Five zombies. Four bullets. Two zombies.

4/12/2009
—Brian

There are 150 comments in this article:

  1. 4/12/2009bluemanrocks says:

    Well this one’s just absolutely fantastic.

  2. 4/13/2009birch bingo says:

    excellent.

  3. 4/25/2009ghonsie says:

    i dont get it can someone explain?

  4. 4/26/2009Natalia says:

    Beautiful.

  5. 4/27/2009Jaco says:

    um.. ghonsie… it’s like coz the last zombie got the person with the gun.. hence two zombies now… yum!

  6. 4/28/2009anonymousgal says:

    wow. this is awesome. simply fantastic.

  7. 5/1/2009Berenice Weber says:

    this one’s great
    had to do the math ;)

  8. 5/12/2009Alexander says:

    Jaco, I actually interpreted it as he shot 3 zombies and then shot himself, but I hadn’t even thought of what you said. Interesting.

  9. 6/25/2009ghonsie says:

    ohh thanks jaco n alexander 2 ril nyc 1 brian

  10. 7/29/2009Rupert says:

    This has gone into my e-mail signature. Brian, let me know your surname and I’ll credit your properly :-)

  11. 9/13/2009Mr. Awesome says:

    No, no zombie got him. The fourth bullet was for himself.

    Come on, who would want to be a zombie?

  12. 9/13/2009James Jesse says:

    You could always, you know just TRY Hand to Hand, you know.?. man? how hard would it be to kick the shit out of a zombie??

  13. 9/13/2009Mark says:

    @ ghonsie: He killed four of the five zombies with his four bullets. The fifth zombie got him, turning him into a zombie. Now you have two zombies. The question is, if one zombie is on a train headed from Albuquerque towards a man in Chicago with two bullets, and another two zombies are on a bus from Charlotte towards the same man, and the train is averaging 65 mph, while the bus is averaging 68 mph, will the two-bullet man survive?

  14. 9/13/2009Andres says:

    Without a doubt the guy killed 3 zombies, and then he blew his own brains out.
    This is because, even he went hand to hand, there’s gonna be more zombies somewhere, and he has no bullets, he realizes that he will, eventually, be defeated and turned into a zombie, but by killing himself he can be sure he will never become a zombie (by destroying his brain, everyone knows that you can’t become a zombie if your brain is damaged ^__^ ).
    Reason to explain, because some people is still asking even after Mr Awesome’s brief explanation, I also detailed it for you to see the reasoning so you can keep it in mind when the zombie apocalypse comes (’cause trust me, it will [o`,,´o] ).
    Awesome story btw, funny how deep a six words story can be.

  15. 9/13/2009moocow says:

    hand to hand makes sense but what if they’re like the zombies from 28 weeks later? those are some freaky hyperactive zombies.

  16. 9/13/2009Bees says:

    @James Jesse

    The only difference between a zombie and a human is that a human can feel pain. Kicking the shit out of a zombie is harder than it sounds.

  17. 9/13/2009ZB says:

    With the provided context, either scenario could be correct (pending the author’s explanation). The narrator could have killed four zombies and then been bitten by the remaining zombie, or he could have killed three zombies and then himself, leaving two behind. We would need details to say which for sure, though. For instance, did the narrator know he only had four bullets left? Did he/she (yes, girls can fight zombies as well) have the time to decide that he/she would commit suicide? Is he/she the kind of person who would even commit suicide? Is he/she the kind of person that would kill as many zombies as possible before committing suicide or just doing it without caring about remaining zombies?

    …My point is that neither interpretation is right for sure (unless the author says one way or the other). It’s an interesting story either way, so don’t get your panties in a bunch, you silly Internet people.

  18. 9/13/2009Ryan says:

    He could have missed the zombie and wasted a bullet. Because we definitely know the protagonist is a sharpshooter :P

  19. 9/13/2009Jim Turpen says:

    It doesn’t mention a protagonist, just bullets and zombies. I think a game of zombie Russian roulette was going on.

  20. 9/13/2009Z says:

    I’m pretty sure he means that he shot 4 of the 5 zombies, the last one bites the shooter, and he rises as another zombie. Thus there are now 2 zombies.

