Mere minutes after the virus took their lives, the victims began to grow their first feathers. Each plume was golden and translucent, centered by accents of violet and clover. The metamorphosis took place in moments thereafter; their pupils spiraled outward until abyssal whorls, their locks erupted into leonine manes, and all color faded from their blood until it was as clear as rainwater.

We never imagined that the zombies would be more beautiful than ourselves. The hardest part about fighting back was the way they sang as they approached, lovely and alien hymns in a language that could only be spoken with multiple voices at once. Each was a choir of angels to themselves. It was hard to believe that there was any value to life if death could look like this, but we stood our ground just the same. 

Those who looked upon them with jealously were the first to fall. As for the survivors, we took up our guns, our arrows, and our swords, and we took them apart. They were immaculate inside and out- the bones we recovered could even be used as prisms. Now that it’s over, there are collectors who buy and sell their feathers at the marketplace. For someone like me, however, to look upon them fills me with shame.

I am haunted by the songs that I will never hear again. In my dreams, I let their crystalline teeth sink into my mortal skin, and I accept perfection over putrefaction.