Who are we?                                                                                                     Can I see you?

      Who was I?                                                                                           Can you see me?

               Who am I talking to?                                                                        I…

                                  Is it you?                                                       Can’t…                         

                                               Can you remember? Because…

There was once a sun. There was once daylight. Now, I can only remember the night. I see pictures in the abandoned storefronts, of sun and sand. Palm trees. Beautiful bodies. Fresh, still living bodies. The pictures, they are supposed to make me feel something. Warmth: the sun makes you warm. I see the sun and it means nothing. The fresh, fleshy bodies make me hungry. The only warmth I know comes flowing out of the slain.

You understand, don’t you?

What a terrible thing abandoned cities are.


A man walked along a street in a dead city. His clothing has no style. Oxford dress shoes and white socks with dark, baggy blue jeans, a generic stripped polo covered by an out-of-date, bullet-riddled army surplus jacket, a red MAGA cap pulled down over an unruly mass of dark, greasy hair. The ill-fitting ensemble exposed ankles and wrists.

All that mattered to the wearer was they weren’t gore encrusted.

Peary was never one for dressing in the current style while alive, and in this city, it no longer mattered. It was a city of hunters and killers now.

Peary crawled up the side of a building.

The moon is wonderful tonight. Must go higher to see it. It so easy now; everything is easier. All I need is to feed.

Once I worried, had a job, a few friends. A life, but it is funny, all those years of struggling.

I think.

And now I don’t care.

I killed those who killed me, I destroyed their gang, drove their families to the wind.

Fuck them.

I am free, free but still trapped in the night.

He sat on a chimneystack as a red crescent moon rose on the horizon. The city looked frozen in the growing night. The few people left knew to hunker down and await the dawn in fear and hope.

Soldiers patrolled in silence. Tactical teams hunted in the dark and muted world.

Others moved as one with the shadows.

He strained his sensitive ears.

An unsure look passed over his face.

He listened. In the distance, Humvees and tracked vehicles ground over the macadam. A flurry of automatic weapons fire here and there.

There were stirrings and tittering nearer at hand.

The street lights glowed for two more hours while Peary sat motionless.

Then they winked out of existence.

Is this my fault?

The lights are gone.

All the prey has run.

The only pickings left are soldiers.

Tough meat to eat.

“Why’d they kill the lights?” a familiar female voice behind Peary said.

He turned and saw a young woman decked out like the stereotypical goth slut, “Shelley.” Too much Killstar, everything black and silver.

He dropped down and circled her.

“A trap. They think it will draw us out. They think their night vision gives them an advantage,” Peary said.

“I recognized you when you pitched the mayor off that roof. Coolest shit ever. I wish I had that flare for showmanship,” she said, facial jewelry glinting in the moonlight. “Do you know what they call you?”

“Who?” he said.

Shelley clicked black, talon-like fingernails along the chimney bricks. “The soldiers, of course. I overheard them.”

“Obviously no.”

“Target Prime Alpha,” she said, flashing long teeth.

“Hmmm. Okay, thanks?” he said.

“I just wanted to know: what was it like to be the first? How did you…become undead?” she asked.

“I was killed. I was mad. I came back.”

The girl’s black lips dropped into a frown. “That’s it? You didn’t see our dark lord? No abyss, no pit of flaming souls?”

“Yep,” Peary shrugged, “no signing my name in blood in a book made from human skin. Sorry.”

“Are you sure?” she said, pressing her arms together to emphasize her cleavage through her black, silver-studded bra. “Maybe you are holding out for something more?”

“Is there anything more?”

“I guess not,” she answered as she planted her black, pleated miniskirt against his crotch, “but we can do whatever we want now.”

She shoved him back hard.

He grabbed her by the throat and tossed her across the roof.

She landed spinning near the edge with her legs spread, motioning with her finger, “come here.”

Peary dropped his pants, dead, hard cock erect, and approached.

She pulled up her skirt to her waist; art nouveau tattoos wound up her thighs to her crotch through fishnet stockings. She wore no underwear.

He grabbed her hair and forced his dick into her mouth. Peary thrust and thrust, feeling nothing but slimy saliva, a cold tongue probing the underside of his shaft.

Then she dug her talons into his ass until blood was drawn.

Sharp teeth incised into his penis.

Yanking Shelley upright by the hair, Peary spun her around and bent her over the roof’s edge.

Her vagina was as cold and slick as marble.

Thoughts raced through his head as he fucked her with violent intensity in the moonlight.

Give it to me, you fucking whore. Give me your nasty, lifeless pussy. I’m dead because of you. I wish it had been you on the receiving end of those .45 slugs. So I’ll pound your slit! I’ll fuck it until your rotten womb spills out your mouth. GIVE! GIVE! GIVE!

Her mouth spilled forth obscene sibilants: “Fuck me dead, daddy!” “Pound my dirty little bitch cunt.” “Make it hurt.”

Her fingers clawed into the stonework, breaking chunks off. He grabbed her hair and ground her face into the jagged shards until blood, black in the moonlight, painted her white skin in dark smears.