  21. 9/13/2009danny says:

    i dont think the last bullet was for himself. if he knew he only had 4 bullets why would he begin the process of killing them? saying the last bullet was for himself implies he knew exactly how many bullets he had, meaning he knew from the start he wouldnt live, so why not just kill yourself with the first bullet? unless he wanted to go down fighting. he probably tried shooting the last zombie, clicked an empty, got bit, two zombies.

  22. 9/13/2009Lanai says:

    Maybe he’s just a bad shot.

  23. 9/13/2009Albert Wesker says:

    The result will be the same regardless of if he knew he had four bullets or not.
    1) He empties his load, fires and kills 4 zombies with 4 bullets, and gets bit from not having enough and becomes another zombie.
    2) He knows he has four bullets shoots and kills 3 and then shoots himself in the head avoiding becoming a zombie leaving 2 zombies.
    3) He carefully lines up his shot and hits 4 zombies with one shot, panics on the last one missing all his shots and becomes a zombie.
    4) Or while running away THE GAME and there are two zombies.
    5) He is a necromancer/ archer hybrid class who can cast spells while wielding a gun and doesn’t like the other zombies. Kills four with the gun rolling 4 or higher and then summons three new zombies from fresh graves to tear the last one apart but loses one of the die rolls and loses one zombie. 5-4+3-1=2

  24. 9/14/2009Many says:

    Five zombies. One bullet. Zero zombies. ULTRA KILL.

  25. 9/14/2009draven says:

    like what jim turpen said now were does it say a human was holding the gun.

  26. 9/14/2009And_C says:

    Life is too short to live.

  27. 9/14/2009Suovainaja says:

    Her eyes said the silenced words

  28. 9/14/2009Izumi says:

    But whoever said that the gun only had 4 bullets? The possibility of having more than 4 bullets in the gun itself is highly plausible. The 6-word implies 4 bullets FIRED, but not 4 bullets from the beginning. Just my two cents.

  29. 9/14/2009jay says:

    only fired 3 bullets in case he/she cant get away from the remaining zombies the last bullet can be used to ‘end it’ w/o being eaten alive.

  30. 9/14/2009Mike says:

    5 zombies attacked, shot four, the fifth got him – Two zombies

  31. 9/14/2009bruce a landwaster says:

    3 bullets for the zombies… 1 bullet for the final exit.

  32. 9/14/2009Evan says:

    Look at it this way,

    Five Zombies.
    Four are shot. This leaves one zombie.
    The last zombie gets the gunman.
    This leaves two zombies.
    Poor guy

  33. 9/14/2009Benvolio says:

    The gunman rushes to load his gun only to discover the bullets are the wrong caliber. He pistol whips the first zombie knocking it to the ground, as it lumbers back to its feet the gunman reels about to strike the next ghoul, but he is too slow. He is quickly surrounded and devoured.

    NOM NOM NOM

  34. 9/14/2009Zaphod Beeblebrox says:

    Life is wasted on the living.

  35. 9/14/2009luc says:

    it never said there was a gun.

  36. 9/14/2009Anna says:

    The shooter is also a zombie!

  37. 9/14/2009Benjamin says:

    He kill himself after killed three zombie …..

  38. 9/14/2009Soda says:

    2 in one shot.. Come on people. he got a double kill.

  39. 9/14/2009M.K. says:

    I gotta go with Evan and Anna, the guy got infected.

  40. 9/14/2009Allan Altamirano says:

    5 zombies
    he shot 4 of them
    1 left
    but then he realized
    the one he shot is still alive
    1+1=2 zombies left

    he’s fucked.

  41. 9/15/2009jonathan says:

    Two zombies now. Zombie army later.

  42. 9/15/2009Ferahtsu says:

    It’s rather obvious. He either killed three zombies then himself, or he killed four zombies and became one himself.

  43. 9/15/2009Sean says:

    Remember even in fiction head shots are hard!

  44. 9/15/2009Pleatherface says:

    He/She shot four times, missed once, hit three. He/She now has two zombies to deal with.

  45. 9/17/2009How dim do you have to be says:

    He had 4 bullets, shot and killed 4 out of 5 zombies…the last zombie turned him into a zombie, so the new total is 2

  46. 9/17/2009BRM says:

    Got five zombies. Give you two zombies for four bullets. Halloween sale!

