This is why I should have had a kickstart. Sweat was pouring down my back and face. With a white knuckled grip on my bent handlebars, I stood next to my battered motorcycle and threw another hasty, wild-eyed glance over my shoulder. I didn’t need to look. I knew they were getting closer. I could hear them– their eerie moaning, their shuffling feet dragging broken glass and blood stained debris across the asphalt with each step…
When you ride panicked through a hostile environment riddled with constantly changing obstacles, you tend to end up scrambling to pick up yourself and/or your bike a lot. My battery was already weak from not properly storing my bike last winter. The repeated electric starts all morning hadn’t been doing it any favors. And apparently my luck had run out with that last one.
I ground my right thumb into the start button again, as if somehow pressing harder would help my dying battery crank stronger. The bike did little more than make a pathetic clicking sound. The lights didn’t even flicker.
If I tried bump starting my bike and failed, I would be forced to flee on foot. Even when facing a zombie apocalypse, no rider likes the idea of leaving their motorcycle behind.
I looked again. I shouldn’t have.
They were so close now, maybe fifteen feet away.
I froze for a moment, watching them in horror, before turning back to the task at hand. I had to try. It was a gamble. This was no lightweight two stroke. This bike weighed every bit of 450lbs. It was going to be quite an energy investment to bump start it. Then again, fleeing on foot without a vehicle…
I picked up my right foot and confirmed I was still in first gear. I clicked up to second. I wanted to look back again, but I didn’t let myself. I adjusted my grip on the clutch and took a few deep breaths, beginning to rock the bike back and forth slightly.
I could hear them.
“One…” I muttered, as I lightly pushed the bike forward and let it roll back.
“Two…” I rolled the bike again, this time lowering my shoulders and bending my knees more. I took in a deep breath.
“Thr–!” Something bumped into me. I was so startled, I let go of the bike as I stumbled forward two steps without it. The bike clattered back to the pavement. I caught myself, whipped around, and found myself face to face with a middle-age, balding, and grotesquely disfigured zombie.
He bumped right into my chest and I stumbled backward and fell. He took another step and I threw up my hands. I had no time or chance to do anything else.
But he kept shuffling right past me, brushing against my side with his leg as he did so. I was grateful his touch was muted by my leather jacket. I turned my head and watched him in rapt shock until he was in the corner of my visor a few steps later.
I turned my head back to assess my bike. That’s when I realized that all the zombies had caught up to me… and they all seemed to be walking right past me. I was surrounded, but I was apparently being ignored.
I mustered my courage and rose to my feet slowly, with shaking knees and trembling hands. Not one zombie even acknowledged me. Maybe they can’t see me in this fog? I wondered.
Wait… fog? My visor was still down! I lifted it at that moment, and the zombie woman beside me sniffed the air and grunted. But, she didn’t turn to look at me. And she didn’t stop shuffling.
It was my helmet. The zombies couldn’t smell my brain, because of my helmet! I didn’t even need to crash for my helmet to save my brains this time! I laughed out loud. There was no need to hurry, no need to bump start my motorcycle. I could walk out of there to safety. I was invisible to them, or at least uninteresting.
And that’s the moral of the story, kids: Always wear your helmet, because you never know when the zombie apocalypse might hit while you’re out for a ride.