Across the room from him stands someone, something, grunting and moaning, foam slithering out the side of its mouth. He recognises the pink dress. It’s his wife’s. But the face is swollen and twisted, awash with black, pink and blue streaks; a tapestry of makeup slathered in all directions; a bad artist’s impression of a terrifying children’s monster.
Her eyes dagger into his, a frown splintered into her brow. She shakes her head, keens and lifts her arms, her fingers cramping into dainty little claws, her palms scarlet with blood.
He’d read a number of zombie novels over the years and loved the genre. Not for a second, however, did he dream he’d face something out of a zombie story in his own home. He never thought that his wife would be standing in the kitchen opposite him, panting like a rabid dog.
“Lydia,” he thinks when he notices the blood. “I’ve got to get to my little baby.”
“Oh God,” he pleads under his breath, forcing back tears, “please let my little Lydia be OK.”
For a few seconds he stands deathly quiet, embraced by fear. Then he clenches his jaw and clears his head.
“Think,” he mumbles to himself. His eyes dart around, scanning the kitchen for something. Last night it was leftover lasagna—like only his wife could make it—tonight it’s a weapon.
The kitchen table forms a tenuous barrier between him and her. It. How long before she lunges over it and drives her fingers into his eyes?
He backs up, his eyes fixed on her. When he bumps into the sink, he fumbles for a sharp object, his fingers sniffing around for a weapon. He feels the edge of a cold blade. He pulls it closer and closes a fist around the solid plastic handle.
With the knife gripped in his hand he jumps forward onto the table. The thing on the other side of the table lunges forward too, one of its hands reaching for its head.
The knife’s blade disappears into soft flesh. A moan is followed by a series of hiccups, then a sigh.
“Ha, fooled you,” she whispers as the hand gripping the mask goes limp beside her body and her eyes stiffen, focused on a far away place on the ceiling.