Author’s Note: Find Parts I & II here, and Parts III & IV here. These are the final parts to this ‘short’ story where Gemma makes one of the biggest mistakes of her life and lands herself in a medical journal. As with the others, this short story is meant to be an ‘extract’ from Gemma’s autobiography, “Eyes Open”.
I loved writing this absolutely ridiculous story, and may have dry-heaved on a few occasions considering the subject matter. Still, hope you enjoy reading it.
The second horde I saw was smaller but just as terrifying. It happened only 2 years ago, when we all knew exactly what we were fighting. There was no kidding myself that these were injured or angry people – I knew and believed that I was being chased by a crowd of reanimated corpses. And even though I’d seen plenty of attacks since, the image of that blond girl’s scalp still haunts me the most.
The tendrils of flesh peeling from her head was what I thought about as I ran through the marketplace, dodging people who hadn’t yet thought to run, or couldn’t. It was what I thought about as I jumped over a car very similar to my own as I could feel them gaining on me. The horde (as I found out later) apparently started with one very old zombie which had been kept by his family for over three years, chained up as they desperately tried to restore him. He’d escaped that morning, chewing his way through his wife and out of the house.
It had been only a few minutes before he’d come across a congregation and set at them, bring the horde total to about 30 which was powerful enough to get through some of the town. One of the last places they’d hit before exploding out onto the marketplace, was the health spa.
I remember that the reason this horde made headlines and was considered to be so unusual was because it contained Andrew Dean – a well-known young official who’d apparently taken his lunch break to relax naked in a private sauna, only to have the door broken down by a horde of zombies. When he burst onto the road and starting running along with the rest of the horde, the only thing that separated him was that he was running naked, and with a visible erection.
Of course, bringing this to someone’s attention was no-one’s first priority as they tried to escape. I caught a glimpse of his sweaty, mottled figure attacking people to my right and left as I ran almost two miles in my attempts to get away. I spotted places to hide but imagined myself getting trapped, so just kept running and running. Some people ahead of me had heard about the horde and prepared; grabbing weapons and parking cars across the road. Some young men and women jumped over them to form a wall in front of the barrelling force, pushing me past and closing up the gap behind me as I fell to the ground and cowered, throwing up my lunch.
Andrew Dean arrived just seconds after me, his erection pointing in front of him like a statement of intent and launched himself from all fours, attempting to attack one of the female fighters before being thrown off and beheaded by the rest of the group.
The news reported on him as a case-study – proof that the zombies were driven by more than the desire to eat. They claimed that the definition of zombie was a person who had returned to its most animalistic state. The desire to eat and the desire to fuck were one and the same.
The fact that Andrew was naked and still had all of his organs and circulatory system intact after he was attacked meant that he was the perfect example of how the human body could still react to those instincts if not subjected to trauma. It also proved that the virus restarted the biology of the body after death, essentially bringing people back to life to attack others. Andrew Dean went down in history as the zombie that started the debate on whether they deserved human rights – that they were undead, but that they were also alive. Debates followed on whether zombies had sex with each other – whether they could have children – whether they were capable of emotions if they were capable of lust. Some wondered whether the term un-dead was ‘PC’ enough, considering they were actually re-animated.
Now we had sex as well as murder. An erection excited the human race more than it cared to admit.
I slid in through the door of the nightclub and was hit by the smell of sweat and alcohol. My hand, tight in the grasp of my best friend Alice, felt like it was going to pop out of its socket as I was propelled forwards and she was stopped by the bouncers outside.
“ID,” the bouncer said, holding her waist as she tried to move past.
“I come in here every fucking Saturday,” she said, pulling her purse open and flicking through cards. “I’m hardly going to be ageing backwards, am I?”
“Maybe you need to be more memorable,” he replied, winking.
“Oh, fuck you Terry.”
She flashed her license at his head and pushed forward, forcing him to release his grip. Around her, two cleaners were attempting to mop the pavement which was stained with a few small puddles of fresh blood, left over from the impressive fight we’d seen being broken up on our way to the door, flashing neon green and purple in the dark.
Alice tried to step over them, but misjudged it and rolled her ankle in the mess. I pulled her up by her elbow.
“Got the blood on my fucking shoes,” she commented, tossing her brown bob back and pulling her heels up to show me. “Don’t know why I bother dressing nice for a scummy dump like this anyway!” she shouted across her shoulder to no-one in particular. Seemingly unbothered at who the blood might attract, she wiped absent-mindedly at the stain with her fingers. “Ew”.
Alice was even more placid about the possibility of attracting zombies than me at this point. Compared to our daily lives, which were, by comparison, boring as hell, we agreed a zombie encounter might actually be quite exciting. I just wanted something to happen. I looked at the large groups around us and guessed that they were drinking to try to live a little too.
