Saving Bootsey – (fiction)

            Sometimes I do feel crazy. But I figure everyone is feeling at least a little crazy right now. I hoist the limp body of Bootsey over my narrow shoulders and continue on down the hill. He’s not dead, just lifeless. There’s still hope for him, at least that’s what I tell myself.

            I guess it’s a bit sad when the only living being you know is scraggly gray cat. I guess it’s even worse when that cat is partially zombified, and isn’t technically living. But he has the potentiality of coming back to life, and that’s more than I can say for anyone else I love.

            All I have to do is find the healing flower. It’s rumored to smell like honey and be the color of the perfect sunset. I may not know where to look, but I’ll know when I find it. Bootsey is all I have left, I will find that damn flower if it kills me. It’s not like I would have anything to live for if it weren’t for Bootsey.

            He fought off the zombies the best he could, clawing and hissing at them until he was cornered. He managed to get away with his crazy acrobatic skills, but when we finally got to safety I noticed a small scratch. A zombie scratch.

            He started turning slowly, his eyes fading from yellow to red and his fur becoming coarse and dry. I put a muzzle on him to keep him from biting, and little cat booties to keep him from scratching. He wasn’t yet bloodthirsty, but he was already poisonous. Now he has entered into the final phase of the transformation: hibernation. The calm before the storm.

            He will sleep for exactly twenty-four hours before his eyes open for the last time. All of who he was will be gone. I’ve got my watch strapped securely around my belt. The change will be complete in four hours and fifty-two minutes.

            Thant means that I have four hours and fifty-one minutes to find that damn flower. I continue on through the dense forest, looking for the color of the sunset.

Advertisements

Zombie Fairytale: Part 8

            “Phillip!” I yell looking as far as my eyes can see. “Ma!! Pa!!” I’m screaming as loud as I can, but getting no response.

            Finally I see a glimmer of red down shore, and remember that my mother was wearing a red cloak. I strain my eyes and see two dark shapes join the smudge of red on the shore. I feel the panic in my chest loosen its grip and I turn to run to them. But I’m only just picking up speed when I see a dark figure ahead of me and I skid to a stop, falling over but quickly getting up. I start to run back to where I left Daisy, but only a few feet behind me is another zombie with mouth opened wide.

            I can see the dark figure of Daisy running toward me, so I make a quick decision and turn and run the same direction, towards the first zombie. Sword raised, I look straight into the zombie’s face and send the sword into its stomach. Behind me I can her Daisy stomping as I pull the sword out, but this zombie’s not dead yet. Without even thinking I swing hard and hit the zombie in the side of the head with my blade. His vacant eyes find mine for a second before he falls to the ground motionless.

            I turn to Daisy who’s triumphantly standing over her kill. “It looks like you were ready for some adventure after all,” I tell her. She comes closer and kneels for me to climb on. We start trotting toward my family, keeping a careful eye out this time.

            But we only make it a little farther before a group of zombies emerges from the trees. I’d rather avoid another fight so I turn Daisy to run away, but more zombies are coming out all around us. I take a deep breath, ready to charge past a group of three zombies when I hear hooves coming from the side.

            “Come on, follow me!” I hear a voice say and I turn to see a knight on a horse. Together we break from the zombie pack unharmed. I continue to follow him as he rides west.

Note: This is the last chapter I will be posting. I have more written, so if you read this series and like it leave a comment and I will gladly post a few more chapters. Thanks for reading!

Zombie Fairytale: Part 7

            I’m completely out of breath, but I wish that I could thank Daisy with more than just a nod of my head. I hear my parents start breathing again and Phillip is looking around, terrified that another zombie might be lurking around every corner. I look around too, and I’m pretty sure that were alone now. We move away from the burning house and stand behind a large tree.

            “Here,” I say handing my best dagger to Phillip. Then I dig a sharp hatchet out of my bag for my father. I give my mother a small knife and an old bow with a quiver full of arrows. I have no idea how to shoot, but I remember her telling me stories about being a great archer when she was young. I pull my sword from my belt and unwrap it quickly. I look up and see my father eyeing the sword with a small smile spreading across his face. I can tell he’s a little surprised that I would steal one of the prince’s best swords, but he seems pretty impressed.

