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Letting Go

For Round 8 of our contest, we asked you to send us original works of fiction that begin with this sentence: "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door." Our winner was "Rainy Wedding."

She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door. She cast her gaze upon the scene outside the window; the rhythmic swaying of the zombies transfixed her. As she watched, their number seemed to grow. They were an expanding mass of unfocused aggression.

She feared their arrival, but found herself lost among the individual characteristics contained within the lifeless hoard. Each member of the undead congregation seemed to retain features that told a little story about who they had been in life.

There was a zombie dressed to play tennis; another was a policeman in uniform. One was balding, but clearly favored a "comb over" hairstyle; another had beautiful, shiny, long black hair. The one with the lovely hair seemed to be smiling, a death grimace really. She wondered what lay beyond that disturbing grin.

Who had these zombies been? What had brought them to this disturbing place? Were they gone completely, or were they still inside their earthly containers, trapped by fate?

She turned away from the frightening view the window held and back to the hospital bed. Her friend, lying comatose in the bed, made her ask many of the same questions. Was he there, or had he already departed? Had he been allowed to move on, or was he trapped? Was it her need that was holding him here? Could she bring herself to let him go, to let him move on? Are there really zombies outside? She returned to the window, yes, zombies, closer now. Why do zombies always moan? Do they always have to sound so dead and creepy; can't they control that?

Zombie moans, punctuated by the respirator sounds made for a strange orchestration to what she figured would be the final music of her life. She hugged her friend, thanked him for all the terrific memories and stepped away from the bed. She found herself hoping that she would be a distinctive zombie, one with good hair or the ability to moan on key at the very least.

The zombies were in the hall now, moaning and unfocused, yet somehow able to find their target. Moaning and approaching. She unplugged the life support machine from her friend and waited.