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WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

ZOMBIE TEARS by Ty Johnston
April 11, 2008  Short stories   Tags:   

Trevor pushes a button on the cassette recorder. The tape begins turning. Grunts and growls, like some wild beast rooting in the forest, crawl out of the tiny speaker. What follows is a meaty tearing noise, with chewing and slurping. Then a voice comes from the past.

“Dis guy in a yellow hoody, he da one that tore out my liver with his bare hands. It took me almost an hour to die, scweaming and spitting and sprayin’ blood all over the place. He just stood there watchin’ me, chewing on my liver like it was the Colonel. Musta been finger-lickin’ good. Man, I know it was. I know, Trevor.

“It ain’t all like they says it is, like they shows on the CNN and Fox. The dead gots feelings. We knows what is going on. We just ..”

There are more slurping noises, as if someone were sucking thick ice cream through a straw.

“Uh, yeah. It is a miscon- … miscon-… misconception that the dead don’t know no fear. We know lots of fear. We jus’ can’t do nothing about it.

“But eat. That’s all that drives away the fear, and that only for a little while.

“I guess you wonderin’ why I left you this tape, and how, cause you know I wasn’t home when the shit went down and the world ended and all.

“After the yellow hoody guy, I went dark, don’t remember a thing until comin’ too sometimes later. I was still at the laundromat, spread out on the floor next to clothes and rags splattered red. My side was torn open, and the red stuff had stopped leakin’ out and had turned black.

“When I pushed myself up off the floor, I found I could not move real well, but bad, like drunk or high on crank. My eyes still work, though, but a little blurry.

“I look ’round for yellow hoody man so I can kick his ass, but he gone.

“Then I look outside. I see the new world for the first time.

“There is dead peoples all over the place. Some of them are actin’ dead, like they supposed to, layin’ still and all in pools of blood. Most of them look like they been attacked by wild dogs. Big chunks of them are missing, ripped away.

“And then there’s the other kind of dead folk. They up walkin’ around. And I see real quick they is the ones doing the chomping. Most times they only stopped if one of the layin’-down dead peoples is still twitchin’. Then the walkin’ dead grabs the twitchin’ dead and puts bite on them real hard.”

There are grumbling noises.

“I think the whole world gone crazy. Then I ‘member the TV news shows, talkin’ about the dead coming back to life and how they’s pissed off. You and me, we laughed at it. Said it was just a bunch of folks stoned off their noggins.

“But now I know it true.

“There weren’t nothing left for me to do but go out in the streets. I wasn’t feared of the walking dead people ’cause they didn’t seem to pay me no mind. So I walked out with dem.

“We walked and walked, shufflin’ around, me seeing store windows busted all over the place. There were wrecked cars too, and more bodies (the unmovin’ ones) than I thought was people in the world. Fires and smoke there was too, and for a while there were alarms from I guess cars and banks and places.

“Then after a long walk, the sun went down and I rested on a bench in the park. I would not say I was sleepin’, but more like relaxin’ with my eyes open.

“After it had been dark for a long time, other people came walkin’ along.

“These was live folks. I could tell right away. I could smell them. They smelt like bacon, and my stomach felt like it had not eaten in ten thousand years.

“I jumped up off my bench and started after these folks, and one of them had a gun and shot at me.

“The bullets just hit my chest like they was slammin’ into raw meat, which lookin’ back I guess is what I was by then. I didn’t feel no pain. I didn’t feel nothin’ but hungry, hungry, hunger.

“The man with the gun kept shooting until his gun went click, click, click, then I grabbed him and ripped out his throat with my teeth.

“It was like nothin’ you have ever experienced before, Trevor. It is like better than sex. Better than H. It was raw meat goin’ down my throat and it tasted like I seen Jesus.

“After that, the rest of the living people all ranned away.”

Coughing fills the recorder’s speaker.

“I apologize. You knows I can talks better than this. It is just that my voice don’t work too good.”

More coughing. Spitting.

“My mind don’t work too good too.”

Another cough, followed by more growling and tearing noises.

“The sun comes up pretty soon after that, and I see the deads man I been eatin’ on all night is a cop. Which suit me fine ’cause I never like the boys in blue. But it dawn on me I have killt someone and I have eaten parts of the body, and it does not bother me. I would do it again to get that Jesus feeling.

“Then I start thinkin’ about the Jesus feeling, and I start think about Janine.

“So I decide I have to go find Janine. I had not seen her since the world gone crazy. I loves her so much…”


“I loves her, Trevor. I still loves her. I will always loves her.”

The crying grows louder, harsher, and becomes full sobs. The noise ends abruptly with a shout.

“I walk all the ways home, and I think it take me most of the day since I had been on other end of town when doing the laundromat and the yellow hoody kill me, and I no walk real good no more.

“When I get to apartment, I find the door is open and there is dead folk (layin’ down dead folk) piled up in the doorway. I climb over the dead folk and find more of dem in the livin’ room.

“I get kind of nervous and yell out, ‘Janine! Janine! It your hubby come home!’

“At first there is nothin’, then I hear cryin’ in the back of the house. I make my way there and I yell for her some more.

“Then I hear her yell back, ‘Lonnie, is that you?’

“I yell back that yes it is, and she comes runnin’ out of the back bedroom.

“She is a shock to see, my pretty Janine girl. Her face covered in blood, red and black and bad colors, and bruises. She carryin’ a pistol in one hand and over her shoulder I see more dead peoples in the bedroom.

