A scream hurdled through the frigid night air.
Drake sat up in bed, yawned, and tried to chart the direction
of the distress. He gazed at the clock. It listed 6:30 am.
"What the heck. Something bit me on the neck." It
hurt, felt taut, made him wonder if Stephanie had given him a
hickey—a fierce one at that.
Although bits of last night’s memory seemed to have floated
away like logs on a waterfall, he definitely knew the thrill was
gone because he broke up with her last night.
"The Apparition. Able to be in many places with one
thought." He was no longer willing to hide the secret from
her that he indeed was the Apparition. And with his life
spent rescuing folks with the frequency of a revolving door, it
strained their relationship.
"Why are you always breaking our dates," she nagged, "where’ve
you been, who else are you seeing . . ."
Their most recent argument was about him keeping secrets. If
only he could do his work and see her too. But he never
figured out the uniform problem. She definitely wouldn’t
like him dating her in tights.
Stephanie never hinted that she knew anything. One day
while taking a shower, he had used his powers to watch from the
keyhole and under the bed as she rummaged through his drawers and
closet. Could it be that while away at work, she had found
his secret compartment in the closet, the one with the
state-of-the-art superhero uniform; and upon finding it, thought
he was a tight clothes wearing pervert? Or did she guess he might
be the Apparition and decided to bask in the glory, hanging around
like a rock star groupie with hopes of marriage?
"Maybe I should have told her," he sighed.
It wasn’t like she hadn’t seen the signs. In his middle age he
was starting to make lots of mistakes. Two days ago while on
a mission to save a kidnap victim, he bilocated to three places.
He mistakenly took the female victim from the kidnappers and
placed her with the ringleaders. Thankfully, everything turned out
okay. Then there was the Fourth of July when she spotted the
mask lying between two dressers. He’d told her it was part
of his Halloween outfit. She never saw him wear it.
His thoughts floated from the mask, to forgetfulness, to
brains, to being hungry.
"What’s happening to me?"
Drake shook his head, tried to loosen the cobwebs.
Stephanie had been pretty angry last night. He could still
smell the traces of her Taboo perfume. And his neck
felt wet. Perhaps she tried to slice his jugular. He got up
and headed for the bathroom mirror.
A blood curdling scream confirmed his view that he was needed.
Drake shuffled to the window and threw back the curtains. He
saw a woman fighting three people. She threw left and right
combinations like Layla Ali, rocked each person snapping at her.
And old lady Yumloudy, without her dentures, was one of them.
"Zombies?" he screeched when one of the crowd bit into the
woman’s neck, "Either that or my neighbors have turned into
Turning to head to his secret compartment under the floor of
the closet, his feet felt heavy, hard to control. He’d
wondered if he were having a stroke. After finding out
Mightyman was suffering from arthritis and Flatulantman had
ulcers, he knew that at age fifty-four some malady was bound to
catch up with him, sooner or later.
He rubbed his neck. It stung from the touch. And
the liquid substance was slippery, definitely not water.
Drake clicked the small closet light, moved the carpet, and
lifted the lid to the compartment. He yanked the suit,
wiggled into it, and tugged the zipper up to his neck; felt pain.
Beginning to feel depressed, he tried to pep himself up by
reciting the poem a little kid wrote just for the Apparition.
"If perchance you’re walking alone one dark and chilly night,
attacked by thugs, you don’t have a phone, and there’s not a cop
in sight. That’s the time the Apparition appears makes you
wonder if you’re seeing double, eliminating your present fears as
he works to dismantle your trouble."
He stuck out his chest, turned, and shambled towards the
bathroom mirror, left the mask behind.
A commotion outside the living room window drew his attention.
Moving the curtains, he spotted Josephine the bartender from
Zino’s Bar, attorney Jake Smith, and a policeman hovering over
something. He furrowed his brow, trained his eyes.
They appeared to be eating chitterlings with hot sauce.
"Brai . . ." His stomach growled. It had always troubled
him how zombies supposedly got the brains out of their victims.
"Brains." He wondered why he acted like he had Tourette’s
Syndrome. Moving first one foot, then the other, he tried to
steady himself. "I’m not the Flash, but." The longer he
shambled, the more confused he got. "I’m not the Turtle
A chilled breeze slapped him in the face. The door had
been left open.
It alarmed him that anyone could have entered the house last
night as he slept; even zombies, if there were such a thing.
"Bilocate," he said, tried to grab hold of his inner power.
He found himself rambling towards both Josephine and Mrs.
Yumloudy’s victims. He licked his lips when he saw pieces of
brain lying in the street.
"Unbilocate," he said, struggled to speak coherently, "If I’m a
zombie, no use super powers, no do evil." The command worked
and he found himself shuffling towards Mrs. Yumloudy’s group.
Hearing another scream, Drake looked to his left. A mailwoman,
Boy Scout, Joe the neighborhood Grocer, and Stephanie each held a
"Steph," he mumbled loudly. His stomach grumbled.
He raised his right arm and shambled in her direction. She
raised her head, stared at him. That looked like a smile she was
forming on her blood caked lips. They wouldn’t have to break
up after all.