50 Shades from the Grave – Zombie Love
Kelsey Rae Keating
Everyone always joked about the Zombie Apocalypse. I even said a few things about making sure I had my dad's axe on hand. I didn't ever actually think it would happen. It's like mortality - everyone knows death exists, but no one thinks it'll happen to them. This is the same, only with...well...the undead.
I'd never thought about how the sickness would change my life. One day I dragged my younger sister Debi out the door as what used to be our mother tried to feast upon our brains.
Debi was so young, so impressionable - I knew I had to get us somewhere safe. Together with my friends Candy and Honey, we set out for a new life in a strange world. We thought we would be fine from the zombpocalypse on the reservation.
I’d heard about the reservation being a safe haven for all souls, but I was still surprised when they allowed us in.
I’ll be honest; if you’d told me my life was about to change – that I was about to meet my love everlasting and learn the meaning of the word ecstasy…well, I doubt I would have believed you. I was just twenty-four year old Ambrosia Sweedy, a total nobody who worked as a cashier at one of the local paint stores.
I could taste the desert dust as I hopped out of the driver’s seat, my father’s axe in my hand for protection. A crowd of people approached our vehicle, and the men carried shotguns. All but one.
He walked with a stilted gait as the sun shone behind him, blurring his obviously Greek god features. His dark skin seemed lighter than some of his fellows, but his strong jaw and low slung lip called out to me from afar. I heard myself gasp as he drew closer and I saw how masculine and tall he was, with his long – if thin – dark hair blowing in the wind. I wanted to throw aside my axe, leap into his arms, and have him carry me away to do whatever he wanted. My cheeks immediately flushed red, embarrassed by the very idea.
Perhaps now you’re thinking I was right – I was right to believe we’d be free from zombies on the reservation. Well, let me tell you…I couldn’t have been more wrong.
And wrong had never felt so right.
The group of men stopped ten feet from us, their guns still pointed. The dashing stranger limped a step further before being pulled back by a rugged man who gripped his chain. The men questioned us, and Honey spoke on our behalf, but I heard none of the conversation. I was too busy staring into the eyes of my soul mate. He must have known, because he stared right back.
Once we were settled among the tribe, I set off at once to find the man who made my heart patter. I found him in the community center chained to a pool table and grunting to a living man. The live one introduced himself as Buck and told me the name of my heart’s captor was Sequoia Wood.
Up close he was even more beautiful. Sequoia groaned a greeting and shuffled towards me, leaning down in an attempt to bite my neck.
Buck stopped him, snapping his leash and apologizing for Sequoia trying to make me dinner.
But I knew by the look in Sequoia’s eyes – it wasn’t food he was after. It was passion.
I learned of the dead from Buck, who told me the zombie’s petrified bodies kept them from falling apart, and families kept the zombies out of respect. The love for those gone never fades.
That night after all had gone to sleep I could no longer wait. The desire within me sent me out through my window and broke into the home I had seen Sequoia enter earlier. Zombies don’t sleep, but to keep others safe, they were chained to their beds at night to keep from roaming. I crept into his room and found him sitting on his bed; the look and low moan let me know he’d expected me. Without much care to the danger – or maybe because of it – I went to him.
Butterflies swirled around in my stomach and I thought I might faint before I even reached him. Luckily, he reached out a hand, the muscle creeping out through the severed skin, and I gratefully took it.
At first, I kept my distance. I wasn’t exactly sure if I could trust myself – let alone him- without supervision. I could see that part of him wanted to kill me, to devour me whole, but in his eyes I also saw something I’m sure others didn’t – the ability to care for another. I bit my lip and sat hesitantly beside him. He kept my hand and brought it up to his mouth so he could lick it. The salt from my sweat must have made me a sweet treat, because he made a sound of delight. Oh, how I wished he could speak to me – to tell me what he was feeling.
Sequoia released my hand and bent double at the waist. I heard a snap and thought he might’ve broken a vertebrae, several of which poked out, the white bone showing, but instead he pulled upright again and I tumbled sideways. He had my foot in his hand, my leg outstretched before him. He stoked my calf and leaned down towards my heel. I felt a tickling sensation and started to giggle, but he made a shushing sound so I covered my mouth. Twisting to get a better view of what he was doing, I watched him nibble at the dead skin on my heel. My heart soared – a pedicure! How many men would give a woman a pedicure? I used to love them before the zombpocalypse. I didn’t know how, but somehow Sequoia knew.
When he’d finished ridding my heels of dead skin they felt silky smooth. I wanted to give him something in return, though I knew he did benefit from munching on my foot skin.
Straddling across his lap, I kissed his rotting lips like I’d never kissed any living man, and I felt his jaw unhinge as he slipped his tongue into my mouth. I gave him a helpful hand to re-hinge it without stopping. He moaned, and at first I didn’t know if it was pleasure or conversation, but I figured I could count it as either and be in the clear. What did it matter? I was in love. I spent the rest of the night with him, sneaking out first thing in the morning so as not to be caught.
After the first night, I returned as soon as darkness fell each evening. Every night was as delicious as the first, and I even planned ahead by bringing my toenail clippings to feed to Sequoia like I read about Romans doing with grapes. He gave me regular pedicures, manicures, and even licked the oils off my hair when I hadn’t showered. I couldn’t remember being so happy – not even when all my friends and family were still alive and un-zombified.
I thought we were safe and secret. I knew no one would understand what we had together. When I discovered I was pregnant, I finally decided it was time to tell everyone about our love.
Life wasn’t easy for us, as some viewed our love as an abomination. We fought like any couple would. We argued, like when he ate Candy’s brains and she didn’t survive or when his bite turned Debi. But our love was stronger than our troubles.
I have every happiness and no regrets. I named our child Runs-from-death, and he grows stronger every day. I know our love is a testament to the new world. When Runs-from-death is old enough, Sequoia will bite me. We will live (forever) happily, ever after.