Romero, still lost in self-praise wandered into the room and walked down a small, short staircase into his workshop. He nonchalantly tossed the lei that was around his neck into a nearby compost bin. Romero proudly walked toward a makeshift wall of Plexiglas that created a homemade containment cell where a car could have been parked.
Romero’s face twisted with the look of a mad genius. His eyes grew wide, his mouth became a wide, deep grin of glee. The light from the cell shone on his overjoyed face, reflecting off his thick glasses.
“I created the first breeding pair!” Romero cackled.
There, Romero stood staring into the portion of his workshop beyond the Plexiglas that had been converted into a makeshift bedroom and holding pen. Inside the transparent walled room were a couple of chairs and a bed, some garbage pails and a workbench now going unused due to its inaccessibility. Through the Plexiglas, Romero gazed at a female zombie laying on the bed, wearing a soiled, tattered sundress, her stomach large and swollen. Against all conventional wisdom, she appeared to be pregnant. A dark-skinned native woman, she would have passed for living, save for a couple of unnatural grey patches in her complexion, several open sores on her body and the wild, mindless look in her eyes. All symptoms of a zombie infection. Her level of decomposition was very minimal, just enough to know she was a zombie. Her eyes were wide and she seemed to be uncomfortable and struggling. Pacing back and forth and staring at Romero through the heavy plastic like a caged wolf was the male zombie. He was thin and gaunt, looking more like a malnourished native than a zombie. He was a little more decayed than the female, but like his companion, he could almost pass for a living person. Both walking corpses had control collars on, but the male had a twinkle of something angry in his eyes. The floor and bedding were filthy with rot, decay and blood from their feedings.
“Any day now, I will be witness to the first zombie live birth!”
Romero turned to the nearby work bench where there was a large raw steak sitting on a platter.
Romero carried the steak to a slotted opening in the wall, designed for sliding food into.
Romero slid the steak in and the male zombie immediately jumped on it, pulling it from Romero’s hands, eager to devour.
“Arrrr!” the zombie growled.
Romero enjoyed the sound of the undead devouring cold, raw meat.
The doctor grinned as he spoke into a round metal microphone built into the side of the wall.
“Now, now Cornelius, make sure you share with Zera,” Romero scolded.
* * *
A quarter mile northeast of Romero’s home, along a well-beaten sandy path through the palm forests, lived Dr. Schmidt’s son, Hugo.
Arriving after a casual stroll home, Hugo entered his abode. The same style of light illuminated the same type of heavy wooden door used on Romero’s home, undoubtedly the living quarters for the island’s junior scientists were built with the same plans. Hugo pulled his key from his pocket, unlocked the door and entered. The interior layout of the home matched Romero’s with the exception that it was completely dark and that only the light pouring in from the open door revealed a tremendous mess. Every inch of the floor was covered in a thick layer of food packages, old newspapers and nudie mags.
Huh! Romero sure rushed off… Hugo thought to himself. I know he’s working on some secret project…
Hugo flicked on the light switch and a pale fluorescent light flickered to life. The dim light revealed that the house was indeed the same layout as Romero’s, except the kitchen and dining area were piled with dirty dishes and garbage. There was a television in one corner of the dining area with a beat up old recliner in front of it, cushion stuffing and springs coming out of the rips. Hugo’s home was much dirtier and dimly lit than Romero’s was.
Hugo walked past the same workshop as the one in Romero’s home, toward an open bedroom door. The young scientist tossed his lab coat on the floor, on top of whatever garbage was lying about there, in a haphazard fashion.
Well let him chase whatever he thinks is such a breakthrough, thought Hugo. When everyone sees what I’ve done, it’ll be me they fawn over.
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