|Posted on August 31, 2011 at 10:30 PM|
Lopez had shit himself. A hardened 34 year old cop trained in the streets of New York long before he'd joined the police force, had evacuated his bowls like a two year old when the violent events had started, and now he ran down the street with the embarrassing knowledge that if he was unlucky enough to pass by someone, they would stare at him in disgust as his foul odor followed right behind him. He could feel the wetness sliding down his legs like slugs, slowly crawling down to his military-style boots, leaving a trail of wetness behind. His legs were starting to feel like he had covered them in mud that was just starting to dry and it created a cloying coating on his skin. He usually wears tighty whiteys but today of all days, as luck would have it, he was wearing the boxers his ex-girlfriend had bought him for his birthday last year.
He saw a face in the window of a tiny Antique store and he started to bang on the door. The door opened an an elderly woman opened the door, took one look at him, wrinkled her nose in disgust, and slammed the door. He screamed, "you old puta" and took off running again. This was the most humiliating thing that had ever happened to him but at the present moment, he and everyone around him could probably care less.
The day had started pretty average, up at 5pm, hit the gym, shower, and at work by the start of his shift. He and his partner had stopped at El Gringo's in the mall for a quick bite before they started their patrol, and sitting in the restaurant devouring their spicy steak tacos and pinto beans, were shocked when people starting yelling excitedly and screaming in the mall. Marks looked over at Lopez and rolled his eyes and said, "well...come on partner, guess our shift's starting early." Lopez slammed the rest of his Horchata, scarfed the rest of his taco, threw a $20 on the table, and they moved to the door. He paused for a minute as his guts rolled from how spicy and fatty the food was that he had just pounded down. He absentmindedly thought, "uh oh, going to have to hit the bathroom tonight!"
They went into the mall and Marks raised his voice and said, "excuse me, could everyone please stop what they're doing and remain calm!" Looking over at two police officers, the mall got quiet pretty quickly but then in unison, everyone started pointing and shouting anxiously at the officers. Marks grabbed a middle-aged lady by the arm and said, "excuse me miss, could you please calmly explain what is going on?" Her eyes were like a deer caught in a headlight and she tried pulling her arm away repeating over and over, "I have to get home...I can't be here...this isn't right" and Marks dropped her arm, mouth agape. Lopez doubled over as cramps hit him and he broke out into a cold sweat. Crap, literally...he needed to hit the bathroom fast. First, to figure out what the hell's going on to put his partner at ease. Lopez practically duck-walked over to two thug-looking guys while clenching his rear tightly and quickly said, "Hola, que pasa?" They looked at him, nodded in recognition and one of them spoke up. "Man, ese, shit ain't right out there. There's people layin' out all over the ground like someone did a drive-by this ain't cool. I dunno if it's cuz of that stupid solar thing all over the news but I only took a quick look myself. Was kinda busy dealing with the chicas ya know?" Lopez looked at him, nodded him a thanks, and briskly went back to Marks. He looked at him and said, "seems we might have a bit of a problem outside."
Surprisingly enough, his cramps subsided to a dull ache so he said nothing about hitting the "john" and they went over to the glass double doors and stepped outside. It looked like something from Stephen King's "The Stand" with bodies laying scattered all over the ground. Little old men and ladies who had come for their daily mall walk, rich women headed to Macys with their weekly flyer in hand, and young teenage kids who had nothing better to do than hang out at the mall...all of them laying on the ground. Marks hurried over to a young woman and five children, all hand-in-hand and laying crumpled up next to her. He started to bend down and test their vitals. Lopez looked down at a little old Hispanic lady and his guts started rolling again but not from the spicy food. He quickly spoke up and said, "Marks, don't think that's too good of an idea partner. Might wanna wait for the EMTs eh?" Marks waved him off and went to the last of the children, shaking his head in confusion and horror. "Lopez man, none of them are moving. They're KIDS...I don't know what the hell's going on but we gotta radio this in pretty quick. Run to the squad car and get somebody on the horn because we gotta get these people help NOW!" Lopez started to turn but then he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. The people laying on the ground weren't laying motionless anymore...
