Mark Tufo is one of the great under-appreciated writers of our time. He is bringing a talent to the zombie genre that is showing what is possible and challenging the rest of us to do better. To be clear, when I say he is under-appreciated, I mean that I DON’T APPRECIATE him. Everyone else that reads him loves his work and recognizes his talent. That is why I must destroy him.
Just read his work and you’ll see … you’ll see!
Tufo shares with us his short story “Through my Baby’s Eyes.” Here is the link for part one.
Here is part two:
Through My Baby’s Eyes
It was 3:33 and before you ask I can assure you that was in the morning, not afternoon. Does anyone pay that close of attention to the time when you’re awake? No it’s when you’ve been awoken or cannot fall asleep that time takes on an entirely different feel to it. The importance of those precious moments are almost revered in those wee hours. If we cared about every moment as much as we did those in the middle of the night there’s no telling what accomplishments we could achieve or problems we could overcome. Could you imagine at 3 in the morning watching a show on television where people look at three homes and try to decide which one to buy? Of course fucking not. But at 7 at night we think nothing of blowing a half hour of our life away with something so meaningless.
Where was I? Oh yeah I’m digressing. My blurred eyes were burning as the glare of red numbers gleefully showed me the time. Our baby Jared had requested my presence, most vociferously. He’s three weeks old today, I thought as I dragged myself out of the warm embrace of my mattress. I’d never been more sleep deprived in my entire life. The first week of his birth, Rachel and I would race to the baby, the first there got to care for him, the other reluctantly was banished back to the bedroom. After that initial period it became who could feign sleep longer while Jared checked out just how loud his lungs could roar. Come to find out it was pretty damn earsplitting. Unlike some of our exaggerating friends we had not been blessed with a child that fell asleep at 8 pm and slept until 10 am. Personally I think they were full of shit, I could see the black rings under their eyes, even of Nancy who must have been caking on the eye make-up in a desperate bid to cover up her deception.
Jared was colicky, he rarely slept more than a couple of hours at a time. We had to come up with a schedule, tonight just so happened to be my shift. I was walking down the small hallway when Jared’s screams suddenly turned to a soft cooing. That was strange, he generally would not do that unless his mother or I were holding him. When I walked into his room he was lying on his back staring straight up, his little arms were in the air and moving about randomly as if he were trying to grasp the mobile just out of his reach. The night light in the corner illuminated the entire room in a soft white light with hints of blue. I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the shadows but Rachel had placed giant stickers from one of our favorite movies Toy Story on the side of the room. In the afternoon Woody had a giant smile plastered on his face and looked as affable as ever, at night though, that smile turned into a sneer and he looked like he wanted to peel himself from that wall and choke the life out of me with his cotton-stuffed arms.
Jared cooed again, I pulled my gaze from Woody, making sure he hadn’t moved. He may have but I chalked that up to lack of sleep. I went over to the crib.
“Hey little man. How are you doing?” I noticed that his eyes were darting back and forth yet they did not look over to me. “That mobile really have your attention, doesn’t it. You hungry?” I leaned over him, Jared did his best to look past my shoulder. “Well I guess I know where I rank in importance, right below Henry the hippo.” I laughed as I picked him up. I brought him down into the kitchen where I was going to warm up a bottle of formula. Rachel had tried breast feeding, it had been great for the first week and then inexplicably she’d stopped producing milk. I got to sleep WAY more when she was feeding the baby, she’d never had quite enough to pump any extra to stash away for later feedings.
I turned the kitchen lights on, I’d put a dimmer on the controls because the harsh glare would infuriate Jared this early in the morning not to mention the sting it caused in mine and Rachel’s eyes. I’d just placed him in his swing and was heading for the refrigerator when I saw a shadow flit across Jared’s eyes. I thought it was Rachel in a fit of guilt, coming to alleviate me of my responsibility, something I would have gladly relinquished.
“Hi….” I stopped mid-sentence when I turned and realized nothing or nobody else was in the kitchen with us. A cold tipped ice pick ran the length of my spine and settled at the base of my skull.
That’s not how Jared saw it though he was cooing, his arms going up and down a smile forming on his face. He was thoroughly enjoying whatever he was seeing, I mean imagining. In preparation for Jared’s birth I’d read all sorts of books on babies and parenting from many different angles some from professionals others just anecdotal stories from parents. That was why I could not remember what source I’d read it from but one of them had talked about how babies could see things that the rest of us could not, that they had not yet closed off that thinly disguised veil between our world and whatever other worlds existed.
“Is that what’s happening here Jared? Are you seeing Albert Einstein? Let’s just hope it’s not Eliza.” I smiled, she was a character from one of my favorite zombie books. Guilty pleasure, don’t judge. I nuked the milk for a few seconds, checked the heat of it on my wrist and was approaching the baby, his attention was completely rapt on the darkened entry way from the hallway to the dimly lit kitchen.
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Take a moment to check out Mark Tufo’s other work and buy something to read.
The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014