Doll Parts

It had one arm which hung limp and useless, swinging without purpose as the thing shuffled across the blacktop. What had become of the other arm couldn’t be known, not anymore.

“They look worse lately.”

“It’s been hot.”

It tripped on something, a rut or a groundhog hole or a tangle of weeds, and fell face-first to the ground. A person would have paused, waiting to feel for injury; the zombie felt nothing, and thus immediately began twisting and writhing to try to find a way back to its feet.

“Would you shoot it already?”

“Can’t get a clear line. Wait a bit.”

After a few minutes, it managed to turn over onto its back, then bend at the waist until it was sitting upright.


“Happy now?”

“Ecstatic. Let’s go look.”

They stood over the zombie’s remains, half the forehead now missing. The skin was leathery and tight where it had been exposed to the sun, but under the collar they could see horrific bug-eaten rot.

“They can’t last much longer. They’ll be falling apart by winter.”


“What ‘maybe’? Human body can’t walk around forever when it’s dead.”

“People are still dying, all over. Starvation. Cancer.”

“Aww, hell.”

Rhonda’s First Epiphone

“Legs like that, you oughta be a dancer,” he drawled, a leery grin pasted on his face. Of course he didn’t mean a ballet dancer or a ballroom dancer or any kind of dancer outside of the ‘gentlemen’s club’ out on State Route 4. He downed another shot of Jack straight from the bottle and fumbled with the guitar, trying and failing to find a chord he’d hazily stumbled across a half hour ago.

“Gee, thanks, mister.” Her momma had taught her to be polite, at least on the outside. She smiled and nodded and kept just out of grabbing range until he passed out on one of the motel beds, pants unbuckled but still on, trucker cap over his face.

It was a nice guitar, and he hadn’t earned it. He’d be mad, come looking for it, but he’d never find her; he’d never really looked at her face.


“She’s done it again.”


“Go look in the sun room. Just you look.”

He poked his head through the doors, froze. Eventually he managed to say, “Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?”



“Go talk to her. Right now. I’ve had enough. It has to stop.”

He trudged up the stairs, knocked softly on the door with the red ribbons on the knob and the pencil-marks measuring height on the molding. “Honey?”

A worried oval of a face appeared as the door opened a crack. “…Yes?”

“Remember when we talked about summoning?”

“Yes, daddy.”

“And how you shouldn’t do it unless Mommy or I was around?”

“Yes, Daddy. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”

“Okay, sweetie. Have a nice afternoon.”

“Thank you Daddy.” The door closed.

He trudged back downstairs to find Martha, arms folded. She began, “John…”

“Well, at least it’s not a tiger.”