Zombelgangers // Marc Horne

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Everyone had expected zombies and in a way were looking forward to it. After all of that TV about it,  people just sort of felt it was coming and they had had time to look at the pros as well as the cons. Caving in your neighbor’s skull with a shovel… and it was All Cool.  That had appeal. But the plague of weaponized people that came was much worse because you couldn’t kill them. Because they were you.

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First incident was a man who woke up in bed with his own Doppelganger. Freaked out, lost his shit, homo anxiety. Then he recognized a droopy mole on the belly and then a face on this other head. But of course he didn’t believe he was really seeing a clone of his own face so he took a swing at it. And the face caved in like melon rinds, and a pound of blood and maggots fell out of it and then both the man and his dupe dropped dead on the floor.

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There were more and more of them popping up over time, but really slowly. Slowly enough that it just sounded like bullshit, more and more people woke up with a doppelganger or found one curled up next to the fridge. Always the fridge. Humming.

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All they really did those was freak people out and piss people off. Like they would sit at your breakfast table with you and your girlfriend and then when you started talking they would bay like a seal. Their eyes would be terrified and they would bark and bark and their faces would thrash around from you to her to you to her and you’d think Shit this thing is going to try and fuck my girlfriend and you would fight and he’d bite your face and he was trying to eat your eyes so you would choke him and then all of a sudden his  belly would unzip from his navel to his throat and mouldy eels would fall on you and burn you like acid till you died.

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But if you left them alone they would never actually do anything that bad. Just piss you off. Ruin your life. But a spouse could be like that too, right? And you didn’t round spouses up and firebomb them or anything like that.

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So then eventually there are at least a million of these things, And no one ever sees one being born. Anuses are endlessly probed (since both men and women are having them) and nothing is found. Crazy old-time scientists who thought that rats came from dirty garments and fruitflies formed from fruit are suddenly reexamined in a new light. Maybe there was something worth looking at, there? Maybe lots of things are not quite what they seemed?

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And then suddenly, ten years later. Planet burned out. Wars beyond measure. Everyone hungry. The winning army in the great battle to find living room for their doppelgangers successfully gets all of them doppelgangers and locks them up behind a concrete wall made of the planet’s last concrete and goes back to something like the normal life they knew before the first doppelganger.

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They bark and bay behind the wall, and yes lots of people do just suddenly fall dead and it’s thought to be because of doppelganger death.

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But what can you do? It was always kind of like this.

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Then people go to bed. And everyone almost every night has a bad dream about waking up with a new doppelganger in place.

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But it never happens. You only get one doppelganger per life.

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Babies are watched from birth and if they get a baby doppelganger it’s brought up at an orphanage near the wall, waiting until it is old enough to be ejected.

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Everyone feels very lonely. Everyone sees strange and unfamiliar faces around them every day and the worst thing is that it feels right. Everyone takes lots of selfies, which had at one point been explored as a possible cause for the plague.

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Then one night it goes quiet. Not just outside in the streets  but also actually within the people of the world. Everyone feels that something is wrong, something has been taken.

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It is reported soon after that all of the doppelgangers have gone. Half the world gone, just as they came, without making any sense.

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With so much nonsense suddenly gone from the world, the regular people become a lot more aware of how pointless their own lives are, how they have formed from a rotten banana planet.

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This is as close as humans can ever get to learning something about life.

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