T E N
“Now do you believe that he is a bastard?” Brain had said when it was obvious that Bloom and Becca were no longer by the door. Brian was angry beyond words.
“What? He’s just gonna leave us to die?” Michael said naively.
“Looks like that’s the plan. He’s probably headed to get the antibody from the college. Bet he knows just where to find it too.” Brian said. Just then, Brian heard a sound. The sound of a small engine turning over. He went to the other window to see Bloom and Becca getting on and leaving. “Great. There they go. Told you we were fucked.”
Michael went to Brian’s side just in time to see the lights of the ATV stop several hundred feet away. Brian knew that it was no change of heart and that Bloom was probably laughing. Son-of-a…
BOOM! The sound made Brian’s ears ring with pain as the explosion rocked the foundation of the house. Did something hit the house? Sounded like a jet liner. No, Bloom blew up his own house! How psycho is this guy? Brian was unsure how long they had until the attic was engulfed, but knew that they couldn’t stay where they were. The attic windows were three stories up, with no roof access. The door to the main floor was still firmly locked. We gotta break the windows…
“Michael, you get that window and I’ll get this one! We’ll need the fresh air!” Brian said, picking up a piece of wood.
Michael had been knocked down by the blast, but was soon on his feet again, trying to stop Brian. “No! If we break the windows, the air will feed the flames. Help me go through the boxes. We need to find something we can use to filter our breathing. We are gonna have to go down stairs.”
Brian realized the error in his initial idea, and did as he was told. He soon found a box of old sheets, which he and Michael tore into long strips and they used them as small masks. They wrapped the shredded sheets around their heads. Gotta stay low. Most people die because of the smoke. Hot air rises. Gotta get down stairs. Brian’s mind flooded with information that he had ignored in school safety programs. As if reading his mind, Michael went to the door and began kicking it to break the lock. After several kicks, he fell back, exhausted. Brain grabbed the wood that he had found earlier and he and Michael began ramming the door. The door was cool to the touch, so the flames had not totally engulfed the house, yet.
As Brian and Michael rammed the door with the makeshift battering ram, the wood began to split. The door cracked and eventually broke in two as blooms of black smoke bellowed in over them, expanding like an evil dark flower searching for sunlight. The heat from the smoke caused Brian’s eyes to water as he dropped to the floor, draggingMichael down with him. The master bedroom was to the right, and Brian had an idea. He motioned for Michael to follow him.
Once in the bedroom he shut the door and looked to the window. They were still two stories up, so jumping was not an option. Then a better idea hit him. Brian grabbed the sheets and went in to the bathroom, he knew that in a huge house like Bloom’s that there had to be a bathroom accessible from the main bedroom. Brain had Michael turn on the water in the shower and drench the king size sheet. The sheet should be just large enough to cover both men, so after it was soaked, Brian got in the shower. If they were wet, it would be harder for them to catch fire. Once he was soaked enough, Michael did the same, then they wrapped themselves in the sheet, and headed back for the hall way.
Crawling through the hall way was hard enough without the ability to see through the smoke and darkness, but things were about to become more difficult then they could imagine.
As Michael and Brian crawled down the stairs to the foyer, a black pair of legs stopped them. They looked up to see that the legs were nothing more than rubber rain boots. False alarm. Suddenly the cover of the wet blanket was torn away, and the unmistakable sound of an undead moan came through the crackling fire, then another, and another. The room was filled with burning monsters, and Michael and Brian were surrounded.
Brian rolled onto his back and kicked out the legs of the monster that had tried to grab them. Michael also rolled over, firing round’s into the heads of the monsters that he could see. Brian coughed as the smoke filled his lungs, but he continued to fight as he unloaded a round into the head of the ever hungry that he had knocked over. As the creatures came in from other rooms, the floor began to crack and Michael and Brian scurried back to the stairs.
“Shoot the floor!” Brian yelled to his friend who opened fire on the floor, not knowing why. Hope this works. The floor began to give way and soon broke into a giant hole in the middle of the room with a loud crash. It fell through the first floor and into the basement. Brian kicked out the feet of the closest night stalker and it fell down the hole to join many of its already falling friends.
