Spencer’s father kept driving around the large apartment complex. Since Spencer sat up front, he could see the mayhem going on between the buildings. Maybe five of the blood-splattered madmen could be seen, but even this small amount, proved enough to put the whole place into a panic.
A group of three gruesome, what had his father called them, zombies, hammered on someone’s front door. Then, even as he watched, the larger male smashed through a plate glass window in complete disregard for his own safety.
He jerked and cried out involuntarily when a woman, with blood covered face and hands, ran right into the window inches before his face. He thought it was another of the roaming freaks until she screamed, “Help me! For the love of God, help me!”
“Don’t let her in,” Jewels said. “She might be infected. It looks like she’s been bit.”
“Hey, I was bit!” Chris yelled.
“Both of you calm down,” Spencer’s dad said. “We need to help these-”
Before he could finish, a gory mailman missing the bottom of his face stumbled toward the bleeding woman. With another scream, she ran from the car and the mailman followed her.
“They really are zombies, huh dad?”
“Sure aren’t worth saving, is all I need to know. That and aim for the head. Now Spence, I want you and your sister to stay here and roll down the windows two inches. If anything that can’t talk gets too close, blast it.” Looking over his shoulder, he said, “I won’t mind having one of you adults backing me up.”
“I’ll go,” Chris said, while he finished binding his arm with a torn t-shirt.
“No,” Jewels said. “You’re wounded. I’ll go.”
“Well hurry then. There aren’t too many of those things now,” Chris said. “But that last place was crawling with them. If that many show up, I don’t want to be trapped in a car.”
“This won’t take long,” His father said. “You just keep my kids safe. If I get back here and everything goes alright, I’ll let you keep the gun.”
“That goes for me too, right?’ Jewels asked, as the pair hurried out of the car. Jewels had a pistol while his father had his rifle.
Ignoring her, his father said, “Come on, let’s move.” Before Spencer could even roll down the window a few inches, the two adults had already jogged behind the corner of one of the apartment buildings. Shots rang out moments later.
Spencer stared down at the black pistol that rested on his lap. It was cold, heavy. It felt too large when his small hands picked it up.
His sister’s words jerked him back to the present. “Oh no. How can that thing be moving?” She gagged, “How can it be alive?” A second later, she puked over the floor of the back seat. The SUV quickly filled with the rancid odor of vomit.
But Spencer barely paid attention. Instead his eyes stayed glued to the horrific form that slowly stumbled toward them. Its stomach and most organs had been torn from its shattered ribcage. Intestines and viscera trailed more than twice its body height behind the wild eyed man.
Spencer leveled his pistol over the lip of the window. His nine year old mind struggled to process what he saw. “That thing can’t be alive. They are zombies.”
“Don’t shoot them unless we have too,” Chris said. “We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. Damn, that stinks.”
“Sorry,” Emily whimpered.
The disemboweled man’s head jerked in their direction.
“Oh crap,” Chris said. “It’s on your side of the car, Spence. Do you think you can take the shot?”
“Yeah,” he said and then held his breath while the foul half-man lurched toward their SUV. Balancing the gun in the glass, he took aim. He let out a whoop when his first shot took the zombie right between the eyes.
Chris clasped him on the shoulder. “Nice shooting, kid.” He let his hand rest there only for a moment, before continuing. “Their shooting has stopped. I’m hoping that’s a good sign.” Chris slumped back, while Emily made a half-hearted attempt to clean up her mess.
A minute passed.
More of the zombies were gathering.
“I think you were right about the shooting,” Spencer whispered, while sinking down in his seat. “It’s attracting them.”
“What’s taking them so long,” Chris hissed. “Just get the girl and run back here, dude.”
“Spencer more are walking in from the street,” Emily whispered.
Looking back, he saw at least a dozen bulky shapes heading toward them. Most came from the road, but others wavered in from the alley and another from the complex. “Maybe we should hide.”
“They have already seen us.” Chris said way too loud. “We need to run while we still can. We can’t get trapped in here!”
