T W E L V E
Darkness wasbegining to takeover Bloom along with a hunger unlike anything he had ever felt. The itching and burning had gone away, and now all that was left was a dull lightheaded buzz. His ears rang and his mouth was dry but he could taste blood. He had bitten his tongue, hard enough to draw blood and he didn't even realize it. There was something different about his blood... be couldn't really place it. Then it struck him. He found the taste of his own blood strangely enjoyable. He knew he was changing fast. Soon it would be over. To take his mind off it, Bloom had tried to pry the doors open again, but they had gotten bent closed in the fall. After a few minutes of trying, he decided that it was probably better this way. I’d rather be trapped in this box. No way of hurting Rebecca if she comes back. How could I be so stupid? How did I let myself get infected? It Can't be over yet... Never get to walk Rebecca down the isle...Can't think strait... so hungry. Tears streamed down his face as Bloom began to lose the world along with his vision and everything slowly went black and he fell to the ground.
The smell and sound hit Becca at the same time. Before she saw the first one, she knew they out numbered her by at least three. The doors slid open and out flooded several undead men, as if dogs bound by leashes, finally freed. Becca was quick dropped to her knees and shot the first few with great ease. Her first reaction was to go for the legs again, but then she remembered her mistake, and decided to go for the sure shot. Headshots. Becca was in survival mode, reacting more than aiming. Her reactions were good as they dropped at her feet. Suddenly,a monster grabbed her hand. With no hesitation, Becca turned and bit its hand. The monster stumbled back. She was sure it felt no pain, but having a human bite it, must have been a new experience. It’s brief expression of shock soon changed to rage so she closed one eye and took aim at the head.
Good night Mother Fucker. Click. What the hell?
Becca knew she could be out of ammo, but prayed that she missed a chamber when reloading. She pulled the hammer back and pulled the trigger again. Click. Shit!! She didn't have time to try again so she just moved... Becca rammed her shoulder into the monster before it could grab her again. She grabbed his wrist andthrew him into the hall diving into the room and making it past him. She slammed the red button to close the doors and they slid shut on its reaching hand, cutting it off at the wrist. The hand flopped around for a moment, then stopped.
Becca reached into her pocket and felt only four bullets left. She quickly fumbled to reload her gun, and knew that she couldn’t waste any more shots.
Becca had made a foolish mistake. A childish mistake.She hadn't even considered the idea that she could be locking herself in the room with more of them... or worse.
Her eyes widened, as Becca smelled wet dog, and heard nails on metal to go with the scent. Don’t waste ammo, don’t waste ammo, don’t waste ammo. SheClosed her eyes tightly and listened to the growl. Becca's back was to the beast. It had the upper hand. She was not sure why ithad not pounced on her yet, but didn't really care. She turned aroundslowly and found herself face to face with one of the wolf-creatures. It let out a gruff howl as it finally pounced at her. Becca quickly dropped and rolled out of its way, just missing its hungry drool covered jaws. The beast slid for only a moment, slammingits head on the metal door that had saved Becca from the prior attack. A broomstick was leaned up against the corner of the room so Becca crawled under the table moving the chairs behind her to slow the beast. It ran through the chairs breaking them in two with its brute force. Fortunatly for Becca, the beast had a hard time running on the slippery metal floor, slowing it down. She continued to crawl as fast as she could, not wanting to look back but knowing that she had to. Becca turned over to face her undead pet and greeted it with a kick in the nose. The monster stopped briefly and shook its head, giving Becca just enough time to grab the broomstick and hold it up. The beast jumped at her mouth open as the broomstick impaled its head., its undead body landing on her and pinning her down. She struggled to get out from under the monster and found herself in a corner.Didn’t waste ammo.
