Zombies love the smell of booze. You can see them sniffing, like dogs scenting dropped food, and they're drawn to a boozehound over anybody else.

Cheap rum is the best. It oozes out of the pores instantly. Which is why I'm sitting here, pumping rum into this kid. Student. He's over the legal drinking limit, I always make sure of that.

The smell makes me gag so I drink more lemon juice. I recon it covers the scent of a person. Gives you a few seconds where the zombies can't sniff you out. Seconds is all you need, sometimes.

“Come on, mate,” I say, when his head slips off its resting post on his hand. “Lets get you home.”

“It's not safe out,” he says. I heft my chainsaw (and that is not a sentence I thought I would ever say out loud), saying. “Full power. Full strength. And I know how to use it. I couldn't fit the dead zombie notches on the handle I've had so many kills.” I set it to a low buzz so he'd know I'm not kidding. He skulls a couple more quick rums and we leave. He forgets his backpack, which is good. I won't have to worry about disposing of it later.

No trouble leading to where I want him to be. We reach the dead end and it takes him fully a minute to realise we have nowhere to go. I use the time to shore up the boxes I'd stacked earlier in the day in the corner and hide behind them. It isn't long term protection but it's all I'll need.

“Mate?” he calls, not remembering the name I'd given him.

I don't answer. I can hear the slow shuffle and snort of zombies on the approach and don't want to waste energy with words.

Timing is everything. When they fall on him, I wait two, three bites. I don't want them at his brain; I want him alive.

Then, just as they are starting to sniff for me, I jump out, run my chainsaw and cut my way through them all. There is a certain pleasure in slicing the heads off, severing the arms, cutting through the guts. Not a perfect experience though. That will come later.

The drunk student lies face down. I flip him over, squeezing him to see if there is still warmth. His eyes open. He is still human; it might take minutes or hours until he turns. It wouldn't take days.

I'll keep watch for the instant, the very instant, he turns. When there is still a vague memory of human, but he is a legal zombie kill.

Best of both worlds, I say.

“Death by Zombie” copyright © 2014 by Kaaron Warren.

by Kaaron Warren

Death by Zombie