The Winter Chill – Part 1

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“You don’t like zombie movies?  Sheeittt!  I love zombie movies!”  His eyes widened as he spoke. “I’m not one of these bandwagon zombie lovers either.  Been watching these shits ever since Romero dropped ‘Dawn of the Dead.’  And I even went back to watch the original ‘Night of the Living Dead’ that kicked this whole shit off.”  He said, shaking his head matter-of-factly.  “I’m like a mutha fuckin’ zombie-ologist when it comes to this shit!  Now, nothing against the zombie survivalists, but I’m not all into the zombie apocalypse or anything like that.  The shit’ll never happen.  It just will never happen.”

His head bobbed with conviction while raising his eyebrow to confirm.  “I mean, most of these guys who are praying for a zombie apocalypse, simply wanna have a reason to stop going to work in the morning…Fuck the dumb shit, just don’t go.  It’s cool and all to talk about a zombie apocalypse really happening for shits and giggles, …but when you get down to it, the zombie genre itself is about social decay and lawlessness, not hitting the snooze button or playing video games all day in your underwear, eatin’ soggy ass cereal.”  He paused while shifting his weight before continuing.  “It’s about what do people do…. when they aren’t being threatened by laws on decorum –  ”

Socrates interrupted.  “I just don’t like watching them – Too unrealistic.”

“You mean to tell me you watch movies to escape from reality – by watching more depressing reality?  Now how’s that sound?”

Socrates shrugged his shoulders in reply.

“I just appreciate the social commentary that zombie movies center on.  I mean it’s the common component regardless of how people choose to describe how their zombies operate.  Fast, slow, infected, resurrected.  Whatever it’s -”

Socrates interrupted again.  “Okay, I’ll engage you on this topic.  What if you came across a zombie chick?”  He paused.   “…And she was fine as hell!  Apple bottom and everything.” Socrates  gestured with his hands.  “Do you step to her?”

He sat in silence.  “Socrates, you seem like a pretty smart dude…You know.”  He cocked his head. “But if an idea strikes you as sounding dumb as hell, it probably is dumb as hell.  But I guess you didn’t get hit with that thought, which explains the question.”  He looked at Socrates with an expression of extreme disapproval.  “Think about it.  Civilization has collapsed and you are trying to stay alive – dodging zombies and other nutty ass people who’ve gone bonkers…just bat shit, crazy!  Forming a loving relationship or getting some ass is not a high priority. C’mon bruh-”

* * *

The branches of a nearby tree beat against the outside wall.  The wind blew the snow and raced around the edges of the house, stressing it’s structure.  Floorboards and beams creaked and bent producing the sounds of ghostly footfalls.

“Upstairs is all clear.  I found some blankets and a few other items that oughta be useful, like this camper’s utility knife…But check this out!  A printed copy of the government’s zombie apocalypse plan…Useful.”   Jayzon snarked.  His hand glided over the wood banister before he jumped down the last steps.  The brown lines of the wall paper, striped the walls from floor to ceiling behind him.  “If anyone’s been squatting here, they bounced a while ago.”

“What’s that in your pocket?”  Sanaa asked.

“Oh, a necklace charm…a cross.  I found it while I was looking around upstairs.”  He looked over at Socrates rocking himself on a crate.  “How’s he doing?”

“Not better.  You know…He’s been like this the last couple of days.  Just continuously talking and carrying on conversations with himself about zombie apocalypses and movie meanings and shit.”  Sanaa replied.  “Here.  Lemme get those blankets.”

“Sox!” Sanaa looked into Socrates’ eyes as she shook him.  “Sox!”

Jayzon shook his head in disbelief.  “What are we gonna do with him?  Well, do we leave him behind?”

She dropped her face into the palm of her hand, slowly massaging away the worry lines on her forehead, rubbing at the pressure behind her eyes.  “No one gets left behind!” She raised her brow as her eyes made contact with Jayzon’s eyes.  “If we leave him behind, he’s dead for sure.  Might as well shoot him ourselves, rather than get surprised one day when he shuffles into view.”

Jayzon darted across the floor.  “If we take him, he’ll slow us down and get us killed.”

The stress and fatigue of the decision settled into her body and pulled on her shoulders.  She watched Socrates rock while he mumbled to himself.  And laughed.  “…Zombies still going to the mall out of habit…”

“Well then what should we do?  Huh?  Would you want us to leave you behind?” Sanaa asked as she stared at Jayzon.  “He’s like a brother to me…like fam, hell he is fam… for as long as I’ve been knowing him.  Shit, longer than I’ve been knowing you.”

Jayzon shook his head. “I dunno.  I dunno.”

“We have no choice.  We have to take him.” Sanaa said as she wrapped the blankets around Socrates, tucking them in at the lip.  This should keep him warm.”  She stood up and turned to look at Jayzon .  “We are gonna have to make a move pretty soon and bounce.  Can’t stay here any longer.  And we only have a few more hours before dark.  We’ll need to shelter in a place that’s further into the woods.”  She said while stuffing a hunting knife into her pack.  “One of those crazy ass patrols is bound to come by here, this close to the road, and we don’t wanna get caught anywhere near here, with our tracks visible in the snow.”

“Yeah, tonight’s the first full wolf moon.” Jayzon said as he stood Socrates on his feet and walked him past photos of a family that once called the house home.  “People will get even crazier.”  Three frames were lined up side by side.  Each one a scene of some significant moment in the lives of the people who used to call the place home.

As they walked into the kitchen, they could see it was frozen in time.  Plates were placed on the table, at some point with care and love, but now sat stained with rotted and hardened food, and a crust of bread.  Glasses stood lined with the graped residue of laughter and conversation, symbolically still carrying on.

Socrates inadvertently bumped the table.  A glass tumbled and shattered on the floor.  “Wait!  Do you hear that?  The winds?  Mmmmm…”  Socrates looked at Sanaa, looked through her.  “We should make some tea before bed tonight.  We are going to sleep well.”  Sanaa could only muster a partial smile in return, partially filled with heartbreak.  Her response didn’t really matter.   The vacancy in Socrates’ eyes provided the only explanation needed.

Reacting to the biting cold while the wind blew the snow in a slanted direction, Socrates tugged at his hood.   Pulling it over his head, he sank ever deeper into the layers of the solace his mind could provide.

All three of them walked into the woods in silence.  Their passing marked solely by the sound of snow crunching under foot.  The dark branches of the naked trees stretched their roots into the grey cotton of the overcast sky.  Swaying back and forth on the wind, their frayed edges swept at the veil of grey shrouding the group.  Swallowed up by the world, they faded into the distance.

Click here to read part 2

Click here to read part 3

by malakhai jonezs
© Copyright 2016



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