Becca crawled out from the corner and got her first real look at the small metal room. A row of green lockers lined the right wall opposite of the door she had come in. Eachlocker had a name and department above it. She scanned the lockers searching desperately for her father’s name. Dr. Kameron Sawtel, Weapons and Survival Specialist; Dr. Clifford J. Heathcote, Special Services; Dr. Brian West Sr., Antibody Development; Dr. David Bloom, City Mayor and Department Founder. BINGO! Each locker had an alphanumeric keypad on it. Becca reached for the small alphanumeric keypad on her father's locker and punched in the code that had worked on the door earlier. Sure enough, it opened the locker also. As the electronic lock released, the door opened its self. Inside she found a picture of her and her mother, a green serum in a syringe and directions. She briefly skimmed the instructions and found that the serum was missing a key ingredient. According to the small sheet of paper, the green liquid must be mixed with the DNA of the Antibody Developer. She had no idea who the Antibody Developer was and hoped her father would know.
After checking the room for other useful items and finding none, Becca went for the door but stopped when she realized that she was going to have trouble getting back to her father. The door was holding out a few of the monsters, and with as few bullets as she had, opening it would be suicide. How do I get out of here? She couldn’t wait for rescue; she knew they would never come. She had to figure something else out.
Becca could hear the monsters pounding at the door as if begging to be let in. She frantically looked around the room trying to find any way out. The door she had come in was the only one in the room. The room had no windows or even a broom closet. Becca slumped against the door and leaned her head back, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. She opened her eyes and looked at the top of the door. She saw something she had not seen before. A vent. Directly above the door was a vent that would be just big enough for her to fit into. She hoped it would hold her weight butknewshe really didn’t have any other choice. She dragged the table over to the door and climbed on top of it, but still wasn’t tall enough to get in. She climbed down and looked around the room for something else she could use for a boost. One chair was left unbroken from her battle with the beast. The metal folding chair was the only one of its kind, which was probably why it survived the beast’s force. Becca moved it on top of the table. As she climbed onto the chair it slightly slid on the metal table. Reaching into her pocket, Becca found her father’s card, which she used as a screwdriver to loosen the screws.As she climbed on the back of the chair, it began to slide again, so not taking any chances she jumped up. The chairslid out from under her leaving herwith her top half in the vent, her legs dangling. The chair flew off of the table and hit the door open button, allowing the monsters to get into the room they had been locked out of. Becca pulled her legs up into the vent, but not after being hit by a bloody nub. Becca was glad that the creature had no hand attached to the wrist that had hit her.
The vent gave Becca three choices: right, left or strait. She decided to turn left, knowing that was the way she had come down the hall. The vent shook with every crawling move she made, but Becca was sure the vent would hold, but was careful just incase.
The path she had chosen was the correct one. Becca found herself in the elevator shaft, about ten feet above the stopped elevator. She turned around and kicked out the cover, which fell with a loud clang onto the roof of the elevator. Looking down she saw the two dead hounds that had infested her. She flipped them off. It really didn’t matter, but made her feel a little better. It was quite a drop, but Becca was confident that she could jump, and not get hurt. She slid to the edge of the vent and dropped. The way she landed didn’t hurt, but landing next to one of the dead hounds freaked her out.
Through the bullet holes she could not see her father moving around. “Dad, I’m back! I got the medicine!” He lie motionless in the fetal position as if ill. Without warning, a panel in the elevator’s ceiling gave way, and one of the hounds dropped into the enclosed space. He father did not react to the huge hound’s corpse that had fallen just beside him.
“Daddy, are you okay?” Becca yelled down, now getting worried about her father. There was no response. Maybe when the elevator fell, he bumped his head. He’s probably knocked out. Becca dropped down into the small dented room and knelt next to her fallen father. In the back of her mind she knew. She had just trapped herself. She didn't care. Even undead, Becca knew that her father would never hurt her. Never. “Dad?” She again tried to get a response with no result. She reached out her hand and tapped his shoulder. Still no reaction. Becca rolled him over and saw his pale skin. No. He wasn’t breathing. Becca lightly slapped his face, which was cold to the touch. “Daddy? Come on Dad. Don’t do this… I can't survive without you!” Becca held on to hope…
Then Bloom opened his eyes. “Thank God!” Becca was overcome with relief. His head slowly turned to her, and his eyes widened as they came into focus. There was something wrong with his eyes. They were shallow. Colorless. Soulless. Darkness surrounded them. No. God, no. Becca’s relief turned to terror.“Daddy, not you too!” Becca cried in a weak voice as tears rolled down her cheeks. Becca could feel her heart breaking inside her chest. She was alone and had nothing. No one. “Daddy.”
