by T. Gene Davis

Patrick parked near his in-law’s graves. The sunset was nearly finished, and the graveyard was appropriately dark. He flashed Lilly a glittering rockstar grin—clearly visible despite the coming gloom.

“About my allowance,” he began an old discussion, keeping the grin while talking. He somehow avoided looking like he was gritting his teeth.

“Not now,” Lilly interrupted opening her car door.

“No,” Patrick grabbed Lilly’s wrist. “I need more for my research.”

“No.” Lilly pulled away but he held her wrist, bruising her again. She struggled, finally getting out of the door, pulling him half way out her car door in the process. She stomped off into the grass and granite, listening for him behind her, but not looking back.

She stopped in sight of her parents’ graves. The soil was piled to one side and the fresh sod pushed to the other side. One of Patrick’s devices stood at the head of each grave. Lilly pivoted on one foot, looking back at Patrick and the car, both hidden in the dark.

“What have you done?” She growled more than spoke.

“I needed fresh bodies for my research.”

“Where are they?”

“Right where we left them. They should have heard you by now.”

Lilly looked at the deep holes in the gloom. There was a rustle and a thud, like a corpse falling on to a casket. The noise repeated from the other hole but only once, and they emerged.

“What have you done?” Lilly did not sound as ferocious this time.

“You can’t guess? Dark night. Freshly dug graves. Recently deceased crawling out of said graves?

“I’ll give you a hint. They’re hungry and want something gray and squishy to eat.”

He laughed at his own joke. She hated it when he did that. Laughing at his own jokes had annoyed her even before their marriage.

Patrick and Lilly both watched her parents lurch step by halting step towards her. Lilly stood silent while Patrick laughed from a safer distance. Zombie Mom and zombie Father with rotting flesh and gaping jaws reached for their living daughter.

Lilly noted the flower, no longer white, clinging to her mothers favorite jacket. A petal seemed to fall with each lurching step. It should have no petals left, yet always seemed to have more to drop. Lilly stood, planted with weak legs and arms unable to move. Her mother was less decomposed, so reached Lilly first.

Lilly felt the embrace, and closed her eyes waiting for teeth to reach her skin. She heard the crunch of the decomposed flower pressed between them. She felt a dry kiss on her cheek. Zombie Mom broke the embrace and fussed with Lilly’s disheveled curls. Her zombie father followed up her mother’s embrace with a stiff hug and awkward pat on the back.

Just like him, she thought, relieved not to become zombie dinner.

Patrick, fully expecting a blood bath, screamed, “Eat her already! Eat her brains!”

Lilly stepped back from her zombie parents, seeing a change in their rotting demeanor. They looked like zombies again, and nothing like her parents. Both zombie Father and zombie Mom turned to Patrick, and began a lurching march in his direction.

Patrick let out a whimper and ran off into the cemetery leaving his devices planted above the graves of his zombie-in-laws. Lilly took out her cell with the intention of calling the police, but thought better of it. She could not imagine anyone believing her.

Notes …

T. Gene Davis writes … I absolutely love Halloween, so here is a short Halloween story. When possible, I take time off from work to carve pumpkins and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I love the costumes of witches, vampires, and zombies.

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