It had all become a little hyper-sexualised since the infection. Clubs had become places where people came to cry, to hide, to meet other people who wanted to forget the fact that we had reached a point in our life where there was no return. Through the cigarette smog I could see a couple in the corner who were twisted around each other so tightly that they looked like they could squeeze each other’s heads off, using the speakers at the side of the stage for balance. When faced with the threat of zombies every day, inhibitions tend to dissolve to make way for a more carpe diem attitude.
I didn’t like that it was like this. The way people moved gave the impression that they all felt ashamed to be here – but the need for human contact was stronger. There were few options – most other ways to socialize had just fallen away.
Alice swung her bag over her shoulder and announced that she was off to get some drinks, leaving me near the dance floor to watch the hypnotic sway of people gyrating to the music. It was loud enough to fill your head with buzz and push out anything else you might be trying to forget. Some of the singletons were gravitating towards each other in the smog, acting like they were unaware how close they were dancing to each other. One older guy in a multi-coloured top was attempting to dance close to any female he could see and was being turned away every time. He’d simply move on to the next one.
Alice came up to my side pushed a bright red drink into my hands. I could tell it was strong by the noxious aroma it was giving off.
“Why couldn’t the creeps be the ones to go first?” she said, nodding at white-shirt guy and taking a large gulp from her cup.
“What’re these?” I said, tilting mine to peer into it.
“It’s called a Bloody Zombie,” she said, moving it around so that the ice cubes clinked together.
I made a face at her and turned back to the dance floor.
“Yeah, it’s in poor taste,” she added, “but apparently it’s their most popular drink.” She took another sip. “It’s nice.”
A few hours and many birthday cocktails later we were both dancing manically. Alice had abandoned her heels and was twirling barefoot, holding onto my hips as she spun around and around. She almost slipped and pulled me off-balance, knocking my own Bloody Zombie out of my hand. I let it go, watching it trundle across the linoleum, lost to the sticky floor.
I knew I didn’t want to go home and face silence again when I could have music and dancing. If I had to go home, I really wanted someone to come with me. I considered suggesting this to Alice as she gyrated around me, but then noticed a guy standing in the shadows of the bar, watching the rest of the crowd move. He was dressed in dark clothing and was moving from foot to foot in a slow fashion, as if he wanted to dance but didn’t quite have the confidence to start.
Intrigued by his detachment, I paid for and quickly downed a few shots which were being handed around by a themed waitress. She span on her heels and pushed the tray under Alice’s nose who nearly sent the whole thing careening into the air as she kicked her arms out in drunken abandonment. The waitress stumbled backwards and underneath one of the flashing lights. Her ragged clothing was covered in alcohol spots and I noticed that the way she’d dribbled fake blood on herself made it look like a red candle had exploded violently across her cleavage.
“Shit, so sorry!” I apologised, pulling Alice into an upright position. By this point someone had come over to us and taken her hand. She smiled at no place in particular and moved away from me, putting her arms over his shoulders.
The alcohol started to weigh down on my eyelids and knowing that Alice wasn’t coming home with me tonight was enough to spur me on. I meandered over to the guy by the bar and asked him to dance.
He stopped his nervous treading and looked at me curiously.
“Want to dance?” I repeated, louder this time as the bass on the music ramped up to a level where I could feel my brain bouncing inside my skull. When he didn’t answer me, I lifted his empty drink out of his hand and placed it on the bar to the side of us – returning to grab his hand and pull him to the middle of the club.
I cleared a little space for us and started to dance, watching as he returned to his awkward shoe shuffling routine. Out of the shadows and into the rainbow lights I could see him a little better and noticed how good looking he really was. His hair flopped over his face which was bent towards the ground as he moved, and his hands stayed at his side as he tried to get a rhythm going.
The alcohol in my blood had reached a buzz level and I wasn’t at all deterred by his lack of movement – I channelled my inner Alice and moved around him, occasionally brushing against his sides and back as I twirled. His eyes followed me mournfully and I wondered whether he’d been standing at the side of the club looking so upset because he’d been stood up, or was getting over someone.
“What’s your name?” I asked, attempting to control my drunken tongue which tried to sound out the ‘s’ but struggled against the thick piece of cardboard I felt was wedged under the roof of my mouth.
He paused and looked around, then back at me. I wondered if he even spoke English.
“Gary,” I said, bouncing my head to the music. “Nice to meet you. I’m Gemma.”
By 3am, my silent Lothario and I had been dancing for longer than my feet could bear. Somewhere between 2 and 2:30, Gary had started to find his rhythm and began to pump his arms in a more lively fashion. A few times I even managed to pull his arm up so that I was able to twirl under it and was rewarded with a sweet nuzzle on my neck before I pulled away.
The slow dancing wasn’t quite as successful as he couldn’t keep his hands to himself most of the time, trying to move me in certain directions and moaning unintelligible things into my ear. I figured I was getting him pretty hot and bothered so suggested that we go back to mine.
