Braineating One:

Sweet Sixteen of the Dead

There are two types of people in this world: those who dream about happiness and those who fight for it. If I were to be put in one of those categories, I'd choose the third: those who don't give a shit.

How would you call a world where you could do whatever you want? Go scuba diving on aquariums. Pee on elevators. Lower the price of a soda at the movies because, damn it, those things are expensive as heck and I almost died twice via choking on dry popcorn.

Zombies are excellent stylists, if you ask me. They dance the Moonwalk like professionals, make the best cotton candy and even rap faster than Eminem. There are no rules. There are no limits. It is a world that has already ended, where having a clan of killer llamas is nothing out of the common.

And a world that, just a day ago, used to be perfectly normal.

Well, normal is kind of subjective.

I used to be an everyday teenager, wanted by every boy in school. I was a top-notch athlete, with a GPA that gave me no worry and a boyfriend that made Leon Kennedy look hideous. In my dreams.

The Invasion started the way every zombie apocalypse has done, does and will do for the rest of human history. Something, someone messes up. The dead begin to rise. People panic. Buildings catch fire and the sky becomes red for absolutely no reason. Need I explain more?

As for me, I was a happy kid, yes. Merry with my socially dead life, limiting my existence to trolling people over the internet and pretending I was edgy. Wishing, in vain, that the day I would crawl out my pathetic shell would come. I decided, thus, to change once and for all the day I became sixteen. Heck, maybe I'd even learn to drive without trying to run over people (mind you, I'm not a sociopath. One could only wish.)

February twenty-fifth came earlier than expected.

I practically skipped the way back from school that day, singing and waving my hands in the air the way The Man Who Wanted to Fly did. And I was getting creepy looks, but I didn't care. This was my day. THE day. When my empty house would for once a year be crowded, for I had planned a gigantic party. I even had a plan to make people come. I told them there was Wi-Fi.

And just maybe, with luck, I would even get the item I'd been lusting for after a long time, a shiny, multicolor giant pencil. Or just a family afternoon. I would be more than fine with that. A day with my father, mother and sister in the same room for more than three seconds was indeed a rarity. I still maintained high hopes.

Then it came.

First it started with a sharp, horrified cry, the kind someone makes after reading a sex scene from Fifty Shades of Grey. Then, others joined, right behind me. I stopped skipping the moment a woman practically lost herself right in front of me, so scared she looked as inch before collapsing. Unnerved, I glanced at my shoulders, expecting the worse. I heard them yelling for their lives, and when I saw why, my whole body froze for a moment.

"JUSTIN BIEBER!" and then I ran like crazy.

It wasn't until I reached my front door that I realized the abnormality of the situation. However, I wouldn't let that small drawback affect my day. I bit back a grin. Sure they'd all be inside, waiting for me, the family I never saw reunited once again. There is always a reason for birthdays to be happy. Mine is getting together with a father that is always travelling and a mother who's always off at work. Even my sister, locked into her room watching Kirby porn, though of course she pays me to deny that fact. And that pencil… mom knew how much I wanted that thing. Who knew? I didn't bother hiding my smile now.

With a rather dramatic pause, I opened the door, eyes closed. Silence. They were there.


Such reaction was to be expected, but a dozen seconds passed and the silence still reigned. I kept my green eyes shut in hope the life server lagged as it always seemed to do when making a line, but of course, there was no such luck. Hey had forgotten about my birthday. That was all I could think. Of course. I finally dared open my eyes just to glare at the world, saw the empty room I expected.

And a body at the floor.

I stared at it blankly. Studied it. Proved true the theory of relativity. Then I kicked it, testing what material it was made of. Whatever it was, it was awfully realistic.


And it even had special effects. Could my birthday present be this thing? Hopefully it could learn tricks or something. I kicked it again, the lump at my throat beginning to recede already. If this… thing… lay here, it meant someone had to put it beforehand. They probably hid, trying to scare me. I had seen the worst a few minutes before, though, and grinned in triumph at frustrating their plan.


My smug smirk thinned the moment it clasped my ankle with impossibly human fingers. Gray fingers. I yelped and tried to fight it away, shaking my leg furiously. "Bad boy!" I scolded, "Sit! Roll! Play dead!" the grasp became stronger by the second, "Ow! But don't kill my leg in the process!"

With a swift motion, my free foot smashed the top of its head. The thing released me. Under the room's dim light, I had not been able to distinguish my birthday present's features, but now I did. Red hair fell down its skinny frame, and it wore an X-rated Kirby shirt. It looked disturbingly close to my sister. This had to be a joke. A glitch. A miscalculation of the universe. All at once. None of them.

