There’s fear churning in Gloria’s belly as she makes her morning coffee. And it’s not because there’s a zombie banging a shovel against her kitchen window.
That’s just Frank, transplanting the tomatoes now that the weather’s dried up a bit. The bed’s in close to the house to get the reflected heat from the southern exposure. That plus some channelled runoff from the eves makes that stretch of yard a little hotbed of tomato production in the summer.
No, her churning stomach isn’t because Frank’s a zombie. He’s been one ever since they first met 6 weeks ago when he came back to “life” in her neuropathology lab bewildered and flailing. When their eyes locked, it took her breath away. That is if she’d had any left after the cranium she was about to saw into moved with a jolt as he sat up. She’s since stitched up the flap of muscle and skin she’d already peeled back from his forehead before she picked up the saw. The stitches are a neat little row but the muscles never knit again. So you have to watch for any surprise he might feel in the shape of his mouth. He’ll never raise his eyebrows again.
No, the dis-ease she feels isn’t about the zombie-ism. Humans are very adaptable creatures, it’s amazing what can be assimilated to “normal” given enough time. She’s scared because she’s falling in love, seriously in love. And she doesn’t know what to do about that.
There are complications to dating a zombie. Sure, she’s told her friends and family about Frank, but she hasn’t exactly told them about Frank. The idea of meeting the parents just got a whole lot more stressful. But what really scares her is surprisingly mundane… can she trust him. Sure sometimes when they’re making love he tries to bite her a little too enthusiastically, but she’s learning to navigate that. It’s not protecting her brain she’s worried about. It’s protecting her heart.
Can she count on him? Will he be there for her? How do you build a life with someone who isn’t exactly alive?
Read the next instalment.