A sad sun rises on a grey morning, hidden behind a canopy of worn-out clouds and ashy haze.  In front of it is a dismal city, soulless and washed out of any color long before the grey sky sucked it away, and its inhabitants are equally as soulless as they trudge the same path every day without fail, simply maintaining their existence, maintaining the status quo of society.  The streets are full of emptiness:  people who look at each other without making eye contact, people who shove against each other without comment or apology, people who act like only they are real and everyone else is fake.  Alone, by themselves, perhaps they are somebody.  But in the midst of the sea, they are the herd, the swarm, the horde, the mass, and nothing more.

A figure on the twentieth floor of a dilapidated apartment building is silhouetted as it steps in front of a cracked window, looking down on the world below, at the sea of people going about their day.  The figure places a gloved hand against the glass, the fingers spreading out and up as if reaching for heaven in futility, reaching for a future and a hope that the glass restricts.  Sighing, it turns away from the window and unloads its weight onto a dusty swivel chair in front of a desk, a composition book and pen sitting there from a few minutes ago when it first attempted to write before becoming distracted.  It is so easy to become distracted these days… so dangerous to become distracted.  To lose sight of the things that matter would be to make it no different that the people it sees on the streets below.  Up here, two hundred feet in the sky, it’s easy to tell one from the other.  But down there, in the midst of them all, they all look the same, walk the same, talk the same, feel the same.

It picks up the pen, and the point hovers below the words “Day 169”.  It tries to remember what it wanted to write there.  There was something, something profound it had thought of in the night.  If it could only remember…  It curses at its own incompetence; the thought is gone.  Lost, never to be found until it stops looking for it, like so many other things in life.  Resigning itself to the loss, it draws the ballpoint across the paper and starts with the obvious.

Day 169

Still dead.

Lost my left pinkie finger nail in the night.  Forgot to put my gloves on again.  It didn’t hurt when I woke up.  Must have happened early.  Might rain again today.  Will see if there’s any basins in safer parts of this city to collect the water.  Probably lost cause; too high a population.  Not a good place for a rest stop.  Will continue to check for survivors anyways.

Had a thought when I woke up; might have been in a dream.  Forgot what it was.  It was important, but I forgot it.  Got distracted.  Always so distracted.  I don’t think I’m regressing.  It’s just hard.  I think it’s just how it is now.

The figure pushes itself away from the desk, spinning idly in its chair.  The figure used to have a name: it used to be called Mellissa.  It used to be a girl.  The girl called Mellissa used to be a senior at a community college; she was studying American History.  She used to be a little chubby and a little short, with long light brown hair dyed darker, and a retainer she wore years after her braces were removed to keep her teeth straight, just in case.  She used to say that she was just waiting for all this school stuff to be done, so her life could finally begin.

And then the girl called Mellissa died.

The figured who used to be Mellissa is still most of the things it used to be.  But day by day, time takes its toll.  She loses things instead of finding them:  a cut piece of skin that will never heal, a patch of hair that will never grow back, an eyeball carelessly pierced by a tree branch, the memory of ice cream in the park, the knowledge of how to ride a bike, the ability to feel the serenity of an open field.  Each small thing, each inconsequential pointless anecdote, is a precious jewel she fights every day to keep; a piece of her old life that keeps her from giving in to the emptiness of death, like so many around her have.  Some might say it’s difficult to find something worth living for when you’re already dead.  The figure called Mellissa prefers to say that it’s important to find something worth living for after you die and come back to life.

{The zombie story that I want to see is the zombie story where the zombie is still in control of its own mind and struggles to remain so despite the trepidations around it, like a cancer patient willing himself to survive past his life expectancy.}


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