My mind cleared and I found myself hunched over a hunk of bloody meat. There were ragged strips of it twined through my fingers, and I could taste the coppery tang of blood.
I yelped, dropping the meat and gagging. My frantic mind catalogued my surroundings: three concrete walls, one glass, all liberally spattered with dried blood. The floor even more so. A half-eaten raw steak lay on the floor where I’d dropped it. I scuttled backwards into a corner as far from the gory pile as possible, barely noticing that I was scraping my hands on the cement floor. I spat and wiped my mouth, desperately trying to get rid of the taste.
Trying not to let the panic take over, I straightened my soiled hospital gown to cover my unmentionables. I dug my fingernails into my palms to give me pain to focus on instead of the fear. There was a frightened, gibbering thing inside my head, and somehow I knew that if I didn’t fight it off, I was going to lose my mind.
“It worked.” The voice came from the other side of the mirrored glass that made up one of the walls of my cell, and I jumped in fright. “Do you see that? She’s cured.”
“I don’t know why you still get excited,” said a second voice. “She’s just going to go crazy like the rest of them.”
“I have a good feeling about this one.”
“Why? She’s nothing special.”
I looked at the one-way glass and croaked, “Hello?”
Silence for a moment.
“She talked,” the first voice whispered. “That’s a good sign.”
“Shut up,” said the second. “You’re not supposed to interact with the subjects.”
“Where am I?” I asked.
I sighed and rubbed my face with my hands. They were bloody; my nails dirty and ragged. Hands that had killed. Nails that rent and tore flesh. My eyes burned, but no tears trickled down my cheeks. Not all of this blood was fresh, and not all of it was my own.
Cured, they said. So it hadn’t been a terrible nightmare.
I really had been a zombie.