He ripped off her bodice and bent her backwards by the throat until he could see her tits sticking out.

Shelley pushed and shoved back with her ass moaning in a timbre as deep as a tomb.

Her pussy quivered with increasing frequency; congealing juices bathed his shaft until he exploded and throbbed for what seemed like an eternity.

A deluge of black ichor spilled out and coated the inside of her thighs.

She pulled down her skirt and said, “Well, it’s been fun, Peary, but I’m hungry and need cigarettes.”

“Stay a little,” Peary said, offering her a square from an old stale pack. “We’ll find something to eat.”

“Awww, such a gentleman. You were always so nice when you were alive. I wouldn’t have thought you so dark,” she said as the warm glow of the lighter’s flame almost made her look alive.

“I know. I guess I never knew how to play. Everything was always…” he paused, “…too real. Too close, always scraping by. I held it all in.”

Peary continued chuckling, “So when do I meet your parents?”

“Never. I decapitated and ate them. Silly Boomers; they never got me even when I was alive,” she giggled, draping the tattered remains of her clothes over her lithe frame.

He watched as her slashed-up, corpse-pale form disappeared down the stairwell.

A minute later, he dashed down five flights of stairs out into the empty street.


Somewhere in southern Nevada, an Air Force Predator drone pilot vomited into a waste basket.



Still lame as ever. “Stay a little.” What. The. Fuck?

Fucking her while we were alive would have been just as meaningless.

I must have jerked off a thousand times to the thought of her tits.

But actually working up to banging her? 15 weeks of bullshit for fifteen seconds of fun.
Never mind.

When we are dead, is that when we finally have courage? I couldn’t tell off my boss and quit that shitty job at 7Eleven, couldn’t stop jerking it to Shelley, couldn’t even bother asking for her contact info.

All this I have now done and more.

In that case, I am glad I hated my life.

Glad I took two to the chest.

Being dead is better.

Peary peered into the shadows along his path; he noted the hungry, bleak stares that greeted him. He saw a few of the undead gathered in small conclaves; they fell silent as he passed. There was no acknowledgement in their looks, just a devouring sizing up.

No camaraderie.

His ears sought some other sound unknowing.

Hatred and apathy vacillated throughout his guts.

Something other than hunger filled him the further he passed along on that open air tomb.


Some internal homing beacon took him to the north side of the city. He walked through a large park filled with moonlitten oaks and weeping willows.

Peary then knew where he was headed: the zoo.


Weak hushed roars and plaintive cries assailed Peary.

It’s been a week since the city died.

How long since anyone has fed the animals? Peary thinks, looking at the big cats pacing at his arrival.

At the wolf enclosure, he didn’t understand what he saw.

The pack runs back and forth in formation, avoiding the glass where he stood watching. Healthy and strong, his presence riled them into nocturnal action. Canine eyes flashed yellow in the moonlight as they eyed him wary.

He could smell the fresh blood of their food.

Upset, the pack bayed at the moon.

Their howls were answered from all corners of zoo. Lions, tigers, and bears roared. Gorillas and chimpanzees hooted. Birds in the aviary screeched.

The sound of the animals awaking in a rage grew until it oppressed him.

Peary ran into the aquarium, where the creatures have no vocal cords and no air to make a sound.

The lights were a surprise.

Someone is keeping the generators running?

A large, blunt-nosed, seven-gilled shark cruised past the glass in the dusky depths. He turned up his nose in mild curiosity. Peary watched him glide in silence towards the glass.

Fish chunks dropped into the water, the shark flowed in a languid, sinuous swish to the meat.

He watched peering up from the depths to the surface of the tank.

The lights above the tank were on.

On top, he saw a female silhouette with long, brunette hair emptying a chum bucket into the tank.

As the waters settled again, he saw her—Ava—for a brief moment.

She saw himm too.

A momentary look of acknowledgement, and she was gone.

What is there to say? “Sorry?”

He visited the other displays, watching the different biomes that ranged from tropical seas to jungle swamps. He took in the little worlds and their denizens. At one representing a southern pond, he was finally able to make out the hellbender.

I could never find him when I was a kid.

In the pre-dawn hours, he left the aquarium and wandered the pedestrian paths far from the animal enclosures. A chill in the wind signaling an early fall brushed the air.

In the zoo’s shadows, he thought once or twice about others sitting watching the animals.

Why are we here? What are they looking for?

He looked up to the dark, blue sky as the stars were winking out.

Someone whispered from the shadows, “Hey, dumbass white boy, get out of the open. Don’t let them know we’re here.”

Peary moved to the cover of a tree.

“What?” he said to Ava who was waiting for him.

“The drones,” she said.


“We don’t need the troops storming our asses.”
“You’ve been here long? Feeding the animals?”
“Yes,” she said, moving away towards a service access door.


“Because I’m sorry,” she said, disappearing behind the closing door.


Later, as he was leaving the zoo through the park into a drainage culvert, Peary thought about that.

Is that why we’re still here: because we are all sorry?

He watched the night wind play with the leaves on the trees and noticed what his ears had been searching for all night.

The birds are no longer singing.