            “We’d better get out of here,” I pause and look around at the burning huts and see that a big group of zombies has crossed the moat by using the fallen tree I saw earlier as a bridge, now they’re staring up at the high wall. I turn back to my family, “Um, does anyone have any ideas about where we should go?” I never had much of a plan beyond doing everything I could to protect my family, now I’m all out of ideas.

            “Let’s cross the river,” Papa says in a rushed whisper, “I’ve heard that there’s a camp a few miles west. The camp isn’t expected to last much longer, but it’s supposed to have strong protection at the moment.” He looks to me seeking approval, and I’m just so glad someone has information and an idea of what to do.

            “Great,” I sigh with relief, “let’s get going.” The river is a short distance away and I can hear the water rushing from where I stand. I’m not sure how we’re going to cross it, but for now I figure its best just to concentrate how to get to it safely. The path ahead looks clear enough, but I know that in the darkness anything could be hiding. “Um, maybe Ma and Phillip should ride on Daisy, and Pa and I could walk on either side?” I really don’t have any idea of what to do, but it sounds logical to me.

            “No. You and Phillip will ride. Your father and I can walk,” my mother says sternly and I don’t think that it’s worth arguing so I mount Daisy and give Phillip a hand up.

            “Ok, everyone ready?” I ask and my family nods their heads, and I can see determination in each of their faces. I wish I felt as sure of this plan as them. “Ok, now!” I say and kick Daisy until she’s at a steady trot. My parents are jogging at my sides and my bother holding on tight behind me. I look from horizon to horizon, expecting to see hungry zombies at any moment, but it’s not until we are a few yards away from the river that I see a group of three come out from behind a tree with blood dripping from their faces and hands, they must have made a kill, but I’m sure they’re still hungry for more.

            “Keep going,” I shout, “don’t stop for anything!” I know the rivers only about four feet deep, but I can tell the current is strong. I brace myself, wishing that my mother was on the horse instead of about to run into the rushing water.

            Daisy charges into the river without hesitation, but I can feel her whole body being pulled down stream. I look to my right and see my mother struggling through the water; I grab her by her arm and hold on as tight as I can. A huge wave engulfs us and before I know it I can’t feel my mother in my hand or my brother behind me. My eyes are just starting to clear when Daisy climbs out of the water and onto the shore. I jump off immediately and look down the river, not seeing anything I start to panic.

Note: I only plan on posting one more chapter (or part) to this story because I don’t think anyone is actually reading it. I have much more written, so if you are reading this series and would like more please leave a comment and I will gladly keep posting.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 6

            A quick thought rushes into my mind, and it’s the best plan I’ve got so I start running full speed to the stables. As I run I can’t help thinking that the stars ahead look way too calm for the occasion. I threw open the barn doors and the animals inside grumble disapprovingly, they’re too busy sleeping to worry about zombies.

            I find Midnight Daisy and approach her slowly; she’s wide awake and greets me with friendly eyes. I pet her for a few seconds before saddling her and climbing on, I’ve only ridden a few times, but she seems perfectly content to have me.

            “Ready for an adventure, girl?” I whisper into her ear as we leave the barn and wind past small huts and chicken coops. She gives a little sigh, and I have a feeling she’s as ready as I am.

            When I near the front gates of the enclosed kingdom I see a few of the knights and their horses hidden in the shadows of buildings and trees. I don’t know what signal they’re waiting for, but I follow suit and hide behind a tree. I position Daisy so that as soon as I see a knight start to move we will be able to run straight at the bridge.

            After a few tense minutes my eyes are starting to sting from the strain and the cool breeze, but then I see the knight ahead of me kick his horse and break into a run. It’s only a second before Daisy and I are chasing after, just a few paces behind. I see the bridge ahead nearing toward the ground and the first of the knights has just approached it. I watch as each knight crosses, but just as I approach the bridge I feel it start to lurch back to it’s starting place. I push Daisy hard and close my eyes as she jumps. I look down and see that were maybe five feet from the ground and we land with a slight thud.

            I steer Daisy directly to my parent’s cottage. From a few yards away I notice it’s starting to smoke and there are a few zombies standing near the door looking excited. I can’t help but scream with rage and the zombies look up, their eyes emotionless but their jaws slack with surprise. I charge toward them, not knowing if that’s a smart thing to do, and they look at each other for a brief moment before running off in the opposite direction.

