The Good was the worst. The Bad was worthless. The Zombie, at least, was willing.
Life is so energy intensive. Though the Zombie held few thoughts in its putrefying head, this one stuck as flies buzzed feverishly around, attracted by the kill on the street. The Good had done it. Savagely struck down the child and then walked on fingering his rosary beads as if he’d just blessed the poor little soul.
The Bad, as always, looked away.
The Zombie appreciated the flies. No waste there. Committed to the carnage. Fully alive. The Zombie didn’t believe that of its companions. Self-avowed and twice saved, the Good spouted a doctrine of divine disinterest. A filcher and fraud, the Bad lacked common decency. Together, they were very modern.
The three were now bound together by the times. End times. It would not last. Nothing human could, but the Zombie had just enough cognition left to imagine a peaceful denouement for a deserving few. Like the broken child at its feet.
For that, the Good would pay, the Bad would collect, the Zombie would witness.
The streets were empty. Emptier when deadened creatures such as they passed through. The Good stopped at an intersection. He stared down the cross lane lit by the uncontested blaze of the low sun. He never checked to see if the Bad was with him, but he always waited for the Zombie, his expression unreadable until he registered the child in its arms.
An almost smile.
“Sick. Just sick,” the Bad spat. “Not right.”
“Our angel is always right. Our angel understands the new ways better than a reprobate like you ever will.” The Good headed straight into the fallen sun.
The Zombie felt little, but the dead-on radiance of the sun flecked its eyes with colors, shapes, images. Life. Energy. Intensity. The child in its arms became something else entirely. A memory. A little girl on a porch. A peaceful sunset. A world not yet unmade
Darkness slowly snuffed out the last ember of day and still the Zombie held a shiver, a long-ago thrill of its promise. The Good would soon be preaching to the stars. The Bad would disappear to sate his appetites. The Zombie would cleave to the child and remember more. More than the Good or the Bad ever dared.
Deep in the night, the Zombie with child, watched the heavens and was watched. The Bad lurked nearby, his pockets full of grievances. The Good approached.
“Is it foretold, angel?” Only the glint of his upturned eyes visible. “Judgment should be swift.”
Faint lines appeared between the stars. More and more. A web, a net, forming above them, as it had in the beginning of the end times. The child kicked in the Zombie’s loosening arms.
“Another offering?” the Good asked of his angel.
The Zombie was more than willing. It was wilful.
The child roared.
Life does not ask permission.