Michael crawled around the large hole before Brian said to go. What is he doing? He’s gonna get killed. Brian tried to call after him to stop him, but as he opened his mouth, it filled with smoke and he began to choke. Just when Michael was almost out of site, Brian saw him slip into the hole in the basement. “No!” He yelled after his fallen friend. Gunshots filled his ears as more and more smoke filled Brian’s lungs.
Michael’s foot was sprained, as well as his wrist, but neither werebroken from the fall. He stood up, scared out of his mind and ready to fight to the death. In the attic, Michael had reloaded his gun before going to sleep, and was glad that he did. The floor was so hot that it quickly melted the rubber in his shoes causing him to fall all over again andwhen he went to get up, it burned the palm of his hand. He saw the windows that the smoke had been pouring out of and realized thathe had foundhis escape. “Brian, I got a way out. Find a way out for yourself and I’ll meet you outside.” He yelled up to his friend who surely had troubles of his own.
Though his vision was blurry, Michael was still a pretty good shot. He landed each shot fired exactly where he intended for it to hit. Not one bullet was wasted as he cleared the basement of undead. The only thing worse than the smell of rotting flesh was burning rotting flesh. He gagged and coughed as he made his way to the largest window in the room. Not being able to reach it, Michael dragged a workbench over to the window by the leg that was not on fire. The table is probably gonna break. I’ve got one shot at this so I better make it. Michael backed up to take a running leap at the table. Stopping for a moment to take a deep breath, Michael suddenly felt the warmth on his feet. The shoes soles were almost completely melted through. The smell of rotting, burning flesh and melted rubber was thick in the air, almost palpable. Michael tried to run, but fell flat on his chest as his shoes were so melted to the floor that he felt like a fly on flypaper. His hands burned even more as they touched the floor, and Michael screamed in pain as he pushed himself up, slipped out of his shoes and ran at the table, burning his feet the whole way. In one giant leap, he made it up the table and halfway through the window. Then the table broke. The shattered glass that littered the grass outside cut Michael’s already painfully burnt hands as he tried to pull himself out. Suddenly a hand grabbed his ankle. Though he could not feel much through the pain of his feet and hands, he knew it as one of the carriers. Using all of his might he kicked it in the head and forced it to let go. His body weight fighting against him, Michael gave it his all and finally crawled out of Bloom’s inferno hell. He fell forward with his every effort to crawl away from the house.
Once far enough away that Michael felt safe, he removed the bed sheet-mask that he had used to breath through and tore it in half, wrapping his hands and feet with as much as he could. Michael fell back and screamed in pain as he sobbed from the hell he had been through.
Brian was still inside. He had heard all sorts of awful sounds from the basement, and could only pray that his friend made it. Michael had said that he was going to get out, but now Brian was alone and afraid. Stay calm. Don’t panic. He kept telling himself over and over that he would make it, but was unsure how. Part of the third floor had fallen in but missed Brian. This was actually a good thing, because it killed a few of the undead that were still hungry and had Brian cornered. The front door had been locked, and the lock was too hot to touch so his only chance would be to make it to a side door or out a window on the main floor. As the house continued to come down around him, Brian crawled to the back of the building. Some portions of the floor had fallen through, and the entire floor was unstable, so he had to be even more careful where he went. The floor was getting hot with every crawling move he made so Brian had to move quickly.
When he made it to the Bloom family den, Brian noticed a large picture window that would be easy to make it through. He shot the window a few times, to make it easier to break and closed the door to the den behind him. The smoke was clearing from the room through the bullet holes in the glass, easing the breathing situation. Then, without warning, the floor began to crack. Oh hell no. Brian took a run at the den window and leaped, before he looked. Hehad forgotten that he was still on the second story and the only thing outside the window was air and a tree. His body smashed through the glass, cutting his face and forearms and slammed into the tree’s branches. The fall threw his body around like a dog with a chew toy as he hit branch after branch. He fell for what seemed like an eternity to finally land on the grass outside the Bloom home. Brian was unconscious. The dream of beaches and beauties returned to him as Brian finally got the rest he needed.