            “Mom! Dad! Phillip!” I yell as loud as I can at the smoldering house. Just then I hear a noise from the side and turn to see the three of them emerging from the cellar door. I let out a strange noise in my relief and jump off of Daisy. I practically knock the three of them over as I grab them all in one big hug and I feel hot tears run down my cheeks.

            My mother’s shriek brings me back to reality and I turn just in time to see a zombie, arms outreached, lunge toward me. I’m about to shut my eyes tight thinking this is the end, but before the zombie can grab me Daisy has risen high on her rear legs and come down hard on top of him. She beats down on his body until it no longer moves.

Note: I only plan on posting 1 or 2 more parts to this story, although I have a lot more written. I get the feeling that no one is reading this series, which is fine, but I’m just not going to keep posting the rest. So if you actually are reading these parts of the “Zombie Fairytale” please comment and I will gladly keep posting. Thank you!

Zombie Fairytale: Part 5

            After a full day and night of servant duties I’m exhausted. I curl up in my bed and yawn, happily thinking about the number of times I’ve smiled over the past twenty-four hours. I’m not even asleep yet when I hear it. The hair-raising screams filling every corner of my little room. I sit bolt-upright, my heart seemingly stops beating for a second and I turn quickly to my little window. Out in the distance I can see an orange light; it takes a few seconds for me to realize it’s a fire. I stare for another half a minute and a few more bright orange flames pop up along the outskirts and more screams reach the castle.

            I jump out of my bed and open the door to the hallway. A knight in full armor runs down the hall and a few other servants are glancing around for answers just as I am. After a few seconds I see another Knight running down the hall, he doesn’t have his helmet on and I recognize him instantly.

            “Cameron!” I shout as I walk out of my room, he slows but I can tell he’s in a hurry. “What’s going on?” I ask.

            “There’s a massive zombie attack starting on the outskirts. We fear that they may break through our defenses,” he says quickly, and continues on his way, but pauses after a few feet and turns to look at me. “Phoebe, be careful,” he says with a worried look on his face then turns and runs away.

            “You too, Cam!” I shout after him, but I’m not sure if he heard.

            I return to my room and close the door. I quickly dress and strap all of my stolen weapons to me. They are easily hidden beneath my long dress and cloak. I grab the bag I’ve had packed for weeks and throw it over my shoulder. Lastly, I grab my stolen sword, there’s no place to hide it. I slide the sword through my belt and it feels like a good place to keep it. Luckily I’d already wrapped it in old fabric from the laundry, so it won’t stand out too much. Turning to the door, I take one last look around this little room that’s been my home for years; I know I won’t be seeing it again. I take a deep breath and walk out. No one bothers to notice me as I run down the hall, down the stairs, and out of the castle’s wide open doors.

            The cool night air feels good on my hot face and I breathe it in deep, letting it cool the panic in my chest. I reach the thorny bush that cover my small hole to the outside and cover my face as I crawl behind it and through the wall.

            Before I stand I look around at the fires and destruction. I instantly look to my family’s hut, and feel a wave of relief overcome me as I see that it hasn’t been touched yet. I reach for my pile of long sticks, which help me cross the moat, but through the side of my vision I catch site of a group of about seven zombies. They are looking into the water, obviously confused. One sticks his foot in the water for a few seconds before jumping in and starting to swim. He is reaching for the bank when an alligator bites him hard and quick. I turn away as he’s torn apart and eaten by the hungry reptiles. When the screams and struggling gasps stop I look up again to see the remaining six zombies standing around a nearby tree. With little warning they all start hacking at the tree: some kicking, others scratching at the trunk, and one jumping at the tree and repeatedly hitting it. After a while the tree starts to sway dangerously and the zombies start to shriek with excitement. I can see other small groups of zombies coming from the distance; it won’t be long until the whole shore is teaming with them.

            I can’t stick around here, and there’s no way I can cross with so many zombies nearby. I duck back through my secret tunnel before any of the zombies are able to see me. I really hope that if they get across the moat they don’t find the passageway, but there is nothing more I can do to hide it.

