Fiction Friday – Using His Brains


Loud blasts and smoke caught were the first thing to catch his attention, but it was the sound of gunfire a day or two later that drew Adam down from the woods. One month of primitive living cut short, but obviously something was going on. Still clad in buckskins and other arcane trappings, he descended into the nearby town. Even so, it took two days to reach.

What he found when he arrived was mortifying. The city was empty. Buildings burned, houses lay open and cars were crashed in many locations. Bodies lay torn in bloody piles.

“What could have happened?” Though there was no one to answer him. Years of dressing out game didn’t prepare him for this sort of gore. To know these were humans made it worse and he couldn’t keep his revulsion at bay. After the last loud heave, his eyes were drawn up to movement. Several people were shuffling out of buildings, around corners or rising from where they had been laying among the piles of viscera.

Late night horror flicks being so common made it impossible not to recognize zombies on sight, but that didn’t make it believable. Zombies were fantasy, not real. Invented for movie thrills and gaming fun, not something that happened in the real world. These had to just be injured people.

“What happened? Was there an explosion? Some sort of military invasion?” No one responded, they simply shambled forward, jaws working. Those that had jaws left at least. “This can’t be real.”

He drew the knife from it’s sheath along his back, but hesitated still. “Come on! Just say something. Anything.”

Silence. Not even the moaning so common to the various zombie media he was familiar with. Shuffling feet and the sound of flames licking a building in the distance. He spun, taking stock of where they were before picking a path and running. Moccasins were not ideal for city movement, but he was glad to have the sense of wild they imparted on him if for no other reason than it made him feel like he was more nimble.

Outrunning shambling bodies wasn’t difficult, but within half an hour they were funneling down the exact path he had taken. He watched from the window of an abandoned house as they traced his exact path right to the door. Out the window he went, making his way towards the woods again.

How had they followed him so precisely? Sweat? Maybe. He looked over his gear before realizing that he was fully clad in buckskin. Hide treated with brain as the tanning method. Was that it? Some of the zombie movies said they wanted brains. Quickly he cut a bit of fringe from his shirt and tied it to a tree. Moving further along the path, he waited to see what would happen.

If they attacked the tree, he would know. If they passed it and came for him, then it was something else. Maybe he would be able to fashion traps if they did go after it. They might want his brains, but he was already using them to good effect.

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