“Sir, can you tell us more about the sickness?”
The man in the long white coat standing at the podium clears his throat. “Here’s what we know about it: it’s highly contagious, it spreads through the air, and there is no known cure.”
A woman in front yells out, “Is it true that people are turning into zombies?”
He stands in silence for a moment. Ignoring her, he continues, “Here’s what we don’t know: where it came from, how to stop it, or why it’s killing everyone.”
A silent breeze creeps in through an open window and slithers through the anxious crowd.
“Are we safe?” Another calls out.
“I assure you we are safe so long as we stay indoors. We have people working around the clock to put an end to this.”
A young man in the back faints.
“Hey we need a medic over here! He’s turning blue!” A panic-stricken voice pierces through the auditorium.
The man at the podium watches as someone else falls to the floor. And another. Then two more.
His eyes grow wide and he disappears from the stage as the screams of horror rise up.
He knows what this means. He’s seen it before a dozen times.
They’re all going to die.
He was supposed to be dead.
I saw them lay his casket deep into the ground and cover it with mounds of dirt mere hours ago.
My fist tightens around the flowers intended for his grave. I don't realize I'm strangling them until petals trickle down like autumn leaves.
My eyes are playing tricks. What I'm seeing can't be real.
He was supposed to be dead, but here he stands where his body is buried six feet under.
He takes a step in my direction. No footprint is left in the fresh dirt.
I'm frozen. I must be hallucinating.
His feet continue in my direction. Each step is careful and slow.
His eyes lock with mine. He's coming for me.
I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe in ghosts. I DON'T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS!
He reaches his hand out. His fingertips are inches from my face. A shiver traces down my backbone and revives me from my trance. I drop the flowers, turn around and run as fast as my legs allow.
I don't look back until I've reached the gate. He's gone.