            I emerge from the bush but quickly duck back behind its coverage when I hear stomping hooves and the clatter of armor nearby. I look through the branches and see about eight knights astride horses. Sir Nesband stands in front of them and from where I’m hiding I can just make out what he’s saying.

            “… distract the king and queen, then Marty is going to lower the drawbridge. We only have a few seconds to all get out of the castle, then the bridge is going back up. So we’ve got to make it quick. On my signal we’ll all rush towards to the gate, no stopping and no hesitating. Try to kill as many zombies as you can. At daybreak we’ll meet by the old willow tree,” he pauses and looks each of the men in the eye for a brief second before continuing, “Men, I believe we are doing the right thing, but if any of you are uncertain you can still back out now. If you go out, know that you may not get back in.” There is a clanking of armor as the men nod. “Take your positions men, and watch for my signal.” There are a few hushed cheers of excitement and then the men break off into eight different directions and the night is silent once again.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 4

            Knock! Knock!! Knock!!! “Wake up!” I can hear Princess Cornelia outside my room throwing one of her typical tantrums as I fall out of bed and rush to the door.

            “Good morning Princess. I’m sorry for my tardiness,” I lie as I pull my long hair into a messy bun.

            “Why didn’t you bring my breakfast this morning?” She asks as if she doesn’t already know that I overslept.

            “I’m sorry your highness, I forgot to set my alarm clock, but that is no excuse.” Actually, I think it’s a pretty good excuse or I wouldn’t have bothered to mention it.

            “I want you in the stables in five minutes preparing my horse for the afternoon Polo game,” she says and stalks off down the long hallway. I close the door and quickly dress, I’m not going to let the princess ruin my good mood. I’m still happy from last night, and I want that to last as long as possible.

            I’m braiding Midnight Daisy’s tail when Prince Cameron comes into the barn and sits down on a bale of hay. I don’t want to look, but I have the strange feeling he’s staring at me, or maybe he just has a thing for horses. I finish Daisy’s tail and turn to him.

            “Hello Prince Cameron. What brings you to the barn today; is there anything I can do for you?” I say with a friendly smile.

            “Pheobe, I’ve told you a billion times, please don’t call me Prince. Just Cameron, or better yet, Cam.” Of course I knew all of this; I was just messing with him.

            “Ok, Cam.” He smiles and I take a mental note that I really like it when he smiles. “You still haven’t told me why you ventured out of the castle. Did you run out of books to read?” I tease.

            “Very funny,” he throws some loose straw at me, “I thought you might get bored later when Cornelia’s playing with her little ponies and too busy to boss you around. I was wondering if you wanted to practice a bit more with those daggers. And um,” he’s looking at the ground, “if you want you could borrow a sword and practice with that. I mean, if you want to kill some zombies a sword is a much better weapon than a steak knife.” He finishes and stares at the ground waiting for my answer, as if he’s afraid of being rejected, which is just silly.

            “That sounds great Cam! The princess should be down in about twenty minutes, so I’ll meet you behind the castle as soon as I escape from her,” I give him a big smile and turn quickly to finish grooming Daisy.

            “Great, see you then.” I hear him pause for a few seconds before leaving the barn. And I think to myself that he’s acting a bit weird today; but after all, he is kind of a weird guy. I’m glad to have a friend in the castle though; he’s always treated me with respect even when the rest of the royal family doesn’t even care to call me by name.

            I finish up with Daisy, looking into her dark eyes as I comb her. Sometimes I wish I knew what she was thinking. Does she like her life here in the royal stables, or does she want to be out having great horse adventures. I’m going with the latter, but I guess I’ll never know.

            “Servant,” Cornelia says in a cold tone as she enters the barn. She must still be mad at me for sleeping in, but I’m really not in the mood for her cruelness today.

            “Pardon, Princess Cornelia, but I do have a name. It’s Phoebe in case you forgot,” I try to sound polite, but I know she detects the edge in my voice.

            “Right,” she rolls her eyes, “Phoebe.” I look at her because I’m surprised that actually worked, not even one argument about being rude or forgetting who’s paying me. “Daisy looks good, nice job.” Is it me or she being kind of nice? “Now, I have two baskets of laundry upstairs. The blue one can be put in the washer, the laundry in the pink one needs to be hand washed. I expect it to be done by the time the game is over. Then my room needs a good dusting.” Nope, I was mistaken, it’s the same old Cornelia as before.

