“I’m not crazy.” There was nothing, not even high-pitched screaming street corner gibberish, that sounded crazier than that statement, Dessie decided the moment she heard it.
“We don’t like to assign terms to things here,” the psychologist said. “Just tell me about these ‘reality shifts’ you’ve been seeing.”
“Well, everybody knows that I’m into macabre stuff like zombies in a big way,” said Dessie, excitedly. “I mean, my last birthday cake was green and it had little plastic body parts sticking out of it. I’ve got a full set of George Romero films, and a complete (signed!) first edition run of Zomcomix. That goes for like a hundred bucks on eBay, unsigned!”
“Uh-huh.” The psychologist’s old-fashioned fountain pen made an unpleasant scratching sound as it worked over his notebook. “Go on.”
“The other day I started seeing some zombies for real. I knew they were real because if anyone would know them by sight it would be me and because the Zombie Walk isn’t until next month. I’ve already got my costume, it squirts real fake blood and everything.” Dessie took a deep breath. “They chase me just like the do in the movies and I see a few people that I recognize only they’ve been zombified and now they’re trying to get me too.”
It sounded even crazier when she put it that way; Dessie was sure the psychologist was scratching something about hallucinations and paranoid delusions. “So you’re seeing them in your everyday life, then?” the psychologist said, sounding bored.
“No, not like they’re popping up in the normal world, no. It’s like the whole world goes 100% Dawn of the Dead 28 Days Later with the burnt-out buildings and the wrecked cars and even a few survivors with big guns on rooftops. It’s like I’m, I dunno, in a world where the long prophesied (and some people say, for me, long awaited but I don’t really think like that and want everybody to die or anything) zombie apocalypse happened a month or two ago. A total shift in my reality.”
“And this reality shifting happens…often?” The painful scratching of pen on expensive paper continued.
“At first there was a good long gap between them, so much so that I thought the first one might just have been a hallucination or an episode maybe caused by stress or overwork (it’s finals time) but then it happened again and I think but I’m not sure that the time between them is getting shorter.” Dessie took another deep breath. “So I’m not crazy, I’m just slipping into a zombie world and spending more and more time there.”
More pen scratching, but no further word from the psychologist.
“Well, what do you think? You’re writing that I’m crazy on that thing, aren’t you? Aren’t you? I just told you in plain English that I’m not crazy (even though I know how crazy that sounds) and I set out what’s been happening very plainly (even though I know that sounds even crazier than me saying I’m not crazy), so the least you could do is say something reassuring along the lines of ‘I’m not crazy.’”
The scratchings were particularly violent now, as if the psychologist were jamming his pen into the paper in a frenzy of analysis.
“Well?” Dessie said. She sat up on the diagnosis couch and looked over at the psychologist. “It’s very rude of you to sit there and write while there’s an ever-present chance I might-”
Looking up, the psychologist revealed a dead and chalk-grey face, scratching and chewing at what appeared to be his secretary’s arm, still clutching a little bit of pink memo. The office was a wreck, with peeling wallpaper and a hole in the ceiling, while the diagnosis couch was red not from velvet but from blood.
“-slip into the zombieworld again.”
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