Emily arrived at the gate and saw her brother hiding behind a water catch barrel. He clutched his bat with a white knuckled grip. She hurried to throw her shorts on over her bikini and had started on her tie shirt when she reached her brother.
“What is it?” she whispered while crouching down behind him. Sarah whimpered as she hugged herself against the wall.
“Shhhhhh,” he hissed.
Then she saw what he couldn’t remove his eyes from. Across the street, three men and two women were bashing a parked car with their fists. Through these people insane growls and moans, she could hear the high pitched wailing of an older woman that was trapped inside.
“She must not have the keys or something,” Spencer said.
Emily looked closer. Another man stumbled toward the car. He, like the others, was covered in blood and acted drunk. She gasped, while a hand covered her mouth. Half of the man’s face was gone. No one could survive a wound like that.
She wanted to scream, but used both hands to hold her mouth shut.
“What’s going on?” Sarah whined. “Why is everyone going insane?”
“Maybe it has something to do with the hospital,” Spencer said. “Saint Jude’s is only a few blocks away and look, like three of those screwed up freaks have those hospital gowns-”
“What are you kids doing out here?”
The sudden voice startled them. Maggy was Sarah’s neighbor and her mom’s best friend. “You kids need to go back inside this instant.”
“But there’s a creepy guy in the back yard,” Sarah explained.
“You had all better come with me then. I-”
She never finished her thought for a moan sounded behind her. Before Maggy could do more than turn, the mangled man was grabbing and tearing at her. This thing was the worse one yet. Its throat was only a bloody red tear. His guts were just gone. Emily couldn’t even be sure how the man remained standing with so much of himself missing.
Sarah screamed and some of the things in the street turned their way. Also, an answering moan sounded from the back yard and Emily saw the man they’d dunked into the pool stumbling toward then dripping streams of water off his clothes with each step.
“Run into my house,” Maggy cried. “Go around back.”
Maggy continued to wrestle with the torn apart man, while the children ran around her and toward her yard. Already a half-dozen shapes shambled at them. In the background, she could hear a man screaming.
They ran into Maggy’s backyard. She bred dogs so the family had installed a chain link fence long ago, but it was only three feet high.
“Maggy come on,” Emily yelled, but the woman yelled louder when the wet man grabbed her from behind and bit her in the neck. He pulled his head away and a huge string a of flesh stretched between the ravaged neck and the wet man’s teeth. Emily screamed.
This time it was Spencer who kept his cool. He pulled his sister into Maggy’s back yard and slammed the fence shut. “We need to get to dad. Some infection must have broken loose at the hospital. We need dad!”
Emily backpedaled away from the fence, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the jerking figures that moved toward them. Moans passed through their blood caked lips. Glassy grey eyes seemed to stare without seeing. More than one looked like it had wounds that no normal person would be walking away from.
The two that had Maggy had brought her to the ground and already the screaming was over. Emily looked on in horror as more of these ghouls hurried over to join the empty and wet man in their feast of Maggy’s still warm flesh.
Sarah must have already run inside for she rushed back out of Maggy’s house while screaming, “She must have left the front door open, there are already some of those things inside!” From inside the house, Emily could hear manic barking.
The first bloody figure and reached the fence. It struggled against it for a moment before toppled over face first.
Emily grabbed he brother’s hand and ran for the alley behind Maggy’s house. “I’m not sure what’s happening, but I know I don’t want to end up like that!” On the way through the yard her free hand grabbed up a three foot shovel. “Come on Spence, let’s get to dad.”
To be continued next Saturday…