I hear it rustling in the darkness. Quieter than most. Flesh-eaters are sly, but when their prey is laid out before them like a buffet? Subtle isn't usually on the menu. 

The last thing I remember is the pack descending. Protruding jaws, distended faces. Gray corpse flesh and sallow eyes. They aren't dead per se. Their hearts beat. Their lungs circulate air. They piss and shit all over the ground like wild dogs.

It's tempting to view them as soulless. Because the idea of supernatural contamination is more palatable than the truth — that in the chaos that came After, some survived by eating the flesh of their fellows, and a virus came to punish them all.

But I'm passing judgment. Looking for meaning where there is none. Holding out hope that somewhere somehow someONE is actually directing our existence according to some rational plan. If there ever was a God, he gave up. Wrote us off as a failed experiment, turned off the lights in the lab, and moved on to more promising research.

If you want to survive you have to get the fuck over it.

I pride myself on that. Being a survivor. In the old days you could be other things. Lawyer, executive, librarian, architect. Completely useless in the After. And those who give precious computing cycles to mourning what is lost … they die. Fast.  

So you're listening, right? Because This. Is. Important. All that stuff written back when zombies were the monster flavor of the month? The hottest thing since vampires? If you read all that stuff, good for you. That kind of knowledge is the only kind that’s worth a crap in the After. But none of it will save you if you can't 


But what the hell do I know? I'm nothing but a holey sack of meat. Delirious enough to chuckle over my own arrogance in fighting for three solitary, hungry, blood-splattered years against the fate that digests us all in the end.  

“What are you waiting for?” I croak through swollen lips.

The figure moves out of the shadows, erect for a flesh-eater. Another step and he’s standing over me. Uncontaminated. Dark red hair flows like fire, twisting in the wind. 

He kneels, fingers brushing matted hair from my face. “You.”

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