Becca held on tight to her father’s side as a tear escaped her eye for their fallen friends. Her father could not explain the explosion back at the house, but she was sure she’d rather not know what he probably did. She rested her head on his back as they flew through the night on the ATV. His breathing was getting heavier, but she pretended not to notice. They were going through people’s yards because the roads were blocked and headed strait for the college. Becca couldn’t stop thinking about those poor boys that had saved her. Did they really have to die? She knew the answer. When you became infected, you needed to die. It was a cold fact that she had gotten all too used to.
They began to slow down. When she asked her father why they were stopping the ATV answered for her as it cut out, little by little. The ATV had run out of gas. Becca had seen her father put the gas can by the ATV, and thought he had filled it. She was wrong. Her father was cussing and saying that he ‘didn’t have time for this crap’ as the ATV slowed to a stop. The gas can had been left beside the house. “At least the school is only a few blocks away, Dad.” Becca said, trying to make her father smile again.
“We might not have a few blocks. Damn it! We better start walking.” Her father responded. She had seen him mad before but this side of her father scared Becca.
The creatures started to come out from their hiding places, following the sound of the ATV. Becca and Bloom started running, but she wasn’t fast enough. Bloom picked her up and carried her with a strength that she didn’t realize that he had. She was firing at the passing undead carriers and missing each shot, but was still trying to help.
“Damn it, Rebecca! Quit wasting ammo. You shoot when I tell you to! Got it?” The mayor snapped. Becca was hurt, but hid it well. He knew that her father was just stressed by the situation. She looked into his eyes and realized that his face was paler. His eyes dark, worse than lack of sleep.
“Are you feeling okay?” She asked in a meek voice.
“I’m fine. If I put you down, can you run?” He answered in a short tone.
“Yeah, Dad.” She said, ready to run.
He set her down, and they ran as fast as they could until the University Campus was in sight. Becca knew the campus better than she knew the sewers, and hoped that her father knew the basement labs.
Bloom knew his time was running out. The first layer of skin on his arms had begun to peel off as if the result of a sunburn. The itching was nonstop. He and Becca had made it to the campus, but still needed to reload the generator to give the labs power. Some moron who wanted to conserve power had shut off the emergency generator, making it even more time consuming and difficult for Bloom. He just hoped that he would make it to the antibody before he changed, or worse, hurt his daughter. The trip to the generator was uneventful. They had taken the stairs to all of the public access areas, then Bloom had to use an over sized screwdriver to pry open security doors to get to the generator. He almost electrocuted himself trying to start it up, but once it was going, the doors became unlocked, and Bloom felt released.
The trouble came after he got the doors unlocked. The beasts were released. Bloom saw the first when he entered secure sector three. Thefour-legged creaturewas half wasted away and looked like a nightmare come to life. Its fur had fallen out and the skin was eaten to the bone in many places by other dogs and the parasite. Becca started crying the moment she saw it, even when Bloom told her to stay strong. She fired her weapon when he told him to, and he was never more proud than when she landed the bullet that stopped the hungry mutt.
The second one came when they entered sector 3.5. It snuck up jumped on top of Becca. Bloom kicked in its skull after grabbing it by the neck and slamming it into a wall. She seemed okay, but it was too close for Bloom’s comfort. They needed the antibody, and they needed it now.
Bloom’s security card allowed them to enter an elevator that would bring them to the labs in the fourth basement of the school. The elevator was disguised as a broom closet to keep out students that didn’t belong there. For the most part it worked, though the school did, on occasion, find the average couple making out between classes. Little did they know, the closet was monitored via closed circuit camera. They were usually busted before they could get too cozy.
As the elevator brought the Blooms closer to what they were seeking, it suddenly stopped, and the sound of paws on the roof of the elevator made the mayor’s blood run cold. He knew that there was more than one mutt above and they would find a way in. He searched frantically for another way out of the box that could spell their death as he held Becca tightly to his side.