Alice was long gone by this point, having sobered up a bit and called a taxi to go home. The guy she’d been brushing up against all night had wandered off, so I kissed her and made her promise to text me when she got back safe.
Gary also seemed pretty out of it, stumbling into walls and barely speaking, despite the fact that I hadn’t seen him drink anything since the start of the night. I put his arm over me at one point but he kept veering over to my side and eventually I figured it would be easier to just lead him rather than taking all his weight. I grabbed my bag and Gary fell against the door to the club, opening it to let me go through.
He sat listlessly in the taxi, scratching a little heat rash on the side of his face. I saw that his fingers were blue with cold and so offered to warm them up, seductively trying to put his hands on the inside of my bra. The whole taxi ride back I tried to warm his fingers but no matter what I did, they stayed ice cold and I couldn’t seem to rub any kind of warm colouring into them.
As we pulled up to my house, I looked over at Gary, expecting some kind of contribution towards the fare. He gave me a directionless shrug and I realised that he didn’t have any kind of belongings with him – not so much as a wallet. I handed over much too much money to the driver and had to help Gary out of the taxi; pulling his arm so he could slide across the seat and eventually almost fall out of the side door.
We meandered over to my front door slowly and as a I stood still to rootle in my bag for my keys, I felt his lips, and teeth, up against my neck.
“Steady on,” I laughed. “I’ve got to get this key into the lock first!”
I got him to back off just long enough for me to open the door and slide us both inside, into my bedroom which was conveniently situated to the right of the front door.
He kissed me with the kind of urgency you only really see in the movies. It was only now that I started to detect the slightest flavour of something charred and earthy in his tongue.
He was definitely a smoker.
Gary pulled my clothes off like he wanted to devour me and dig his way into my world for the night.
Now, knowing what you do, I can see your head beginning to turn with disgust now, saying “You know – I really don’t want the details of a night of zombie sex”, and luckily, my memory mostly fails at this point.
Still, I still knew him as human Gary – roaming Lothario and all round decent guy. His shy broodiness quickly made way for something much more exciting. He became really animated, growling and groaning as we rolled around. I playfully pulled off his shoes and threw them to the side of the room. It would only be the next morning that I’d find them again, complete with a now stale-looking big toe tucked under the tongue.
At this point I can remember very little else apart from his insistence on saying his own name over and over again as he built up a rhythm.
Being on top meant that I had a good look into his large, brown eyes that stared up at me, hungry. It also meant that I had the opportunity to tell him to cut it out as he continually tried to pull me down into some sort of very unnatural position so that he could nuzzle my neck.
Now, usually I’m up for that kind of thing but he’d already drawn blood on one occasion and was putting me off my stride. There was much blackness, some groaning and – I fear – some vomiting from me.
And then it was done. I closed my eyes and stretched, hoping that he’d decide to lie down next to me.
But no sooner had he finished, there was a terrified scream from down the street and his head snapped upwards.
“Shush,” I said, laying my hands on his chest, “there’s nothing you can do. Don’t try to be the hero.”
But no sooner had my hands left his skin, he rolled onto the door and turned away from me, making giant directionless steps towards the bedroom door. He pushed himself against it and forced the wood open with a crack, releasing him onto the corridor where he also opened the front door.
“Hey!” I shouted, throwing a sock at his back. “Stop breaking things!”
The fabric bounced off the wall and fell to the floor sadly. I wrapped the cover around myself and got to my feet in time to run over to the bedroom window and watch him stumbling off in the direction of the scream, his bare butt cheeks winking in the moonlight.
So that’s the story. I guess once the initial shock is over, it’s just a story.
Unfortunately the story and the unnatural rash that followed, forcing me reluctantly to see a specialist, was the primary reason that I was listed in a medical journal before I turned 30.
Meanwhile, once word got out, there were countless interviews and articles being published about me. I managed to stir some kind of public intrigue and it opened up a whole new world of debate. No-one wanted to hear that it wasn’t intentional and suddenly I’ve become the poster child for living a zombie lifestyle. Dad was not best pleased.
I never saw Gary again but I heard that he was only a few days turned when I met him, which could explain how he could still pass for being alive. I flushed his penis down the toilet in terror so unfortunately he’s going to have to tackle the afterlife with no tackle to speak of.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this extract, please contact your local hospital.
Gemma is currently touring the country promoting the bestselling autobiography “EYES OPEN”. Check her website for details of presentations in your area or contact 0800-444-ZOMBIE
Gimme yo’ feedback
Let me know what you think. I promise that the next story on here will be less zombie, less sex, less weird. I’ll have some family-friendly stuff up next time.
In the meantime guys – Halloween isn’t over – give me some of your best zombie novel recommendations!