There was an alley between the buildings across the street from the park where all the fuss was happening. My body made a slow, but steady, straight line for that opening. It seemed to know where to hide.
An expensive car nearly ran me over as I jaywalked. I wish he’d hit me. I imagine a fancy car plowing through an intersection at two times the speed limit would be enough to take me out all the way. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t.
My legs moved, and I thought about the consequences of an accident that I “lived” through. On the bright side, they’d call the police, who would appear and make sure I died. That was also the negative aspect of the situation. I was afraid of burning to death and being aware of it.
When I stopped that train of thought, I looked out through my eyes and discovered I’d made my way into the alley. That was another aspect of my second life that I was only just getting used to. I could take my attention away from what my body was doing, and it would just keep going.
That’s a bad description.
Imagine being able to immerse yourself in what you’re imagining, to the degree you don’t experience anything other than that fantasy, while your body operates on autopilot. That’s how I stay relatively sane, most of the time. This trick doesn’t work when the body is hunting and feeding. I can’t flee from that.
Feeding becomes the whole universe, and I’ve seen too much of it.
I saw the trouble down at the end of the alley, where it turns off to the right like an L. Punks were beating someone up, and that someone wasn’t really fighting back as much as simply trying to get away. It was a sure sign that the young people were engaging in the latest method of proving their manhood: beating up zombies.
Teenagers who weren’t out drinking, getting laid, or both, figured out that baiting zombies was the next best thing to Fight Club. They can beat us “to death” and we don’t fight back; we’re passive unless we’re hunting and feeding.
The technique is simple. Someone buys a vial of Hollow off a dealer, and they take it to a secluded place. Once there, they break it, and wait. Eventually, a zombie will show up, and pounce on the spilled drug. As soon as it is finished, the kids jump it and kick the shit out of it.
Sometimes the more aggressive gangs will do the reanimated person a favor and decapitate him.
I’ve also seen a few Zombangings go wrong. One of the gang has a secret Hollow problem, and the zombie attacks him. You can imagine how the other kids might try to protect their friend, if they don’t run for their lives. They can’t deal with a killing machine who doesn’t care about anything except food.
Inevitably, anyone who doesn’t run away ends up dead.
That night in the alley, it didn’t look like that would be the outcome. The other zombie wasn’t doing anything other than rolling with the punches and kicks. Better for the gang.
My body stood there, as if it was witnessing the event, but disinclined to get involved. For myself, I hoped the kids wouldn’t notice me. It seemed like there was enough space, and not enough light between us for them to take note that another zombie had shown up. That suited me just fine.
I didn’t want to feel that kind of beating, just like I didn’t want to experience being burned alive.