            “Yes your highness, I’ll get right to that.” I stand and leave her in the barn with a satisfied smile. I hate that she’s won, but I’m so used to it now that I shrug it off as I walk out of her site. Then I run to the back of the castle where I see Cameron waiting for me with a small assortment of weapons.

            “Hey Cam,” I say as I catch my breath, “Sorry, but it’s going to have to be a quick lesson today. Your sister has a lot of laundry that needs doing.”

            “Tough break,” for some reason he sounds more disappointed than me, but then a smile breaks across his face, “hey, I’ve got an idea. How about I help you with the laundry, then it can get done twice as fast.”

            “Cameron,” I look at him for a few seconds, shocked by his proposal, “you’re a prince. You can’t be helping a servant like me with my duties.”

            “Sure I can, there’s no rule saying I can’t help you out. It’s probably best if my sis doesn’t find out, or my parents, but it’s not a big deal. It’s just laundry.” He says.

            “But Cam, I can’t ask you to help me. If your parents find out they might fire me,” I say, instantly wondering if that would even be a bad thing.

            “Don’t worry Phoebe, it’s not your idea. If they find out I’ll take the blame. I’m not going to let you get fired,” he gives me a smile and I know he really would defend me. “Besides, no one else would put up with Cornelia, my parents would never be able to find a replacement,” he jokes and then adds “now, pick up that sword. We’d better get started, we’ve got laundry to do,” I love the smile across his face so I give up and pick up the sword. I’m not a sword expert, but I can tell it’s nicer than the one I stole.

            We laugh our way through the lesson and then run into the castle and up to Cornelia’s room. The laundry is done surprisingly quickly and before I know it we’re pinning the hand-washed clothes on a line to dry. For being kind of a dork, Cameron is actually very funny. We joke about how ridiculously huge the castle is, and about old man Jordan who sits on his porch and yells at his chickens, and about a bunch of random things that shouldn’t really be funny at all. While were laughing it’s so easy to forget there’s a whole world out there, a world that is dying and suffering and coming closer to ending every day.

            When we hear Cornelia coming up the stairs Cameron gives me one last smile and quickly ducks around the corner and heads off down a different set of stairs, off to do whatever it is that princes do in their free time. And I’m left to dust Cornelia’s room and do whatever else she wants.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 3

            A knock on the window, followed by two quick knocks on the boarded up door, a six second pause, and one final kick to the bottom of the door. That’s the secret knock that signals to my parents that I’m not an attacking zombie. I take a deep breath of the cool night air and slowly walk to the side of the little hut just in time to hear the last dead-bolt being unlatched from the cellar entrance. One of the doors swings wide and I climb into the dark and shut it quickly behind me, allowing my mother to redo all the bolts and locks before I’m finally able to hug her. It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve been able to venture a trip outside of the castle walls. Tonight Princess Cornelia is on a date with Knight Nesband, she probably only gave me the night off because she was worried I might spy on her for the king. But I don’t really care about motives right now, I’m just glad to see my family has survived the latest zombie attacks.

Mother guides me through the short tunnel and we emerge in the kitchen. Papa quickly boards up the door to the cellar and then turns to me with his aging eyes.

“Hey kiddo,” he bites his lip and gives me a long hug. I struggle to hold back the tears, and I have a feeling he’s doing the same. “Let me fix you some tea,” he says quietly and turns to the stove where he stares at the wall for a few seconds before filling the tea kettle with water.

“Honey,” ma says holding both my hands and looking straight at me with her concerned mom-face, “how did you get out this time?”

“Got the night off actually. How many of those have I had in the past six years?” I let out a small laugh, it’s not the most genuine, but it feels good. I used to laugh all the time, around my family anyway. But there’s not much to laugh about now.

“Not many. Do you remember when you got sick a few years ago and they let you have the whole week off because they didn’t want their little princess getting sick?” She smiles at me; a brief glint of a happy memory allows her to forget the past ten months, and it reminds me that I’m not the only one who misses laughing. “That was the best week I can remember having in a long time. We had so much fun I didn’t want you to ever go back,” her smile breaks and a tear streams down her cheek. I don’t want to start crying too, so I look over into the sitting room and see something that makes me smile.

