If they put thought into it, the dead can fall asleep. There’s nothing in my biology keeping me from nodding off but there’s no benefit to it anymore. When I was alive, I was able to take all the naps I wanted and I’d wake up with vigour. Now, when I force myself to dream, I wake feeling much worse as though I’ve been brought closer to death. I’ve had dreams and thoughts but my body does little else in those twilight hours.
The fatigue I feel after sleep causes the day to drag on and the only cure is exercise, getting the blood pumping again. I can strengthen the muscles that my disease has left untouched, a process which disagrees with the popular theory that we are in a state of ‘post-death’. My heart will still beat, just at a slower pace. I can feel it now in my wrists and my ears. The fighting causes it to burn through my cobwebbed veins, it makes me feel alive.
The man who brought me to this frozen cube made no mention of his name, but he was well-dressed and young, he wasn’t rich by his own hand though. He looked like the kind of guy who’d wipe his mouth with hundred dollar bills after each messy meal. At the games, he wore a wine-stain red suit, sticking out of place in a swamp of topless, tattooed fiends, drug dealers, and overpriced celebrities.
He was outside this building waiting for my arrival and, after removing my blindfold, he pushed me into this overblown freezer and left. I’m not alone in here but I’m definitely the last one with some warmth; two other zombies stand trapped in time like inanimate mastodons. The two of them have the worst case of freezer burn I’ve ever seen on the undead, their skin is literally torn like sheets of paper. They must’ve been dragged here right from battle because they’re wearing necklaces of blood-drip rubies and pearls of crystallised fat. A whip of scarlet jewels falls from one palm to another in the hands of the closest: a Strongman.
He looks almost familiar but then, I guess all Strongmen have that dull expression like there’s no live connections in their faces. While not quite as brutish as the last one I fought, this specimen’s muscles are enormous. The perfect size for manoeuvrability and dramatic hits, along with long, outstretched legs built to handle them. He looks like a champion, he probably earned this family a lot of money in his heyday.
The second is clearly intelligent, wearing tattered, ratty clothing and holding a more human appearance like myself. His half-bare stomach is riddled with bruises about the same size as the latter’s fists He is, like most of his kind, without brawn. The skinny human exterior becomes more warped the more I stare, like an uncanny valley movie prop.
Slippery skin and a head too heavy to hold up, he could be mistaken for a wax figure. Even his singular eye looks false, staring at me as I work my body out harder and harder. I wonder what they were like when they were among the living… I’m unsure of my own life prior to my attack but I earned my intelligence and my strength. I just have the ability to adapt and train my body much harder than any other.
I spent as long as I could reading once I learned of my new retention capabilities, I wouldn’t allow myself to fall victim to this situation. I gathered a more expansive grasp of the English language, I learned fitness routines by heart, I can understand what’s happening to my body and I can shift to avoid losing what’s left of it. Take right now as an example, I’m moving to keep warm but my right hand has frozen stiff.
It’s limiting the motions I can make use of to keep warm so, at this rate, I can assume I’m close to complete stasis for the second time this week. It’s not pleasant when you freeze, you enter this state without warning like falling out of existence, a sudden transformation where the world around you disappears into thin air.
Your body shuts down in an instant. You blink, and you’ve been out for several days. This repeats until you thaw because the adrenaline in your system shocks you back to a waking state. Soon, you just have to give into the cold but it’s scary, and I shouldn’t have to be afraid anymore.