A zombie chomped on Mom, then Mom ate Dad. At that point, Louis decided it was time to leave home.

Zombies had already ate most of the kids in Key West High School, but that thought didn’t bother Louis so much, since most of them were assholes. They made fun of Louis a lot, just because Louis was different. Louis never dated or talked in class or did homework or played sports. Louis was pretty confused about who he was, and spent a lot of time thinking about it. Was he gay? He didn’t think so. Was he insane? He seemed sane enough.

Worst of all, Louis was seventeen years old, and never seemed to get a purposeful erection. Sometimes he had normal morning wood, but nothing he ever saw, in magazines, at school, around the town, ever made him feel all hot and sexy. That was just plain wrong. Every other boy in high school was a walking boner. He remembered the time he went under the bleachers and looked up under the cheerleader’s skirts, desperate to make the blood pump, but nothing happened. Louis continued to wonder what was going on in life, even after normal life ended in a worldwide chomp-fest.

It was hard out in the big wide world, without Mom and Dad. Even more so, now that everyone was a zombie. Louis learned to stay hidden most of the time, and to move quickly when he had to go out. Sometimes he had as many as thirty zombies chasing after him. Some were the reanimated corpses of old men, some of little kids, a few times the shuffling undead bodies of kids he went to high school with. Louis ran and ran and ran, and hid and hid and hid.

One day he went up into the lighthouse that all the tourists liked to come visit, before they all turned into zombies. He looked down at all of them, wandering around, grunting and growling. One zombie started cars and drove down White Street, until running over other zombies and smashing into parked cars. Then he would start another car and do it all over again. A different zombie was on the street corner trying to paint a landscape. Some zombies held hands with their former lovers. Old habits die hard.

That’s when Louis figured out zombies are not very smart. Not smart at all.

Louis went down to the bottom of the lighthouse and grabbed up a partially eaten arm, then smeared the gore all over him. He walked out into the street.

The zombies ignored him.

“A-ha!” Louis thought. He shuffled his feet and sometimes he let out an ominous undead moan, and suddenly he was an accepted member of society.

That went on for a while. But while the zombies around him hung out in the Winn Dixie parking lot, hoping to catch a starving living person making a desperate run for food, Louis snuck in, all zombie fashion, and pilfered a can of Spam or two. He was getting along pretty good.

One day he decided to live in one of the big old Key West houses that the whole world used to think was so spectacular. He found a nice one on United Street, three stories tall, with lots of living space. He zombie shuffled his way around back, and then climbed in through an open window.

“Brain the fucker!” A woman shouted, and Louis ducked just before a pickaxe smacked into the wall where his head used to be.

“Wait, wait!” Louis said, “I’m alive! I’m not a zombie!”

“Holy crap!” The man holding the pickaxe said “Are you alright kid? Do you have any food?”

“Yeah, sure. Here.” Louis held out a can of Spam, which the man and woman split in half and ate. Louis thought it was kind of rude, not offering him any. Not that he was hungry. He climbed in the window as they chewed their block of Spam.

“We were starving.” The man said. “We ran out of food a week ago. I went out once in my truck, trying to get us some food, but the zombies just kept coming. I thought they were going to turn my truck over. One of them had a gun and started shooting at me through the glass.”

“They figured out to stay near the grocery stores.” Louis said. “That’s where the people always go. They’re kind of smart about some things, but real dumb about others.”

“I’m Brian.” The guy said. “This is Rita.” They shook hands. Rita was pretty.

“How old are you?” Rita asked.

“Seventeen.” Louis said. “How about you?”

“Twenty-two.” Rita said, “And Brian is twenty-four. We came down to Key West to get married. It never happened though. Things went all to Hell and the zombies showed up. Who did this? Who made everyone turn into a zombie? Did you hear on the news how it started in Virginia? Do you think the CIA or the FBI or something was involved in this?”

She went on like this for some time, asking lots of questions and not really interested in the answers.

“Why do you have that goop all over you?” Brian asked. He was back to holding the pickaxe. Louis admitted it was probably a pretty good zombie weapon. One on one, that is.

