pun intended), in spite of having won the big screenwriting contest just out of college, and I hadn’t kissed anyone for two years since Brian left.

When the guy walked in to the church basement where the meeting took place, I grabbed the heart locket and held on tight. The guy was very tall and wore his (dyed?) black hair in a low pompadour with thick sideburns. His eyes were strikingly blue with long eyelashes that made him look a little stunned. He had large, masculine features, a high forehead with some frown lines carved into it, high cheekbones, and a full mouth. I had heard on a talk show once that very masculine-looking men have extra testosterone that can make them more likely to behave like players. I wonder if that applied to 26

revenants as well, since we really didn’t have testosterone. He was wearing black jeans, a white shirt, black motorcycle boots, and a white T-shirt.
Twins
, I thought. (To be fair, he had worn the same thing the week before and I was imitating him.) His eyes slid over me briefly and he went to take a seat. We said the Serenity Prayer and then he began.

“I’m Ed and I’m a revenant,” he said.

“Hi,

Ed,”

everyone

droned.

“I’ve been coming to these meetings for ten years now. When I first came, I literally had pieces of flesh hanging off my body. You could see the bones poking through here,” he pulled down the neck of his T-shirt to reveal his clavicle, “and here.”

He pulled up his T-shirt to reveal a prominent hipbone above the line of his jeans. There was black hair on his chest and stomach.

“The way it started, I’d given up on my music. I was working the bar at a strip club and doing it with every sally I could find and getting drunk off my ass every night.

Then I met this one girl, this stripper. She treated me like shit. I couldn’t get enough of her. I had to go out of town for a few weeks to visit my dad who was dying and when I came back she had broken up with me. So I just went ape shit. I followed her around begging her to come back. I drank twice as much and started snorting blow. I served alcohol to one too many drunks and he had a car crash that night and died.”

The audience grimaced collectively, sympathetically. Ed went on.

“I went back home to see my dad. He had cancer and it was eating away at him from the inside out. I sat at his bedside but I really didn’t feel that much and I didn’t understand why. When he finally died, I didn’t feel anything. Then I started having 27

these dreams where he was touching me. Then I stopped dreaming at all. By then I was officially one of us.”

I

thought,

Boy, do I wish I’d met him when I was alive, before my heart got so
fucked with. I’d rather have him kill it than all those shits that did.

“And then I found these rooms,” Ed was saying. “Like I said, I was literally dripping skin. I was craving the meat.”

A low groan went up from the room.

“I had lost my job and all my friends. Since then I’ve started recording music again and I’ve started a business so I don’t have to bartend. It’s other people’s music, I’m engineering. It’s not my stuff, but it’s a start. And I’m taking care of myself. I’m showing up to meetings, even on days when I have to drag myself off my corpse ass and shamble in. I have a sponsor and a sponsee. I don’t think about the meat. I’ve started talking to women again. When I feel really dead, I do something like pet a dog. I know it sounds lame but I pet a dog. Or I take a walk in nature. I never thought I’d be saying that in front of a room full of people before, but whatever, it’s true. I even do yoga now.

And I can listen to music now, not just for work. It used to be impossible because it reminded me of how I used to just be able to hear the first chords of certain songs and start crying and how now I can’t cry but I listen anyway. So all I want to say is, even though I’m still a revenant, I’ll always be a revenant, that’s what the big book teaches, but there’s hope. There’s hope, man. Thanks for letting me share.”

He stepped down and there was some slow, heavy-handed applause. I tried to catch his eye but he kept his head lowered as he took his seat. The guy next to him, Malcolm, the secretary, used what looked like tremendous effort to high-five him.

28

We went around the circle and when it came to me I said, “Hi. I’m Casey and I’m a revenant.”

“Hi, Casey,” they all said, including Ed—I wasn’t looking but I could distinguish his deep voice.

“I just want to thank the speaker for sharing,” I began, still not looking at him.

“It’s very inspiring to hear that. I’ve only just started coming to these meetings. The last relationship I was in was two years ago. It screwed me up really bad. My mom had just died and I kind of glommed onto this guy but he felt suffocated and split. I couldn’t eat or sleep. And I couldn’t write anymore.” I thought about making the joke about not being able to write to save my life, but I didn’t know if it was in bad taste, and besides, it wasn’t all that funny. “Anyway, that’s when it happened. Now I’m doing computer sales from home. I don’t like to go out. I have to stay away from the meat.” Everyone hummed. I stopped. “Anyway, thanks for letting me share.”

When I finally looked up, Ed was watching me. I thought I felt my face get hot but that couldn’t be. I must have been imagining it.

When the meeting was over Malcolm invited everyone to his home in Silverlake for a party. The house was a broad-beamed green wooden Craftsman with a big porch overlooking the lights of Sunset Boulevard. Malcolm built a fire in the fire pit and we stood around under the cold stars. Like most revenant gatherings, no one said much. A few were making a pathetic attempt at dancing, but it was really just shuffling their feet and occasionally nodding their heads. Still, it was better than what I could do.

I was gripping an empty glass—sometimes it helped me feel human to have something in my hand—when Ed came up to me.

29

“I enjoyed your share,” he said. “Casey, right?”

I

nodded.

“I’m

Ed.”

I shook his hand. It was huge, with silver rings.

“What’s this?” he pointed to my heart watch.

I suddenly wished I hadn’t worn it; it seemed desperate, like something a revenant that wanted to be human too badly would wear. A poseur revenant. “Oh, nothing.”

“It’s nice. Too many people stopped wearing watches with the cell phones.” He held out his broad, bony wrist. He wore an old-fashioned silver watch. “It was my dad’s.”

“But I thought…” I began and stopped myself. I didn’t want to be rude.

“I know. I think my dad fucked with me when I was a kid. But he was my dad.

He didn’t know what he was doing. This helps me to remember to forgive him.”

I nodded. I thought about the silver engagement ring Brian had given me. It was a really cool ring, engraved with tiny leaves and flowers. Sometimes I wanted to wear it but I couldn’t because it reminded me of how much I hated him and then chunks of flesh would start peeling off my face and shit. I wondered if I could learn to forgive him.

“So your mom died recently?” Ed asked. His voice had a tender quality that I couldn’t recall hearing in another revenant.

“Yes. She had cancer, too.” My voice, on the other hand, was dry and flat.

“It’s a motherfucker.”

I nodded.

“And you’re young to lose a mom.” There was the tenderness in his voice again.

30

“Not that young,” I said. “I was twenty-five when this happened two years ago.”

“You mean when you went revenant? That’s young to be one of us.”

“What about you?” I asked.

“Well, I was thirty, so I’m technically forty now.”

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
3.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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