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What Is The Point, When?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Handcuffed in Horror
‘What is the point, when…?’
‘The point, Lieutenant,’ the Captain interrupted, ‘is that …

WARNING: FRIGHTENING HORROR.
Image: Olivia in the loft.

Submitted: September 26, 2019

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Submitted: September 26, 2019

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What is the Point, When?

 

‘What is the point, when…?’

‘The point, Lieutenant,’ the Captain interrupted, ‘is that these inhumans are infected. They only have to spit in your eye or kiss your mouth to infect you, understand?’

Jarrett regarded the bloody corpses: inhuman males, females and their offspring, all layered in unkempt piles on the pavement. Stacks which stretched the length of Beacon Street as far as the eyes could see. And the next street, and the next, and the streets beyond that, on into infinity.

Each corpse bore a blasted heart, an imploded chest cavity where the silver-tipped lead slugs containing cyan blue crystals had penetrated the being’s heart and blew it out through its back. As neatly as a yolk being blown out of a stolen bird’s egg with a straw. The problem was Jarrett understood only too well and dreaded the final kill. He tried to reason with Benoit, a hardhead,

‘Course, I understand. But how do we know she’s infected? How do we know she didn’t escape the inhumans and survive?’

The Captain flushed with fury, gripped Jarrett’s shoulders, and shook the soldier. Until his neck waggled and his helmet slid back and forth on his shaven head…

‘Because, Lieutenant!’ he bawled, ‘Thrush Wood Estate is a Cyber-Assessed Infected zone!’

Jarrett countered with, ‘CAI have been known to make mistakes. Just suppose, she’s an error?’

Benoit shook his head, ‘The chance of CAI generating an error is less than one in a million.’

He softened his hold on Jarrett, lowering his voice so that his compassion was out of earshot of the culling squad,

‘Listen, Matt, I know how you feel about her. I felt that way about a woman myself. But you must accept this. She’s infectious, inhuman, indecent. Olivia has to be culled.’

Jarrett felt a sick-lump of swollen heart prod his gullet wall, faltered, began to concede all hope,

‘She’s the last. I just know it, Captain. Can’t we spare her?’

‘Put her on display in a sealed glass box for humans to jeer at, you mean? That what you want?’

‘Yeah, I was kind of hoping we might…’

‘Well don’t, Jarrett! Hoping is against the Rules since the Detonation, you know that. Anyway, she might not be the last. Might have bred. Now are you going in to cull her, or must I do it?’

The crack-shot out-stared the hardhead as he fed a round of slugs into his high intensity rifle. He thought of her clawing his face as he turned to leave, pleading with him to save the children. As the scream-bells rang and final curfew descended. As she glued their teary faces to the pane. Her children: clutching at her waist as they watched him being airlifted to fight the inhumans. Minutes before the Estate was declared a Cyber-Assessed Infected zone.

Jarrett had watched them perish from his armour-plated control craft as the Detonation was made using a single tactile neutron bomb. A bomb which forced ninety-nine percent of houses and bodies inside the zone to implode on impact. The culling squad’s mission was to clear all surviving inhumans, and any outstanding pets, from decontaminated territory.

He adjusted his protective bio-mask respirator unit, swivelled on his heel, and stalked off down Beacon Street. Her house was at the far end of the terrace, last house standing. Benoit wondered how he’d cope, seeing her again like that, drew out his automatic pistol, stuffed it full of high-velocity slugs, and moved in for the kill.

Jarrett kicked in the hanging shards of shriven oak that once constituted the front door of no.36, Beacon Street, and climbed inside. The first inclination he showed towards fear or nervousness occurred when he surveyed the shattered lounge diner. The floor, walls, and ceiling were totally void of content. Every scrap of fibre, wood, plaster, or human flesh had been viciously sucked out of the three-bedroomed starter house by the neutron bomb’s cruel vortex of destruction. He saw the remnants of a blown-out Barbie doll propped-up in the sterile corner like some hang-doll awaiting burial, thought he heard a child’s voice.

‘Daddy!’

‘Mummy, Timmy come quickly! Daddy’s come to save us!’

Jarrett knelt, holding his gun upstanding on its butt, as if shielding his mind from the terror with a simple firearm would sublimate his profound guilt. He rotated his head 180, the halfway exorcist girl about to release her evil, the possessed daemon boy with 666 inscribed in his scalp, wept a tear for the lost, shook himself out of the nightmarish hell. And entered the flushed-out kitchen.

