Dead Flames: Short Fiction by Angel Zapata


Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing work by horror writer Angel Zapata.

Find out more about Angel’s work at 

Twitter: @AngelZapata

Dead Flames

Eventually, as was bound to happen, the last two zombies walked the earth. She was frail and missing an ear. He was tall and infested with flies. They saw each other from a great distance, through the rubble of a fallen city.

It was no longer clear what drove them forward, starvation or curiosity. On the eastern bank of a dry river bed, she waited. He shambled over bones and glass, approached her with dead, glassy eyes.

The sound of voices had almost been forgotten.

“Pain,” he rasped, either statement or question was unknown.

She snarled, bit down on her own tongue.

They faced each other, the Adam and Eve of an apocalyptic garden, and felt the promise of fruit. He stared at her torn blouse, the colorless nipples of her exposed breasts, and slowly reached for her hand. She let him touch her, feel her cold skin.

“Pain,” he said again and brought her fingers to his ruined face. She ignored the unyielding ache of her own hunger and allowed him this slight comfort. He looked up, pointed to the west, and began to lead her in that direction.

They walked like that for days with the sun roasting their flesh. They searched, but there was no one left to eat.

One night, she stumbled on loose stones and collapsed in a heap. One of his knees snapped when he bent to lift her from the ground. She caught him in her arms. Breathless, he nuzzled his teeth on her neck. They held each other in the dirt until dawn, without sleep or the sweet scent of blood to console them.

After three cities, a gray canyon, and the apex of two frozen mountains, they arrived at the end of the world. The crumbling ravine before them overlooked a sea of fire.

In a brief discharge of dormant synapses, she remembered the ocean had once roared against this raging, desolate shore. She examined her own desiccated body and, for the first time since death, yearned for any sign of life.

He watched the inferno burn and cast orange light on his companion’s withered face. Somewhere in his spine, a decayed vertebra broke free and he was consequently bent forward. She regarded it as a gesture of supplication and pressed him to her. Their tattered clothes began to smoke and smolder.

“Pain,” she spoke at last, and it was the echo of snapping firewood in her throat.

They stood there, two lost candles waiting for the flames to validate their love.