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Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse: Fiction by Jon Park
Dead is Dead: Fiction by Roy Dorman
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Jon Park: Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse

Art by Michael D. Davis 2023

Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse

by Jon Park


My sister Sandra and I were the personification of sibling rivalry. Let me start by saying, I loved her. I really did. After all, as they say, blood is thicker than water. Sandra was two years younger and from the moment she made her entrance into this world, she became my rival.  Suddenly, she was getting all of our parent’s attention. I had always been at the centre of their universe. I was the golden one. Adored and cherished. Now, I found myself competing with this new interloper.

Now, in our twenties, we have never stopped competing for our parent’s attention.  Sandra is my nemesis.  We competed at everything.  Academia. Sport. Even relationships. Tirelessly seeking our parent’s attention and affirmation. If I came home from school with an “A” in a subject, you could bet your last dollar, not long after Sandra would waltz in with an A+. If Sandra ran track in a personal best, I would go out the next day and smash her time into oblivion. If either of us brought a boy home and Mom and Dad didn’t immediately warm to them, then they were gone. History. Kicked to the kerb.

Mom and Dad dealt with it all with patience and good humour. They always ensured we received equal attention. Letting us know we were both loved. Though deep down, I always suspected they loved Sandra more. And Sandra believed I was the golden one.

Mom died when we were in our teens. So, Dad became the centre of our attention. It never phased him, he just dealt with it in his own interminable way.

When the virus struck, I was working in finance and living in London. Sandra was studying at Edinburgh uni. The government advised us to remain in doors and only leave home for essential supplies. I called home to check in on Dad.  Sandra answered and explained she had moved back home to be with him. The devious bitch. That very day, I packed a suitcase and caught one of the last trains out of Kings Cross and headed back home to disrupt her little scheme. No way was I leaving her alone with Dad.

Initially it was strange being back home. The three of us back under the same roof.  In the past few years, we only got together for Christmas, birthdays and Mom’s anniversary. We soon fell into a simple routine.  Sandra and I would shop for food and cook, while Dad kept a check on the unfolding disaster.

 We still competed for Dad’s attention.  That would never end. Though now it was done with less malice and more humour. Our competitive nature took the form of cooking. Sandra and I would take turns to prepare and cook the evening meal. We always chose one of Dad’s favourite dishes.

Every evening at six, we would gather ceremoniously around the dining room table, taking it in turns to present our culinary delights.  It was Sandra’s turn this time. She presented her beef casserole to Dad and handed him an ice-cold beer.

Sandra served it up and placed the plate down before him, as if she were making an offering to her god. As Dad tucked into the meal, Sandra, a twinkle in her eye asked him, “How’s the casserole, Dad?”

“Its lovely, pet,” he replied, theatrically dabbing at the corner of his mouth with a kitchen roll.

“Better than my lasagne?” I asked, suppressing a giggle.

Dad looked to the heavens. “Please, ladies. Not again. Can we just enjoy the meal?”

We fell silent for a beat. Then Sandra started. Just like she always did.

“Dad? Can I ask you something. It’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you for a long time, but never had the courage.”

Dad turned to her, a concerned expression on his face. “Course you can love. You can ask me anything.”

“It’s really important, Dad”, Sandra continued, taking a deep breath. “Which of us is your favourite. Me or it?”

Dad almost choked.

“We always knew this day would come, Dad,” I said. “Give it to her straight. Put her out of her misery. We all know it’s me, your first born. I’m your favourite.”

“Bull shit,” Sandra squealed. “I’m his favourite. Tell her, Dad. End it now and we need never speak of this again.”

Dad looked to the heavens once more, seeking divine intervention. “Now, now girls. You know the answer.”

 We all laughed. Sandra and I in unison repeated his mantra, “I love you both the same. Always have done and always will.”

Sure, we laughed, and made light of it, but deep down, I knew neither of us believed him.

Then the plague played its final card.  And what an ace it was. The dead were resurrected. Rose up like Lazarus and began to pour into the streets. We gathered round the television and watched the news in horror as the army and police fought to control the situation. Soon, the television screen went dark and began to broadcast an ominous message.

“Please, remain indoors. Do not leave the safety of your home. The authorities will get to you as soon as we can. If any member of your family dies, you must immediately place them outside. You must remain indoors.”

The dead began to appear on our street. Initially it was just one or two. Dad said if we were careful, our food should last a couple of weeks.  We just needed to stay put until help arrived. We lost power a week later. Thankfully we could still get water and so we filled the bath up as a precaution.

Without the television, we spent the days watching the street outside as it filled with the dead. We even recognised some of our neighbours amongst them.

Early one morning, we heard a commotion outside. Mrs Burnett, the old lady across the street was stood at her door. She held a broom in her hand and we watched in horror as she stepped out onto her porch and tried to move the dead that had gathered on her lawn as if she was trying to brush up fallen leaves.

 We all frantically waved, urging her to go back inside. The dead fell upon her like a pack of wild dogs. We covered our ears to try and block out her screams as they ripped her apart.