“The zombies can’t figure out you’re alive if you look like a zombie.” Louis said.

Brian and Rita looked stunned. They obviously had never thought of that.

“We can go get some food and water!” Brian said, and started moving, probably looking for some goop.

“You still gotta be careful, you know.” Louis said. “Some of the zombies are cannibals. They are liable to take a bite out of you whether they think you are alive or not. Also, you can’t let any of them bump into you. They’re cold and we are not. You also need to watch out for…”

“Got it.” Brian said. “You two stay here, I am going out to get us some food and water. Rita, take care of this poor kid, he is probably in shock, after all that has happened.”

“I feel alright.” Louis said. “Maybe I should go. You really got to be careful about…”

“No way kid. It’s too dangerous.” Brian said. He gave Rita the pickaxe, and then gave her a dramatic kiss.

“Take care, my love. You are the most important thing in the world to me.” He said, and unbolted the back door. He ripped some meat off the side of a dead chicken and smeared it all over his arms and shirt and pants. But he didn’t put any goop on his face. Louis guessed he just didn’t have the courage to smear chicken guts on his face.

“He’s not going to make it.” Louis said.

“What?” Rita asked, and then she got stupid too. “Brian! Brian!” She started yelling out the window. “Come back! The kid says you aren’t going to make it!” Her voice was really loud. Brian made hand signs to her to be quiet, and then made an OK sign. He was so dead.

Rita’s voice must have attracted zombies from all over the island. As they started coming toward the house, some running, some shuffling, some hobbling on shattered ankles, Brian tried to act like a zombie.

It didn’t work for a second. They dove on him with mouths open. The usual sounds of screaming wound down into the usual sounds of zombies moaning and eating.

“Oh my God!” Rita screamed, hysterical. That was not smart. Three zombies broke into the house and tackled her.

“Woooaaaaaaa.” Louis said, from back in the corner. He had his head tilted way off to the right, as if the muscles in his neck had given out. His hands dangled down at his sides. As the three fed, he shuffled up the stairs, slowly, to avoid their attention. It was easy; they were busy eating.

The biggest problem with a stuffed zombie is they get lazy. The zombies stayed downstairs for three days, before finally moving on. Louis spent the whole time reading some of Rita’s magazines (he guessed they were Rita’s, they didn’t get to know each other very well). He learned all about how to apply mascara and what diets worked best to stay slim over the summer. He stared at the models in bikinis, hoping to stir some part of his sexuality to life. Nothing happened. It was even more depressing than a world full of brain eating zombies.

Eventually Louis shuffled down the stairs, after he thought he was safe. He was all out of Spam, and had only one bottle of water left, stuffed in the side pocket of his trousers. An observant zombie would have noticed he was the only zombie on the hot southern island wearing long pants and a backpack. Lots of storage space is important, when you live on the move.

Rita was still down there, only partially eaten. Most of her arms and her left leg were gone, but that was about it.

Rita stared off into dead space, unmoving, her mouth frozen in a rictus of terror. It was a pretty terrible way to die, Louis supposed. Her blouse was pulled partially off, and one breast, small and blue, pointed toward the heavens.

POW! There it was, a brickbat of a boner. After a woozy moment or two, Louis undid the few remaining buttons on her blouse and opened it up. Both breasts, small, blue and frozen in rigormortis, swam in his vision. Louis’s chest hurt. He couldn’t breath. He had a hell of a teepee going on in his underwear, and he wondered if it would explode.

Louis wasn’t sure how long he stood there, staring at those black nipples. His erection, long missing from his life, raged like a hurricane. When Rita began to twitch a bit it only made the dizziness worse, but safety was important. Louis shuffled out the door.

Outside, he saw what was left of Brian. They really worked him over. He was missing both arms and legs entirely. His guts were pulled out and his crotch chewed off. Part of his face was missing. Some zombie had cracked open the top of his head, digging out the brains. That was an old zombie trick, passed on through observation. There was almost always one zombie in the crowd who carried a tire iron or hammer to break open the skull. For being so stupid, zombies were pretty efficient when it came to eating people. It was a good thing. Those who didn’t get their brains eaten, like Rita, became zombies themselves.

