Sammy ran into the house yelling. “Ma! Mama! A smelly funny guy is outside! He tried to grab me! Ma! Call the police!”
Her mother didn't answer. Sammy was seven years old; a sultry shadow of what she could become lurked in her scrawny body. She was more dirt than clean, and her cut off shorts and well worn 'Power Puff Girls' t-shirt indicated a social class below that of the average citizen of the United States. Sammy kicked off her flip flops and ran towards the living room, still calling out for her mother.
The house was empty. Sammy looked out the front window. There were more stinky, shambling people out in front of the house. Suddenly an old Ford Bronco ran up the lawn, running over several of the stinky people and the old picket fence that used to keep Sadie in the yard. Sammy screamed, putting her hands to either side of her mouth. “Mommy!”
It was Kevin. Sammy knew Kevin shouldn't be running people over. And he broke through the fence too. That was wrong. Maybe he was drunk again and driving.
The back door swung open and then slammed shut in the sultry summer heat. Spinning around like a top, Sammy saw an older black man coming towards her from the kitchen. He was older, like her grandpa, with gray hair leaving a shiny bald spot on the top of his head. He was wearing a normal sweat-stained t-shirt that didn't have any arms. His feet were bare, and he had on some bright blue shorts; they were the cotton kind, cut off above the knees and very loose. Maybe he was a sex fiend, one like her momma was always warning her about. Sammy fled up the stairs towards her bedroom, screaming for her mother the whole way.
She got into her room, slammed the solid wooden door, and hooked the latchkey lock one of momma's boy friends had put in for her to keep the door from opening, because the lock didn't work. Sammy heard a crash from the front door and yelling, “Marla! Marla! Where are you Marla!”
It WAS Kevin, he was yelling for her ma. “I don't know where she is Kevin!” Sammy yelled through her door. “Some guy is chasing after me! He might be a sex fiend!”
“Sammy? Girl, you stay up there, don't come out of your room! These things are dangerous! Hide, girl!”
Looking around her room, Sammy sized up the possible places to hide. Under her bed? Too obvious, even for a girl her age. The closet? Maybe. This old house had been remodeled a couple of times and Sammy's closet was backed up against the bathroom, and part of that left empty space. The previous renter had loosened the board in the back of Sammy's closet. She could take it out and squeeze into her ‘secret clubhouse’ in that awkward space. She and her friend Beth had spent the night in there once, and momma got all upset 'cause she came in to check on her in the middle of the night and couldn't find them. The police had even come. The sleepy girls had stumbled downstairs for breakfast to find an officer and both sets of parents drinking coffee. That was the last time Sammy had seen her dad too. She didn't know why he was there and jumped into his arms yelling, “Daddy!” which surprised all the other adults. It had been a BIG DEAL and the end result was Sammy was not supposed to go into her secret clubhouse anymore.
Somehow the girl thought this time it might be okay, especially if she could wedge the board back in place behind her... The bedroom door shook as something slammed into it. Sammy let out a short yell then scrambled under her bed anyway. Downstairs Kevin was yelling, and Sammy heard fighting going on.
Her door got hit again and swung open, Sammy knew the latch wasn't very strong, it was more for show than anything. Still she had been hoping, hoping it would keep the bad man out. She pressed herself back further under the bed, right up against the wall. It was no good. The black man's feet shuffled forward to stand right beside the bed. Sammy was kicking herself for not opening the window. In movies, girls who got away always opened the window, or even dropped out of it to safety on the front lawn. The fighting downstairs was over. Kevin wasn't calling her name anymore.
The old man got down on his hands and knees, lowering his face to look under the bed, his teeth were stained red, his eyes were almost opaque white. He reached for her and Sammy kicked at his hand. The wild melee continued, her bare feet kicking against his groping hand for several minutes. The man seemed like he was drunk, slow and not coordinated. Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day and eventually the man got ahold of her ankle and pulled the squirming, kicking girl out from under the bed.
Sammy's blows fell upon unfeeling flesh, the red-stained teeth leaned towards her bare leg and the first bite goaded the girl into a frenzy. She almost got away then. The man was slow and uncoordinated, plus he was chewing and the distraction of the fresh meat was almost enough to make him lose the meal. At the last second his grip tightened on her ankle and pulled her back. The man's second bite was closer to her throat and the fight faded from the girl like color from new jeans in the wash.
The zombie suckled for a long time, until his prey no longer registered as a meal. He shambled off on a new search, leaving the girl to rise behind him.