Dad pulled the curtains closed. But the horror remained. We could hear the dead as they clawed and brushed against the outside of the house. The smell of rotting flesh was unbearable. The slightest sound would animate the rotting mass.

Dad decided we should retreat down into our basement. I was reluctant at first. No way did I want to be trapped down there if those things broke in. When Sandra bounced down the basement steps, I quickly followed.

And, so down there we sat, an old camping lantern our only source of light. Above us, we could still hear those creatures, scratching to get in. When our food ran out, we knew no one was coming to rescue us; so, we agreed it was time to get out and find help.

At sunrise, we crept up from the basement and looked out into the front street. A sea of dead swayed back and forth. Submerged beneath this rotting mass of flesh was our car. No way would we be escaping that way.  Dad frantically rubbed at his forehead. “Let’s check the back yard,” he said. We followed him into the kitchen.

Out in the yard, we counted twelve dead. They stood like sinister scarecrows, barely moving.

“Right, we’ll have to go out this way,” Dad said. “We just need to get past those bastards.”

“We’ll need a car,” Sandra replied.  “There is no way any of us can out run those things.”

“Let me take a look from upstairs,” Dad replied.  After a few minutes he rejoined us in the kitchen.

“Okay. Howie’s yard next door is clear. The Berlin wall has kept those things out. His pickup is there as well and I have a spare set of keys for it.”

Howie was our neighbour. When he first moved in next door, he had torn down the battered fence between our properties and built the wall. He worked offshore and had been away when the pandemic kicked off and we hadn’t heard from him since. The wall was over six feet tall and ran the length of our yard down to the back lane.  

“Now all we need to do is get over the wall and we’re on our way. So, girls if you want to grab a few things and we’ll get this show on the road.”

Sandra and I packed a few items of clothing in our back packs then rejoined Dad in the kitchen. He was stood at the door that led into the yard, watching the dead.

“Okay, Sandra, you ready?  When I open this door, you run for the wall like the devils on your tail and get over into Howie’s yard.”

“What about them?” Sandra asked, pointing at the dead.

“Don’t you worry, I’ll take care of them with this,” and he held up one of his golf clubs. “Rosie will be right behind you. She’ll help you over the wall. Okay, you ready?”

“I don’t think I can do it,” Sandra whispered.

“That’s okay, love.  No problem. Rosie can go first. You follow her okay.” Dad turned to me “Okay kid, you’re up.”

“Wait, wait. I’ll do it,” Sandra cried. I could see the fear in her eyes. “I’ll go first.”

“Great, good girl. Now, get ready. When I open this door, you kick for that wall and don’t look back. You hear me?”

Sandra nodded. She clutched the holdall to her chest. Dad’s hand hovered over the door handle. She stepped forward. I watched as Dad brushed the hair from her face and gently planted a kiss on her forehead. He then hugged her close.  “I love you baby girl.” Then he unlocked the door.

I reached out and touched Sandra’s arm. “I’ll be right behind you.”.

Dad pulled the door open.  Sandra leapt through it. I watched her go, legs pumping as she made her way across the yard towards the wall. The zombies had already started to move towards her. I took a deep breath and stepped forward, ready to follow. Dad blocked me and pushed me back inside and closed the door.

“What the fuck, Dad, what are you doing.” He was crying, tears streamed down his cheeks. He held the door firmly closed.

I could see Sandra had reached the wall. The dead were already closing on her. She looked back at the house, searching for me. She turned and leapt at the wall, got a grip of the top and began to pull herself up. I gasped as she slipped and fell, landing on her back.

I pleaded with Dad to help her. He looked down at the floor and held the door firmly closed, pushing me back. Sandra was back on her feet. The zombies almost upon her. She swung her backpack in a wide arc, trying to keep them back. Our eyes met. Confusion and fear etched upon her face. She pushed a zombie back, avoiding its snapping jaws. All the dead in the yard had now converged on her and the realisation hit home.

Dad opened the door and pushed me outside. I tried to run to Sandra, but he grabbed my arm and dragged me across the yard to the wall. The zombies were preoccupied with my little sister.

Dad pushed me up onto the wall then clambered up next to me.  Just before he dragged me down into the safety of Howie’s yard, I glanced back to see one of the zombies had broken through Sandra’s defence and was dragging her down the wall as she held its snapping jaws away from her face.

Dad shoved me into Howie’s pickup and climbed in beside me. The pickups engine fired into life. I watched as he wiped his arm across his face, punched the pickup into gear and we leapt forward, crashed through the wooden gate and bounced out into the back lane.

As we drove down the lane, we could hear Sandra’s screams.  Dad looked straight ahead, hands gripping the pickup’s steering wheel.  His cheeks were wet with tears and he kept repeating, “I had no choice. I had no choice.”

And I smiled. He did have a choice. It was me. I was his favourite.

Jon Park lives in the North East of England and loves to write.  His story “Too Tough to Die,” appeared in Gabba Gabba Hey, an anthology of fiction inspired by the music of the Ramones published by Fahrenheit Press in 2021. 


He loves loud music and plays guitar badly. If you meet him, you will need to shout.  

If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023