Chapter Forty Four

Launching myself down the stairs, the stench grew worse. Pain radiated around my chest as I padded my trousers in vain, knowing full-well the gun would stare back from the high wall unit in the front room. Three openings came into view as I raced. The door to the kitchen was open, the room already explored, the other two white doors straight ahead stood closed, only one of them I wanted to open. On the last step I hesitated. Should I turn away and get the gun, or charge towards one of doors unarmed, hoping I’d made the right choice and the invasion hadn’t already begun?

Knowing I’d delayed too much already, I raced to the first, feeling the lightweight hardboard almost buckle as I used it stop my momentum. My heart sank as I realised it wouldn’t last long if it had to be our final barrier. I stepped back, not taking a breath for fear of the foul air, not knowing what I could do if they were already on the other side. Fragrant air wafted out as I pushed the door open. A toilet glared at me from against the wall while a dark figured drifted past the frosted glass.

I felt the cold draft before I pushed the second door open before I saw the dead body turn the corner as it swung. The dark wood of the back door was wide, the chill, pungent air striking my bare chest. Again I hesitated for what seemed like an age, staring at the mud caked trainers so close to crossing the threshold.

My eyes rose up the white tracksuit bottoms, following the line of dark holes strafing the legs. Each was ringed in dark scarlet, the wounds tracking up the white body, across the creased, matching tracksuit top, through her left breast, before ending at the shoulder. The circles of red widened as the bullet holes rose, their course only just missing her young head. My eyes hovered for far too long, watching as she stepped forward in slow motion, at least in my head. With eyes clouded white like her hair, her were features grey and sunken, but her lips were bright red with a gloss sheen, like she’d paused for a moment around the corner to add an extra coat.

This was someones daughter and I looked to her hands, which were much like mine, caked in red flaking blood, but at least what covered me was not my own. The thought filled me with such guilt. If it was, then Nat would be okay. If only it worked like that. She was a wife, according to the ruby ring on her long slender finger, the nails with a perfect manicure, the covering the same vibrant red as her lips.

The dog broke my spell, barking as another creature appeared the other side of the door frame. I barely saw the Asian guy, only noticing the stub of sharp bone where his right arm should have been. At last I’d taken the final steps and pushed against the door, heaving the wood as it caught on something solid. Looking down I saw the woman’s trainer, the toes jammed between the door and the frame. I could feel her weight pushing back, building as more joined the stack. The boy arrived with the gun in his hand, offering it butt first, his eyes wide as he saw my struggle. I couldn’t take the weapon without losing my ground, which I was only just holding. Shaking my head, I felt my anger building, turning inwards, cursing my decisions. Why hadn’t I checked the back door? Why didn’t I go for the gun first?

The corridor grew lighter and I turned my eyes up, saw dark shapes shuffling across the windows in the front door. These things knew of our struggle and were heading around the back. I took a look at the pistol still offered out and made a frightening connection.

The monsters were communicating.

We were going to need bigger guns.


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Reading out of sequence? Why? Here’s Chapter One

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