No idea where it was going to end up, but the prompt was: returning home and realising everyone thought you were dead
"I know it's really materialistic of me to be upset because my things are gone but there you are," I said as I leaned back in my seat and looked at the good doctor in front of me.
"They thought that you were dead. There were searches after the war and bodies were buried," Doctor Schauss reminded me.
"And it's a way for them to get closure, I get that," I said. Then I shrugged. "But it's not like I had a lot of stuff to begin with so losing even a little seems like too much!"
"Have you told them all of this?" Doctor Schauss asked me, his pen poised to write down my response.
"Yeah. It lead to another fight though," I said. "I didn't realise coming back from war would throw such chaos into their lives."
It had been five years since the official declaration had sounded but it still felt newer, more recent than that.
"Sorry, what did you say?" I asked, realising that I had been lost in my own thoughts.
"I asked if your understanding of where they are coming from has changed at all?"
I shrugged. It had become my fallback response when I wasn't sure how to answer. Funny thing is that before and during the war I had hardly shrugged at all. I had an answer for everything, and a filter that only worked some of the time. "Part of me does."
"They buried a body. They thought that body's my was yours. They went through the funeral rites thinking that you were dead."
"It's not like I made them think that," I reminded the good doctor, knowing how petulant I sounded.
"There was testing. A DNA specialist confirmed that it was you based on the sample you provided when you volunteered," Doctor Schauss reminded me.
I had heard it all before. "Well, yeah. The whole point of going off to war against shape shifting zombie creatures is that one might turn in to you after it bites you and start to turn in to you, right down to the DNA."
"One bit you?" Doctor Schauss asked. He hadn't heard that before.
"Yeah," I said, trying to make it sound like it was nothing.
The doctor wasn't convinced.
"It takes more than one bite to change you into a Shape shifting zombie," I told him. "It takes like a ton more and blood and organ exchange."
"I always wondered that but I was never sure of its accuracy," he said in return.
I looked at him and raised my eyebrows in disbelief. "You're a medical professional. I thought you would have known all the facts," I told him.
"I am a psychologist, not a field doctor. I only need to know how to help you, not how to become what you were fighting against."
I laughed. Even after so long, so many people had trouble admitting what we were fighting against. They refused to use the words 'shape shifting zombie" because it meant that they wouldn't be able to deny their existence. Part of me wanted to goad him into saying it, to force him to say the words, but a larger part of me just wanted the appointment over and done with. "So, back to my family and friends then," I said in a clear way to indicate that the subject had been changed. "how do we hope about fixing this?"
© Patricia Kekewick 2016