"What's going on now?"
Hannah smiled from her spot in front of the TV. She knew that John could tell exactly what was going on, but he wanted to make conversation while Hannah was still verbal.
(He wouldn’t get it from anyone else, anyway)
"He’s eating her brain, John."
"Well, that's not very nice." John replied, grinning. "What’s he doing that for?"
“He’s a zombie. That’s what they do”
John chuckled and responded. “He’s gonna ruin his dinner! I’m sure if they bothered to sit down and talk about it, it’d be a different story.”
Hannah laughed. She knew John was just messing with her, but the idea was absurd. Zombies couldn’t talk! And even if they could, they would be much more interested in eating people. Just as she was about to respond, her mothers voice filtered in from the kitchen.
“HANNAH! Come take out the trash!”
Hannah flinched, and got up from her spot on the floor.
As she walked to the living room door, John spoke up.
“While you’re out there, could you turn the heating up? My feet are like ice!”
Hannah gave John a thumbs up, and walked into the kitchen.
In the kitchen, Hannah’s sister, Lex, was standing on a stool, attempting to change a light bulb, while their mother sat at the table, drinking a beer. As she passed by her sister, she spoke up.
“Hey, Banana! Whatcha watching in there?”
“Sex and violence.”
“Oh, that’s……. Nice?”
As Hannah took the bag out of the trash, tied it off, and started heading towards the door, her mom started ranting.
“God, why can’t you be fucking normal and act like other kids your age?”
“Hey!” Lex yelled “Don’t fucking talk to her like that!”
Hannah tried to ignore the shouting, and walked outside.
When she entered the house, she stopped by the table. She stood there for a minute, hands over her ears, waiting for a break from the yelling so she could say her piece. Finally, the argument died down, and Lex and her mom went back to their previous activities.
“Hey, mom? Could I turn the thermostat up? John says his feet are cold.”
Lex fell off the stool, and her mom slammed her can down onto the table. Hannah paled. She knew she shouldn’t have said that. She and Lex made eye contact, and Lex started shaking her head. All was quiet for a minute until-
Hannah held her hand to her cheek where Pamela had slapped her. She had been so focused on Lex that she hadn’t seen her mother approach her.
“How many fucking times do we have to go over this?! YOUR UNCLE IS DEAD!” Her mom yelled
“I know.” Hannah mumbled
“Then why do you keep fucking talking to him?”
“Because he talks back!”
It looked like her mom was about to hit her again, but Lex interjected.
“Hannah, maybe you just miss him so much that you think he’s talking back?” She asked.
“I’m not making this up! He talks to me all the time!” Hannah responded.
Lex knelt down in front of her.
“Banana, I know that you and Uncle John were very close. But it’s time to move on. He’s in a better place now.”
“No, he’s not! He’s in the living room.”
Their mom threw her arms up, and began shouting again.
“God! Why are you such a freak! Why can’t you be fucking normal?!”
Lex stood up and began yelling back.
“Mom, this is just part of the mourning process! She’s still grieving!”
“Stop indulging her!”
Hannah edged away from the fight, grabbed an icepack from the freezer, and ran up to her room.
In her room, she could still hear them shouting.
“She’s just sensitive!”
“Oh, please! Sensitive is writing poetry, or being shitty at team sports! Not this! I will not have her turning out like that cousin of your father’s! If that crazy tramp has been around here, putting ideas in her head-”
“Mom, Hannah and I have never even met Uncle Henry! I bet he doesn’t even know what she looks like!”
Hannah shut her door, layed down on her bed, and began to cry.