Dedushka – an unZombie Tale
This was written for J. Whitworth Hazzard’s unZombie Flash Fiction challenge with a 250 word limit.
Everybody understood that Ondrej never got over the day when, at the age of ten, he discovered his beloved grandfather hanging from a rafter in the barn.
When the boy began to claim that he saw his grandfather walking at night the claims surprised no one and were accepted for what they were.
His sisters made a game of it.
“Where is dedushka now?” they’d ask him in a tone that was teasing without being cruel.
Ondrej would answer them. By the barn. In the orchard.
“Has he come near the house?” asked his father.
“No, papa. He never comes close.”
“Ondrej, I know you loved your dedushka but you must never let him into the house.”
“The dead… they know we’re in here now.”
“He’s my dedushka!”
“No, he’s not. Not anymore.”
“You’re wrong, papa. He’ll always be my dedushka.”
Twelve years later Ondrej was traveling alone when he was attacked by brigands on a dark forest path. He fought but was no match for four armed men.
They were about to run him through when they heard movement in the underbrush.
Ondrej saw it first.
It was true.
What had once been Ondrej’s dedushka rushed out of the woods and tore the brigands apart.
When it was over it turned its blood-spattered face to Ondrej and nodded before disappearing into the darkness.
Ondrej prayed for his beloved grandfather’s soul and then continued down the road.