Sheriff David Dells had never liked Turkey sandwiches. As he took another bite anyway, he mused on how strange it was that he loved Thanksgiving, but hated turkey any other time of the year. He supposed he had mentioned it to his wife more than once or twice, but with her being in charge of three preschool kids at once, he couldn’t hold such small slip up against her.
He had just begun to contemplate where he should toss the rest of it in the trash or try to power through it when the front door to the station slammed open. His department’s longest running deputy, Miles Standen, wrestled a very rambunctious man through the door. Dells sprung to his feet to offer help, but was taken aback. Not only by the man’s unbridled savagery, but the fact that from all appearances, the raging man was a UPS driver.
“A little help here,” the older man grunted. Standen had refused to retire for years and had a rounded mid-section and balding head that indicated that the time for him to set aside the badge might be overdue.
A moment later, Dells grabbed the UPS driver’s arm and helped Standen manhandle the driver toward the cells. He drew back startled when the man’s head jerked his way. Teeth snapped together with a loud click, just missing Dells’ arm by inches.
“Yeah, watch it, this asshole bites. He already got a hold of me once.”
Only then did Dells notice the strings of blood leaking over Standen’s left arm.
“Next time can you tell me before I grab the guy’s arm?” Dells grunted, as he hurried to slam the man up against the cell bars. Despite the blow, the blood splattered delivery man kept growling and struggling. Between the two officers they were able to contain the writhing man until Dells got the cell door open and together they tossed the driver into the cell.
At once, the wild man turned on them and rushed the door, but Dells slammed it in his face and quickly locked it. The men backed up a pace and watched the delivery man rage against the bars.
“It’s like he has rabies or something,” Dells said in a low voice. “You had better see to that wound. Rinse it out good, but I’m going to need to send you to the clinic.”
“Well as least I’ll have company,” Standen said, while applying direct pressure to his wound. “This madman bit at least three people at Pizza House before I showed up.”
“Fantastic,” Dells said without taking his eyes of the thrashing man. “Did you see how messed up this guy is? Look at his damn eyes. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Standen was already binding his wound. “Maybe I should stick around.”
“I’ll be fine. This guy might be a freak, but he’s behind bars. Will you look at him struggle? I really think he might have rabies. I know this guy. He delivered some stuff I ordered for the kids to my house. I think he works out of Tucson.”
“It figured he’d have to lose his cookies here,” Standen grumbled.
“Well, rabies is a pretty evil thing. A dog of mine got it when I was a kid, but we never figured out how. One day he just went at my sister. She got tore up horrible before my father shot my former best friend. She had to get about a dozen shots and she wears some of the scars to this day.”
“I might have a new scar to add to my collection too,” Standen winced, as he tightened the bandage around his bite.
Dells finally looked away from the sputtering prisoner and took his deputy’s pained expression. “I’m serious. I want you to head to the clinic. If it makes you feel better you can take the statements of the other folks that were attacked.”
“Bennie’s already doing that. His new fling, Stacy, was one of the victims. I’m sure he’s playing knight in shining armor for all it is worth. Most likely he’s-”
The crackle of an incoming call of the radio broke the silence. Ms. Bell, their dispatcher, was on her lunch break, so Dells hurried to answer it. “Dells here.”
“Sheriff we got a serious problem here at the clinic.”
Dells could have sworn he heard shouting in the background. “What is it?”
“You know Mrs. Janise, the casher at Bashas?”
“Yeah, yeah, go on.”
“Well, I guess she was in Tucson and her daughter was bitten by some maniac down there, or at least that’s what she says.”
Sometimes Dells wanted to strangle his youngest deputy because the man could never get to the damn point.
“Anyway, she took her girl to the clinic and the doctor rushed her into the emergency room. I’m not sure what happened, but Doc Hanson is dead and the little girl had gone mad. I had her trapped in a closet, but everyone here is losing it. I need help!”
Dells and Standen shared a look, but then their eyes were drawn back to the UPS driver banging his head against the bars.
“What the hell is going on?” Standen asked with his voce just above a whisper.
“I’m not sure, but you need to gear up, because we are both heading over there.”
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Mitch looked on in horror as his wife was torn apart by the cannibalistic madman. Each scream was like a dagger ripping through his heart. Mitch was thrust back into his own reality when the backseat door he had half opened was yanked out of his hands.
A blood soaked face pressed in on him and the only thing that had given him a chance was the man had been forced to bend down. But this was no man, he quickly saw. Instead a female nurse with a horrible arm wound moved in to attack him. Despite her ferocity, she was a small thin woman and Mitch reacted on instinct and pushed her away with all his strength.
The woman snarled even as she fell back into a parked car. Her head smashed into it with a loud bang. Milky eyes grew still and she slid to the ground leaving a blood smeared dent in her wake.
I killed someone. … Screw it she tried to kill me and so will any of these other freaks if they get their hands on me!
Looking back, he saw that his wife had already stopped screaming. More of the insane flesh eaters had been drawn by the screams and they honed in on the only normal person they saw… him.
The chain-link fence stood only twenty feet away.
Grabbing his knife so hard his fingers ached, Mitch leap onto a hood of the blood smeared car that had just helped him kill the nurse. Three more of the things moved toward him. He jumped onto the sidewalk near the fence, which put him within five feet of one of the moaning lurchers.
“This is for my wife,” he yelled and then rushed the stumbling murderer. His knife stabbed the man in the face, but the tip just ran across his cheek bone. Instead of gushing blood only foul slackish ichor dipped off of either side of the viscous gash. The thing swung his arms awkwardly. Fingers clawed and pulled at him.
But the sight had stunned him. These things don’t bleed. Only dead bodies don’t bleed, right. I tried not to let myself believe it, but they’re the walking dead—they have to be!
Then another grabbed at his back, even as the third one, he had seen, rounded the car behind the one he struggled against.
I going to die, die and be eaten if I don’t to something. The eye—it worked before.
It took two tries, but just as the one in front of him went in for a bite, Mitch stabbed him through the eye. He wanted to put his knife free, but there wasn’t time. He pushed the man before him into the one coming around the car and then both toppled over. Instead of fighting, he just tore away from the walking corpse and rushed toward the fence.
Weaponless and alone, terror seeped through his bones when he saw that the one he just escaped from lead over ten more zombies his way. Speed was his only chance and he jumped onto the fence when he drew near enough. Mitch’s feet scrambled and his fingers pulled. Hands reached for his calves and ankles, but he was at the top of the fence. He clung on and kicked out violently.
For a moment he lost his balance and nearly his grip, but with a snarl of his own, he pulled with all his strength and his body toppled over into the school playground. He landed hard and a sharp pain lanced through his shoulder.
Holding his hand against this new injury, he got to his feet and just tried to breath. On the other side of the fence, the monsters gnashed their teeth and raged.
Mitch pointed his good arm at them with his fingers outstretched. “That was your freebie, you bastards. From this day forth I swear that I will never allow myself to be trapped by more of your kind.”
Having said his piece, he raced toward the school. Maybe they had something he could make into a weapon in there.
Thank you for reading Screams, Knives, and Teeth
A new Eternal Aftermath Story begins next Saturday!