THE ZOMBIE DINNER • by Kathy Sherwood

When the zombies appeared, the residents of Halperin Bay locked themselves inside their homes and waited for bullets to solve the problem.

But anyone foolish enough to try to shoot the zombies failed, for the bullets simply passed through the dead bodies. And the shooters often paid with their lives.

Peeking out of her window, Mrs. Bellamy saw that the new dead simply lay where they fell, for the townspeople were too afraid to try to reclaim their dead.  They did not rise and walk with their killers. If unthreatened the zombies seemed not aggressive. So, she put her late husband’s rifle back over the fireplace where it belonged.

Mrs. Bellamy then sat on her front porch, waiting and watching for several days, despite the smell, before she decided on a plan. She cooked up all the meat in the house, seasoning it with plenty of salt. Then she flung open both doors to her house and called out, “Hey, zombies! Come inside and eat with me.”

They followed her command, shuffling into the house, sitting where she told them, and mutely accepting plates of meat. Finally, she took a plate herself and said her normal table blessing.

“Amen. Eat up, my friends. Some of you haven’t eaten in years. You must be starving.”

And they ate. It was clumsy. It was messy. Juice spilled onto Mrs. Bellamy’s pink carpet. A few plates broke on the floor. But one by one the zombies swallowed their meals. And one by one their cloudy eyes became clear and sad as they realized what they were and who they had been in life. Each in turn, they dropped their food, stood, and walked out of the house to the old cemetery five blocks away. There they lay down and returned to dust.

Gradually life returned to normal in Halperin Bay. The dead, old and new, were buried. The stains cleaned out of Mrs. Bellamy’s carpet, and every Sunday thereafter she took flowers to the graves of her former dinner guests.

Kathy Sherwood is a writer from Virginia. She grew up hearing stories about goblins, the Trojan war, and how Boris Karloff got the role of the Frankenstein Monster. It all adds up to the strange person she is today. She has published three ebooks: one of stories inspired by the pulp of the 1930s, one of poetry, and a short horror novel. She now lives and writes in Stevens Point, WI.

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