Melinda vomited over the iron railing, only stopping when nothing more would come up. Still shaking from the aftermath, she gripped the railing and looked anywhere but at the body.
That’s when she noticed her street. There were cars all up and down the road, even though it was morning and everyone should be at work, and some of the doors to other houses were wide open. Amanda, the neighbor who lived across the street, had her front door closed but there was blood all over the garage door in large streaks.
When Melinda finally let her eyes stop here and there, she saw other bodies on the ground, some of them her neighbors. Slowly other details flooded in, like the fact that overnight all the grass on the lawns had grown about a foot high and that Ted’s prize roses had bloomed but hadn’t been trimmed the way he liked them.
There was also the silence, the utter silence that she’d never heard before on this street...
And then this thing came around the corner, this thing that should be dead, that oh God was somehow still moving, and then it moaned and raised a hand in her direction.
She screamed, ran inside, and shut and locked the door behind her.
She stayed like that for a few minutes, her hand still on the doorknob, panting. Oh God Oh God Oh God.
Then she went into her living room, curled up on the couch, and eventually fell asleep.
When Melinda woke up she was on the couch, even though she hadn’t remembered moving there during the night. It was also definitely past morning; the clock said it was midday. She looked down and realized that she was already dressed in a pink shirt and white capris. That was odd.
Shrugging, she went to the bathroom, undressed and got on the scale. Oh my God! She’d lost five pounds!
She started crying she was so happy. Oh God, she’d finally made it! Anthony would be so happy! He would be so proud that he was going out tonight with a thin, hot chick!
Squealing, she went and got her camera and took tons of pictures of evidence. She decided to celebrate. She would go to SuperMart first (get a small, small snack as a reward) and then go shopping.
She couldn’t wait to call Crystal and tell her the good news! Maybe they could get together for lunch!
A little while later, she realized she was sitting on the white laminate floor of SuperMart’s frozen food section. God, she couldn’t remember how she’d gotten here. But she just giggled to herself and figured it was time to stop drinking so much – she was having way too many blackouts lately.
“What are you laughing about girl?” Crystal asked.
It was at that point that she realized she was on the phone, the lovely black phone resting in her hand like a good calorie-free treat.
“Nothing, girl. Just thinking I should slow down on the drinking.”
“Oh, but what about Friday night? I thought you wanted to go out and celebrate? Ooh – I have this great little black dress to wear – ”
She let Crystal talk, resting her back against one of the glass doors. She was surrounded by food. There were chocolate cupcakes, powdered donuts, cookie dough, nacho chips... dear God, not again. Not another blackout caused by food instead of drinking. She put her hand against her head, and then remembered the five pounds. She grinned, put the phone in the crook of her neck, and started tugging open the box of donuts.
“Hmmm – hmmm,” she said, idly wondering when the clerks from SuperMart where going to find her and scowl.
She heard something just then, and looked up expecting a frowning teenager, when instead she saw two little girls at the end of the aisle just gaping at her.
“Hold on Crystal,” she put the donuts down and slipped the phone into her hand. “You two girls go one and find your momma,” she slipped slipped the phone back into its place and bit into a donut, letting the powdery, sugary goodness coat her tongue. “Hmmm mmmm,” she said into the phone.
God, she could swear she’d forgotten something from this morning.