Lopez took a step back as a hand brushed his boot. He looked up and started to tell Marks they were moving now but as he looked up, his mouth dropped open. Marks was dead center in the crowd of "people" and they were all moving and starting to crowd around HIM. It looked totally off and Lopez said, "Marks buddy, I think you should join me in radioing dispatch ok?" Marks looked up, and that's when a little boy with glasses reached up and latched onto Marks like he wanted a piggy back ride. He dug his tiny little digits right into Mark's eyes. Marks immediately scrabbled to remove the child but he clung on with all of his might. Marks knocked his Harry Potter look-alike glasses off of his head and he still hung on fiercely. He reached back to pull him off and the boy bit down voraciously on two of his fingers like they were hot dogs. He screeched and tried to yank his hand back down as he pulled and tugged to get his fingers free. He only succeeded in ripping and separating his skin further apart between the vise that was the child's teeth. In a panic, he started to tug harder, and he pulled out two fingers that were nothing but bone, leaving all of the flesh happily inside the boys mouth. Lopez bolted forward to help Marks but tripped over something and fell flat on his face and what he fell into made him flat out shit himself. He lost all control of his bowls as he stared down into the milky and glazed eyes of the elderly African American woman that had laid motionless at his feet moments before. Her mouth slowly opened as if to speak, but then he saw her tongue almost rolling around in her mouth like a dark and bloated worm. Her eyes wide open, it seemed she stared back at him, but then she quickly bit down on his nose. Lucky for him, she had no teeth save one rotten one on the bottom right, but nonetheless, she gummed the hell out of his nose as he scrambled up off of her. He got up while she was still grabbing onto his boots. His eyes darted over at Marks and perhaps because he was so irritated with the woman pawing at him, he absentmindedly kicked the old lady square in her face like he had just been passed a soccer ball. He looked down in horror and to apologize as he saw her face cave in to look as if her eyes were crossed and his boot was stuck in her face. She did nothing to push against him and protect herself. He yelled, "oh my GOD," and yanked his boot back leaving a trail of spittle and gore stringing from his boot and her face. She was STILL grabbing for him.
He started towards Marks but stopped. Marks was royally screwed. Utilizing his former police training, he evaluated the situation in two seconds and he knew going after Marks was suicide. He yelled out, "Marks, run for the mall doors" and then he took off in a sprint leaving a gory left footprint like a trail behind him as he ran to the doors. Reaching the doors, he yanked on them to throw them open. He looked up when they rattled against the strain and some nerdy Deputy No-Badge, or professionally titled "Mall Cop," was backing away after just recently locking the doors. Lopez said, "What the FUCK!?! Open the damn doors" and the mall cop just shook his head and backed away. "Sorry sir, something is wrong with those people and who's to say it's not infectious. We all took a vote," as he gestured with his hand to the group of people peeking out at him from around the corner of a store opening and sitting on the bench by the doors. Lopez was getting pissed and he lost all composure. He started shouting, "are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? Open the damn doors before I shoot the glass out!" Then he pulled his gun and aimed to shoot when he saw a little girl with flowers in her perfectly groomed hair and a pink tutu peek out from behind her mother's legs. Her lips were trembling and she had big alligator tears rolling down her face. Lopez immediately stopped. The voice that was his common sense knew that if he shot these doors out, every single person in there was at risk. Little girl in a tutu being on of them. Obviously he wouldn't care if a few of the fuckers who wouldn't let him in became lunch but many of the others were passive and didn't dare say no to the ones who locked him out.
He stood there enraged until Marks screaming spurred him into action. He turned around and it looked like a huge pile of writhing snakes was on top of his partner as all of the people Marks had tried to help shortly before now fought and shoved and clawed their way through to get to Marks. Lopez looked back at the doors and then back at Marks and took off running. He ran to the squad car and realized Marks had the keys so he took off through the parking lot knocking people over who were just standing upright onto their feet. He suddenly realized his right nostril was stinging and gingerly touched it as he ran. Inside of his nose, the only tooth the old woman had possessed had somehow gotten stuck and remained there, lodged in his nostril. He kept running and briefly thought, "what a fucked up day this is turning out to be..."
Categories: Chapter 19