Left Behind

A short story about death. And afterwards.

Armageddon wasn't so bad.

Boiling skies of blood, shrieking terror from the black oceans, the dead rising from their graves - or reconstituting from their cremation urns - and a few thousand random people getting kidnapped by angels, whisked off to heaven.

Cable TV was back up in a week, Facebook got a few memes about "What were you doing when the world ended?", and all the insurance companies refused to pay out for an act of god.

That was exactly two years ago. Now I'm sitting in the Reaper Bar And Grill, under the "Happy Apocalypse Day" banner, waiting for mother. She's late.

The waitress walks slowly over and stares blankly past my left shoulder as she asks me if I want another drink. I tell her yes, speaking slowly so her brain can keep up. The pale skin on her face crinkles as she lisps something that might be "Have a nice day", then she shuffles away, muttering my order to herself over and over.

There's a giant plasma screen TV set high on one wall, with a group of goth teens flipping channels with the remote. At least, I think they're goths.

The channel changes to show a room with cameras on all sides and furniture in primary colours. This year there's two undeads in the Big Brother house. They're in the kitchen, complaining about immigrants and muslims in their low, keening voices.

The channel changes again to some daytime chat show. The caption flashes in bright letters that fill the screen: My Undead Husband Wants Me To Leave My Live Boyfriend And Come Back To Him.

It seems they'd been married for only six months when he was killed in a motorcycle accident. She'd fallen in love with the grief counsellor and they'd started a family together. Now the previous husband says they were never legally divorced.

The audience is with the first husband - until it turns out he caused the accident by being drunk and they boo him. Then the host brings in his secret undead girlfriend - who'd been a pedestrian killed in the accident. More booing and sad shaking of heads.

They go to the ad break with cheering and applause. The first advert is for a range of beauty products aimed at the grey community, but then the channel changes again.

The waitress brings me my drink, a seasonal cocktail with a festive black umbrella, decorated with a yellow smiley skull. She winks saucily with one pure white eye before moving on.

Has it really only been two years? However did we manage before, without an army of zombies to pour our drinks, appear on our quiz shows and serve hamburgers? One from Poland fixed the pipes in my bathroom and they've never been better.

They've been great for the economy - they can work eighteen hours a day and you can pay them in rat carcases. Though my neighbour isn't happy his new boss is "one of them" - he says they're taking over.

You don't see many zombie movies on TV anymore. Odd, that. There's a couple of dead funny sitcoms though. In the graveyard slot.

Ah, mother's here. She moves to my table and we kiss on the cheek, dry and musky.

"So, how's life?", she asks. My dear late mother.


  1. Nice little story. Glad my story could inspire. Thanks.

  2. Wait! Did they take enough people so the world wouldn't be overpopulated? Or are the zombies expanding into outer space real estate? I assume the tele evangelist industry went bust.

  3. @Ty Johnston:
    I must do google searches for "Teenage Zombie" more often.

    Heh. The world isn't really overpopulated right now, and there's plenty of empty space for extra people to move into. For the zombies, I can imagine antarctica and the sahara becoming enormous ghettos for reanimated corpses who don't mind the weather.

    I think the televangelists would flounder about for a few months before adjusting their message, and do business as usual. They'd still threaten us with hell, and might even reduce their obsession with homosexuality to make way for dire moral warnings about necrophillia.

    And they'd get into a major flap about a zombie running for president - promising healthcare for everyone, not just the living :-).