When I decided to write a short story every week, I naively assumed that it would be easy due to the immense capacity of my imagination. However, that quickly turned out to be bollocks. At times all my imagination can conjure up is an urge to drink beer and take up some kind of narcotic, just to help the days go by. Other times all I can think of is cheese. I like cheese, and that helps the days go by just as well.
So, as I arrive at my 6th short story of this indefinitely timed challenge, I stumble across the obstacle of not knowing what it is I intend to write about. I normally have an idea, even if it’s just the essence of one, and I can stretch that idea out to fill 500 words. After all, I bullshit for a living – I can turn a tiny idea into pretty much any media you can name. But today I have not even an inkling of an idea. Not even a gram of idea sugar. Not even a whiff of an idea on the wind.
In such a situation there’s only one thing for it – I’ll go back to an idea I wrote down previously and left there to die. I’ll dig up its corpse and bring it back to life using creative necromancy. I’ll shut up and get on with it, shall I?
The idea was written down sometime last year, and it was all about a man I see on the way to work every morning. This man is the Zombie Hunter, and this is his tale.
I kill zombies in my Parka.
The next stop is mine, and he’s there again. His hood pulled up, his arms straight by his side, and his legs ready to go. He stands by the door alert, prepared, folding up his notes and putting them in his inside jacket pocket. He reads those notes every morning, page after page of laminated A4 that he scans intently for his entire journey. I’ve never seen what he’s reading, but I know he’s seen me watching him. He sees me in the reflection of his glasses, thick rimmed and round, sitting at the end of his nose and showing my face quite clearly in the morning light. I know he’s seen me looking, and I know now that I must be more careful.
Today I’ve done my best not to look, not to inspect too closely what I do not understand. He stands by my side and I feel his presence growing tense, eager to get out the door and get to work. While I cling to the door of the shaking carriage, he remains unmoved by bump or turn. He stands there steady, sure of himself, sure of what he must go out and do.
To the untrained eye he looks like he poses no threat, but both he and I know that a threat is all he is. His style is not unassuming by coincidence – it’s awkward by design, tricking passers by into not fearing him. His Parka jacket aside, nothing else he owns fits. His suit trousers are too short and his bright, white socks too long. His polished shoes seem too big for his feet, while his rucksack sits up far too high on his ruler straight back.
All in all he looks like nothing more than a stereotype, an IT nerd who spends all day in his office writing code and dismissing other’s problems as child’s play, too mundane to matter to him.
You’d never suspect him of killing the undead.
But ever since the first time I saw him I knew. Ever since I followed his shuffling walk to work, ever since I overheard him speaking the secret language on his phone, ever since I caught the smell of death on his shirt.
It’s obvious to me that now, by my side, is no ordinary man. Now, by my side, is a hero. Nothing fits him, but then he was never meant to fit in this world.
He was raised by the dead, and now he’s sending them all back home.