Zombies In December
I spot a couple of them around the corner and sprint back to our gate, thankful that I am small and unnoticeable in the dusk.
“Get the lights. There are three groups coming.”
Calee doesn’t question my intel. She just rushes upstairs to turn off the lights while I unplug the TV, not bothering with the remote.
“Faster!” I stage whisper to Calee.
She gropes her way downstairs and (to my harried mind) makes a racket doing so. I curse her inwardly but wait until she’s settled down before shutting the curtains.
Safe for now, we crouch in the dark, discussing our chances.
“Aren’t they too early? 5:30 PM and we already have, what, three groups?”
“Make that four. The third group was huge. They’ll probably split up to get more victims.”
Every now and then, a group of them stops in front of our house and tries our gate, too dumb to notice that the house is dark and empty. Or, crap. Maybe these are the smart ones! Maybe they can tell that we’re in here, sitting in the dark, praying for them to ignore us, ignore us, move on to the next house…
“Do you think they’ll swarm the Marcelinos again tonight? Those Christmas lights are like a giant X on the map.”
“So what? It’s not our problem. The Marcelinos can afford to deal with them anyway.”
Our dad comes home to break what little safety we’ve established. He turns on the lights, plugs in the TV, and watches his precious nightly news. At full volume.
I resist the urge to strangle him.
I have to remind myself that he is not the enemy. No, the enemy is outside… waiting for a house, any house, to show signs of life.
Like ours just did.
“Ayun o! May ilaw!”
“Dun! Dun! May tao dun!”
“Tawagin niyo sila Marlon. May isa pang bahay dito!”
Calee and I exchange panicked looks as they swarm our gate, wielding rusty cans and shouting like drunken sailors.
The attack has begun.
KAY SIGLA NG GABI ANG LAHAT AY KAY SAYA!
NAGLUTO ANG ATE NG MANOK NA TINOLA!
SA BAHAY NG KUYA AY MERONG LICHUNAN PA!
ANG BAWAT TAHANAN MAY HANDANG IBA’T-IBA!
I nudge Calee towards the door.
“Patawad.” She ekes out.
TAYO NA GILIW! MAG-SALO NA TAYO!
MERON NA TAYONG TINAPAY AT KESO!
DIBA NO! CHE! BUE! NA! SA GABING ITO?
AT BUKAS! AY ARAW! NG PASKOOOOOO!!!
“Louder!” I hiss at Calee.
We wish you ameri kriiismas!
We Wish You Ameri Kriiismaaas!
WE WISH YOU AMERI CHRIIISTMAS!
ANDA HAAAAPI NU YIR!
“PATAWAAAAD!” I bellow.
“NAMAMASKO PO!” They shout.
“PATAWAD SABI EH!!!” I scream at them.
“NAMAMASKO POOOOO!!!” They insist.
No mercy for cowards like us who hide in the dark.
I take out my wallet in defeat.
“Diba kayo rin yung nagpunta rito kahapon?”
They ignore the question and poke their arms through the gate, intent on grabbing the coins from my hand.
Behind them, another group is already waiting.