Staring at Brian’s chewed up corpse, Louis’s erection went away. “At least I’m not a gay necrophiliac.” He thought.

He walked down the evening streets of old Key West in a true zombie daze. Why did he suddenly get a hard on over Rita? He had seen lots of breasts before. Heck, summertime in Key West, prior to the zombie invasion, had been like a melon parade. Was it because she was only twitching? Was it because she was blue?

Was it because she was dead? Louis stopped walking. He stared at his toes, lost in concentration.

Yes, he decided. That was it. Dead chicks rock the house.

He went to Albertson’s Grocery and picked up some beef jerky, bottled water, candy corn, and eight cans of Spam. Out in the parking lot he saw a Jeep making a break for it. The driver was trying the old battering ram method, which never worked. Zombies threw themselves into the path of the oncoming vehicle, one managed to jump through the windshield. Four people came running out of the Jeep, wearing helmets and firing shotguns and pistols. They got gang tackled. Yelling. Screaming. Chewing. Nice try. They made such a commotion that Louis didn’t have to walk slowly and moan. All the zombies were at the buffet.

When Louis got back to the big house on United Street, Rita was rolled over onto her stomach. The bones of her arms flapped against the hard wood floor. Sooner or later she would figure out a way to get up and walk around. They always did. Louis didn’t want her to go.

Now that Louis had an object of desire, he asked the world’s oldest teenage question, “How can I get some nooky?”

In a shed out back, Louis found an orange electrical cord about thirty feet long. He made a noose in it, and got it around Rita’s feet before she turned on him. She was feisty, still mostly fresh and driven by the strength of insane hunger. Up and down the stairs they went, Louis running, Rita on knees and the stubs of her elbows. Louis realized she wasn’t going to get tired. On the next lap through the upstairs bedroom, into the bathroom, and then back into the hall, he grabbed a hold of her trailing electrical cord and tied it around the banister. Not too smart about some things, she never thought of untying her feet, but Louis knew she would work her way free sooner or later. And she would never forget that Louis was alive. Once revealed as an imposter, a zombie never forgot he was alive. He considered braining her – a nail driven through a two by four always worked well – but something made him decide against it. He wanted her alive. Or undead. Whatever.

Outside he found a tarp and another electrical cord. He went back up the stairs and found Rita chewing on the electrical cord around her feet. That was pretty smart, for a zombie. He threw the tarp over her and jumped on. It was tricky. She was pretty strong, but he eventually got her rolled up in the tarp. He then rolled her over and over to wind the electrical cord tight, and tied it off at both ends with a nice square knot.

With Rita completely wrapped up in the tarp, Louis considered how stupid he was acting. He was risking his life, fighting with a zombie, and for what? But emotions defy logic, and Louis realized he had no choice in this issue.

Now he had to figure out how to secure her without all that wrapping. He wanted to see those breasts again.

It took four dangerous trips to Scotty’s hardware store to get enough lumber, rope, nails and glue. Some zombies, either mistaking Scotty’s for a grocery store, or cleverly covering another living being watering hole, were guarding the entrance. He had to climb the chain link fence at the side and gather his materials that way. Walking home, with boards over his shoulder, shuffling and moaning in the Key West summertime sun, was hard work. He passed a zombie trying to get a dial tone from a pay phone. Another zombie crashed a Porsche into a wall just twenty feet away from him. It was a dangerous world.

Louis was afraid the banging hammer would attract zombies, so he built his zombie sex machine two houses down, constantly stopping to scout for uninvited guests. Finally he got the boards nailed together, reinforced with wood glue and wraps of rope. It was in the shape of a stick figure, arms and legs spread in a Y. He even had a cushion at the top, for Rita to rest her undead, zombie head against.

