|Posted on October 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM|
Weaving through cars and the meandering vessels of flesh combing the deserted streets for a meal made the progress slow and the silence in the car was deafening in-between the sniffles coming from Kenny. Caleb’s mom kept glancing in the rearview mirror at the boys and was mentally devising a plan for the survival for the three of them. Much to her chagrin, she knew they had to eventually switch from her gorgeous classic ’57 Chevy into something more durable that would withstand a few bumps and bruises. She wracked her brain and decided to go raid the car dealership her ex worked at. Before Caleb was born, she would visit him at the dealership and bring him lunch but that was before she found out some of his late nights were spent banging the 21 year-old receptionist. At least her wasted time spent at the dealership would now be put to good use because she knew right where the lot kept all of their keys for the inventory, and even better yet, where the keys to OPEN the lock box were. Now all she had to do was decide between their 2012 Hummers or one of their factory built Dodge Ram F-150s. Each had great apocalypse survival features, the Dodge with it’s amazing motor and oversized frame which could withstand running over a few obstacles if needs be, and the Hummer with its broad size which was perfectly spread out to avoid tipping and to steady it in rougher terrain. After much thought she decided on the Hummer and inwardly hoped they had a purple one in stock.
After figuring out what her first steps were, she decided to break the silence so she turned on the radio surfing for anything helpful on the radio but it was just news that unless you lived in a bubble, you already knew what was going on by peering out your bedroom window. It seemed most of the stations were playing recorded messages anyways or people were arguing about what was going on and complaining that no one was doing anything about it. She sighed and rolled her eyes and plugged in her mp3 player to her rock folder and Rob Zombie flooded the car speakers. She smiled and her heart melted as she saw Caleb bob his head in the back a bit as he stared out at the wreckage in the streets. She loved that kid that was so much like her and knew his survival meant more than her life was worth.
They pulled up to the dealership at dusk which could either be a blessing or a curse whichever way you wanted to look at it. The darkening lot with its looming vehicles cast multiple shadows that could hold a number of problems, the first being the obvious. She circled the lot, surveying, and killed her headlights while speaking aloud. “Alright guys, it’s time to switch my baby here to get into something safer for us. Caleb you know you and Kenny are to stay in the car and will honk only if emergency otherwise, total silence. While I’m inside make sure everything is ready to go but do it efficiently and quietly. Any questions?” Caleb looked at his mom, the look of dismay clearly crossing his face and said, “Mom you know you need a wingman.” She looked back at him and said, “so does Kenny. Probably more than I. Love you bud.” With that, she pulled into the lot and as close to the entrance as she could.
Senses on high alert, her eyes roamed the lot for any sign of movement. She was about 50 feet from the entrance which wasn’t too bad except she had to run and dodge in between cars and THAT was a less than savory idea. Caleb spoke up and jokingly said, “hey mom looks like they have a PURPLE one in stock look” and she glanced over to the right side of the building and sure enough, there was a darker purple colored Hummer raised up for display. She smiled and once again viewed the lot and muttered, “alright guys, be right back. The sooner this is done the better. I don’t want to be stuck out here when it’s dark. Caleb, get things ready and lock the door ok?” With that she quickly jumped out of the car and immediately crouched down in between a row of cars. She’d grabbed her son’s Louisville Slugger he’d used for baseball practice two years ago out of her garage before they’d left and she now gripped that in her left hand. She had to dart over to get the numbers off of the Hummer to then match them up to the keys inside and then bolt to the front of the building and with luck; the doors were still unlocked to enter the building without any problems.
Bolting over to the Hummer was uneventful and she said the number on the print-out in the window to herself like a mantra three or four times to remember it and as she turned away, kept repeating it like a recording in her head. In doing so, she paid less attention than she normally would and did not see the movement occurring under a red PT Cruiser parked in the first row of the lot. She looked around and straight ahead not thinking of looking on the ground around the cars. She paused behind a GMC to observe the darkened building one last time before exposing herself by running through the open part of the lot up to the glass doors of the entrance. She jumped when she felt a spongy grip around her right ankle that was strong with purpose and heard the simultaneous wail of hunger. She fell forward face first not expecting that strong of a resistance when she’d jumped up and immediately her body crawled with revulsion as the rest of the hand slithered up her body like a snake and exposed the changed underneath the car. She rolled over to see her attacker and her mouth dropped in shock, she KNEW this man. Dressed in an ugly brown suit complete with striped brown and cream colored tie was her ex-boyfriend’s old co-worker, Bob. Bob, once a smooth talking salesman who’d screw anybody over just to make a sale, was now slithering forward from underneath the car, mouth flopping open and swinging to and fro as he slithered his way up her leg. Sores on his exposed skin popped and wept all over her pant leg and the side of his balding head was missing patches of skin and hair where he must’ve dragged himself along in pursuit of his meal. A flap of skin hung limply down over his misshapen ear like a fleshy earmuff.
