Experiment #375

Cat Braaains

Long after most of humanity had hidden itself away in the mountains to the west and ceded the land to the hordes, a lone, zombie shuffled through a trailer park. His horde had disbanded long ago and it had been months since he’d seen another zombie, years since he’d seen a human. He shuffled past double wide homes ripped apart by apocalyptic events till he neared one still mostly intact. 

He had no need for food after the contagion transformed him, but a blinding need to satiate his stomach with brains overcame him when humans were near. That hunger had drawn him here against what will a zombie has, but as he approached the trailer and an old woman sitting in a chair on the porch, the hunger dulled to an annoying buzz in the back of his skull then sputtered to nothing. Mrs. Gillespie’s end came before he could reach her.

He stumbled up the steps to the porch and looked at her. He wondered—if he could do such a thing as wonder—what to do now. He reached out a desiccated hand to touch Mrs. Gillespie, an impulse from an earlier life. A cat had appeared, out of nowhere—though zombies have never been known for perceptiveness—and swatted at his hand, the claws catching on the knuckle bone of his ring finger beneath the gray-green flesh. 

Perturbed, the zombie drew his hand back. His ring finger, loosened from use during the human wars, pulled away and flopped to the ground. He puzzled at the four digits remaining and moaned. He looked at the finger on the ground, still squirming, then at the cat. He moaned disapproval. 

The cat meowed in return. 

He moaned again at the cat, but the cat had jumped down and was now batting at the ring finger, watching it writhe and wriggle after each swipe from its paw. 

The zombie moaned yet again in protest, but the cat ignored him. 

Mrs. Gillespie, for her part, and, somewhat surprisingly given the apocalypse that had so recently swept the land, did not move. The zombie had looked at her for answers, but she remained simply dead with no sign of turning un. 

Further perturbed by Mrs. Gillespie’s state, the zombie turned again to the cat and moaned a long, frustrated moan. The cat, still playing with the disembodied ring finger, ignored him. 

The zombie moaned one last time at the cat and then shuffled off toward the horizon. 

The cat continued to play with the ring finger. Eventually it looked up and saw the zombie a ways off, still shuffling slowly away. It looked up at Mrs. Gillespie one last time, purred, rubbed against her unmoving leg, picked up the ring finger by the scruff of its cuticles and trotted after the zombie.

Experiment #376


The zombie shuffled along intent on nothing and nowhere. His insatiable hunger for brains couldn’t be satisfied here. Even at night he kept shuffling forward till he tripped and rolled head over heals to a stop. Having lost the sense of his limbs when he was infected, killed, and then revived by the zombie contagion, he could not tell whether they were all attached or not. He could see his right hand’s silhouette, ring finger missing, against the backdrop of the full moon. It seemed, however, too far away to still be attached. He could still wriggle his fingers, though. 

One eye had fallen out too, giving him odd, disjointed perspectives that his mind—what remained of it—couldn’t understand or control.

The zombie unable to shuffle forward when he tried, decided to wait till first light. 

Not long after he stopped moving the cat appeared. It purred and curled up around the zombie’s leg. The zombie’s arm with hand still attached used its fingers to crawl toward the cat and gently stroke the cat’s fur. The cat purred and rubbed itself against the zombie’s hand.

Finally the cat pulled away from the scratching hand and began to stalk its dinner. It got really low and snuck toward something in the grass. The zombie watched from both eyes as the cat slowly crawled forward. The cat pounced. The cat was not pouncing upon a rat, or other vermin, but upon the zombie’s lost eye. He moaned to warn the cat, but it was too late the cat, claws out, landed. 

When he felt enough courage (if zombies can feel such a thing) to look out of that eye again he saw a topsy turvy turbulent world until it all of a sudden stopped and he was looking up his own nose. Looking down with his other eye he moved his definitely still attached left hand down, scooped up the eye and popped it in his face. Despite three large slash marks across his vision, his eye still worked. He looked over and saw the cat sitting, slowly swishing back and forth. 

As the sun rose, the zombie found that he was mostly in one piece. His arm had come off but with some duct tape he found in a nearby store he reattached it, all be it, with the hand facing out and the elbow up. 

He moaned to the cat and shuffled off toward the sunset. The cat followed at his heals.

Experiment #377


The zombie traveled deep into the nuclear winter. The cold no longer bothered him nor made his limbs ache, but the nights when his body froze he had to wait for it to thaw to move on. The cat had followed him from the Southern coast all the way up to this winter wasteland. 

He moaned to himself as he shuffled forward with the cat still following. She sometimes left for days on end, hunting rats and other vermin, but the cat always found the zombie again. 

Sometimes the cat would jump to the zombie’s shoulder and curl up around his neck, sleeping in the soft rocking of the zombie’s constant shuffle. The zombie would attempt to sing a lullaby for the cat, but it generally just came out as one long moan.  

One day, a few hours before sunset, they saw another zombie shuffling towards them. The zombie moaned a greeting, but his compatriot only had eyes for the cat. The second zombie reached for it with a happy moan, but the zombie stiff armed him. 

The second zombie moaned as if to say, “Cat taste brainy. Give.”

The zombie moaned back, “Cat not brainy. Cat taste footy.” He lifted his foot in a shuffle step for emphasis. 

“We taste. See brainy or footy,” the second zombie moaned. 

The argument continued over the “brainy”ness or “footy”ness of the cat until the second zombie lunged (slowly for zombies don’t do anything quickly) for the cat. 

The cat jumped easily off the first zombie’s shoulder and dodged the second zombie. It strutted off. The second zombie turned to follow but the first zombie stuck his foot out and tripped the second zombie. The first zombie shuffled off after the cat, but the second zombie grabbed the first’s leg and both were flat on the ground. The first zombie’s eye popped out. It bounced forward and skidded past the cat. The cat perked up its tail and ran after the eye, batting it around and chasing it.

The zombies continued pushing and shoving and tripping each other as night fell and the temperature dropped. The zombies froze in place but the cat played on with the eye until it got tired and curled up between their frozen legs. Both zombies watched it. They couldn’t move anything but their eyes. They watched the cat breath in and out and lay like a baby on the soft grass, curled into a ball for maximum warmth. 

The next morning the zombies began to thaw, their heads first. The second zombie said, “Cat not taste brainy.”

The first zombie agreed. 

“We care cat,” the second zombie said. 

The first zombie nodded. 

Nearly an hour later their arms thawed enough to be moved. At about that time the cat stirred. It got up and started heaving. The zombies, unable to move, stood there, clinging to one another. The cat puked all over their shoes. 

And despite their soggy feat and the unpleasant smell there, they smiled, for they had felt something they supposed lost when they were men. And for the briefest moment the cat smiled.