  47. 9/18/2009Alex says:

    Five zombies found four bullets and two of them ran away for food.

  48. 9/18/2009Mina says:

    Four zombies dancing on four bullets two of them were deaf.

  49. 9/18/2009Manole says:

    Five zombies my ass, you got drunk again! and stole the four bullet bottles from those two zombies?

  50. 9/19/2009Thinking « Kt’s American Pageant says:

    [...] Here’s something to cheer you up in case this blog made you think too much about unfulfilled crazy dreams. [...]

  51. 9/25/2009Paul_B says:

    Hmmm… I like the idea that he shoots and kills four zombies. One zombie left. Have you ever tried to reason with a zombie? Me neither. The zombie then infects the human. But how do we know this? If the narrator has already been turned into a zombie by the end of the second phrase, then it begs the question: do zombies write six word fiction?

    The other possibility is of course an extradiegetic narrator.

  52. 9/25/2009Jordan says:

    I wanna be in the Zombie Apocalypse with the guy who can get one zombie kill-per-shot

  53. 9/30/2009Amy-s says:

    Or he kills two then decides to kill himself. ergo. 2 left.

  54. 10/10/2009pasqui007 says:

    The last zombie standing infects him.

  55. 10/13/2009Jake says:

    There are only three days left.

  56. 10/13/2009Jake says:

    Two zombies. No bullets. Crap! Run!

  57. 10/13/2009CiaraGnosis says:

    The acid rain wiped the earth.

  58. 10/13/2009dblainedblaine says:

    The last six words ever written.

  59. 10/13/2009Susana Rangel says:

    haha… have you ever read Augusto Monterroso? He wrote this one: “When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.” More tha six words, but way more fantastic.

  60. 10/15/2009Drofrehter says:

    The door opened; he walked through.

  61. 10/15/2009Robin says:

    Knock Knock, Who’s There? 2 Zombies

  62. 10/15/2009ambriohl says:

    Break rules on six words. Sweet.

  63. 10/15/2009ambriohl says:

    “B r a i n s !!”
    “AAAGGHH!!!”
    “Bang!”
    “(falling)”
    “Splash”
    “……”

  64. 10/17/2009Kristine says:

    Lock the door. Forgot your keys.

  65. 10/24/2009Morlock says:

    “Even Velociraptors now?! Fuck this..” BANG!

  66. 11/19/2009Seeaarrno says:

    The meaning of life is this.

  67. 11/20/2009Nicky says:

    Yesterday I finally told him yes.

  68. 11/25/2009Bella1701 says:

    “Take me now….” she said, softly.

  69. 11/29/2009introducing… stumbleupon sunday! « to the sleepless says:

    [...] 4. A Little Competition Never Hurt. 5. Someone Once Told Me 6. Unusual (and fun!) Date Ideas. 7. Six Word Stories. 8. Terry Border Makes Everyday Objects Come Alive. 9. 20 Incredible Lego Artworks by Nathan Sawaya [...]

  70. 12/3/2009wilo says:

    The planet was cold and brittle.

  71. 12/3/2009Kendall says:

    “Might as well say goodbye now.”

  72. 12/3/2009Kumbalia says:

    Touch, squeeze, ooze, ah, splat, run.

  73. 12/13/2009st8ofu4ia says:

    Once upon a time. The end.

  74. 12/15/2009Mac says:

    And there it stayed. Watching. Waiting.

  75. 12/17/2009Michelle says:

    I loved you much. I died.

  76. 12/19/2009minamo says:

    god doesnt exist. i asked him.

  77. 1/21/2010Kryziz says:

    Liar, i didn’t ate your homework

  78. 1/24/2010Alicia says:

    Fuck you.

  79. 2/7/2010Rae says:

    Uh-oh. someone ignored the double tap rule…

  80. 2/8/2010feysweetie says:

    Henious stress. Clutch at heart. Death.

  81. 2/20/2010Jim says:

    Six, sixty six, sixty, six thousand.

  82. 2/20/2010Alexander Philip says:

    If I die, will she cry?