What happened next was fast and something she’d never forget. One second she was staring into those hungry milky white eyes and the next she watched inches away and in “3-D” as a human man’s head crumpled like a beer can someone deftly stepped on leaking brain matter and bodily fluids out of his nose, ears, and the newly caved-in wound on the top of his balding head. Her mouth opened in shock and after moments of silence snapped out of it and looked up. There, her son stood, hockey stick in hand, trying to wipe bits of matter and hair off of the end of the stick against the tire of the GMC. He barely glanced at her and said, “told ya you needed a wing-man mom.”
She struggled to rise, kicking and shoving Bob off of her and unsuccessfully to ignore the gore that coated her clothing from bellybutton down. She stood, nodded at her son, and cocked her head at the doors to the entrance to indicate it was time to move. Now, all she could remember was the first four numbers now and she prayed that would suffice to locate the keys to the Hummer.
As luck would have it, there was a quiet swish as she tried the doors to the front entrance and after glancing back at her son, she moved into the lobby entrance. There was an acrid smell of burned coffee and it was eerily empty. She looked at Caleb, nodded towards the offices behind the reception desk, and trotted towards them while scanning the rest of the lobby. She reached Ed’s office, the dealership owner, and remembered how he was an even bigger creep than Bob had been back in the days she’d spent time here. He’d give “extra special discounts” and guaranteed financing to the prettier young co-eds searching for their first vehicle if he’d make it “worth their while.” She snorted and mentally said, “pig” as she began to turn the doorknob.
They entered the office and she rushed behind the big mahogany desk to where the lockbox was kept and turned to the file cabinet where a set of keys were hidden in an empty manila file folder named “Justin White.” She snatched them up and turned back towards the right drawer of the desk where the lockbox was stored and backwards a foot banging into the file cabinet. There, under the desk was Ed curled up and rocking back and forth, quietly whispering something repeatedly. She crouched down, put a hand on his shoulder and whispered, “Ken, hey it’s me Maria. I dated Jake a few years back. Do you remember?” Ed ignored her and continued to rock back and forth and then in an extremely creepy way, turned to look right at her and said what he’d been repeating moments ago. “Be quiet or they will hear you.” Then he turned back to face the front again and start rocking. She looked over at her son who smirked and rolled his eyes and she shrugged, stood, and opened the drawer of the desk where the box was kept. She quickly opened it, scanned the rows and rows of keys searching for the matching number, and the forth tray down she hit the jackpot. She snatched them out, quickly pocketed them, and crouched back down to help Ed out of his crouched position and bring him with them. Caleb cocked his head and mouthed “no” and she glared at him and went back to prying Ed out of his current position. He fought her and then loudly stated, “be QUIET or they will HEAR you. Just ask Jackie… oh wait you can’t want to know WHY…cuz they ATE HER!”
Maria dropped his arm, stood upright, and looked at Caleb who was already gripping the doorknob. Ed had apparently lost it and they couldn’t afford to try to help him out when he couldn’t help himself. She sighed, looked down, and looked over at her son. He and Kenny were priority, not poor creepy old Ed. Survival of the fittest she supposed. She walked over to the door, quickly opened it, and was almost bowled over by a once-attractive man in an expensive navy blue two button wool suit. She jumped back and he fell sprawling onto the ground in front of her. She took the metal bat and swung with all of her might as his head caved in against the bottom of the door and the brute force of the bat. He lay in the doorway so she was unable to close the door and she sprinted over to where Ed was in an attempt to pry him out from under the desk on last time. Leaving him with the door open would leave him totally exposed.
Her guilt was gone and decision made to leave Ed when she heard the rising panic of her son’s voice right outside of the office. His voice low and shaking he said, “Mom…I THINK I know who they are now…” She dropped Ed’s arm and ran over to the door. There, coming from behind a partition that was considered a “waiting room” was about eight or nine of the changed people who must’ve been preoccupied before but with Ed’s loud statement, heard a new dinner bell ring. One woman, hair in tangles, was still chewing as she staggered towards their position by the office. Maria looked back at the office and back at Caleb and said once, “Ed, you are right they are coming. Get out here now or you will die.” She only had moments to spare and there was no answer so she clasped Caleb on the back and said, “Run.” The changed were honed into their position and most certainly would have followed suit if poor Ed hadn’t chosen that moment to start bellowing out, “who the Hell would eat Jackie?!? She’s such a nice girl…”
Maria and Caleb sprinted out of the building and before the glass doors swooshed shut she could hear Ed begin to scream.
Categories: Chapter 33