Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Doubt The Man’s Integrity

“I don’t doubt the man’s integrity, Jane, it’s just that if zombies were once living human beings, that makes them mammals. Not amphibians.”

I’m telling Mason about what Dr. Cohen said. Mason isn’t a medical doctor—he’s a PhD—but knows a lot about nature and science.

“He didn’t say zombies had actually turned in to frogs—just that they could imitate the frog’s way of suriving winter.  They go ahead and let themselves freeze and then thaw out again in spring.”

“That’s not possible for flesh and blood.”

Eve chimes in. “How are zombies possible in any way? None of it’s logical, Mason. How does a human rise from the dead?”

“And it’s not just humans,” I say. “There was a coyote near here that looked like a zombie, too.”

“Why are there so many in your region, did Cohen say anything about that?” Mason asks. “In the part of Brazil we were in, there weren’t any.”

“This is not just my region anymore,” I remind Mason. “It’s yours again, too.”

He ignores this. I know he doesn’t love that they’ve moved back to the icy cold, zombie-laden Midwest. He’s not in a hurry to claim this as home.

“At least we don’t have coastal flooding,” I say. “No hurricanes. Precious few earthquakes.”

“There’s plenty of fresh water.” Eve gestures toward Lake Michigan, as if showing it to Mason for the first time. She sounds like a real estate agent trying to make a sale.

“And no recent outbreaks of pestilence!” Mason imitates her tone of cheerful salesmanship.

We share a laugh, though it’s laced with the grim undertone of survivors. We start to clear the breakfast table. It’s a few minutes later when I hear Mason over by the sink muttering, possibly to Eve and me but more likely to himself.  “But I still don’t get the goddamned zombies.”

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.