  83. 2/24/2010mahn says:

    Caps lock engaged – CAPITALISM ENSUES

  84. 2/27/2010jackson says:

    apparenty some bitch dont know how to pistol whip a zombie to death

  85. 2/28/2010Rachel Anne says:

    Walked to edge. Didn’t jump. Depressed.

  86. 3/10/2010anon o-moose says:

    what’s the scouter say? OVER 9000?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

  87. 3/19/2010Flavio Scramignon says:

    Big bang, expansion, collapse, big Crush.

  88. 3/21/2010Abby says:

    You, I, and time pass slowly.

  89. 3/31/2010june says:

    I don’t understand how this works

  90. 5/5/2010Morgana says:

    Little bird. Pellet gun. Bread. Sandwich.

  91. 5/7/2010Angela Dahle says:

    Peek-a-boom! Playing with fireworks!

  92. 5/12/2010owen says:

    Murder, drugs, crime. Our modern society

  93. 5/21/2010wickeddish says:

    All the way to the Stars.

  94. 5/26/2010Angela Dahle says:

    Write to live. Live to write.

  95. 7/15/2010amaariaa says:

    self-doubt, the story ended here bloodied.

  96. 8/6/2010mike says:

    either the last zombie got him or he used the 4th bullet on himself

  97. 8/7/2010or... says:

    the zombies were playing russian roulette with four bullets.
    three zombies fire live cartridges and the other two get empty chambers.

  98. 8/11/2010Ines says:

    Interesting! When I read it I imagined someone who didn’t know had only 4 bullets left and missed one shot, only killing 3 zombies an leaving 2 alive… I have no idea why this was the first thing in my mind, since no one else here seems to have had the same interpretation as I… But cool! I liked it, I like zombie stories <3

  99. 8/12/2010Beren says:

    I do have to ask a question here, Why does everyone assume that the gunman died? Humans can still run, climb, jump, swim, etc. Zombies risk loosing limbs in the process of any of these actions, such as feet or arms falling off. The answer is obvious.

    Gunman didnt know there were zombies, shot one in the chest. When that didnt stop it he thought “Oh shiz, these are zombies?! Where’s my &%$#ing whisky?!” and then shot three in the head. He ran, stole whisky and hijacked a car, leaving 2 zombies.

  100. 8/12/2010Ben says:

    I imagined this as a guy not knowing he has only four bullets. He shoots four of the zombies, leaving one to bite him. After he is bitten, he turns into a zombie leaving two zombies. SHAZAM!

  101. 8/13/2010Conp says:

    @Mark.
    Is the man with two bullets on the tracks?

  102. 8/16/2010Bells says:

    Brilliant. And Because you made it in 6 words, it’s 2 times more brilliant

  103. 8/24/2010Banyah says:

    Once upon a time: the end.

  104. 9/28/2010i know this stuff says:

    he shoots 4 zombies then kills the other with a shovel

    explantion:who in the right mind leaves without a backup weopen? in a zompocolyps?
    really?

  105. 10/26/2010Dan says:

    I like this post because it gives the reader room to use his/her imagination as seen from all the different interpretations. it tells us what people might actually do in this situation, fight or flight, would you A) take the easy way out and kill 3 zombies then turn the gun on yourself leaving 2 undead to feast on your lifeless corps. or B) fight till then end, take out 4 zombies then try to fight your way out, possibly being bitten and becoming part of the walking dead. An empty pistol or rifle (either or) are both useful bludgeoned weapons to crack skulls. I for one would try my luck to escape and fight another day.

    “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

  106. 10/27/2010DOUG says:

    Shopped. I can tell by the pixels. I’ve seen quite a few shops in my time.

  107. 10/28/2010Jordan says:

    Fag. I can tell by the comment.

  108. 10/28/2010Stephanie says:

    no, it means that the guy with the gun killed three zombies and then shot himself.

  109. 10/29/2010ChivKatal says:

    Guys (and girls) seriously why can’t this story have 2 endings?

    #1 – he shot 4 and got zombiefied by the 5th.

    #2 – he shot 3 and commited suicide.

    now whos up for a poll? :D

  110. 10/31/2010ivo says:

    braaaiins

  111. 10/31/2010Deb says:

    Why does a gun kill zombies, anyway? I mean, aren’t they already dead?

  112. 10/31/2010Scott says:

    Maybe he just has bad aim?

