Zelda’s Baby by May J Panayi

It was a perfectly normal day in Dentonville. The roads were empty, traffic parked up exactly as it had been the day before, and the day before that. The weather was average, a bit cold, overcast, but dry; autumnal but okay- well no one was complaining about it anyway, and they were all still wearing their summer clothes, so it couldn’t be that cold. The shops were all open, really open; doors flung wide, window displays flapping in the breeze. The illusion of a hot sticky summer remained despite the coolness of the day.

Zelda walked slowly along the main street, her huge pregnant belly forging ahead of her like some kind of scouting party, or soldier on point. She rested her hands on top of the lump, softly pushing it down, away from her stomach so she could more easily digest her meaty, protein rich breakfast of some hours previously. The baby kicked and punched in protest at the confinement of its space, as if to say;

“Look, I’m a bit squashed in here actually. I have kind of completely filled this space, and there is no more room, so kindly stop pushing me into a smaller space, I just won’t tolerate it without a fight. A foetus has limits you know.”

Zelda huffed with the effort of walking. Despite wearing a thin summer maternity dress, she still felt hot and sticky. Now on top of everything else, she started feeling hungry again too. Damn, this baby made her want to eat all the time. She looked around for a good place to eat.

Bob the mail man lumbered his considerable frame towards her, coming the other way down the street. He grunted at her by way of hello, and she nodded amiably at him. Pleasantries dealt with, Zelda headed towards the diner at the end of the street, on the junction of Main Street and Vine. Some youths she vaguely recognised, passed her running the other way. As they got closer, Zelda noticed that the two older boys; Gil and Leroy, were chasing the younger boy, little Danny Hopkins. Zelda shouted ‘Oi’ at the older boys and they turned to look at her. Realising they had been caught out, they slowed to a shuffle and looked down at their feet guiltily, as little Danny hurried off, making his escape; for now at least.

Two women Zelda knew vaguely from the maternity clinic, who were still early days, were looking in a shop window displaying baby furniture and clothes. She thought for a moment she might manage to waddle past them un-noticed; but no such luck. They turned and of course the cooing and patting of her distended tummy was a ritual that could not be avoided. When Zelda finally got away she could tell they had made the baby really angry. It was punching and kicking like it was in a mosh pit. She patted her tummy and rubbed it gently, trying to restore some peace and calm to the angry little being- or as yet, un-being.

Finally Zelda got to the diner, which was quite full for the time of day. Alice was behind the counter as usual. She looked up when Zelda came in and waved her over to the counter. Soon Zelda was almost fully immersed in the special of the day whilst sat at the counter. The food steamed in front of her, and tasted delicious. The baby went quiet as it always did when she was eating. She felt sure it was waiting for a morsel to pass close by it so it could grab it. Zelda pushed the crazy thought to the back of her hormone riddled mind.

Zelda didn’t hang around after lunch; she was determined to be first in line at the maternity clinic’s afternoon session, to see the midwife. She pushed open the doors to the clinic, and took a seat in the messy, magazine strewn, waiting room. She thought it must have been kiddy clinic that morning, given the state of the place. There weren’t any receptionists around to clean up anyway; maybe they were off sick. There was some sort of tummy bug going around.

Gradually the clinic filled up with several other women who seated themselves, joining Zelda in the waiting area. At last the midwife came out from her office, wiping the remains of her lunch from around her mouth. She gestured at Zelda to come into her office.

The midwife patted the examination couch, and Zelda clambered awkwardly up on it. She lay back exhausted from the effort. The midwife began to feel her tummy, pulling her dress up so she could look at the stretched skin. Baby hands and feet pushed against the outside, as if by so doing they could claw their way out of the cramped space and have a good stretch. The midwife leaned closer to the little feet and hands imprinted on the outer flesh. She grinned widely then leaned right up against the skin and took a big bite out of Zelda’s stomach.

Zelda lay calmly as the midwife took two more, deeper bites. The baby didn’t waste the opportunity for escape, clawing through the foetal sack, fluid spilling out over Zelda and onto the floor, biting with fully formed teeth through the final layer of flesh that separated it from the midwife’s face and the outside world. It bit the midwife, getting a full mouthful of her bottom lip and the tip of her tongue, before she pulled backwards away from the hungry zombie infant.

Zelda climbed down from the couch, calm as you like, and sauntered out, waving goodbye to the midwife; whose face dripped with blood and gore from her freshly damaged mouth.

Zelda headed out into main street, the baby now full head and one small arm hanging out of her stomach in front of her, like some sort of human kangaroo straight out of a Troma film. The baby was half biting, half sucking at the flesh of Zelda that surrounded it, working a larger hole so it could move more comfortably.

By the time Zelda got back to the diner, the baby had its head and both arms out and was surveying its new world from the comfort of its pouch in Zelda’s belly. Alice squealed as Zelda came into the diner, pointing at the baby. Soon all the other zombie patrons were shouting and making a general cacophony of noise too. It was a veritable zombie party. The person who had been the special of the day on the counter, but was now fully zombie, even sat up and clapped. He probably shouldn’t have sat up, as it made the remains of his gastrointestinal tract slither out to the floor, making it there seconds before his feet, but he didn’t seem to care. Zelda got close to the counter and the baby reached out and grabbed the remnant of some morsel left behind by the special of the day as he vacated the spot, pulling it straight into his baby mouth. All the female zombies in the diner made an ‘aaah’ noise as one.

Eventually Zelda made it back out onto Main Street, to start the long slow zombie shuffle back to her house. She again bumped into the two women from earlier, who bent down to look closely at the new baby. It wasted not a moment biting the nose off of the one who got closest. All three women seemed to think that was the cutest thing ever.

The three boys were playing together once more; well Gil and Leroy were eating Danny’s arms; but they all stopped to look at the newborn baby and its mother progressing down the street.

The sun set on a happy day in zombieville.

 

May J Panayi has been writing since 1967, when she had her first poem called ‘In a Rage’ published in the local Gazette newspaper. That was the point at which she decided she wanted to write, and has been scribbling in one form or another ever since. She’s had poetry, short stories, articles and fillers, published in a variety of magazines, two book anthology collections, fanzines and websites. Read more here  https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-author/s/may-j-panayi

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