Chapter 1.1

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Chapter 1

Munch, munch, munch.

What am I eating?

The sound filled my world, reverberating through my fogged up skull, the creak of my jaw beating a staccato rhythm. Throat muscles worked, swallowing a chunk of whatever I was so diligently masticating. The muscles of my esophagus pushed it down, down, until I felt it hit my stomach.

            Thoughts filtered through the murky slush of my brain. One by one, my senses came online, the process long, filled with static, like a dial up modem. With a moist pop my hearing kicked on. The first sound, the only sound, I could hear was chewing.

            My sight clicked on next. Plunging through a dark tunnel, emerging into light, bright, too bright, everything fuzzy, slowly coming into focus. Oh, oh, this, this was not cool.

            My eyes adjusted, blurring in and out of focus. I took in the tall weeds and cracked pavement beneath my feet. Twenty feet from me was a Denny's, its windows smashed in, the interior trashed, the building covered in ivy. I eyeballed the rest of the street, seeing the same degree of decay, plants encroaching on every building, swallowing them up.

            Oh, and there was a dead guy at my feet.

            "Guy" was a generous term. I stared at him, trying to process what I was seeing. The charcoal gray skin was a big tip off something was amiss. My gaze wandered to the long, multi jointed arms sprawled at his sides. Did he have two sets of elbows? Then there were the legs, nothing real special about them, maybe a little thinner than normal except, well, there were three of them, stuck out at awkward angles. Dead guy was probably not human.

            My gaze focused on his head. Definitely not human. His features were covered by a mask, the eye sockets bulbous, tennis ball size, the lower half of the mask a grid of layered slats. The rest of the head was exposed, far larger than a human skull, its gray skin a thin membrane with thick dark veins. A hole revealed a mass of glistening brain matter, colored neon grape kool-aid, spilling out at my feet.

            My feet...

            Uh...

            I wasn't wearing shoes, which was why I could see most of my toes were missing skin. Strips of shredded denim hung from my waist, not sufficient to cover the bone and rotted skin of my legs. The remains of a shirt clung to my torso. I could see veins, pieces of viscera jutting from gaps in my lower abdomen, festering holes in my rib cage. My arms were in the same rotting condition, and my hands were coated with purple slime.

            Dismay bubbled up my throat. "Bleeeeegh!" I couldn't talk. Feeling the muscles of my mouth, I only had half a tongue. What the hell! My eyes swept over my body again.

            Holy shit, I'm a corpse!

            When did that happen? How did that happen? Who was I? Between the purple slime dripping from my bony fingertips and the gaping hole in the dead guy's skull, I came to a singularly unpleasant conclusion. A tingle rose from my belly, a belly full of brains, I ate the dead guy's brains, I was a brain eating corpse.

            Just say it. Zombie.

            The tingling spread into my guts, quickly escalating to a burning sensation that swept down my legs and up to my scalp. Wrapping my bony arms around my waist, I moaned. The fire flooded my mouth, wrapping around the remains of my tongue. I couldn't scream, couldn't move. I stood there, hugging myself as the wave of pain tapered off to a feeling of ants crawling across my flesh. I chanced a glance down.

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