When Odessa Mullen rounded a corner downtown and came face to face with a pack of the ravenous undead, the first thing she felt wasn’t fear–it was exhilaration.

Dessie Mullen had been preparing her entire life for this.

Granted, she began to feel a little frightened as she turned and ran with abominations in hot pursuit. But her room back home was lined with George Romero films, splatterpunk zom-coms, and a complete signed first edition run of the rare Zomcomix graphic novel. If anyone knew how to handle those horrors, it was her.

It was almost too easy, really. Dessie ran a serpentine pattern before ducking into an alleyway she knew well and doubling back, causing the zombies to lose sight and scent of her. Then she scaled the old fire escape to the low roof of Hannigan’s Hardware to survey the situation.

“Wow, those guys at the CDC weren’t kidding,” she said, whistling. “Zombies really will lead to the collapse of civilization pretty damn quick.”

Everything had been normal that morning, but now looking out over town Dessie saw that the place was destroyed–burnt-out buildings, wrecked cars, and roving packs of the undead visible here or there.

She cocked her head. Something wasn’t right. There were no fires burning, nobody fighting back or trying to escape. If the zompocalypse that she’d long awaited had actually happened, it couldn’t have gotten so far in two hours.

Her thought process was interrupted by a shout from the street. “Hey! What are you doing up there?” It was Kim Woodard, one of Dessie’s friends who worked at a downtown deli. “The cops will give you a ticket if they see you up there! Remember Halloween ’89?”

“Kim!” Dessie cried. “Come up here, quick! It’s the zombie apocalypse, but I’ve got a plan.”

“Very funny,” Kim said. “Now get down from there. I’m not bailing you out again and my smoke break is almost over.”

“Does this look like a joke?” said Dessie. She had intended to encompass the curiously advanced devastation with e a sweep of her arm…but there was no devastation to encompass.

The town was its normal un-apocalypsed self. Pedestrians, cars, intact storefronts, and roving groups of teenagers rather than zombies.

Dessie could only move her mouth, speechlessly, half relieved and half aghast, as Kim continued to give her a withering stare.

That was Dessie’s first slip into the zombieworld. And it wouldn’t be her last.