Once Upon a Time – Chap. 19.1


Seth waved goodbye to the departing metal ship as it continued its low-flying escape and disappeared over a bend of trees in the nearby forest. Despite knowing none of its passengers could see his arm swaying back and forth, issuing some form of farewell seemed the natural thing to do. After all, he wasn’t entirely certain he would truly reunite with his traveling companions; the possibilities of someone chopping his head off or him decomposing too much to continue onward were not unlikely. Assuming he did meet up with them again, it would not be particularly soon. Zombies were not known to be adept at catching up to anyone quickly, regardless of whether they were friends or potential food.

Another thing zombies were not known for was waving goodbye, to anyone or anything. As Seth removed the cloak to move about more freely in his regular clothes underneath, he remembered zombies normally didn’t concern themselves with comfort either. He suspected his actions caused confusion among the crowd of zombies he stood in the middle of when the focus of their undying (or in this case, undead) attention suddenly became him. Suspicion of not being understood to also be a zombie was confirmed when he felt the sensation, but thankfully not the actual pain, of someone chomping into his left arm. Seth glanced down and saw a mouth-sized area of his forearm and shirt missing, proving that it may have been a better idea to leave the cloak on. His attacker turned out to the fallen Keeper twin and the man spit the chunk he’d taken out, looking rather befuddled to find his meal just as dead as he was.

Sorry to disappoint you, friend,” said Seth, giving a consoling pat on the zombie Keeper’s shoulder and tossing the cloak over his own. Since it was easier now for everyone to now see that he looked like a zombie, acceptance from his putrid contemporaries came quickly even as he pushed his way through them toward the stairway leading out. This was not surprising since he smelled and moved every bit like a zombie as well.

Seth was not, however, expecting to also gain leadership status. When he paused briefly just to eye the cowardly sea monster’s pool one last time and then began shuffling forward again, he realized the group did also. He stopped, this time more abruptly just to test his theory and found the zombies were in fact attempting a choreographed retreat with him. A couple of them caught unprepared for the sudden halt stumbled a few steps ahead before turning and looking to him like soldiers waiting for orders from a commanding officer.

Um, no.” Seth shook his head at the crowd. “You can’t follow me.” Having been a more typical zombie before the self-awareness that apparently came with Sylvia’s spell, he understood their actions. Zombies by their very nature bore predisposition toward a mob mentality, traveling in large herds whenever possible. Whichever zombie or zombies appeared to have the most knowledge of where to find food (aka, living things) naturally became the herd’s head. Seth, by being the only one in the room to move with any sort of driven purpose, obviously seemed to be the one who knew where the next meal might be; from a zombie standpoint, why else would anyone be in such a hurry to get somewhere? Seth was certain, however, that his new friends would not play well with the ones he was trying to return to.


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