“My dad told us to stay in the car,” Spencer said.
Emily spoke up. “If we leave we’ll have no way to escape, He might not be able to find us.”
“Come with me if you want to live,” Chris yelled and then dashed away from the car.”
Spencer felt stunned.
“He left us. He left us.” Emily stammered.
When Spencer saw that the door had been left ajar, he yelled, “Emily the door!”
With a shriek, she grabbed the door handle and the door slammed shut. Most of the zombies had lumbered after Chris, but when the door closed, their bloated eyes turned their way and with a loud chorus of moaning, they headed toward the children.
To be continued next Saturday.
His father’s SUV roared away from the blood covered cannibals that stumbled out of the house where Spencer had spent his nine years of life.
Spencer rode up front, but looked over his shoulder as his older sister burst into another crying jag. The forerunner hit a faceless nurse and she yelled out as the gruesome body jarred their car.
His father glanced back at Emily, but then needed to jerk the forerunner violently to the left when three of the infected blocked the exit out of the alley. They lost the right side mirror, but Spencer gave an excited shout when the impact broke one of the infected’s necks.
“This isn’t funny Spencer!” his sister yelled. “Those things are killing people. They almost killed me.”
He looked over at his dad.
Spencer’s father tended to keep his hair longer than most, even if his sides headed toward grey. Clean shaven, even on the worst of days, Jason Wallace looked back at his son and smiled. “Why don’t you introduce me to our traveling companions?”
“Ah okay. Jewels is an EMT that we meet along the way. Chris was helping her against a bunch of those things. We helped each other make it home.”
“I owe each of you anything I can give for helping keep my children safe.”
“They’re good kids,” Jewels said. “If they hadn’t given us a plan, we might not be standing right now.”
His father dodged both staled cars and wandering blood covered freaks as he headed north toward the Catalinas. “Is everyone alright?”
“I’ve been better,” Chris groaned. Spencer looked back at the young man that had fought so hard to keep them safe. He didn’t look good. Sweat had drenched his shirt and rolled over his face in threads. “One of those things took a chunk out of me.”
Spencer sensed his father tense. “That’s probably not good. Let’s get you somewhere safe and then—You’re an EMT? Can you do something?”
Jewels worked on a fussy Chris’ arm, while Spencer asked, “What’s going on, Dad?”
“I’ve heard a lot of things. Chemical warfare. Some people are calling them zombies, like in the movies. They even said we should shoot them in the head.”
“That much we figured out,” Chris moaned, as Jewels tightened the bandage on his injured forearm.
“They are coming from the hospital,” Spencer offered. “We saw a lot of bloody doctors and nurses and stuff.”
His father flashed him a serious look while driving through a McDonald’s parking lot in order to avoid a large moving truck parked lengthwise across the road. “It’s not just happened at the hospital, Spence. People all over Tucson are getting attacked. All over the country, it sounds like. Maybe some of our allies too.”
“How could such a terrorist attack be so coordinated?” Jewels asked.
“I wish I could tell you more. No one seems to know more than what they are seeing right now.”
Emily sounded like she her tears had ceased. “So where are we headed? Up in the mountains?”
“Maybe,” their father said. His voice faltered. “Well…we have a quick stop first.”
“What do we need, dad?” Spencer asked.
“We have to pick someone up.”
“Who?” His sister asked.
Jason slowed around a group of growling people that clustered around a car. The doors were open and they couldn’t hear any screaming. “Her name is Stacy.”
Emily’s voice took an edge. “Who’s that?”
“She’s my girlfriend. Okay.”
“You had a girlfriend and you didn’t tell us?” Spencer asked.
“I ah… well it hasn’t been that-”
“Watch the road!” Jewels yelled.
Jason’s yelled himself as he barely avoided a car droving on the wrong side of the road. Looking back, he said, “That car was covered with those things.”
Besides Chris’ loud breathing, silence ruled the vehicle. After a minute, Jason wiped his sleeve across his brow and turned on the radio.