“Phillip! Come over here and say hi,” I joke as I walk toward my brother.

“Hey sis,” he says as he stands from his spot on the old sofa where he was reading. We do our goofy secret handshake that we’ve had since we were just kids.

“Watcha reading this time?” He’s reading a different book every time I come over. I think he misses school, since the king closed the entrance to the castle only those living within have been able to continue with school.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” he says grabbing the book and stuffing it between the sofa cushions. I stifle a laugh at his clumsy attempt to be sly, but I don’t push him because I know he’s just embarrassed for some silly reason.

“Come on then, let’s go have some tea.” I sit with my family for hours slowly sipping tea and talking. We discuss the zombie situation for a while, who’s been turned, who’s heard news from neighboring kingdoms, when everyone is expecting the next attack. But then the conversation turns lighter, and we begin to push the approaching doom to the back of our minds. We are able to actually laugh and smile, almost like we could before this whole thing started. It feels so good: sitting in this tiny kitchen with the three people who mean everything to me, having a good time and acting like we don’t all know this might be the last good-time we all have together.

At midnight I reluctantly leave, I would spend the night and sneak back before the sun rises in the morning, but mother says it’s too risky. If someone realizes I’m not in the castle I could be in a lot of trouble. So I give everyone one last hug and take an extra moment to memorize their faces before the happiness fades away. Then I climb through the cellar and out the door into the startlingly cold night air. As the cellar doors close I catch one last glimpse of my mother’s face, she looks at me and smiles briefly and I know she’s hoping for the same thing I’m hoping for: that this isn’t the last time we smile at each other.

I pin myself against the hut door and wait for my eyes to adjust to the dark before scanning everything around me and listening intently for the sound of zombies. When I’m sure I’m alone I make a run for the nearby castle wall. I stop briefly to pick up my long sturdy stick, right where I left it. I sprint toward the moat, shoving the stick into the ground and pushing off with its help to clear the ten foot, alligator filled moat. I land surefooted on the other side and quickly kneel to move the slightly out of place pile of rocks that camouflage a whole just big enough for me to squeeze through. I crawl on my belly until I’m within the castle walls, emerging behind a large, thorny bush. By the time I make it to the castle I’m sweaty, covered in mud, and a bit scratched up, but no one is around to care. So I quietly climb the four flights of stairs till I reach the servants bathroom, where I wash off before heading to my tiny room to sleep.

Zombie FairyTale: Part 2

NOTE: I left off from part 1 in kind of an odd place, sorry about that. Also, I know the title says it’s a fairytale, but I’ve decided to go in a different direction. I hope you enjoy it!         

 There’s plenty I’d like to never see again, but some things are inevitable. Death, heartbreak, struggle, injustice, loneliness. The list is as never ending as it is depressing. But I manage to keep my head up and keep moving along. I’m preparing. I will not go easy. In my little cupboard of a room I’ve got a whole arsenal of knives, guns, shields, and even a sword I stole from the armory. It was one of the prince’s finest, but he won’t even notice it’s gone, it’s three season’s old and his father’s had him about six swords made since. Although I couldn’t help but notice the armory was looking a little sparser since I was last there before the invasion. I can’t be the only one sneaking protection here and there. But like I said, I’m safe in the castle. For now anyway.

            But as soon as those brain-hungry zombies start to attack the village I’m out of here. I will die before I see my family turned because no one is willing to step out from the cushy castle to help. I’ve been practicing too, with Prince Cameron. Not with his stolen sword of course, that would be beyond stupid. But he’s actually a pretty nice guy, not nearly as vain and ignorant as his sister, if he was he wouldn’t be caught dead helping a servant in his free time. He’s a bit of a geek actually; he tutors at the little school house and spend his extra time reading. But like all good princes he knows how to fight. He was practically raised with a sword as his teddy bear.