‘Daddy!’

‘Play football with me in the garden? Before the red sunset, Daddy? Before the red sun sets?’

Jarrett kicked the squashed, deflated football, cried a bit, rested his helmet by the kitchen sink, turned to go…

‘Daddy!’

‘No! No! Leave me alone, Timmy! Leave me alone!’

He squinted out the tears of his remorse, walked across the bare floorboards, out into the hall. Heard a scraping noise above his head, a:

‘What’s the point, when?’ kind of noise.

An inquiring, imploring noise. A plea that demanded to be heard. A woman’s voice. She was upstairs, bathroom maybe, kid’s bedroom, master suite.

Jarrett drew breath, swaying his loaded rifle side to side, preparing for the inhuman to jump him any moment, relieved when he reached the landing. An expedient, breath-take surveillance revealed three empty rooms, their cupboards bare, curtains ripped off the rails, sucked through windows of despair.

Her voice again: ‘What’s the point, when?’

He gazed at the open hatch, the loft ladder, half-extended, hanging, rigid from the half-lit loft, where she tried to save herself. A rustling noise, her dress crisped with blood, piss, excrement.

You don’t want to go up there, do ya? Don’t make me go up there. Please? She’s not… decent?

Jarrett shut his eyes, but closing them only intensified his nightmarish expectation that she was still alive.

‘Olivia?’ he shouted into the gloomy hole, ‘Olivia, is that you?’

A guttural voice spat back,

‘Matt? Matt? Come to save me, baby? Kids are inhuman. Out there, someplace. Matt? Matt? Come up and save me, honey!’

You don’t want to go up there, do ya? Don’t make me go up there. Please? She’s not… human?

He cocked his heavy rifle: the automatic sub-machine gun which would spray her full of lead slugs, silver splits, cyan sherbet, fizzing her heart as it blew out of her hunched shoulder blades. He pulled down the ladder and climbed, one rung at a time, up the ladder, into the loft space, pushing his heavy firearm before him. Jarrett clambered, up, into the loft…

‘Can we go home, Daddy? We hate the loft! Can we go home now, please? Take us OUT!’

It’s okay, Ellie-May, Timmy. Daddy’s taking you back to Mummy. She’ll take care of you both.

Footsteps on the staircase, creaky floorboard, nail-boot on the landing. Benoit! Had to be the hardhead. Ensuring he complied with orders. He threw his firearm, scrambled up into the loft. It was dry. In the loft. Cold, and dry. A chill blew the hair up on his face. The loft was daubed in half-light. Shutters, shattered wooden shutters, casting half-light over the loft. No dust, just chill. Two upright crates stood forlornly in the corner of the loft. Her effort at a chair, a perch? Pearls lay in a necklace. By a pool of urine. Blood. She was covered in blood from head to toe.

Benoit’s voice in his head:

Don’t look at her face, just kill her. These inhumans are infected. They only have to spit in your eye or kiss your mouth to infect you, understand?’

Jarrett avoided looking at her face, raising the spatter-heart, bullet-pumping machine to shoot her. She was cowering, crouched in the corner of the loft, her bloodied arm stretched, reaching for him, her sturdier arm propping up her bloodied torso, wristband, fingers splayed over the coarse hardboard floor. And on her outstretched fingers, she wore their eternity ring, a simple white-gold wedding band.

‘With this ring I thee wed, Matt,’ she hissed wearing the same flimsy vellum nightie, freshly soaked in scarlet that she had worn on their last night in bed together, ‘Come to take me away, darling?’

He looked at her face.

Jesus Christ!

Her ruby red hair hung naturally enough from her side-parting, a little greasy, flecked with blood. The dried puncture holes, scab spiders, and runny russet facial abrasions, he could take. It was her hard-boiled egg white eyes with pierced black pinpricks that made his spirit wilt. He went to kill her, hefting his heavy gun to his shoulder, squeezing the trigger…

‘What’s the point in killing me?’ she protested, ‘When I’m already dead.’

‘Kiss me, Matt, like you used to. Kiss me deep. Kiss me strong. As if our kiss was the last kiss.’

Hell, he loved Olivia, didn’t he? He’d made a vow to love, obey, cherish and protect her always.

He took her in his arms, held her tight to his armoured chest, opened his mouth, and kissed her.


© Copyright 2020 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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