“-some claim these killers are already brain dead and unsavable, but no one can explain why some of us seem to be functioning fine while others have become blood thirsting murderers.”
He turned it down, some. “We’re almost here. She lives in these apartments…”
As one, the small group looked into a giant tree filled apartment complex and saw people fleeing in every direction as more of the infected killers lurched and stumbled—searching for new victims.
“Oh this looks real easy,” Jewels said.
Jason held a pistol in his right hand as he turned into the swarming apartment complex.
“The battle has to start somewhere.”
Emily and Spencer ran into their father’s arms and received a fast hug, but their father quickly became all business. “I’m glad to see you are both alright, but we need to-”
Is statement was interrupted by the other two adults retreating back toward them as the flimsy hallway door was torn off its hinges.
“We gotta go!” Chis yelled, while still applying direct pressure to his wounded arm.
Looking past the adults, toward where the mass of infested people hurried through the opening, Emily’s father took in the situation and acted quickly. While grabbing the two pistols from Emily’s hands, he said, “Emily. I have two rifles in the closet of my room. Go get them and all the ammo you can find, then meet us back here. Hurry!”
When she didn’t move right away, he pushed her down the bedroom hallway and yelled, “Go!” Turning back to the infested, he began to fire both pistols into the stumbling horde. Right before she reached his room, she heard him order her brother to give everyone a pistol.
Emily was so frantic that her father’s backpack sent her crashing onto the carpet. She wanted to cry, but steeled herself. Dad’s counting on me.
Snatching up the backpack, she power crawled to the closet and whipped the door open. Layers of old clothes fell out at her, but she rushed to push them aside. Out in the hallway the sounds of gunfire increased, which she hoped was a good thing.
Finally, she spied the two rifles and hurried to yank them free. One caught and a steam of curses, which should never be uttered by a twelve year old girl, passed through her lips. With a desperate pull, the second rifle finally came free. “The ammo, the ammo.”
It was on the top shelf. She knew that much, but her little body was too short to see up there. Several manic seconds were spent blindly searching for the boxes before her fingers landed on two of them. She had just pulled them down, when she heard her father shouting her name. Between the gunfire and the confusion, she hadn’t heard what he had said next.
Panic started to set in. What is happening? Are they okay?
Then, for some reason, the sound of gunfire faded.
Oh no, they’re leaving me!
Despite her fear, she hurried to load the rifle. Before her trembling fingers had finished loading the third bullet into the gun, she heard the hollow steps and the loud moaning descending down the hallway toward her father’s room. Without missing a beat, she kicked the door shut, slammed her back against it, and hasted to turn the lock. Second later, the first fists connected with the other side of the door and the impact jarred against her small spine.
With a yelp, she rushed back to the closet and continued to load the rifle.
Cracks appeared in the door.
She continued to load the rifle.
Hands tore away pieces of the door.
She continued to load the rifle.
But when the first faces appeared, she brought the rifle back against her shoulder and started to aim. “Spencer, I hope you’re right about this whole head thing,” she whispered.
Beyond the door, the snarling maniacs started to work themselves into a frenzy. Then she saw him. The blood stained man who was still wet from his dunking in Sarah’s pool.
A rage built inside of her. They had killed her friend. She took aim even as the door began to crumble. A loud bang sounded as the gun rocked back against her shoulder, but the man from the pool fell away from the doorway as an arc of blood and gore erupted from between his eyes.
With a snarl, Emily cleared the chamber and aimed again. A large male that could have been a doctor tried to force his way through the opening, until she shot him through the eye. A third and then a fourth infected human fell. Soon their fallen bodies were helping to keep the others at bay, but there were so many of them.
It was harder to pick out the heads in the tangled masses, but after a couple of wasted shots, she might have dropped two more. It wasn’t going to be enough. The door was being torn apart. An obese zombie with a torn away face stood in front and when she went to fire, the gun clicked empty.
She grabbed for the box of shells and that was when the window behind her shattered sending glass flying across the room.
They are all around me. All around me!
“Emily, it’s me!” her father shouted. “Come on.”