As her father slowly sat up, Becca backed away from him. His head cocked slowly, as if he knew who she was. “Daddy, Please don’t make me do this…” Becca opened the chamber of her father’s prize gun. She removed the bullet that her father had called Destiny from her pocket. The platinum tipped bullet cast an eerie reflection as the light from the dull security lamps in the elevator shaft hit it. Becca took a final look at it before sliding it in the top slot. She finished loading the gun and closed the chamber. Her breaths became heavy as she lined up the sites to aim for her father’s head, barely able to see it through her streaming tears. She then turned the gun to her own temple. Part of her would rather kill herself then have to shoot her father.I’m so sorry Daddy. God forgive me.
Shaking her head she pointed the gun back to her father because Becca knew that weather she liked it or not, her father wanted it this way, and it had become her responsibility to set him free.
Michael followed Brian’s lead. Since he had come to, Brian had been acting different. Almost like another person. Decisive, quiet, and direct; these were not qualities of the guy that Michael had grown up with, but they described Brian to the letter right now. Brian seemed angry and rude. More rude than usual. Michael didn’t know the cause of the change, and didn’t care, as long as his friend was okay. What did worry him was the fact that Brian didn’t seem to be any pain from his injuries. Every step Michael took was agonizing and everything in him wanted to scream in pain. Brian had broken bones and wasn’t whining in the least, so Michael kept his mouth closed about it.
The basement corridors were a labyrinth of classrooms and closets. Brian seemed to know exactly where he was going, as he walked with a purpose down the long twisting halls. Michael followed his every step as if he was headed for a buried treasure and Brian had the map. Brian moved swiftly, painlessly, his fear replaced by purpose and intent.
“How do you know where to go?” Michael finally asked his friend. “Your like a bloodhound on a fresh scent!” He added jokingly.
“Brian stopped and faced his friend. His expression was dead serious. “I’ve been here before. My father brought me here.” Michael expected Brian to continue talking, but he only paused for a moment, and then continued walking.
Unexpectedly, Brian stopped. “Can you hear that?” he asked.
Michael strained his ears but heard nothing. “No… why?”
“Shut up and listen!” Brian said in a demanding tone. He obviously heard something that Michael couldn’t.
“What are we listening for?” Michael asked in a weak whisper.
“Paws.” Brian answered.
Paws? Michael wasn’t sure he had heard correctly. Then he heard them. Brian was right. Some kind of dog was headed their way. The sound of nails on the cement floor, were moving in on them at a running pace. Michael looked to the right of him through the windows into the classroom and then to the left but saw nothing. The path ahead was clear so there was only one direction that the creature could be coming from.
Pushed out of the way by Brian, Michael fell to the ground as a giant four-legged creature tackled his friend. Drawing his gun, Michael was afraid to fire at the massive monster for fear of hitting Brian on accident. Every time that Michael thought he had a clear shot, the beast would shift his weight and Brian would be in the crosshairs.Brian rolled over pinning down the beast, and then reached for the gun that he had tucked in his pants behind his back. The gun was gone. Michael saw Brian’s gun lying a few feet away, having been knocked loose in the struggle. As he reached for it, the mutt turned its attention to Michael, snapping at him viscously. Brian used his forearm to pin the beast down by its neck, and Michael grabbed the weapon, tossing it to his friend. Brian spun it around and pistol whipped the beast's face several times before hecocked the gun and fired a round into the beast’s thick skull. A crimson pool of blood quickly filled the hall around them.
Michael helped Brian to his feet with one word: “Thanks.” Michael couldn't help but be remidned of the undead farmer at the begining of their nightmare. He wished they had turned around then and left Spring Valley to it's own fate.
