There’s a god, one of the older, minor ones. I don’t remember his name, no one does. If they did he’d still be around, because that’s how it works. Anyway, he used to demand a blood sacrifice from his adherents. It had to be daily, and it had to be their blood. It couldn’t be the blood of a doe or a lamb or a captured warrior or anything else; it had to be from them.
So, you do the math. They all died of anemia. The smart gods, they don’t make it fatal to worship them. That’s just stupid.
Frank stared at the sunrise from atop the semi. He’d never really stopped to watch a sunrise before, seen all the colors, measured the progress of the brightening glow until the first sliver of sun appeared on the horizon. It was gorgeous, and in some weird way, calming.
The zombies surrounding the truck didn’t seem to care. They were focused on Frank, single-minded in their ravenous hunger. He wondered if they understood that there wasn’t enough of him to go around, that if they somehow got up to him, most of the thousands there assembled wouldn’t get even a scrap.
I go to a lot of baseball games. Playing the market affords me a comfortable living, so I can travel as much as I want. I just missed seeing Jackie Robinson play, but I’ve shaken Mickey Mantle’s hand a couple times. Nice guy.
I’m the Mayor. I ran on a platform of major reforms in most sectors of colony management, and I was elected by a two-to-one margin. Though I got the impression that most people were voting against the incumbent rather than voting for me.
At the swearing-in, I mentioned my plans, and the former Mayor laughed and said, “Good luck with that.” I remembered that he had been elected talking reform as well.
Now I know the joke: the Colony Computer runs everything, and the robots, the ‘waldoes’, are it’s enforcers. I’m a figurehead. I wish the Mayor had warned me.
“The guy on Channel 7 is crying.”
“He cried some yesterday too. When the ‘Friends’ marathon was over, but before the movie. I think he’s losing it.”
“I can’t just sit here and watch him cry. It feels awkward.”
“Well, what else are you going to watch? Channel 9’s been blank since Wednesday, and there were three people there.”
“I’m not surprised. That cameraman didn’t seem stable. I wonder if he killed the other two.”
“Maybe he killed the other guy to have whatserface all to himself. The weather girl.”
“Um, or maybe the zombies got them, hello?”
Maria didn’t really know why she was still taking photographs of everything. Who was going to see them? She didn’t even have a computer to dump all the pictures to; she’d left it behind when she had to climb out the window to escape the zombies overrunning her house. She did grab the camera, though, and the extra batteries. Anyhow, you never know.
Maria framed the zombie carefully, so its body occluded the setting sun. It was random chance that she snapped the picture just as the cop’s bullet exploded the zombie’s head. The backlit cloud blood mist cloud looked fantastic.
“Look.” She slightly ahead of him on the road, and she was pointing down the hill at a small lake.
“What? What am I looking at?”
“Don’t you want to wash?”
He looked down at his clothes and found them covered in stains, dried blood and worse. And then there was his own body odor. He had gotten so used to it, he didn’t even notice anymore.
“I guess. You go first, I’ll stand watch.”
“Are you going to peek?” she asked, sounding like she was half-joking.
“Of course.” he grinned.
“Good.” She said, more seriously. “Means you’re still alive.”
There was one of those aliens in the hallway. “Mister George R. Lincoln?”
“You are the Mister George R. Lincoln who resides at this address?”
“Yes. Of course. What’s this about?”
“Mister Lincoln, as part of the community outreach program our public relations firm has advised us to sponsor, we are offering randomly selected citizens a tour of our Embassy in New York.”
“Yes, Mister Lincoln. All expenses paid.”
“I’ve never been to New York. But… this isn’t some kind of trick where I end up getting probed, is it?”
“Not that I’m aware of, Mister Lincoln.”
Millie helped me pick the flowers: roses from my grandmother’s garden. Gran never even goes out there anymore, so she’ll never notice. Cloves we got at the health food store but the mustard seeds we had to go to the Chinese grocery. The shells I had from the beach trip when I was twelve, and I got a few of her long, flaxen hairs from her brush when I slept over Friday night.
We dressed up, lit candles. It had to be perfect. We held hands and recited the words together. I told Millie it was all for a boy.
I sat next to an alien on the subway today.
He didn’t know I knew; they never do. They think their cloaks work perfectly. They’re so fucking arrogant. He even kept pretending to read after everyone else got off.
When he followed me off at my stop, I knew he’d selected me for experimentation. So when we were out of sight of the bus, I turned around and killed him. He looked so surprised.
The body didn’t change right away. Later, it was on the news, but they were broadcasting some cover story about a human being murdered. So typical.
You never really know someone until you’ve gone through an apocalypse with them. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s true.
I always thought Ricky Boyd was, well, sort of a pussy. I mean, he’s kind of effeminate, and I just assumed. But man, he’s great: saved me a couple times. Hell, saved everybody a couple times.
Jay Harlan I thought was perfectly normal. Turns out he was psycho. Couldn’t stop laughing. Laughed the whole time. He laughed while we were running, and while we fought. He laughed when he fell. He positively cackled while the zombies were eating him.
We’re not the first to settle here. There are a few thousand Grong, and there used to be a lot more. We call the planet what the Grong call it, which according to them is what the Shu called it. There aren’t any Shu anymore, though the Grong use some of their big stone buildings.
Before the Shu were the Whicks. The story is that they all died of a disease, shortly after the first Shu arrived. The Grong don’t know much detail. The kids sometimes find Whick bones when they dig, long, thin, light avian bones that break easily.
In the early days, we were just one settlement, with hastily-erected fortifications and nothing to eat. I don’t know for sure why we survived to prosper while the others were overrun; but it might have had something to do with the Library.
It was old man Rizzo’s personal book collection. It’s as if he knew. There are books on everything from farming to leather-craft to traditional blacksmithing. How to distill water or alcohol, how the Romans built with stone, how to make gunpowder. How to build a coal-fired power plant. We haven’t gotten to that one yet; but we will.