Goodbye

“Hey Honey, I’m told this is my last chance to say goodbye. You…you died yesterday.” I spoke the sentence with a deliberate and even pacing, trying not to startle my husband. They told me not to use the Zee word. Apparently the newly reanimated don’t like it when they hear the Zee word. Colonel Macki said that it freaks them out. Makes it harder to get them on the truck.

I can see a dull gleam of recognition in his eyes. A part of me wants to rush up and hug him, this man that used to be my husband. The military scientists already warned me about this. Warned against it. Jake has already been dead for twenty-four hours. He’s got some of his brain function still, but its rapidly deteriorating. They say that the parasite could take complete control at any minute, and then, well, then Jake will do what zombies do.

I feel the tears building up against my eyes. I’m thankful that I get a chance to say goodbye to him, but I’m having problems finding the words. I take a deep breath in order to steady myself. I hope it will help me gather my thoughts. That’s when I notice his eyes scanning the soldiers behind me. The confusion is obvious. Jake doesn’t understand. I hear one of the soldiers shift his rifle, but I keep my eyes on my husband. I’m not supposed to acknowledge the soldiers.

“Jake, sweetheart. We’re not going to see each other for a while.” I inhale with a staccato pattern, my breath catching in my throat. The tears fighting my willpower with every ounce of force they can muster. Jake was always the strong one. “You’re going to have to go on a trip.” He looks down at the ground in confusion and then back up at me, shaking his head. A little half-frown flashes on his face. He lets out an unintelligible grunt. I guess the language center of his brain is mostly shut down now. I don’t even know if he’s understanding me now.

He starts shuffling back and forth now. Jake always paced when he was upset. “Jake, I love you. And we’re going to see each other again. I promise.” I hear some of the soldiers move forward a bit. It’s a little signal that I need to wrap things up. “Jake, you be safe on your trip. Behave yourself. I love you and I can’t wait to see you again.” I can feel the tears rolling down my cheeks now.

Jake looks confused. He can’t understand why I’m crying. Then his expression melts completely. I step back. The rest happens so fast. Jake rushes towards me. I hear explosions all around me. Jake staggers but keeps coming toward me. I slip as I backpedal away from him. I feel a sharp pain on my leg. It’s warm and then wet. I realize the explosions are gunshots. Someone is dragging me away from Jake’s corpse. He’s lying on the floor. Motionless. I can see the wound on my leg. Jake said goodbye to me too, I guess.


Apropos of: This Prompt

Sorry for the delay in getting a new piece of fiction up. A sewer main burst beneath my apartment this weekend and I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of that the last few days. Hope everyone who’s reading this enjoyed my triumphant return to fiction.

-Crouse

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