She didn’t have to be told twice and even as the monsters broke through the door, she ran toward the back of the room with her rifle in one hand and the backpack in the other.
She saw her father reaching in for her, but hesitated.
“Oh no, the other rifle!”
“Leave it! Come on.”
“Emily hurry, hurry!” Spencer screamed from somewhere out in the yard.
Reaching in, her father grabbed her and pulled her through the window just as the first bloody fingers reached for her. Slick hands clutched at her ankles, but with her dad’s help, she was pulled to safety.
Once outside, she was happy to see that Jewels and Chris were still with her small family.
Her father pointed to the alley behind the house. “Get to the forerunner, quick. We don’t have much time.” The others started running, while her father paused to help Emily with the backpack. “Here’s the rifle, dad.”
“No, you keep it. You earned it.” Then without looking toward her, he added, “I’ve never been more proud of you then I am today. You kept your brother safe and even saved those people.”
Emily burst into tears on the way to the car.
To be continued next Saturday… from Spencer point of view when the Eternal Aftermath continues with… Spiking It.
Emily screamed when her best friend was dragged into the kitchen by the bloody faced, cannibal man. The two adults remained too busy keeping the front of the house from being overrun to be able to come to the children’s aid.
Spencer yelled, “Grab a gun, hurry!”
Emily’s small fingers grabbed one of the heavy pistols that lined the bottom of the gun safe. She lifted it with both hands and aimed at the growling thing that Sarah tried to keep at bay.
The gun clicked empty.
“The bullets, the bullets,” Spencer stammered and the siblings cracked heads as they each rushed to grab magazines. Their fingers fumbled for a moment, but then Spencer handed her one, “Here, here!”
She slammed the clip home, but it was too late. The evil thing leaned forward, and even as she watched, took a bite out of the middle of Sarah’s forehead. The young girl let out a shriek, which was the most horrible thing Emily had heard in her short life, and started to thrash and flail her arms. The bloody man lost his grip while his focus shifted to chewing and Sarah fell back and hit her temple on the side of their wooden kitchen table. The screams were cut short as her friend toppled to the floor.
The infected man moved toward Sarah, as if to take another bite, and that was when two shots from Emily’s gun crashed into its chest. They didn’t do much more than get the thing’s attention and it lurched at them.
“The head!” Spencer shouted, as he grabbed up a pistol of his own. “Remember Chris said to aim for the head.”
She paused and took aim as the thing stumbled closer. Ten feet, five feet.
It toppled over without so much as a twitch.
A second later, Chris let out an intense cry of pain from the front of the house. This was quickly followed by Jewels yelling, “We need those guns up here, hurry!”
Emily tossed her backpack to Spencer. “Fill this with everything in the safe.” Then she grabbed two more guns and rammed their magazine home. As she did this, Emily took in the scene in the front of the living room. The adults were abandoning the shattered window while as least a dozen of the infected mad man poured into her house. Chris appeared to be clutching a bleeding arm.
Jewels shouted. “Help me shut this door. It will buy us some time,” and the two adults paused to close the wooden door that separated the living room from the hallway that led to the kitchen.
“Emily,” Spencer drew out her name while fear owned his voice.
Expecting another group of murderous fiends cutting off their escape, Emily turned to instead see her friend rising to her feet. Sarah gained her feet slowly and then took small steps toward them, like a person in a daze.
“Shot her!” Spencer yelled. “She’s one of them now.”
“I can’t. How can you be sure?”
“Look at her. She’s one of the infected now.”
While Sarah drew closer, her arms stretched out as her mouth opened and released a sick wet moan.
“I can’t. I can’t”
Sarah approached closer and her reaching hands grasped at Emily. When her best friend neared her, its head suddenly exploded and sprayed Emily with a shower of blood. Her eyes went wide and she opened her mouth the scream, but nothing could come out. It took her another second to realize that Spencer had still been loading his pistol, then who…
But before her eyes could even focus past the red haze, she heard Spencer cry, “Dad!”
To be continued next Saturday…