Captain’s been reading to me for weeks, canine and English all at once. He says it’s so I can learn English, but it’s pretty easy to ignore his voice and just listen to the canine bits. It’s a plenty nice voice but what’s the point?
We’ve been going through the books Deitmar gave Captain for Christmas. A lot of them are all right, some are boring, but we finally got to a scary one this week. Captain saved it for last cos he knows zombies scare me. Really scare me. The beginning of the book wasn’t too bad, all what ifs and science stuff.
But now we’ve reached the stories.
‘Many believe that since the Africans were all chained,’
Chained? Captain’s really patient when he reads cos he knows I don’t know all the words he uses.
Tied up with metal. If someone chains you, chew through what the chain is attached to. Humans can’t do that because they don’t have the teeth for it. ‘the first infected person must have been a member of the Portuguese crew.’
What’s a porchageezcrew?
Like the one out on the lake?
Correct. ‘If this is true, the unlucky slaves-’
Some people used to believe that they could own other people like you own a bone.
But. . .that’s silly.
Of course it is. ‘slaves would have to have watched their captors-’
The captors are the people who captured the Africans and put them in chains.
Oh! That makes sense. Captors aren’t very nice, are they?
Not usually, no. ‘devour or infect one another after their slow change into the living dead-’
Zombies! I yelp and whine a bit as I curl up to Captain’s bare feet for protection.
Yes, zombies. He pauses to shift his feet and make room for me. ‘Even worse is the awful likelihood that one of these crew members attacked and infected a chained slave. This new ghoul, in turn, bit the chained, screaming person next to him.’
Is like howling, but humans usually only scream when they’re afraid.
Oh. Oh. I shiver and Captain’s feet move a little closer around me.
‘On and on down the line, until the screams were eventually quiet and the entire hold was filled with zombies.'
Wait. Doesn't hold mean they're safe?
No, this means hold of the ship. It's the space below the deck, the inside of the boat.
Oh. I whimper a bit.
'Imagining those at the end of the line, seeing their future creeping steadily closer, was enough to conjure the worst nightmares.'
I jump as Captain snaps the book shut. Captain smells just a little amused. What? That’s it? But – they all… I end with a whimper and pin my ears back.
It’s only a story. He reaches down and gives me a quick scritch before putting the book on the night stand. Nothing to be afraid of.
I watch him disappear into the bathroom and close the door. I listen to the sink go on and off and I jump up on the bed and curl up into a tight ball as I alertly watch the door for any signs of a zombie attack.
The bathroom door opens near silently and I turn my head to look at the Captain.
. . .what are you doing?
I wag my tail hopefully and splay my ears sideways.
Captain just gives me a look. Off the bed.
Please don’t make me sleep by myself, sir. I whimper and roll over to show my belly.
We're in the same room. Off the bed, Damocles. Now.
I whimper all the way to the floor, but I know better than to ignore Captain when he growls. Once I’m off the bed, Captain mutters something in English and starts dusting the bed off. I start to work my way under the desk chair.
You don’t fit under there any more. Captain’s starting to smell exasperated.
It’s the safest place after the bed. I keep trying, making the chair rock a whole lot.
Stop that. Just sleep on the rug, that’s what it’s there for. Nothing’s going to get you.
I huff and push my way back out from under the chair, knocking it over. It slams into the floor with a crash and I yelp and scramble for Captain and hide by his legs. He stumbles and almost trips over me.
Captain snarls. Go lay down.
I drop to the floor and don’t move. Captain huffs at me and rights the chair and gets into bed before turning off the light. The room plunges into darkness. Captain shifts a few times getting comfortable and then everything goes quiet except for the wind at the window, moaning. Like a zombie. I whimper.
I’m scared! I howl back. There’s enough light that I can see Captain glaring at me. I look away, still whimpering.
If you kick me even once, it's back on the floor.
Not up here, moron, down at the foot.
'kay. Thank you, sir.
You're welcome. Now be quiet and go to sleep.
Yes, sir. I snuggle against the back of his feet. Captain sighs but doesn't say anything. I think I fall asleep before he does.
I have Captain to protect me.
[Passage derived from The Zombie Survival Guide]