A shrill scream ripped through the air and Johnny ran into the bathroom of the cheap hotel. No sooner had he opened the door than Johnny rushed out again, groaning with his face warming up.
He held the door ajar. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Johnny screamed.
“I thought I saw a cockroach!” Madge wailed. Johnny clicked his tongue impatiently.
“Put some clothes on, and get yourself out here!” He roared and slammed the door shut with a resounding thud.
Madge emerged from the bathroom five minutes later, wringing her hair in a fluffy pink towel. She was wearing tiny white shorts and a small red T-shirt. Johnny looked at her and felt his face become warm, again.
“Didn’t I tell you to put clothes on?” He said through gritted teeth. Madge narrowed her brown eyes at him and took a seat on the bed next to him.
“We need to talk,” Johnny began.
“So talk!” She spat at him as she started to braid her long black hair. Even when she scowled she was beautiful, Johnny noted. Her brown eyes flashed with a passion Johnny could neither define nor contain.
“Okay, Coco Puff,” Johnny said slowly, “I can’t live in the same hotel room as you anymore.”
Madge’s eyes grew round and her eyebrows shot up.” Why not?” She practically purred, and flipped the long braid out the way. Johnny closed his eyes as the last few drops of water smacked his face.
“We need a house, Coco Puff,” Johnny said in the same slow voice. Madge looked at him, searchingly with her brown eyes.
“Okay, I’d prefer a high-end apartment, though.” She said calmly.
Johnny exhaled as he fought the temptation to roll his eyes, the last few weeks with Madge grated across his nerves.
“And we both need to pay for it,” Johnny said.
The warmth in Madge’s eyes suddenly turned to ice. “I don’t have any money.” She said coldly.
“The hell you don’t,” Johnny muttered under his breath, “Which is why,” he continued loudly, “We’re getting jobs.”
Madge’s face looked like her whole world had ended. She stood up and walked out the room, without a single comment.
It took Johnny three weeks to find a job. He eventually found one as an untrained nurse at the Lusaka North Upper District Hospice, which was recently turned into a zombie rehabilitation center.
He scratched the purple scrubs irritably and turned to complain to Madge. He noticed a look in her eyes, a faraway look.
“What’s on your mind Coco Puff?” He asked gently.
“I used to be them,” she whispered, gesturing towards a group of doctors in crisp white lab coats. A heavy silence filled the air after her statement, as memories washed over them in the cool air of the summer afternoon. Madge subconsciously began to approach them, and Johnny ran to stop her. He noticed another feeling in the atmosphere. The closer he was to the doctors, the more he registered it; panic.
One doctor, a short, female one with a jet black afro, threw her arms up in desperation, while a taller doctor with long arms placed a calming hand on her shoulder. Johnny approached them slowly and caught a snatch of their conversation.
“……security. They can’t break out” the tall doctor said, with a hint of panic. Her words served as a dark omen; a blood-curdling scream tore the air; all the zombies in the hospice had broken free and were rushing for the exit.