Writing Prompt #149 — Some Secrets Are Better Left Unsaid

Prompt: It’s been over an hour since you were bit, and you still haven’t turned into a zombie. You’ve also been oddly nonchalant about the whole thing. Your group is starting to suspect you weren’t human to begin with.

“You should’ve turned by now,” Jacky says. “It’s been six hours since you were bitten.”

We sit in a cellar beneath an abandoned house. Moonlight falls in through a high busted window. Under the pale glow, the group stares at me. Greg. Henry. Jacky. All have matted hair, dirty, gaunt faces; clothes tattered and torn, a mishmash of material found on the fly.

“Maybe it’s slow acting,” I say, resting my hands in my lap. “We don’t understand it as much as we think we do.”

“True,” Greg says to Jacky. “He has a point.”

“Bullshit,” Jacky spits, keeping her voice low. “I don’t know why you’re defending him. He’s not like us.”

Henry rubs his forehead, sighing. “I mean… Yeah, we don’t understand it on a scientific level, but… We’ve been running for months now. I feel like we know the gist of how it works, right?”

“Right,” Jacky says.

Greg glances at the others, wants to nod but doesn’t, then: “Does it even matter?”

“Of course it does.”

“But, really, though?” Greg continues. “So what if he didn’t turn? Is that such a bad thing?”

“Kinda,” Henry says.

“It absolutely fucking is, Greg. We don’t know what he—it is.”

“Again, does it matter? He’s been with us for two months. We know him. Hell, he saved your life back in Rochester, Henry.” He points to Jacky. “And you, he gave you food in Dayton, even though he hardly had any.”

Henry’s gaze falls to the floor. Jacky stares aimlessly at the wall opposite of Greg. She gnaws on her bottom lip, fidgeting with her fingers.

“He can stay,” she says, flatly, facing me. “Only if he tells us what he is.”

“Jacky—”

“No, shut up Greg. We have to know who or what we have in our group. We’d be dumb as hell not to.”

All fall silent and look at me.

“So, what are you?”

“You wouldn’t believe me,” I say. “Even if I told you.”

“Try us.”

A cloud passes over the light, casting us in gloom. When the light returns, I’m standing, my hands to my sides.

Henry gasps, but Jacky and Greg remain silent.

“I’m cosmic dust, ash carelessly scattered to the stars. I’m not me; the true me’s within this catalyst.”

“Uh…” Henry says. “What?”

“How do you think this all started?” I say. “How would the powers that be balance something like me out in a place such as this?”

“What the fuck are you saying?” Jacky says. “Just tell us what the hell you are.”

“I was—I am. I was an insignificant scattering that broke through by chance and passed through, finding a catalyst who happened to be where I fell. The rest was just a result of it, a consequence.”

“Are you saying you started this whole thing?” Greg asks. “Like, the virus?”

Tears well. “Yes,” I let out. “By my accidental, celestial muddling with humanity, it triggered the events that came afterwards.”

No one speaks, then: “Are you fucking high?”

Henry laughs. Greg snickers.

I wipe my eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Are you telling us that you’re from space, and God or whoever created the virus because by fucking mistake you landed here?”

“Yeah.” Sniffle, nod.

Jacky quiets for a moment, two… “You know what—don’t tell us. I don’t care anymore.” She throws her hands up. “Just keep that shit to yourself or even the walkers will think you’re insane.”

“Oh…” I return to the floor. “Okay…” Stare at my open palms, the intricately woven, pulsing filaments running beneath the overtaken flesh. Close my hands.

“So…” Henry says. “Now what do you guys want to talk about?”

Read the previous prompt, “From One Deceased to Another

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Read more of my writing prompts here.

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