Terry screamed and bled out all over the carpeted floor, and Paulence and Jennda bickered.
Aside from the blood-thirsty, flesh-craving ghouls now eager to force their way into their home, it had been an otherwise boring Sunday night at home up until just a few moments ago. Jennda preoccupied herself for most of the day by arguing with strangers on the internet about the racist connotations of ordering a burrito platter from a burger joint owned by a sweet Korean couple. Paulence, meanwhile, once more pleasured himself with a flaccid attempt at something resembling a novel, which mostly amounted to several social media posts about writing his novel rather than actually writing any of it. And it wasn’t until they got around to arguing about what to order out for dinner that they finally noticed their neighbor, Terry, had broken into their home, barricaded their door, and taken to dying and bleeding profusely all over their carpet.
“Terry!” Jennda huffed. “You know we just had the carpet cleaned last summer!”
“Sorry,” Terry coughed through a mouthful of blood and viscera. “I forgot.”
“I hope you plan on paying for another cleaning,” Paulence said.
“Actually,” Terry died, “that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
Jennda clapped her feet and laughed. “You hear that? He wants to talk about it!”
“I’m sorry, Terry,” Paulence said. “But you’re bleeding all over our carpet. I really hope you don’t think you can convince us to pay for your mess.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Terry said with a gentle wave of – and splattering of blood from – what used to be his hand. “No, I wanted to warn you about all the zombies.”
“Is that what those are?” Paulence replied, looking out at the horde looking in from the living room window.
“I thought it was the Mormons again,” Jennda added.
“It’s zombies, I’m afraid.”
“How can this night get any worse?”
“I think I’m dying,” Terry replied.
“Don’t be stupid, you stupid, stupid man,” Paulence snipped. “You’re not dying.”
“No, you’re slowly turning into one of the undead.”
“I think maybe I’d rather die, if it’s all the same to you.”
“All the same?” Jennda spat, then spat a second time on Terry. “We respect the sanctity of life in this house, Terry.”
“That’s right. We won’t kill you until you’re already good and dead.”
“Undead,” Terry corrected.
“For God’s sake, shut up, Terry,” Jennda said, spitting yet again.
“You ought to be after suggesting such an awful thing,” Paulence continued. “There’s no need for such needless suffering and violence.”
“I’m suffering rather bad, to be honest.”
“Perhaps. But have you even stopped to think about how much worse Jennda and I would feel if we were forced to help you suicide yourself?”
“I’m sorry, guys. It won’t happen again, I swear.”
“I should hope not.”
And it was about that time that Jennda noticed she had been bitten sometime earlier by Mrs. Cervix from across the hall. “Uh-oh,” she uh-oh’ed.
Paulence groaned. “I’ll go get the gun.”
“Why does she get to be mercifully put down?”
“My body, my choice,” Jennda recited.
“First you bleed all over our carpets, and now you act like a misogynistic ass to my wife as she needlessly suffers a fate worse than death? You really are a selfish bastard, Terry.”
“No wonder your wife left you.”
“She didn’t leave me – she was the one who bit me.”
“And where is she now?”
“How should I know? She’s a zombie.”
Jennda scoffed. “A woman liberates herself from an abusive, ignorant piece of shit like you, and the only thing you can be assed to do is start with the name-calling!”
“I really think it’s time you left, Terry,” Paulence firmly, but politely suggested. “Terry?”
Several minutes of deathly cold silence and Paulence repeating Terry’s name until it stopped making any sense later, Jennda bothered to notice the unresponsive Terry was, in fact, dead. “I think he’s dead.”
“Better go get the gun, then.”