Sheriff Dells rushed into his station with Becca, Mickey and Bill on his heels. At once the lingering stench and a loud groan reminded him of the prisoner he had locked into a cell an eternity ago. It had quickly become the most devastating day of his career, but with two of his deputies already dead and his town in danger, he didn’t have time to let his thoughts linger on the raging unpleasantness of his current situation.
“What the hell is that?” Becca demanded. “Shoot that freak in the head!”
“I know that guy,” Bill said. “He’s that UPS fella from Tucson.”
“Not anymore he isn’t,” Becca said while looking out the window.
“Don’t worry, young lady,” Dells said. “I believe you when you say these people are gone. You don’t just shoot a normal person in the heart and have them keep walking toward you. But for now, I want to keep him around. We might be able to learn something from him.”
“You mean, it,” she said.
Mickey spoke, his voice louder than Dells had ever heard the man. “Can we do something? I just saw two people from my church just get shot in the head. She said her brother is dead. If we don’t get our shit together, more people we care about will die.”
Dells felt ashamed that the man had spoken words that should have come from his mouth. The Sheriff nodded and said, “You’re right. Follow me.” As he unlocked the gun cabinet, he noticed that not only Bill, but Becca had followed him as well.
He handed Mickey a shotgun. While the second shotgun passed from his hands to Bill’s, he said, “Remember this means you’re officially deputized and I’ll expect you to be following my lead to the letter.”
“I know you aren’t thinking about not giving me a gun,” Becca said over her clenched fists.
He eyed her. Despite how foolish his logical mind said he was being, he handed her a pistol without argument. “I’ll give you this, but leave the safety on until I tell you otherwise.”
Her stare met his, but she said, “Unless I’m about to get chewed on, okay.”
Dells asked Mickey to hand out ammunition while he dialed a secure line that connected them to the Tucson headquarters.
After a nearly endless series of rings, a loud voice answered. “What!”
“This is sheriff Dells from San Miguel and we need immediate support.”
The man on the other end actually laughed. “Yeah, good luck with that. Do you know what is happening out there?”
“I have some idea. Everyone coming up here from your city is going crazy.”
More inappropriate laughter sounded. “You’re behind the times, my friend. The whole world has gone mad and the dead are eating the living.”
Dells started to say something, but the phone went dead. “Son of a bitch!”
“What?” Mickey asked.
Dells ignored him. “Come on we have to go.”
That was when Becca’s brother ran into the station with his arm wrapped in a red stained shirt.
His glaring eyes looked at them from over a pallid face. “They’re coming!”
A new Eternal Aftermath Story begins next Saturday!
Mickey managed to keep silent for about as long as it took Bill to jump into the back seat with Becca so Sheriff Dells could ride up front. “So what’s going on, sheriff?”
“I wish I knew.”
“I can tell you,” Becca spoke up from the back. “Little Mary came back from Tucson with a nasty bite. The doctor was checking her for a fever or something and she bit out his throat. A minute after that, he stopped moving. A minute after that he killed Tom Simpson. I think that if they bite you, you end up like them, sooner than later. Oh, my brother. He was bitten. I didn’t know what to do. I left him there.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Bill said.
“No he won’t!” He scream sounded far too loud within the truck. “These crazy things are eating people. My brother is dead,” She wailed before breaking down into tears.
As the group tore around the corner, he saw a sight that froze his blood. Emma, the older woman he had just assisted crouched over Molly Atkins and violently pulled Molly’a bowels from her blood drenched body.
“Holy hell,” Mickey gasped, while Bill lost his lunch all over the back of the truck
As the scent of vomit filled the cab, Dells yelled, “That’s it, pull over.” Mickey was quick to comply and Dells hurried from the truck. He approached Emma slowly with his pistol drawn.
Before he had gotten within twenty feet, the sounds of tearing flesh assaulted his ears, but these proved mild compared to the sickening slurping and grunting of Emma crewing on poor Molly’s organs.
“Emma…” Despite everything, he still wanted to believe there was some explanation. But when Emma’s milky eyes looked up over her blood painted face, Dells knew true fear. A moment later, she rose to her feet and started stumbling toward him.
“Shot here. Shot her!” Becca screamed.
The front of his former teacher was bathed in blood and she let loose a deep moan.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Jansen,” he whispered before putting a bullet between her eyes.
He couldn’t be sure how long he stood there staring at the kind old woman he had just killed before Molly sat up like a vampire in its coffin. Her head jerked toward him, and as she began to rise to her feet, her bowls spilled over the hot pavement like overflowing pasta.
Becca didn’t need to instruct him this time and he shot her in the chest. But the woman kept coming. “The head shot worked before…” and it did again.
More shouting could be heard back the way they had just retreated from.
“Come on, Sheriff,” Mickey yelled.
He didn’t need more encouragement than that and rushed back to the truck.
Becca spoke toward him before he opened the side door. “So do you believe me now?”
“I think I believed you before. I just hadn’t wanted too.”
“So what now?” Mickey asked.
Dells opened his door. “Same plan as before. We get to my station and stock up on arms. We need to save our town.”
He was just about to climb into the car when Becca’s brother appeared and grabbed Dells from behind.
Check in next Saturday for the next Chapter of Eternal Aftermath!
