Before you go any further I have to warn you that this isn’t a love story. Okay, that’s a lie, it’s a deeply depressing love story. It doesn’t have a happy ending but then I don’t think every love story should have one.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time, not that long ago, when we could have walked hand in hand down the street. There had been a time that we could have kissed without him trying to eat my face.
A national wide message had gone out. The army wanted to kill off all the remaining zombies. They knew that some people had kept their relatives who’d been turned. We’d been holding on to what we’d lost. We all knew that it was dangerous, stupid even but we couldn’t let go.
I kept him on a chain, tied to a loop in the ground, the metal of the chain melted to the loop. The loop had been buried deep into the ground and concrete poured around it so he couldn’t get free. I threw him bloody chucks of meat. I did it in the hope that the raw meat would stop him wanting to get his teeth into me. Every time I watched him chomping on picked clean bone it broke my heart. I’d thought that maybe, just maybe, somebody would find a cure and even though I knew it would be safer to just let him go, I wanted him close just in case.
Then we all got the message, any untainted human caught harbouring a zombie would be killed. The time had finally come to say goodbye. The night before I sat in the garden, right at the edge, I knew that I would be far enough away that I wouldn’t be within arms reach. He’d been sleeping on the ground, but I think a part of him could sense me. As soon as I sit down he opened his eyes. He used to have beautiful brown eyes, now they were blood red. Some part of him must have recognised me, he didn’t sit down but he crouched, and he watched me.
I brought out the pictures, the little odds and ends I collected over the time we’d been together. Then I told him everything. I wanted to give him those precious memories. Most of all I wanted him to remember. I told him about the first day we meet. I’d worn a yellow dress, him a suit. I mentioned how we ended up sharing an umbrella, a bright shade of yellow with white dots.
As I sit there he started to move. I threw another piece of raw streak and as he scoots over, and shoves it into his mouth, blood dripped down and over his chin. I looked away and continued our story.
We talked about children, of getting married. The day the virus took hold I found a ring box in his trouser pocket. I never wanted to get married before; it had never felt right with anyone until I met him. I wear the ring now, it glitters on my finger and reminds me of happier times.
I tell him that in the morning the army would be sending someone to collect him, and then that would be it. I tell him that I’ll miss him, but in truth, I lost him a long time ago.
* * *
A knock on the door and I suddenly wish I could change my mind. I hear the snarling coming from the garden as I opened the door. The man standing in the doorway wears a uniform and held a very large gun. He must have seen my eyes widen because he tells me that what was in the gun wouldn’t kill him. They’ll be doing that somewhere else. The bullet would only make him sleep, he asks me to wait in the house but I say no, I don’t want him to go through it alone.
My boyfriend looks at me with dead eyes, but he stands still. I wonder if a part of him knows that this is it. It all happens in an instance. The bullets hit him in the stomach, shoulder and leg. He falls to the ground and I have to fight the urge to run to him but I can’t stop the tears that start to fall.
The drugs take hold, the soldier calls it in and a few others arrive with a stretcher and load him up. Before they take him out I pull my ring out, attaching it to a piece of chain and then slipping it over his head.
I curse the world for taking him away from me, and as the army take him away I fall to the ground and cry.