“Before I can ask where she got gun she cries out and rushes to me, droppin’ her gun and yellin’ my name and telling me how glad she is to see me.

“Then she is on me, putting her arms aroun’ me and squeezing and all I can think of is she smells like Big Mac and my stomach is churning and by God I’m hungry and I don’t want to do this but oh sweet Lord please don’t let me do this I have to do this I have to I have to I have to …”

Silence. Crying. When the voice returns, it is barely above a whisper.

“I eats her, Trevor. I starts with her face, my sweet little angel girl Janine. She the only one who made me feel like I was in heaven and I eats her. I bites into her cheek and blood comes out all over us and she screams and shoves me, but I hold on to her real good and she tried to grab up the gun she just dropped but I bite into her neck and more blood sprays my face.

“I keep goin’ on and on, biting and biting, and each little bite makes me feel like I’m with Jesus on the Mount or someplace.

“She put up a fight, but it weren’t nothin’. Soon she one of the not moving dead people and my stomach not hungry no more so I drop her.

“I cry. I cry like I never cry before. It worse even than when pops die, Trevor, because I know I done a bad thing here eating Janine.

“She was love of my life. The only one. The only one. And I eat her up like she was pork and beans at county fair.”


“So I know what I have to do. I has to warn any one else I love, and Trevor you are my brother and my last family.

“I takes the gun Janine dropped and I march out of the house. I remember you live on east side next to new baseball stadum, so I walk over there.

“It take me ‘nother day or more, and when I get to yer house I glad you and Katie and kids are gone because I don’t want you to smell like bacon and fill my stomach.

“I want to end this and warn you because I love you like I used to love Jesus before I became one of the bad ones like yellow hoody.

“So I break into your house and find this old Sears tape player we had when we was kids at Christmas, and I find old tape and batteries and I leave you message.

“This is message.”

An explosion booms, jarring the recorder. Then the hiss of empty, white noise.

A gurgle.

“Aim for head, little brother. Aim for head.”

A second explosion reverberates from the speaker.


  1. Not bad. I know everyone has their favorite type of zombie (mine being the ones from 28 series), but I’ve never really heard of zombies that spoke. Still, it’s interesting nonetheless.

    Comment by Mark Hatchett on April 11, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  2. Thanks, Mark. I got the idea after noticing Romero’s zombies have seemed to evolve over his series of “Dead” films. With each movie, the shambling dead seem to get a little smarter (or at least some of them do). So, I thought, what if one of them could function at a near human level, but still had the urge to eat?

    Comment by Ty on April 11, 2008 @ 7:44 pm

  3. Very well done, or should I say very raw. Whichever. Well written and interesting enough to keep me reading all the way through. Great ending.

    Comment by Jeff Draper on April 12, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  4. Brilliantly written, a superb look into the potential zombie psyche.

    Comment by Flytch on April 14, 2008 @ 8:47 am

  5. I enjoyed this story very much, gave me some insight to the zombie way of life. Amazing job.

    Comment by Vincent on April 16, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  6. Excellent, i loved it!

    Comment by Arna on April 18, 2008 @ 4:47 am

  7. Man this zombie is FRESH (still kickin), I love the first person perspective, now I have some more BRAIN FODDER.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Greg on April 18, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  8. Very nice. Had me reading straight thru, no stops. I like the idea of some dead retaining intelligence. It makes it that much harder to objectify them.

    Comment by Travis on April 18, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  9. I got that Jesus feeling just reading this. You’ve created a pretty cool new type of zombie. I like the way his mind and speech patterns deteriorated, illustrating the way his body must have been. Very cool. Adam

    Comment by Adam Smith on April 27, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  10. Well done. The Zombie narration was a little unusual, but the method by which you used it was intriguing. Once again well done.

    Comment by Brandon Layng on May 9, 2008 @ 3:23 am

  11. Jesus that is a terrifying concept, “THE REALY LIVING DEAD’.

    Comment by Greg on October 20, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

  12. Well written but too far off the mark for me. I like the Zombie War deads, the G.A. Romero types. These talking zoms just remind me of murderous criminals rather than “motorized instinct”. You are a good compelling writer however so keep down your own path and cannon. That’s the beauty of this site, one s free to create his own world of zombiedome since they don’t exeist… yet…

    Comment by Andre on December 28, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

  13. Interesting concept. Personally, I fear dying because I imagine that we are actually conscious. I think people in comas are still aware but can’t react and I think death is a deeper coma. I think we can feel our bodies decaying, so it makes sense that being a zombie you still have an awareness but unable to control those animalistic urges.

    Comment by Cherry Darling on December 3, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  14. This is an excellent look on what it would be like if you still had some type of mind left but it was fading and you knew WHAT you were turning in to! Very well written and sadly scary story.

    Comment by liz on December 3, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  15. Great story,
    Call me obtuse, but at the end of the tape did the zombie’s brother manage to put his lights out, or did the zombie get him? It seemed to me the second gunshot indicated the zombie pretty much politely corrected him and his brother obliged him, but now I dunno.

    Anyways, other than that nagging question an excellent and very chilling story.

    Comment by Shawn on October 23, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  16. I absolutly loved this story, i really wish there were more like it. TALKING ZOMBIE- genus

    Comment by starlene on July 20, 2012 @ 12:26 am

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