Brian nodded and shifted his gaze back to the path that they had been on, as if nothing had happened. Michael didn’t know how he felt about the new and improved killing machine that Brian had become.
Brian was unsure of what was happening to him, but he liked it. He felt faster, stronger, and more powerful than ever before. His senses were keen. He could hear and see things in ways he was not used to. He felt indestructible. Brian had kicked undead ass without breaking a sweat. Killed a hellhound without even blinking. Too bad Michael was so weak. Brian knew why he was changing both physically and mentally. The infection. What was strange to him though, was that he didn’t feel like he was dying. The infection didn’t even feel like it was spreading. If anything, Brian felt like he was living, possibly for the first time in his life. Michael was slowing him down. Wasting his time. Brian couldn’t wait to get to Bloom. He would tear him limb from limb without thinking twice, in front of that little bitch he called a daughter. Little whore. Brian was sick of the Blooms. He was sick of them breathing his air. It would only be a matter of time before he found them and gave them what they deserved. A painful and degrading death. He couldn’t tell Michael what he had planned. Michael was too good. To pure.
A scent grabbed Brian by the nose. It pulled him to Bloom. It called to him. Bloom’s cheap aftershave gave the coward’s hiding place away.
After taking a stairwell to a lower level, the scent got stronger. It lead him to an elevator. Michael was asking pesky questions like how Brian knew where he was going and if he was okay. Brian gave him short answers like that he remembered it all and that he was fine, but it took all his resistance not to slap his old chum against the wall just to shut him up.
The elevator doors were shut but this was not going to be enough stop Brian. He pried the doors open and looked down the dimly lit shaft. The stench that drove him was stronger now. He knew Bloom was near. Brian jumped out the door, freefalling the floor and a half to roof of the elevator. He heard a familiar scream as he landed on the roof. Becca. Michael called after him and Brian looked up to see the pipsqueak climbing carefully down a ladder on the side of the shaft. Brian returned his attention to Bloom, where it rightfully belonged. He dropped down into the hole in the elevator only to land on one of the hounds. Its weak skin gave way and Brian found his foot lodged in the creatures wet entrails. A hand grabbed his shoulder as he tried to pull his leg from the undead quick sand of intestines. He hand pulled him back and Brian was spun full circle to come face-to-face with a fully zombified Mayor. Now I have an excuse to tear you apart you ugly bastard. Brian grinned ear-to-ear as he removed Bloom’s hand with a twist of the wrist. He felt bigger and badder than a character from the Tekken video game he used to play, King, on cocaine as he used his free hand to slam Bloom against the wall of the elevator with a strike of his hand to Bloom’s chest. Bloom Grunted as he pulled his hand free of Brian’s grip and grabbed Brian by the side of the head smashing it into the other wall. Brian ears rang as he heard Becca screaming in the background. There was no pain. Brian liked that.
“Shut up Bitch!” Brian yelled as he kicked in Bloom’s knee, forcing his weight to shift and his grip on Brian’ head to loosen.
“Brian!” Michael screamed at from above as he helped Becca escape from the small war zone.
Brian didn’t care if the girl escaped. He saw red as he focused all of his energy on bloom. “I’ll kill you, bastard!” He yelled, as he swung his arm around Bloom’s, breaking it at the elbow. Bloom’s response was a gurgling moan as he tried to bite Brian. “Too late!” Brian laughed as he punched Bloom in the mouth, knocking out a few teeth.
Bloom aggressively forced his body weight on Brian, causing him to stumble back over the fallen dog and the elevator to shake. Brian rolled over onto bloom and pummeled his face with the rage of the Devil himself. The elevator shook more. Bloom clawed and scratched at Brian ashe laughed and continued punching Bloom.The elevator shook a final time and came loose from the ledge it had been caught on.
The elevator free fell until it hit the bottom of the shaft with an explosive crash.
Becca watched in horror as her father dropped to his end, taking Brian with him.