  113. 10/31/2010Kim says:

    The comments are all way more interesting than the actual story.

  114. 11/4/2010Joe says:

    i interpreted that there were five zombies, he killed 2 of them with one shot and the other one took 2 shots to kill because the zombie was tough or he had bad accuracy. Anyways, he kills three of them and two are still lurching towards him. It lets you interpret an ending to the story which I like.

  115. 3/30/2011Zach says:

    Another scenario, he killed all five zombies, but a sixth one snuck up behind him and zombified him.

  116. 4/18/2011Anthony says:

    Or he himself is a a selfish zombie with a brain to eat, and is not ready to share

  117. 4/30/2011Kitt says:

    duh, he killed 4 of the 5 zombies except the last one coz he ran out of bullets. he struggled with the last zombie which eventually zombie-fied him. so now we got 2 zombies

  118. 5/1/2011Emiliano says:

    he killed 3 and himself, now there are 2

  119. 5/22/2011VIcious says:

    5 ZOMBIES? 4 BULLETS? 2 ZOMBIES… WITH ONE SHOT!!!!!!!!

  120. 6/2/2011Helename says:

    My god! Are you people totally retarded? I have often wondered how H.B.O. could have been elected. The replies to this really great “Six word stories” has solved the question. Anyway, good job, Brian. Excellent story.

  121. 6/13/2011ZP says:

    The zombies arriving from charlotte will turn the man into a zombie first leaving 4 zombies by the time New Mexico comes thus leaving four zombies and 2 bullets on the train. Eggselent!

  122. 6/19/2011Chase says:

    It’s easy. Four Bullets = Four Kills. The 5th one got to him and now he’s the second.

  123. 6/20/2011Juhan says:

    He kills 3 zombies with the first three bullets, reserving the fourth one for himself.

  124. 6/30/2011Miggy says:

    It’s simple, he liked turtles

  125. 7/11/2011Jake Hurley says:

    Actually, this is an example of the “double tap” rule. If you want to kill a zombie, you must shoot it twice, therefore, if you have four bullets, you have enough to kill two zombies.

  126. 7/30/2011Ot says:

    or he posted and while looking at the cooments he died

  127. 2/17/2012Banyah says:

    PEOPLE. STOP DEBATING.

    There is absolutely zero ambiguity with this story, so stop debating. Zero. No open endings left for subjective interpretation. As repeated by many people now, the story implies that the person used the four bullets to kill four zombies, and that the fifth zombie bit him, turning him into a zombie.

    Why is this the only case? Because the author INTENTIONALLY used ZOMBIES, which have the characteristic of transforming others into zombies. The usage of zombies not a coincidence. The most common alternative suggestion is that the person used the fourth bullet to kill himself. This scenario, however, doesn’t require the use of zombies. It could just as well work with five ninja assassins or five evil robots.

    The bigger intention of the story is to cleverly and humorously overcome the constraint of being limited to six words. It has a beginning, middle and end, despite its length. The genius of this story is that it succeeds in being minimalistic and thorough at the same time.

  128. 3/13/2012ASD says:

    To the last person no it does not end that way because there is no conclusion. The reader is left at a point were 3 of the zombies are dead and must decide what to do with the last bullet. It brings the question what to do when you know you are going to die either way?

  129. 3/13/2012Michael says:

    You guys don’t seem to get it. Five zombies. Four bullets. Two zombies. He shot four of them leaving ONE. That one got him and turned him into a zombie. Leaving two zombies.

  130. 3/14/2012alyssa says:

    When I read it I figured it meant he had four bullets, and shot at all of the zombies, but missed one of the shots, leaving two zombies. Considering what his state of mind would be like, being confronted by zombies, one can only assume that is shot to kill ratio wouldn’t be very accurate.

    Although, Michael’s theory makes a lot of sense.

  131. 3/15/2012Charley says:

    I’m just taking a guess. He shot 3 and used the last one to kill himself?

  132. 4/16/2012Iron says:

    Great story, but don’t tell me you couldn’t take at least ONE shambling, falling-apart, loosely connected lump of flesh and bone in a fist fight.

