*Note: This is a work in progress and is unedited. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this little snippet*
Bella frowned as she studied Briar’s charts. She had been checking in on her every day since she had been bitten by the snake several days ago and Briar still hadn’t turned into a zombie. The virus was definitely coursing through her veins but there was no change whatsoever. Her skin was a slate grey, not the rotting ashy color that Teddy had. Briar would twitch once every twelve hours or so, but other than that she was completely still. Her chest rose and fell as though she were simply taking a nap.
“Strange,” Bella muttered as she removed her glasses and placed them on top of her head.
She took a vial of Briar’s blood and put it in the refrigerator to study more thoroughly later. It would keep the other seven vials company. The first few samples gave her nothing to work with, nothing that gave her a hint as to whether or not she was close to a cure for this horrific disease. Bella took a deep breath and rolled her shoulders. She had been doing nothing but typing her observations and look at charts all week. It was time for a break.
Bella left Briar’s examination room and went to see Teddy, her boyfriend. Bella stood before Teddy’s examination room and closed her eyes before going inside. She always performed this ‘ritual’ first. Bella pictured Teddy the way he used to be before he got bitten, before his life had been changed forever.
His golden blond hair and the way it glinted in the sunlight. His dark chocolate brown eyes. His dimpled smile.
The way he laughed. Bella took a deep steadying breath and opened her eyes. She punched in the code into the keypad and stepped into her laboratory.
“Hi, Teddy,” she whispered.
A grunt was the only thing he responded with. It was dark in the back of the room but she knew he was chained up. She was safe…for now.
“How are you?”
“D-dead…” he groaned.
“You’re not dead. You just need to rediscover your zest for life again that’s all,” Bella replied.
Teddy gave her a dry, throaty laugh.
Bella smirked. She could always get him to laugh.
The chains jangled as he moved closer to the fluorescent light of the room. Her heart always leapt to her throat no matter how many times she had seen him. It always killed her to see parts of him decaying. He had spent the past three years as a zombie. He had fewer and fewer moments where he remembered who he was. Teddy had been subjected to several of Bella’s ‘cures’ none of them worked. Some of them managed to keep his skin from completely rotting and it kept his stomach from distending. Which is what happens to zombies when they eat too much food that they can’t properly digest…because they’re dead.
Bella thought about how handsome he used to be. How they always held hands when they walked around the once lush garden. The rose he gave her when he asked her to marry him.
But that was a lifetime ago. That was before he was bitten by the old cook. She had ventured out of the compound, past the perimeter and came back even though she had been bitten. No one had suspected a thing. She bit Teddy when he was helping her in the kitchen. Bella could still hear that roar of pain and anguish as he transformed into a zombie before her very eyes. On a table just like Briar’s.
She had to beg with Neve to let her keep him in quarantine.
“No, abso-fucking-lutely not!” Neve said.
“Please. I can save him. I can use him to find a cure!”
“And if he escapes. He’ll infect us all. Then what?”
“It won’t happen.”
“That’s right, because I’m gonna chop his head off before he bites anyone,” Neve pulled out her dagger and headed to the quarantine room.
Bella used every ounce of strength to push Neve back.
“No! Neve, I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked of me. When my parents turned and you asked me to kill them. I did it. I chopped their heads off just like you asked me to. Every order you’ve ever given me I’ve followed without complaint. And I’m asking you for this one favor. I need you to trust me. I can save him. I can save everyone,” Bella begged.
“Bella….this is a monumentally bad idea. If you do this you’re on your own. I wash my hands of this.”
“He has to be chained up at all times. No exceptions.”
“Understood.” Bella nodded.
That was three years ago and countless experiments later. The only thing she had been able to do is slow down the rotting of his skin. He retained fragments of his memories of who he used to be. But other than that he was still one hundred percent a zombie.
Bella placed a chair in front of him and tossed some food to him. Rabbit’s brains.
“It’s not much but it’s all we have right now.”
Teddy reached out and popped both of them inside his mouth. Bella was used to it, so she didn’t gag the way she used to before.
© Liz DeJesus 2013