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Tag 'till we're dead

Even turning undead ain't gonna stop our game...

By Karen CavePublished 4 years ago 3 min read
Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/markusspiske-670330/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1454286">Markus Spiske</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1454286">Pixabay</a>

She always used to say that we would tag until we were dead. She shuffles along beside me, and she is starting to gain on me now, which really winds me up. Well, it would if I were still alive.

Being undead has dulled my reactions and my emotions; the feeling of frustration isn't as intense as it would normally be. The feeling is there, for sure, but it feels foggy and removed from me, as if behind frosted glass.

We move a lot slower than we used to when we were ten years old, and first started playing this crazy game. Oh, how manic and energetic life was back then. Passing each other in the school playground, or crossing the roads at the same time, screaming and oblivious to our harried parents or other people.


In school, out of school, it didn't matter. It became an obsession, then a game that spanned decades. No matter how our lives changed and evolved, those three little letters were still there, just beneath the surface, waiting to be yelled triumphantly as one of us sped off, laughing.


I used to be a lot faster than her, you see. I'd activate some kind of inner turbo boost and zip past her and her tired mum, yelling as I slapped her arm and zoomed off. She'd cry out in frustration that she was yet again 'it,' though she would also be laughing just a bit.

In the queue for the tuck shop, I’d take my eye off the ball for just a moment, whilst eyeing up those delicious candies and snacks. And then I would feel the slap on my arm, and hear the victory cry:

“TAG! You’re it!”

Now, ironically, we were both 'It,' having both been infected with the slow-moving zombie virus that had wiped out a huge percentage of the human race. Many died, and many survived - like me and Eleanor. We were both now in our seventies, and though her skin was grey and her movements sluggish, she still had the same curling entrails of wavy auburn hair. Those same huge brown eyes, just a bit glassy and unfocussed now. I still had my straight brown hair, speckled with grey. We may both be undead, but we both seem to have kept that spirit, that joy, that keeps us childlike and young.

And that is why you can still find us both roaming around, never too far from each other, despite all the other undead and the looting and the chaos which surrounds us. Many people are still alive you see, and I envy them, as much as I am capable of feeling envy now. Envy is a little greeny-grey ache in my heart which no longer beats. We could be killed at any time by an alive person, and we cannot move fast, and we can only communicate through long-winded moans and groans.

Between us though, we understand each other perfectly.

A warm wind sweeps through the mostly abandoned town, lifting up smatterings of ‘LOST’ posters and sending them soaring through the sky. Smashed shop front windows reflect the debris and the sad, abandoned belongings that once meant everything to the people who owned them.

Eleanor stops in front of the local clothes shop window and raises an arm as she turns her head to look at me. I follow to where she attempts to point, though we no longer have control of our fine motor skills. She points to a dress in the window, green and pretty, and lets out a long string of guttural utterances, which I know means that she is expressing a longing for a dress she knows she can no longer wear. It is sad, and yet it also makes me happy that she still contains enough of herself and her memories to indicate a fashion desire.

I stop next to her, coming to a shambling halt. We have our little conversation, exchanging our sounds, somehow relishing this communication and this strange friendship that we still have. We know what makes us happy. I reach out my hand towards her…


She tips back her undead head and laughs; a very strange sound to the humans who hear it. And as my sluggish body moves away in the most pathetic long-distance chase ever, Eleanor continues to laugh her zombie-laugh, and moves to catch me up.


About the Creator

Karen Cave

A mum, a friend to many and I love to explore dark themes and taboos in my

Hope you enjoy! I appreciate all likes, comments - and please share if you'd like more people to see my work.

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