"Grrrgh!" it Grrrghed, and as I yelled bloody murder upon watching it lunge at me I realized this thing was maybe not my birthday present. It slashed at me, narrowly missing my throat before jumping headfirst onto my chest, jaw wide open, as if trying to rip me open. Blood, I noticed, poured in streams from its head. I ducked underneath, hearing it crash outside the door. Naturally, I shut it and decided to be mature and think the situation through. Since it was too much effort, I ran screaming like a baby to my room.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! A sign read from the hallway's wall. I glanced at it, puzzled, for a moment.




I stopped. These signs, they were everywhere. Balloons flooded the place, I noticed upon clicking the lights on. A cake box at the dining table. Pizza and soda, my favorite combination. A giant gift box hidden behind the wall leading back to the principal room. I crouched and took the nearest balloon, glancing at the side. My hands had begun to shake and I felt the blood drain from my face. "Mom? Dad? Ellie?"

Of course, I expected nothing but silence. Because other than the typical party decoration, there was blood all over the room.



There was this really disturbing quality about that groan. Like if a meatball was stuck into the emitter's throat. So when footsteps echoed down the stairs and the groan became stronger, soon seconded, my heart was an inch away from having an unnecessarily gory explosion.


That came from outside the door. A pounding followed, as if my non-present wanted to break into the door.

I pretended not to be bloody freaked out. I pretended not to have a full bladder. I pretended not to recognize the wild curls of my mother onto a woman whose skin was the color of a tomb, as she stepped down the stairs and onto the hallway, heading to me. Her arms were extended, as if trying to reach something, her hands like claws.

"Mom?" I called out, backing away, "stop it. You'll make me break my eight-year old record of not peeing myself."

She suddenly cracked her jaw open before snapping it shut. The door back at the principal room was already cracking. The terror of watching Bieber back then seemed small right now. Fuck this. When the woman suddenly lunged at me, I spun around and suddenly stopped her with what I saw first:

1) A gun. Yeah, at the table. My family's metal.

2) A pocket knife. I'm not good at close range.

3) Playboy magazine. The fuck?

4) The giant gift box.

I chose the smartest option and smacked the box at her right before her mouth reached my tender neck. When she didn't even flinch, I began slamming in onto her repeatedly, unable to stop her otherwise.

"Get away!" I yelled, "freaking bloody hell I should've chosen the gun!"

Then the door cracked open, just to make the situation nicer. The other thing resembling my sister came running straight at my direction, but with my current battle it was almost impossible to dodge. So I did what first came to my mind. When she came close enough, I suddenly leaped away and let the two things crash onto each other. God, weren't they stupid.

But then they came at me again. It was almost impossible to brush past them in the narrow hallway, and the table where the fight items were was already too far to reach. I held the tattered box tightly, gulping, then felt something hard and cylindrical beneath. I slipped it out as the two came to me. A pencil. A huge freaking pencil.

I thrust it forward right as the smaller thing opened its jaws. The pencil was sharp enough to pierce right onto her face. I suddenly yanked it away, disgusted, as the first thing fell. Then the larger one rushed and I had to close my eyes this time, hearing the smashing sound.

My pencil felt heavy. I opened my eyes, watching something I should never have watched. I pulled my weapon away, letting the two bodies rest onto the floor, limp, bloody. I didn't want to stay here anymore. Some strange feeling was starting to rise up my throat. Why should I worry? I began to bottle everything up with the best solution to just about everything: denial.

I found myself out my house. When had I even walked out? Those throaty groans echoed at the distance. I laughed humorlessly, feeling unusually cold. Denial was not working. My best shield against life fell quicker than Wall Maria. Thus I realized, came to accept, that, to put it nicely, the world had crapped up. Several neighbors whose faces I vaguely recognized fled from the same gray creature resembling my family. The city, my home, my hair, everything was a wreck.

The world ended the day I became sixteen.

Hah. Talk about a new beginning. I couldn't laugh this time.

As I walked onto the chaotic streets beyond what had been my home for sixteen years, I came across a small notepad. It lay right in the middle of nowhere. I bent down, picked it up, and wrote the first thing I came up with, in the middle of a street where the gray beings chased people and Bieber lit them up with flamethrowers.

TIP 1: In a zombie apocalypse, never, EVER, kill a zombie with a giant pencil.

I forced myself to grin. Who didn't, anyway? Among the drying blood on the pencil, I suddenly noticed this small message. Written in silver, it read: For you, darling. Because the smallest gifts show the biggest emotions.

From mother. I turned to the last page on the notepad and added, as though I would be able to show it to her later, the one thing I seldom said:

Thank you, mum.