Getting the zombie love machine back home was hard work. It had to be turned sideways to make it out the door, and he had to carry it, partially dragging, on his back like a cross. By the time he got home, tired and hot, he heard Rita thumping around upstairs. He went up, and saw she had chewed away most of the tarp near her head. One arm, broken off at a sharp bit of bone above the elbow, had stabbed through the tarp and waved frantically. When she saw him, her pretty zombie mouth began to gnash in hunger.

“Eat…your…brains!” She said.

“Take care, my love.” Louis said. He thought he sounded much better than Brian had, when he said it.

It was more close, dangerous work, but Louis strapped her down. First the head, with those biting teeth, was secured around the neck with three loops of rope. She almost got him with a sudden snap, but Louis was lucky. Next he bound the stub of a right arm, still sticking out of the tarp. She was wiggling like mad. He cut a slit in the other side of the tarp and helped her pull out her left arm. It was also mostly devoured, and easy to strap down. Her legs were another story. They were still strong. But Louis was determined, and finally got her spread eagle and tied down. Then he cut loose the tarp and electrical cord around her middle, and cut off her blouse and pants. She lay there in stained panties, and Louis’s erection grew to Godzilla size, becoming the center of the universe.

“Be cool.” Louis thought, “Be cool. Let’s make this a night to remember.”

Water still came from the bathtub faucet, surprisingly, so Louis took a bath and washed off the sticky dried blood and guts that he had been wearing for months. He toweled off slowly, humming to himself, and put on some cologne he found in the medicine cabinet. He combed his hair, parting it carefully down the side. “You are the most important thing in the world to me.” He said.

Downstairs, Rita was calm, cool, inviting. Her head swiveled on her bound neck, following his every move. Her breasts, perky, peppered with splinters, proudly black at the tips, poked toward the ceiling. Louis ran a hand down the smooth expanse of her stomach, cool and placid as a moonlit lake, and rested his fingers over her still growing pubic hair. Her smell was intoxicating.

“This is what I have been waiting for.” Louis said, and then he climbed on her, and became a modern day man.

It was during their third bout of lovemaking that Louis got careless. Spent and exhausted, he rested his head on her still shoulder, and she suddenly jerked and took a chunk out of him.

“This is bad.” Louis thought. “How could I have been so stupid?” He wasn’t the first teenage boy to have regrets after sex, and he wouldn’t be the last.

They never made love again.

Louis began to turn that night. He was wracked with pain. He put a dishtowel in his mouth to keep from howling and attracting other zombies. He wasn’t sure whether they would eat him at this point or not.

Two days later, the transformation was complete. He left Rita strapped to the sex machine without another thought.

Being mostly whole, and considerably fresher than the competition, Louis ruled the island for a while. He was smart too. He knew to go into quiet homes in the early morning hours to find sleeping meat. He carried a claw hammer in his right trouser pocket, perfect for getting through the hard skull. He spent the hot summer days at Winn Dixie parking lot, more for company than anything else. Whenever the meat showed up he got the best parts.

There were lots of female zombies around. One of them was a cheerleader he went to school with. She still didn’t interest him.

One early morning, hungry, Louis slipped into the back window of a dark, seemingly deserted townhouse near the ocean. The low moon was full and reflected beautifully off the water, shining in through the glass and exposing a woman sleeping on a mattress lying on the floor. Candles had burnt themselves out beside her, and an empty can of corn lay nearby. He closed in for the kill, when the covers slipped down, exposing a full, beautiful breast in the moonlight. Her heart beating beneath her breast made it jiggle slightly.

Louis felt a strange, undead emotion, and an uncomfortable pressure between his legs. He stared at her in silence for a long time. He then asked the worlds oldest teenage question, “How can I get some nooky?”

Unlucky in love, Louis made too much noise dragging a torn up tarp through the window, and the woman awoke and expertly put a shish kabob sticker through his eye and into his brain. Louis never felt a thing, and died peacefully, for a change. As the sun began to rise over the quiet island, the woman left Louis hanging in the windowsill, his romantic intentions ultimately rejected, as she walked out the door to bravely face the post-apocalyptic world.

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