Place: Al Kratz

Into This World We’re Thrown

Zombie Driver don’t care where they are. They’ve got to move. Move fast. Get around you. By you. Over you. Through you. Whatever it takes. They don’t see the side of the road or how it turns to green and how much green there really is. Grass and soybean, corn and rolling hill. Tree tops together as one. They don’t see the perfection of green. The determination to grow and breathe. All while staying put. Going nowhere. Green don’t care. Zombie don’t care. Zombie’s got to move. Zombie Driver don’t see the billboard on the side of the road, the hand painted warning: Prepare to meet thy God. They don’t see the back of the sign; don’t ever come back. They don’t see what a hand paints. On the other side it’s Jesus Died for Your Sins. Zombie don’t think about sin. They don’t see the patterns. North River. Middle River. South River. They don’t see the beauty of mile marker 65 on Highway 65. They don’t chuckle as the road turns from 65 into 69. Highway 69! They don’t see it. Red flags on speed signs? Wasted color. Orange won’t work either. Zombie don’t detour. Zombie’s got to keep moving. Fast and forward. Whatever it takes. Zombie don’t see the line of clouds, the perfect angles on top of the rolling hills where the eye tricks itself into mountain lines. Mountains in Iowa! Zombie don’t see it. They don’t get into a moment. The setting. Those things don’t mean a thing. Zombie Driver don’t feel their body flow through the hills, up and down, raise and drop. Zombie don’t get drawn into the dream of flight, don’t imagine their car lifting off the road, escaping the hills, leaving the green behind, heading right for the blue.

###

Al Kratz is a fiction editor at New Flash Fiction Review. He had a novella-in-flash shortlisted at Bath in 2018 and 2019. Some of his work has been published by Smokelong, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, and Bull.

Steven John – Fiction & Special Features Editor