by Peter Welmerink
I’m not afraid of the Undead
Journal Entry – Joe Cross – June 24, 2026
I watched my family burn alive in a hotel in Alsip. I saw the undead hordes swarm the blazing building. I heard the screams of the dying, both from living vocal cords, and from unliving vocal cords as both cooked in red flame.
I drove away. I drove and drove, mind numb. Images scorched into my memory, along with hatred and distrust. Hatred and distrust because my family hadn’t been slaughtered by the shambling carcasses of humankind, but by real monsters: living, breathing men and women.
Some wanted to escape the virus, the global pandemic, and the flesh-rending inhuman creatures that evolved. Some wanted to fight the unliving, to survive, to hopefully make it through the blood and choas, and live for another day, a better day. Some wanted to fight amongst themselves, greedily call the shots…and when they weren’t listened to, weren’t risen to the point of control they wanted…
They killed my family and other innocents.
It’s been several years now since I’ve left Alsip, ventured up here to Michigan…and became goatroped into serving another group of insane, living humanity. At least being a Urban Salvage Engineer, I can get out of the place, often on my own. Just travel about with Lacey and Albert, do what i do best: find things to trade and survive.
Yeah, I run into those shambling carcasses of humanity while out in the abandoned towns and countryside. Unlike Grand Rapids, where they keep their local undead doped and enclosed, the “Ferals” wandering the boondocks can be tough.
But a gun, or a baseball bat, or Lacey’s front end crashing through them, or her tires churning them into red paste…
The Unliving can be, well, lived with.
I do not fear venturing outside the enclosure of Reganshire. I look forward to it actually, with really no worries when it comes to the rotting, biting, angry things out in the wilds.
No, I am fine outside, on my own. It is coming “home” that chills my heart, makes my gut tighten, causes me all kinds of anxiety.
It is when I come home that I have to look over my shoulder, make sure the living folk I walk amongst aren’t ready to knife me, attack me, take the goods I have worked hard to bring back to them.
Yeah, I’m glad Humankind is still surviving, moving forward, even with the Undead still in our midst.
But there are days I still worry about Humankind, my fellow men and women.
Often, they are far worse than our unliving brothers and sisters.
B&W illustrations by Tim Holtrop
Also check out the Transport series from Peter Welmerink!
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com