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Sharing the Hate, Spreading the Pain: On the Basilisk’s Stare

by on Jul.31, 2008, under Articles, Sharing the Hate

Off in the distance I hear a moan. On the other hand, was it a shrill cry from the confines of the mist? Perhaps there is moaning in between episodes of crying from the mist. Nothing comes into focus around this time of the night because of the fog and the haze.

These human sounds albeit inhumanely cut through the biting shrill wind. The zombies are about again. How close are they? Around this time in the evening all weekend warriors transmogrify and revert into zombies. Others fled before the perversion, but the result is the same whether or not they shamble aimlessly on the streets or in their mausoleums.

They cry the last bit of their humanity out onto the streets between episodes of bile and wash with regret. The all too familiar high-pitched quote of, “How could you?” startles me for a brief second. This one was close and I did not see them until it was too late. This phrase audible to me and one other person on the receiving end of a telephone. I know the phrase is not aimed at me, but the effect is still the same.

“How could you?” is a loaded question. It ranks up there with the short phrases such as, “We need to talk,” “You are going to be angry with me,” and the completely random, repeated, and yet unexpected, “I’m sorry.” All of these phrases instantly change the mood of any conversation to dread with uncomfortable silence. Saying them holds the power of an indirect Basilisk’s stare. Hence the problem.

“How could you?” means one of two possible things. The first and most plausible explanation is there is a pack of zombies near the horizon shambling to retrieve their lost member. It is so easy to lose a member of the pack in the mist when you are not paying attention, or do not want to pay attention. The night is over and it is time to retrieve all possessions and valuables left about town. In the first explanation, this person is nothing more than a possession such as a jacket, hat, purse, or Chap Stick.

Ignore them just long enough and they will break down from rigor and curl into some fetal position awaiting rescue. When rescue does not come, they will shoot up flairs from their digital pocket candy. The second and less likely explanation is this one is no longer welcome in the pack for whatever reason, and the herd culled them that night. They too, break down from rigor and curl into some fetal position awaiting rescue.

While the explanations are different, the intended results are the same. Their presence for whatever reason is not welcome. They are a lone sheep without a flock, lost, confused, and sad. The rescue is of the locate and extract variety, while the intended who is different.

It was then that a pair of bloodshot eyes matched stares with a pair of demented eyes. Later one would describe this episode as a “moment.”

From one there came sorrow, tears, and pain. From the other there came rage, disgust, and hatred. Yet these two people did not know each other, and probably never will.

It was then I asked a question I already knew the response to. I did not know the answer though; just how they would respond whether or not the truth was in those words only time would tell.

“When are they coming for you?”

“They’re not.”

The problem with this exchange is what comes next. I have two options to determine the truth. The first safe option is I shake my head, sigh, and walk off receiving a trailing, “Where are you going?” Then I would have to look back to make sure I am being followed. This answer means no one is coming. They want to leave.

The second safe option is I shake my head, sigh, and walk off receiving a trailing, “Wait.” Then I would have to look back to make sure I am not being followed. Others are soon coming. This one wants to stay put for their friends to find them.

The wrong option most people take is to walk closer and ask more questions. This Good Samaritan will probably meet the shambling herd in the distance coming in for the locate and retrieve. No amount of questions will give the quick truthful definite answer from the first two options. The shambling herd will not greet you with happy and pleasant exchanges either.

Before this zombie could say anything further, I simply shake my head, sigh, and turn to continue walking. After six steps, I hear a response, and that response starts with a W. This is a pointless exchange worthy of a chalk mark for an unimportant accomplishment. Number three for the running tally. I walk six more steps and then look back to make sure, just to make sure.

Sincelery,
Leo

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