Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: The Ballad of Nate and Carla

Here’s my entry for the Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest. I read a couple of other, really good entries for this little competition and was inspired to join in. I’m actually really, really pleased with this one although did have to go through the usual process I endure with anything that has a word length and hack it down to get it within limit. There was originally a lot more back story about where the infection had come from and it’s spread but in the words (or not) or Gertrude Stein – “a zombie apocalypse is a zombie apocalypse is a zombie apocalypse is a zombie apocalypse”.

The Ballad of Nate and Carla

To their merit the press held back using the Z word longer than had been expected but in the end there was just no other way of describing those infected with the disease – their bodies reduced to wandering, groaning apparitions. Seemingly no longer capable of intelligent thought or emotion, dark gunk spewing from every wound or orifice. And violent, inhumanely violent.

The news readers kept saying not to panic, to carry on as usual but the disease was spreading. A few websites hooked into Google Maps to highlight the infected areas but these were quickly shut down. The disease would pass, the Government said, inoculations were already taking place, a cure was only weeks away. Nate and Carla did as they were told, went to work every day as usual and watched with morbid fascination, the blurry footage rolling in daily from Europe. Β But the day Nate come home shaking and covered in blood, everything changed.

At first Carla had thought he had been infected, screaming and launching sofa cushions at the bloody intruder into her home but it had only been a close call. Once he had managed to calm her down he explained what had happened – some infected had managed to get on his bus home, three of them trying to sink their teeth into passengers. A group, including Nathan had managed to force the zombies back off, allowing the driver to speed away. Most of the blood wasn’t even his.

After a hot, thorough shower they both decided enough was enough – it was time to go. They dug out one of the holiday suitcases, hurriedly packing some clothes and essentials before leaving their little flat. Carla was hesitant to leave, looking sorrowfully at the pictures of their wedding day hanging on the cream walls they had painted the first day they’d moved in.

“Don’t worry honey” said Nate, embracing her. “We’ll build a new home. As long as we’re together, that’s all that matters.”

They had taken the Fiesta but after only a few streets the traffic became gridlocked. It seemed they weren’t the only ones to have decided to get out of town. Abandoning their old car and the chorus of blaring horns they continued on foot, suspicious of all those pushing and running around them. Figures seemed to lurch in every shadow.Β  Somewhere a gas mains exploded.

When they finally reached the main road out of the city they were met with a towering, metal wall that seemed to have been erected out of nowhere. They had been fenced in. Soldiers draped in biosuits patrolled the walls.

“Come on – we’re okay” shouted Carla, jumping and waving at the soldiers. “You’ve got to let us out!”

The only reaction she received was for one solider to raise his rifle scope to his eye, scowling as if she was talking jibberish.

“Come on we’ll find another way out” ordered Nate, dragging her away by the hand.

But they didn’t. How such an enormous, sturdy wall had been erected so rapidly was inconceivable but already most of the city had been enclosed, fencing in the ransacked shops and homes, the streets littered with half-devoured bodies. Β The Government must have been planning for this for years. There were no gaps. No checkpoints. No way in. Or out.

They spent the night shuddering under a bridge by the canal, eating the chocolate bars they’d brought with them. Then in a multi-storey car park the next night. The streets were quieter now, most of the fires had burned out and the last of the car alarms had fallen silent. They occasionally passed some other small groups of survivors but both sides kept their distance. And there were zombies now. Quietly staggering the deserted streets or squatting on pavements. Some snarled as they smelled the young couple near but most seemed uninterested in them.

Eventually Carla ran out of tears to cry and Nate accepted they were never going to get out, that he would never get to say goodbye to his mother or get that tenner back from Rob. They managed to sneak their way into a locked up department store and made themselves comfortable there. Sleeping on a different display bed every night, sitting at a dining room table and pretending to watch the dummy TV. They could just be ordinary folks living contently in their own home.

In the food hall there was plenty to sustain them – water, juice and wine. There was an abundance of tinned food but Nate would usually allow a large hunk of frozen meat to defrost, a turkey or bit of silverside, and they would feast on that, tearing and chewing at it with their bare hands. When Carla asked him why he never brought them fruit or something sweet he would shrug and say that that was all there was, knowing that it was meat she needed and craved now. He couldn’t bring himself to tell her but, his sweet, lovely wife had been infected for some time, she just didn’t know it. He looked at her pale, pink eyes and the steady flow of ooze trickling from the sore in the side of her head and he didn’t love her any less. No, he would stay with her till the very end, for better or for worse.

In the pale half-light Carla would just sit and gaze lovingly at her husband as he fiddled with some toy or other from the kids’ department. He was so good to her, had protected and cared for her through these darkest of days, just as he always had. The boy she had loved since school. As he gnawed a little more of the flesh away from one of his knuckles she decided she would not tell him he had become a zombie. Just let him live happily in ignorance she thought to herself, leaning over to peck him on the cheek.

  • Word count: maximum 1.000
  • The story must be a romance between two zombies. Make it as horrific as you like. πŸ˜‰
  • Stories containing animal cruelty, torture, graphic sex or violence, any form of exaltation of violence, racism or other forms of prejudice will be immediately disqualified.
  • Post your entry on your own blog, with a title resembling this:
Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Story Title
  • Copy and paste the contest logo and the guidelines at the end of your entry post.

Title image courtesy scragz

Published in: on July 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You’re on! πŸ˜€

  2. That story made me kind of tear up actually (probably not what you were going for) to see what love and consideration Carla and Nate have for each other despite the infection – that they still try to keep each other happy.

    • No Tessa you totally got what I was going for – I thought I’d try using the zombie medium to write something really tragic and bitter-sweet. I still can’t tell whether their ending is a happy one or not but at least they’re together.

  3. Aw, this really is sweet. Well done.

    Good luck in the contest! πŸ™‚

  4. Nice one! I really like your bittersweet take on the zombie myth. Good luck in the competition. πŸ™‚

  5. What a cool twist. Very well done!

  6. Cheers for the comments guys, glad the ending is going down well.

  7. What a nice, delusional couple. Cool story. Thanks.

  8. Awwww…so sweet! Well done.

  9. πŸ˜‰

  10. I’ve only read a handful of these “Zombie Luv” stories, but this is definitely one of the better offerings so far.

    Nice work.

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