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The Office Zombie | Audio
By Carolanne Patton
       Caitlin sat in her cubby and blissfully typed away on her computer, unaware of the menace that stalked the halls in her quiet little office. She reached over and absently picked up a cat toy and looked at it sadly. It had belonged to the office cat, Max, who had passed away recently. She'd been told the maintenance man had buried him outside the building, back behind the parking lot.
       What she was unaware of unfortunately, is that the office building was built next to the previous site of a dump for radioactive waste, and the site the maintenance man had chosen for Max's burial was a little too close to this material. Last night, by the light of the full moon, Max's corpse, stinking of earth and decomposition, had clawed his way back to the surface, shook himself off, and proceeded to locate the cat door that had been installed for him and went back into the office.
       He found his food dish and sniffed at the dry food that was still there, and found it unpalatable. What he really wanted was some nice fresh brains, but alas, there were none of those currently in the office. He decided to hunker down in a dark corner of the break room and wait for some to arrive.
       The maintenance man was the first to come in. He entered the break room and hung up his coat. He started some coffee and sat down at a table to read the newspaper while he waited for his caffeine fix to be ready. Unseen to him, Max perched behind him atop a large filing cabinet that the workers used to keep their sugar substitutes, creamer, and other miscellaneous condiments in.
       Max watched the bald head in front of him with interest. He knew it contained the tasty brains that he craved. He estimated the distance between he and his meal and decided he could make it easily. He hunkered down with his front legs and shifted back and forth on his back feet, readying himself. Suddenly, he leapt for his prize.
       The unfortunate maintenance man never knew what hit him. All he knew was one moment he was reading the paper and the other moment his vision turned red from the blood running down his face as the now unbelievably strong Max shredded his skull and ate his brains.
       Back at her desk, Caitlin continued perusing Facebook. She had been the next person to come in but she was early, so she decided to sit at her desk for awhile to fool around on the internet until it was time to clock in. She thought she heard a muffled yell coming from the direction of the break room, but she stopped and listened for a minute and heard nothing else, so she thought it must have just been someone sneezing or something. She returned her attention to finishing her status update.
       When she was done, she checked her watch and found it was about time to clock in. She stood up and grabbed her jacket. When she turned around she noticed the Mason jar full of fresh catnip that she had brought in for Max. She decided to take it to the break room and put a note on it in case one of her coworkers had a cat at home to give it to. She picked it up and headed toward the break room.
       Back in the break room, Max was about done with his meal. The maintenance man had fallen to the floor, making it easier for Max since he didn't have to keep perching atop the man's head, something that required a little more balance than the zombie form of Max possessed.
       As Caitlin entered the doorway to the break room, she let out a horrified scream as she saw the scene before her. Her scream attracted Max's attention. He looked in her direction with one thought, More brains! He started walking toward her. Caitlin hurled the only object in her grasp in his direction, the Mason jar full of catnip. It shattered on the floor in front of Max, showering him with glass shards and scattering the pile of catnip before him.
       He shook off the glass shards as if they were nothing, but stopped and sniffed the air. There was only one thing he wanted more than brains, Catnip! He stopped in his tracks and rolled around in the catnip, a look of kitty bliss on his face.
       Caitlin took this opportunity to run for the hills, and fortunately she made it to the safety of her car which she started up and tore out of the parking lot, her tires squealing on the pavement in protest.
       Back in the break room Max drooled and rolled around on his back in the pile of catnip as he reveled in his intoxication. Unnoticed behind him the maintenance man started to stir. He became aware of his surroundings at the same time he became aware of a terrible hunger. He needed some brains. He zeroed in on the only source of this particular delicacy that was in the room at the moment, Max.
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