Ten-Minute Write: The Side Effect
Just about the time Larry was going to give up, put a gun to his head, and blow his own brains out, something else happened that was not zombie-related at all: Larry discovered he now had the ability to fly. Why he should suddenly develop such an ability at the age of thirty-seven, Larry could not say, but in a land that had been overrun by the living dead for the last six months, he supposed anything was possible.
He found out about his new talent one morning when he woke up with his nose pressed against the ceiling, his body floating horizontally, and a sextet of hungry fiends swaying and moaning beneath him. They’d broken through the kitchen door during the night, and by all rights he should have been well-gnawed already. When he realized the nature of his predicament, he waved his hands below him, trying to get closer to the ceiling while also expecting himself to drop at any time into the rotting appetite beneath him like Wile E. Coyote into a chasm after his moment of perplexed suspension.
But that moment didn’t come. He stayed afloat, out of reach of the groping zombies, and he noted how lucky he was to have a house with high ceilings. Something cheaper or more modern, and even the miracle of levitation would not have saved him.
He walked himself with his hands across the ceiling toward the window. Below him, the zombies shuffled along, keeping pace. It presented a problem when they crowded around the window he meant to escape through. Fortunately, zombies were dumb and slow. He slapped them in their decayed faces, swatted away their hands, until he had successfully unlocked the window. He slid the upper half down, punched out the screen, and after a few more kicks and jabs, slid smoothly through the opening into the night.
He rolled around so he was facing forward with his stomach toward the yard beneath him, where a gaggle of the undead continued to work its clumsy way into his house. A few looked up when he whistled and foolishly tried to reach him, but he was well out of range. He gave the fuckers the finger and pushed on, moving his arms less like a bird and more like a swimmer.
It turned out, he could fly incredibly fast with a few gentle strokes. He flew over the suburbs, toward the city, noticing all the bombed-out, burned-out, terrorized neighborhoods below him–neighborhoods he was now free to visit or leave at will. No more fear of gas shortages or getting trapped in an alley. He was free. Free as a bird.
When he reached the city, he dropped onto the top of the tallest building, perching like a gargoyle. He heard a noise, and for a moment he was deeply annoyed. Damn zombies, could they get everywhere?! But then he saw it was just another person who’d discovered the gift of flight. She looked about thirty, and she smiled at him with a big grin as she stumbled to a stop on the top of the roof.
Not only was she not a zombie, not only could she fly, but she was also cute!
“You, too?” he asked her.
She nodded. “It’s amazing!”
“Yeah,” he agreed, and he looked back out at the world beneath him like a person seeing paradise for the first time.
I could totally get used to this, Larry thought.
“A bird can fly, so can I”
Perfect length for a zombie story 🙂