by Andi Winter
THE COLD WET GRASS BRUSHED MY TOES in my sandals as I walked through the cemetery. It was late—2 a.m. I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk and found myself at Sunset Memorial Gardens on June thirteenth. The day I always got married.
It was too quiet. I stood still, listening. A shuffling noise surrounded me and the hairs rose on the back of my neck. I turned around in place, when I finally saw them.
My husbands didn’t have any brains when I married them. And now that’s all they wanted.
Maybe I should have felt scared. After all there were six undead zombies lumbering towards me, but what I felt was rage. Why couldn’t they just stay dead? Why not stalk their ex-wives? I saved them from those witches, and this was the thanks I got.
I stepped backwards, my feet sinking into the soft earth. “That’s enough, boys. You go back to your graves right this instant. I command you.” Didn’t zombies have to follow their master’s command? They had obeyed me when they were alive, so their undead state shouldn’t make any difference.
They kept moving towards me.
I held my hands up, as if that would keep them at bay. “Tom, David, Michael, Johan, Ahmad, Xiaobo, stop. I’m telling you—no, I’m ordering you. Stop!”
A few of them twitched, Xiaobo’s head cocked slightly, but they continued their lumbering pace.
Anger filled my blood. This was unacceptable. They had to obey me. There was no choice in the matter. Besides, they didn’t have the brains to think for themselves—they never had. In that respect, our marriages had been glorious.
They closed in. I kept turning in place, trying to keep each in view, looking for a way out. Maybe I just needed a greater force of will or a more commanding voice.
“Stop! I said stop! Now!”
They reached for me, their fingertips grazing my outstretched arms. Maybe I should treat them like misbehaving dogs. In my sternest tone of voice I said, “Down. Stay.”
Hands grabbed at my shoulders, back, legs. I tried to shake them off, to pull my limbs out of their grasp, but it was useless. While they had weak brains, they were all incredibly strong, even in death.
Johan’s jaws snapped at my neck. I screamed and fell. The last thing I saw was five pairs of eyes staring dully into my own.
My eyes opened and my stomach rumbled. I craved something that I couldn’t name.
A familiar looking woman stood above my prone body, a sneer of smug satisfaction on her lips as she ground pungent herbs in a mortar.
“Brains,” I moaned and lurched for her.
My body fell still. I couldn’t move.
Her lips curved up. “This is for Johan. Payback is a bitch, isn’t it, you homewrecker?”
Great. I was going to spend the rest of my undead days forced to obey a resentful ex-wife.
Copyright © 2017 by Andi Winter
“Bitter Spell” was first published in Out of Time and Other Very Short Stories
Published by Rainy Mountain Publishing
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places, and incidents in this story are either the products of the imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real people or incidents is coincidental. Really.