            The King and Queen aren’t the most loving parents around. I started working for the royal family six years ago, when I was only eleven, and their third child was seven years old. I saw how they raised Princess Catherine, and I could see why Cameron would cling to a sword before he would confront his parents. Catherine was groomed into a perfect princess, even though that meant missing out on a childhood and friends, and that’s not something that can be regained during a zombie war. She’s thirteen now, but you wouldn’t know it if you sat down to tea with her. She’s much more mature than her older sister, although that’s not saying much.

            One might expect that after six years of working with Princess Cornelia we might actually be friends, but sometimes I wonder if she even knows my name. No doubt something she learned from her parents who still call me “servant” every time they address me. But I don’t think it will be too long now until the castle is overrun by zombies, then they will have to learn to fend for themselves. I’ve heard the other servants talking, I pretend not to listen and I’m pretty good at being invisible when I want to be, so no one watches what they say around me and I hear all the best gossip. The others are out of here the second the walls are breached, some even plan to leave early and get a head start.

            I’ve also heard the knights talking, their defenses are strong but the zombies are growing in numbers each day. There’s also word that peasants on the outskirts are organizing and plan to break through. I don’t blame them for wanting the protection of the kingdom, there is no reason why everyone on the outskirts can’t cross over the moat and enter the small enclosed city. There’s room enough for everyone and resources for at least a month. But the King and Queen are very strict about their decree that no one gets in and no one gets out. I expect that I’m one of only a few who’ve been on the outside in months. When I’m practicing with Prince Cameron he tells me of the knights’ great frustration that they are locked within the kingdom walls and unable to fight the evil in the world. He jokes that if the zombies don’t break in soon, the knights will break out. I wish he was right.

            I want someone out there protecting my family and all those families on the outskirts. Over the past few weeks there have been three attempts by zombies trying to get into their boarded up cottage. The groups are small now, but even zombies don’t take long to figure out that they are stronger together than apart. I just wish the rulers of this kingdom were as smart, because I don’t know how much longer my family has until waiting is no longer an option.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 1

            These are hard times. My cousin was just turned last week and it’s starting to feel like the whole world is doomed. Every day the zombies are getting closer to infiltrating the castle. I guess I’m pretty lucky to be the servant to the royal family. I get about as much protection as the princess herself. Granted, no one really cares if I get turned, but it matters quite a lot to me; so I’m happy for the default protection. I only wish I could do something other than smuggle armor to my family’s cottage just beyond the safeguard of the castle. Although it does make me worry: if I can sneak out through a secret passage how long will it be until the zombies can figure out how to sneak in? It’s a mad world out there beyond the stone walls and moat; but heck, it’s a pretty mad world in here too. Somehow I still manage to hope and dream.

            My dreams manifest in the form of Sir Nesband. I guess sometimes it’s hard to give up on something you’ve wanted for so long, no matter how unattainable that thing may be. But maybe that’s why I can still hold onto that dream. It’s so out of my reach that I’ll never actually have to confront the harsh reality; I’ll never show Sir Nesband my feelings, so he’ll never be able to reject me. Well, not properly anyway. It kind of feels like he rejects me every time I look his way and he sees right past me, and every time he kisses Princess Cornelia in front of me, which is far too often.

            My job is to tend to every whim of the princess. This girl has no idea what a state the world is in! She is chauffeured around in her purple convertible all over the kingdom, shopping at all the upscale boutiques and playing polo every Sunday on her thoroughbred. I’ve got my hands full dealing with her day and night. It’s only on nights when she’s had a few too many glasses of vintage wine and passed out on the couch that I’m able to sneak out and see my family.

            Mother says I shouldn’t risk it. She’s always begging me stop coming, but I know she’s secretly waiting by the door for me every night, Papa’s told me so. He doesn’t even bother to cover up his joy when I come around. I bring protection and food, both highly valued commodities on the outskirts. And my little brother Phillip tries to act cool about it, but I know he misses me. Every time I come home I’m just happy to see that they’re all still alive, fully alive. Not like those half-zombies who look like there are among the living, but before you know what’s happened they’re reaching for your neck, teeth bared and body trembling with struggling desire. Part of them still so human, but the zombie starting to emerge. It’s strange to see someone familiar, someone who shows no signs of being anything other than who they’ve been all their life; it’s so strange to see them commit an act so inhuman. I’ve seen it once and I don’t care to see it ever again.