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The Disposition of Dead Flesh

The disposition of dead flesh


Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

I often find myself pondering dead flesh. No, it’s not some weird fetish and I’m not crazy. You could say it’s a matter of absolute necessity but we’ll get to that later. Over a very short period of time, I have drawn several conclusions regarding dead flesh. These conclusions forced me to discard the movie depictions of dead flesh and accept the real thing.

Here they are:

Dead flesh is, first and foremost, nothing more than meat that is no longer infused with the functioning elements of life. Without a beating heart, blood flow comes to a halt. It stills, cools and begins to settle in the extremities eventually causing reddish-purple discoloration of the skin.

Though it takes a body some years to completely decompose, signs of degeneration are quite apparent within hours and days after death such as the process of liquefaction that reduces your insides into foul gas resulting in massive bloating; the skin will also blister and slip. As we all know, gas must be released and with dead flesh once that happens, the putrid internal fluids are also released, left to run and pool where they may. Even before it gets to that point, the flesh has already served as a smorgasbord for millions of maggots; I could go on, but I won’t.

Those are just some of the technical details but the bottom line is that dead flesh is nothing short of disgusting. It’s spongy, rotten and grossly soft like an apple with a brown spot that breaks open to reveal mush when you press it with your finger. It’s revoltingly moist and slimy and stinks of unearthed graves.

I know all of this firsthand. As I stated before, I’m neither a fetishist nor crazy, but I am trapped in my boarded up home now surrounded by an impossibly huge zombie horde. Unaware of current events, I was caught off-guard and failed to prepare. Two found their way in through my open backdoor but I managed to dispense them rather easily. However, with no fortifications, my home was vulnerable and not likely to prevent the throng of dead that pressed against every door and window from eventually finding their way inside.

I am sitting in a corner of my living room with my 9 millimeter in hand and what’s left of my bullets on the floor beside me. The bodies of the two zombies I killed lie no more than 3 feet away.

I can see their bruised and necrotic skin and the damp places in their clothing where bodily fluids were leaking through. I saw the opening in their heads where the bullets had torn through and the decayed sludge that used to be their brains. One was directly facing me, his mouth open in a grimace, revealing broken and bloody teeth. His arm was outstretched as though reaching for me; rotted tissue slid away to reveal skeletal bone.

I glanced down and saw viscous ooze shaped like fingerprints where I had been grabbed earlier. I could still hear the groaning as they entered; their hisses of hunger, or maybe anger, at being dead. Their reeking stench lingers in the air, so overpowering, I can taste it. It invades my nostrils and coats my tongue causing my stomach to clench as I fight back the acid that burns its’ way into my throat.

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There’s a loud crash as the sheer weight of the horde forces the front door open and the dead pour in. The stages of decay varied from the freshly dead to those gone weeks before. Some walked, others shambled their limbs twisted and, in some cases, broken. Tattered flesh and rancid slurry trailed behind them leaving stinking pools of brown muck on my white tiled floor.

I watched them approach. They were no longer living yet whatever it was that drove them could be seen beyond the veil of undead flesh. It was like a battery that carried a perverse charge creating an army of bitter and misshapen creatures whose only thought was to devour the flesh of whatever they encountered.

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That would be me if I allowed it; but that was not the plan. I didn’t have enough bullets to cut down the advancing mass but then I only needed one to ensure I wouldn’t end up like them.

I raised the gun and placed it against my eye socket; I couldn’t be 100% sure this would work but I had read once that this was a better place to fire a lethal shot than under the chin. As the first zombie reached for me, its’ fingertips grazing my cheek, I pulled the trigger.

I no longer need to contemplate dead flesh; I now understand it far better than I ever have.

It’s been about two weeks since the gun misfired and my living flesh became tasty tidbits for the horde in my living room. They didn’t eat me down to the bone, which I think would have been preferable, but left enough for me to be resurrected as one of them.

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I started out as meat, now I walked with the dead in search of meat.

I have little control over my legs so my gait is awkward and shambling. I reek to high heaven and the uncomfortable bloating has caused my eyes to protrude from their sockets. My skin, what’s left of it, has already begun to blister and slides off every time I come into contact with something. It is far from a comfortable existence.

I have learned that the awful moaning and groaning that issues from decayed vocal cords has less to do with the inability to speak but everything to do with the intense pain involved in the process of decomposition. No one living could know the agony of feeling every organ and cell dissolve into a fetid soup that sloshes around inside your slowly stretching skin. Nor could they know the anguished torment as those same fluids leak through widening fissures in that same skin. Imagine for a moment, if you can, the tortured feeling of rotting ligaments and tendons that elongate until they finally give way and the body part they once held in place either dangles from a strand of sinew or just falls off completely.

A zombie’s existence is nothing but excruciating pain that can only be temporarily numbed through the consumption of live flesh and that, ladies and gentleman, is the true disposition of dead flesh.

Credit: Cassandra V. Wyatt

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