Dells watched in muted horror as the doors to the clinic flew open and nine stumbling blood splattered people, half of which he knew, came pouring out. Standen had barely noticed because he still wrestled with the small Janise girl that had her teeth clamped down on his left hand.
“Shot them, shot them!” the teen Becca screamed.
Dells indecision reached new heights, but his attention was drawn to his partner smashing the young girl on the side of the face with his pistol. This proved enough to knock her off his hand, but a blow that should have left her bed ridden and crying all day, didn’t faze her and she sprung back onto her feet and rushed Standen again.
This time he kicked her away. She lost her footing again, but scrambled to her feet like nothing had occurred. “Son of a bitch…” he started, but by then the victims from the clinic had drawn near.
Standen stood closer and they fell on him while he focused on the girl. “What the hell?” Soon his words were replaced by ear rending screams as three new mouths clamped down on him.
“Holy Hell,” Dells started several of the people rushed toward him on awkward stiff legs.
Becca grabbed his arm. “Either shot them or run!”
How could he run while his partner was being killed, but looking over he saw that Standen had already been pulled to the ground and it would be too late to do anything for him. It was also too late to make it to his vehicle, because the bloody mindless victims stood between him and his ride.
The girl had already run off, but turned long enough to yell. “Come on! If they bite you, you end up like them. They already got my brother.”
Her words snapped him out of the mind numbing horror he witnessed and he turned just as the first hands reached out for him. Sprinting forward he grabbed Becca’s arm and hurried her along.
“When are you going to start shooting them?” she got out between gasps.
“I can’t just go and shoot people. There could be a way to save them.”
“Can’t you shoot people that are murderers?”
“Well than all of those fuckers qualify. I left my brother in there. Oh God.”
“We need to get to the station, I have to call more sheriffs and get folks up here from Tucson.”
“With all respects,” she said while pulling a lock of auburn hair from her face, “screw that. Mary had just come back from Tucson. This had happened to her there. How do you know things aren’t worse there? We need to warn the people here!”
“You alright, sheriff?” a voice called out to him from a pickup truck. Mickey Gibson drove and Bill Adams rode beside him.
“I’m about as far from alright as you can get. I need you boys to take us to my station and consider yourselves both deputized.” They gave him a strange look, but stopped the truck so the pair could hop in.
Before Mickey pulled away, Dells heard fresh screams sounding behind him. He cursed as the truck pulled away.
A new Eternal Aftermath Story begins next Saturday!
One thing about the lonely desert town of San Miguel, it wasn’t very large. Driving from the sheriff station to the clinic only took a matter of minutes. One would have thought he could have made the short drive without incident, but such wasn’t to be.
Before he had turned his first corner, Sheriff Dells saw old Emma Jane. The woman had been his third grade teacher, but now she stumbled down the road clutching her blood stained hand against her chest. Crimson stained the front of the pale dress like a bright flag.
He screeched the squad car to a stop and the pair rushed out to help the older woman. “Emma, we need to get you to the clinic!” Dells said, as he supported the frail woman.
“The heck you will! That’s where I just came from. And I’d say that young dep of yours is in over his head.”
Just as Dells was about to curse the moment the sun rose on this day, Molly Atkins rushed out of her home. “Oh my goodness, Mrs. Fallen, are you alright?”
“No, I’m not alright. That brat Mary Janise bit me. I don’t care how bad a child’s fever is, there is no excuse for such behavior.”
Emma went on, but Dells turned toward Molly. The woman mouthed, ‘I’ll take care of her.’
That was good enough for him. “Come on Standen, we need to get to that clinic.”
A minute later, they had almost arrived when Standen leaned back in the passenger seat. “I’m not feeling so well.” Sweat had drenched the man’s endless brow and his face appeared flushed.
“You don’t look good either. Maybe we can grab you some antibiotics at the clinic.”
Just as he pulled into the clinic everyone inside was rushing out of the building like it was on fire. A few of the women screamed as they ran by, but a young girl rushed toward the vehicle. In was the local girl, Becca, that his wife had gotten to babysit his children a time or two.
Her auburn hair concealed half her face as she ran to his opening window. “Your officer is dead. Everyone is going crazy in there!”
As if on cue, the little Janise girl pushed open the outer door of the clinic. Her head jerked their way. Her hair was matted with sweat and something else—blood.
Both of the men hurried out of their vehicle. The rest of the crowd had moved by them, but Becca remained. Perhaps she feels safer with us, he mused.
“Shoot her! She’s crazy,” the teen screamed.
“Are you nuts?” Standen said and began to move toward the girl.
“That’s how the other office died,” Becca said quickly. “When that woman went nuts he tried to calm her and she bit out his throat.”
Dells drew his side arm. “Watch this o
ne,” he cautioned. “If she has rabies it’s already too late for her.”
“She’s just a kid. No one gets rabies anymore. Maybe we’ll just have to—son of a bitch!” Standen yelled when her teeth clamped down on his wrist.
“Kill her!” Becca yelled. “She’s gone nuts and she’s not the only one.”
Dells took aim, but it all seemed so insane. How could he shot a girl?
That was when the doors of the clinic slammed open and more of them hurried to emerge.
A new Eternal Aftermath Story begins next Saturday!