The year was 2032. Zed awoke from an uneasy sleep filled with dreams of sirens, war and disease pandemics. All his nights were like this, but he wasn't going to complain. Sleep was sleep. Even sleep filled with nightmares was better than none. Or so he told himself.
Zed walked downstairs to put on a pot of coffee. He wasn't going to drink it. He never drank it. But it was the routine that was important. It helped retain some sense of normalcy. As the coffee percolated into the pot, Zed looked out the kitchen window. There it was. Grey ash falling from the sky. Still falling. He wondered if it would ever stop. He didn't think it would.
Zed sighed. He could still remember the time when the sky was blue. When dreams like the ones he had nightly were just dreams and not memories coming back to haunt him. It had only been a year since the human race turned against itself, but it seemed like a lifetime ago. He knew that many of the innocent casualties deserved to live again, but he wondered how many of them would take the chance if they had to do it his way. If they had to be a zombie.
Zed was a unique zombie to say the least. After all, most zombies didn't sleep. Or dream. Or sigh wistfully at the sight of falling ash. Most zombies just roamed the earth in a never-ending search for brains. But unlike them, Zed didn't like his situation. Other zombies seemed to be content in their new role, but Zed yearned for something more. Zed had a longing in his heart. Zed searched for love. And brains. But mostly love.
Zed's problem was complicated. Every time he'd meet a nice zombie girl, the craving would override everything else and she'd leave after a few days. Every time he'd meet a nice human girl, she'd run away screaming. He couldn't blame them. It was a matter of self-preservation. It was hard for Zed to make a good first-impression, with the limp and the drooling and all. And as they say, you never get a second chance.
One time he had been able to convince a human girl to look past his outer surface and realize that there was more to him than just being a zombie. And she was attractive. Man was she attractive. That was shortly after his transformation. Strangely enough the girl seemed interested in him too, she was just hesitant because she didn't know what her family would think. Ironically, the first night she fell asleep watching movies on his couch, Zed's roommate ate her brains. Zed now lived alone.
Zed had not left his house for days. He decided that the only thing worse than being a zombie was being a zombie with cabin fever, so he set out for the park. It was dangerous to do so with the death squads that patrolled the streets with flame throwers in an attempt to rid the city of its zombie problem, but he needed the fresh air.
Zed chuckled briefly at the thought of a zombie needing fresh air. Other zombies would ridicule him for having such thoughts. Come to think of it, other zombies would ridicule him for thinking of anything other than brains, but Zed couldn't help it. He was who he was.
Zed took his finger and wrote his name in the ash on a park bench. He drew a heart around it, then brushed all the ash off the bench so he could sit down. He sat. And stared at his feet. And thought. He thought about his family. His sisters. He couldn't understand why they had all died, but he was left to live this hellish existence. Being a zombie in love with the idea of being in love was a heavy burden. It was certainly taking a toll on him, and he wasn't sure if he could take it much longer.
Zed's thoughts were interrupted by a pair of white sneakers at the top of his field of view. Well, they were as white as anything could be with all the ash that permeated the air.
Zed looked up and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. At least he thought she was. Sometimes it was hard to remember details from the life before. This was too good to be true. Zed blinked and rubbed his eyes. The woman laughed a musical laugh and said, "You're not imagining me. Mind if I sit?"
Zed brushed more ash off the bench and motioned for her to have a seat.
"What's your name?"
"Leslie. I haven't seen you around here lately."
"You've seen me before?"
"Yes. But I've never been able to work up the nerve to come talk to you."
"Understandable." Zed said sheepishly, then added, "Zombie" as he motioned to himself.
"You know, you're kind of cute. For a zombie." She winked.
Zed was a shy zombie, so just smiled and looked away from her face. As he did so, he saw movement from the corner of his eye. He looked around the park and saw men approaching from all directions. Zed ran, but it was too late, the men were too close. "How could I have been so careless?" he thought as the flames came toward him from all directions.
He heard that musical laugh again. "That one was almost too easy," he heard Leslie say. "Normally they run or try to attack when they see me."
The captain of the death squad kissed her and said, "Just keep up the good work. You know I don't like having you doing this sometimes, but that's one less zombie we need to worry about now."
"Really, I don't mind. It's fun," she laughed.
"If I was destined to die alone, I'd rather it be now than later," thought Zed as he burned.