So here it is. The day before Halloween. All Hallow's Eve...Eve? And with it comes the final installment of my contribution to the zombie craze. I hope you have enjoyed this little month long departure from the everyday life on the Coast of Illinois. Watch out for those little ghouls and goblins tomorrow night and come back on Friday November 1 when the Coast returns to normal...
The infant took a tiny breath, coughed and began to cry. Mary and Debra joined in. Downstairs, Jake heard the crying and gave one last look outdoors. The female zombies jumped up and down excitedly with each cry.
In the bedroom, Deb hurriedly rubbed the crying baby dry. Ordinarily a newborn’s skin begins to pink as it is rubbed dry. This baby seemed to turn grey. Debra leaned in closer. Its breathing was deep and even with no sounds of obstruction. Its cry was healthy. She felt certain the color was not due to lack of oxygen. As she handed the baby to Mary it opened its eyes. They were flat and lifeless yet seemed to look directly at her. Debra shuddered. The baby was so cold.
Mary took her baby and held it close. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she moved the blanket. Its tiny grey body shivered. “It’s a boy! Oh Jake, come quick. Our son is here!” Mary called out as she placed the infant to her breast. In a whisper she said, "It's just as Jenna said." She looked to Debra and nodded.
With a deep breath, Deb returned the nod. A wave of nausea hit her and she stepped back. It was too much to take in. Mary sat curled on the bed, the tiny grey infant with blank eyes open and staring around the room gave a final cry and began to suckle gently its grey flesh dry and peeling like the paper of an old letter. He closed his eyes and in the dim light of the bedroom Debra could see how much Mary loved her son.
Crashing outside the bedroom window brought her back to reality. Jake raced into the room as Debra moved the curtain. The two females from downstairs were peering into the bedroom window. They had climbed up the downspout. Neither touched the wired window nor did they make any attempt to push closer than necessary to see inside. Their heads dipped back and forth as Mary swayed with her nursing infant.
“They want to see him. Mary, hold the baby up. Let them see him,” Deb spoke quietly. Births had a way of changing people. The females looked concerned almost hopeful. Debra had seen that look many times …on the faces of worried grandmothers standing outside the nursery windows.
“God, no! Mary…” Jake stopped at the bedside as he saw the baby for the first time. His face went pale as horror washed over him. The baby fixed its lifeless eyes on Jake and began to scream.
Debra stepped back, away from the window. The zombies stopped swaying as Mary held the baby up for them to see. She pushed the bedroom door shut as Mary announced to the room and those beyond it, “His name is Adam.”
“Deb, help us.” Tears welled in Jake’s eyes as he reached out to stroke the crying infant’s head. It lunged towards him; tiny white teeth glimmered in the darkened room.
Debra nodded her head as she slipped her hand into her sweater pocket, her fingers closed around the handle of the small gun she carried with her ever since the sickness began. These people had been her friends for so long. They had waited for this baby for so long. Her eyes began to tear as she moved towards the terrifying family but the infants screams brought her into focus. She had to do this.
“Give me the baby Mary,” Jake said as he held out his hands. Mary looked up, smiling.
“No Jake.” Debra answered as she raised the pistol to the base of Jake’s neck and squeezed the trigger.
Jake fell to the floor. His eyes rolled up in his skull, a mass of bone, blood and brains spattered the wall and his body collapsed. The baby fell silent for a few seconds before returning to its hungry cry. Mary slid off the bed, baby held tight in her arms. She propped herself on the floor, leaning back against the bed next to her husband.
“Oh Jake. I knew you would always take care of us,” she cooed as she scooped a tiny bit of grey matter from the side of his skull and placed her fingers with the bits of brain into Adam’s mouth. The baby gurgled contentedly as he began to feed.
Outside, the females hummed and slowly slid back down the drainpipe to the ground below. Debra watched from the bedroom window as they joined the group. The witnesses gestured wildly towards the upstairs window and the group pulsated excitedly. As they moved away from the house, Deb pulled the curtains.
From downstairs Dave called out, “Deb? Deb, are you okay?”
Mary looked up at her friend as the baby began to doze. “Go on, we will be fine,” she said. She looked at her husband's body. “We can freeze him later.”
On shaking legs, Debra went downstairs to her husband. Dave remained on the couch, head propped up on his right arm. “Man, my head is killing me. Did I hear crying? And a gunshot?”
Deb smiled as she told Dave that mother and baby were doing fine. “His name is Adam.”
“That’s perfect,” Dave smiled and patted Debra’s rounded belly. “Maybe in another month we can introduce him to Eve. Do you think you're ready?
“Yes,” Debra answered. "Of course. A new mom knows exactly what to do the minute her child is born." She leaned forward and kissed Dave on his left temple and pressing her hand deep into her sweater pocket never releasing its grasp on the handle of the pistol hidden within.