John’s reaction should have been to scream and kick and try to get the hand to let him go. Maybe it was instinct, maybe it was genius, maybe it was desperation but John reached down and grabbed the hand’s wrist and pulled.
He looked up and saw Mystery watching his move. The horse stay calm which to John he took as a signal for “good choice”.
The hand was moving, grabbing John, squeezng and letting go, so John knew it wasn’t his imagination playing games. He reached down with his other hand and closed his eyes and pulled with a loud grunt. It started to move!
John opened his eyes to see another hand out of the ground. Whatever was buried was now pushing itself up. John let go and took notice that all the other gravestones and hands were gone. The desert again was flat and empty. He was confused but he stayed focused on the scene in front of him. When the thing coming out of the ground got its bearings and was able to use both hands, it pressed them against the sand and pushed. In a flash, it was out of the ground.
That’s when John screamed.
He realized that he had just helped pulled an actual dead body from the ground. Well, it was now a walking dead body, a zombie. Inside he hoped it was a person buried… someone that, like he, was just living a normal life when everything changed. He hoped to pull the person out and become a hero and then have someone to talk to.
Instead, the zombie turned its head and smiled. And reached out for John.
The zombie had grains of sand in its thin, ratted hair. It also has what looked like fresh dirt on its shoulders – real dirt from the Earth maybe. It work a once-was blue suit. Now, the suit was faded, had large wet stains on it, and was mostly torn to shreds. There were cuts, gashes, and a few holes in the zombies face. When the zombie took notice that John was staring at what looked like fresh wounds, it stuck two fingers into one of the holes. It made a squishing sound and blood oozed out. The zombie smiled again and slowly pulled out a fat worm. He wiggled it in the air and then threw it at John.
John smacked the worm away and before it could reach the ground, it disappeared.
“Where am I?” John muttered to himself.
“At the end,” the zombie said in a deep, choppy voice.
John was startled.
Could zombies talk? he asked himself.
The zombie stepped towards him and John stepped back.
“Just tell me who you are,” he said. “I can help you.”
“No help, at the end,” the zombie said.
It didn’t blink ever. Its eyes were bulged, black, bloodshot with red looking spiderwebs.
“Then help me,” John said. “Tell me what’s happening. So I can save others.”
“No others, at the end,” the zombie replied. It reached out with a crusted hand and grabbed John’s arm.
John grabbed one of the guns and shot the zombie in the arm. Puffs of dust danced into the air and the arm fell to the ground. The zombie didn’t seem to care.
“I don’t want to kill you,” John said. “Just help me.”
“I’m already dead, at the end,” the zombie said.
Then it stopped walking. It turned and pointed to Mystery. John watched, as if on command by the zombie, Mystery begin to run. From standing to almost flying, the horse was nothing but a brown blur as it fled.
“NO!” John cried out. He ran towards the spot where Mystery stood. When he blinked, Mystery was back in its spot. The horse hadn’t moved an inch. It was just an illusion.
Why? John thought.
He saw as Mystery became agitated and started to bounce its head.
The zombie jumped towards John’s back. Its only hand left grabbed John by the shoulder and tried to turn him.
That’s why, John thought, it wants to kill me.
The zombie let out a horrid scream and John turned to find himself looking at the zombie prepared to bite. Its mouth had gone four times the normal size of a person. There were three rows of teeth, all pointed, all hungry.
John wasted no time. He grabbed his gun again and shot the zombie in the forehead. Its head popped into pieces and the body slid into the sand and was gone.
John turned and started to walk back towards Mystery.
“Another save for you,” he said to the horse, patting its butt. “I need to find more of those. Do you have rope?”
The horse titled its head to the left. John checked and there was rope hanging off the left side of the saddle.
“Good. Take me so I can find another one of those zombie things. I want to catch one. And question it.”
Mystery looked at John with a disagreeing look. John didn’t care – he had questions and was going to do whatever it took to get answers.