Daryl came out of his coma-like unconsciousness with a splitting headache, a mouth that tasted like a cat hoarder’s kitty litter-box sweltering in the sun, and soreness in his muscles that rivaled any workout he’d ever done. What a party, he thought. He hadn’t partied like that since he had been a hot-blooded teenager! The booze, the pot and oh my God, the women! He’d never seen so many beautiful women in one place! His buddy, Ben, had the best bachelor’s party he’d ever been to. Raising himself up slowly, he stood, almost falling at the pain in his legs from his cramped position on the floor. Swaying unsteadily, he looked in the mirror, almost screaming at the sight. Those dirty bastards! They’d painted his face to look like some horrible zombie thing, probably taking pics too, so they could post them all over the internet. Not to mention, the sons of bitches used Sharpies! “Are you freaking kidding me!” he tried to scream, but found that his voice was just a croak. Too much yelling and ‘yahooing’! Michael was the last one he talked to last night, so it had to be him. Staggering into the kitchen, he grabbed a cold beer, a slab of roast beef which he promptly crammed into his mouth. The bloody juice ran down his chin soaking into his rumpled, white shirt. Gulping the rest of the beer down, he tossed the empty can in the sink and headed out the door. He needed a fresh change of clothes and a shower, and not particularly in that order. Every movement hurt as he walked and almost stumbled down the stairs to the outside door. Stepping out slowly, he shielded his eyes against the glare of the sun, wishing he had remembered to bring his sunglasses. He felt like an idiot with all the marker on his face, but he couldn’t do anything about it until he got home. Crossing Main St., he stumbled, almost falling, and came face to face with small boy of about eight. “Sorry,” he tried to say, but all that came out was a dry, mumbled moan. “Mommy! It’s a zombie! Look!” the boy tugged on his mother’s hand. Looking up from her phone, she let out a shriek, yanking her son away from the man. “Oh, my God! It’s starting! The apocalypse!” she screamed. “No!” Daryl tried to say, his raspy throat betraying him as he moved towards her. “Stay away from me, you monster!” she yelled, running with her son. People started looking in their direction once they heard the commotion. What they selectively heard was the word “Zombie” and what they saw confirmed it. “I think it’s a zombie,” he heard one woman say, and “The dead are coming to life! I knew it would happen!” Daryl heard another one yell and before he could explain or at least tell them he had a hangover, there was a mob of angry citizens gathering and pointing. “This can’t be happening,” he closed his eyes in disbelief, smacking his forehead then regretting it when “Let’s get him so he doesn’t spread the virus!” a burly man with a beanie yelled. Daryl ran. “Get him!” the burly man with the beanie said, urging on the crowd. “We can’t allow zombies in our town!” They ran after Daryl, and because of his stiff muscles, his legs could barely bend. Cursing his zombie legs, Daryl knew that if he didn’t find a place to hide, he was going to get hurt. Rounding the corner while the traffic kept the crowd at bay, he ran into an unlocked doorway and inside, only to find himself in someone’s house. Hearing the lynch-mob run by, he was about to go back out when the unmistakable sound of a gun’s hammer being cocked made his blood freeze. “Put your hands on your head, turn around slowly, and don’t make any sudden moves. Got it asshole?” a woman’s voice said. “Yeah, loud and clear,” Daryl complied, turning slowly. She was beautiful, Daryl thought as he stared at the young woman before him. Striking green eyes met his, widening in shock as she got a look at his face. “I know! I know!” he said, referring to her look of shock, “I was at a party last night, got drunk, passed out, and woke up like this. Now, apparently, I’m a zombie.”
“Some real nice friends you got there, buddy,” she said, “I take it the crowd that just ran past the window was for you?”
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I think they want to cut my head off, or shoot me in the head or something. Whatever it is that people do to zombies.” She couldn’t hold back any longer. Snorting in an unladylike fashion, she slapped her knees in a hearty guffaw. “Oh, this is priceless! This is rich! Can I take a picture?” she asked, getting out her cell phone.
“Oh, by all means, take a picture! Don’t let me be the one to spoil your social aspirations!” he said, “I’m about to get my brains blown out, and you want to take a pic?”
“Just one, ok?” she giggled. “Then we’ll wash off the clown makeup. Deal?” Daryl couldn’t resist, besides, who else could say they met a girl when they were one of the living dead? He posed, she took the pic, and then led him into the bathroom to wash his face. Finished, she examined him in the mirror and cocked her head. “Hmmm, not bad for a dead guy,” she joked. “Hey, wanna go get a cup of coffee?”
“I don’t think I’d like anything more, uhh, whoever you are.” Daryl said, holding out his hand. “My name is Rachael, Rachael Lewis,” she said, “Nice to meet you.”
“Daryl,” he said, “Daryl Donner. Shall we go?” Together the two of them headed for the nearest coffee shop arm in arm, watching the crowd of zombie hunters as they searched for their apocalypse.