  133. 5/4/2012CP says:

    @Banyah

    The horror of turning into a zombie could motivate suicide far more than the fear of mere death at the hands of assassins or robots. So the theory of killing three zombies and then himself is still viable, not to mention interesting.

    Part of the excellence of this story (intended or not) is that it not only has all the merits you describe, but allows for varying interpretation. It forces you to think a little bit.

  134. 6/23/2012adawg says:

    So it took 4 bullets to kill 3 zombies? Not a very good shooter.

  135. 7/9/2012Scyther says:

    Its possible he shot 3 zombies using 3 bullets, realised he had only 1 nullet left & topped himself leaving 2 zombies.

  136. 7/19/2012Becca boo says:

    THIS IS SO OBVIOUS. He uses all four bullets, killing four of the five zombies. One zombie is left and turns the shooter into a zombie as well, leaving a total of two zombies. Duh.

  137. 7/25/2012James says:

    At this point he is still alive, he shoots 4 times and hits 3 of the 5 zombies, leaving 2 left. Now you just use your imagination.

  138. 8/23/2012Bella says:

    But…he forgot to double tap…Which means, in total, there are now 6 zombies.

  139. 8/27/2012Gerty says:

    Mine would be

    Five Zombies, Four bullets, No zombies, one human.

    – competition shooter

  140. 10/15/2012Dave says:

    Occam’s razor: He missed one zombie.

  141. 10/23/2012Michael says:

    I guess this one depends on how it is interpreted, people who think logically assume he shot 4 Zombies then got turned by he last one, whereas people who think about it psychologically, like me, understand it as he takes out 3 then shoots himself with the last one, rather than become a zombie himself.

  142. 11/22/2012Rich says:

    Not sure how Occam’s razor implies he missed one zombie. Complexity and simplicity can be very subjective.

  143. 11/26/2012REASON says:

    @Michael, if he’s just going to kill himself, why would he bother to shoot any zombies at all? This poem is a tragedy, a man fighting till his last breathe and despite is best efforts, falls to the hands of his enemy. I promise that’s what the poet was trying to depict.

  144. 12/8/2012Ms. Right says:

    Okay so this is how it goes, five zombies+four bullets=two zombies because the last zombie turned him therefor two zombies. And yes I get this even though I’m 11

  145. 3/27/2013Brian says:

    Wow, just six words that i wrote while bored. Incredible the kind of impact that has got

  146. 4/4/2013Smitty says:

    With so many interpretations of this story I think the most important thing is that it can be read in different ways. There is no reason to force it to only have one meaning. It has a very cryptic feeling and you have to wonder whether he chose to take his own life or if he was turned into the bloodthirsty undead.

  147. 7/26/2013John Cook says:

    five zombies, four bullets, two zombies…

    Bullshit! Are you nutz? Zombies are a fairy tale–they don’t exist, therefore it’s nonsense. If they did exist, he was guilty of not being careful enough; of poor planning, or not thinking fast enough to grab a big fat stick, a rock, a broken chair, making a seven foot lance, carrying a long sword, learning how to effectively disable zombies with a puff of salt, a quick tap dance, and so on. . .

    It’s a bit like escaping vampires. Piece of cake! It’s spelled D-u-c-a-t-I M-o-n-s-t-e-r. Vampires are fast, but not THAT fast. Also, meh . . . another fooking fairy tale.

  148. 8/21/2013CrazedLeper says:

    Sorry, going to have to shoot down the “fourth-bullet-suicide” theory. Disblief suspended that zombies could exist, it would be pointless to shoot the first 3 zombies if you were planning to shoot yourself with the last bullet. It’s more likely that the 5th zombie was not seen or the number of bullets was unknown…until it was too late. After which time the one zombie would procreate with the now unarmed, would-be survivor in the hypothetical way that zombies replicate.

  149. 8/21/2013CrazedLeper says:

    Sorry, going to have to shoot down the “fourth-bullet-suicide” theory. Disblief suspended that zombies could exist, it would be pointless to shoot the first 3 zombies if you were planning to shoot yourself with the last bullet. It’s more likely that the 5th zombie was not seen or the number of bullets was unknown…until it was too late. After which time the one zombie would procreate–in the hypothetical way that zombies do.

  150. 8/28/2013David says:

    Wow, three years later and people are still discussing this six word story. Impressive!

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