Yellow Eyes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 26 (v.1)

Submitted: May 03, 2008

Reads: 178

Comments: 2

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Submitted: May 03, 2008

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It was the smell of decay and death.Raw meat.Blood.Flies and maggots.We had all grown familiar with the smell in a relatively short time and the whole group tensed.As we crowded around the door and peered inside all that was visible was a long counter running from just to the left of the door almost to the far wall.There were a few straight back chairs leaning against the wall opposite the counter, a magazine stand with some old issues of Hot Rod and Popular Mechanics in it.Sunlight filtered through a blind drawn window behind the chairs.Behind the counter and opposite the door we were crowding, there was another door.It was open also.
Slim went in first with his shotgun snapped to his shoulder.He entered and shifted to cover his left.When he was sure there were no yellow-eyes hiding and waiting to spring, he approached the counter and peeked over, drawing back sharply and turning away, facing us.
“Fuck!” he spat.
He waved us in.Coming quickly, we spilled into the reception area and Ginger wheeled to cover the front door.Dale and I approached the counter and leaned over.My gorge rose and I fought the urge to vomit, thinking of the pain it would cause as it racked my ribs.I had to turn away.Dale helped me as far as one of the chairs where I slumped down and covered my face with my hands before she stumbled to the front door and shouldered past Ginger.The sounds of her ejecting her lunch into the gravel drive made it hard for me to control my own urge so I covered my ears.I covered my ear.I closed my eyes and behind the counter.
I had been living with it for three days.Three days that seemed like a lifetime.With all the carnage since that morning when Nick had collapsed and come up all teeth I had begun to grow numb to the sight of blood, to sudden death around me as my compatriots fell.Maybe it was the speed that events were unfolding at, the constant demand for alertness that pushed everything else aside.But there was one thing I hadn’t seen yet until that morning.That was the aftermath of a yellow-eye’s feeding.
I couldn’t say for sure it was the body of a man lying behind the counter.The only thing that made the assumption reasonable was that the body was behind the service counter of a junkyard office and the hair was short.That hair was too heavily matted with dried blood and crawling with insects to tell whether it was cut in a stylish short fashion that women sometimes wear or that of a man.There was no face.Just dull stained bone showing through the writhing mass of flies and maggots and beetles that crawled around the head.
Through the ripped and tattered shirt, I could see the torn open abdomen, all the intestines gone.The ribs were bare and exposed, flesh stripped from the bone.Some rodent moved inside the cavity and that’s all I saw before turning away.I opened my eyes and struggled to my feet with Slim’s help.
With Dale still retching outside in the morning sun, we moved around the counter and toward the door behind it.Slim went through first, covering the room before waving me after him.I followed and tried not to even look off to my left where the body was.
“You think they got keys for the pumps in here?” Slim asked.
“I don’t know. We can find something and break the locks if they even have any.”I suggested as I studied the room.
It was a small cramped office.A large beaten desk dominated the floor space.Behind it was an old battered caster chair that looked like it would squeak when you sat in it and squeal when you tried to roll it.I scanned the wall for key pegs and didn’t find any.Crossing the room and stepping behind the desk, Slim pulled open the middle drawer and pushed around in it.He shook his head at me then went through the other drawers.
“Not shit.” He told me.
We left the room and crossed back through the service area.When I was past the counter, I staggered for the door and caught Ginger’s arm as I stumbled.She caught me, staggered back herself, and managed to help me get a grip on the doorjamb as she stepped outside.Dale was leaning forward, her hands on her knees with snot bubbling from her nose and saliva running from her chin.She looked up at me when I came out.
“Anything?” she managed.
I shook my head and slid down to rest on my haunches, gripping my shotgun for support in front of me.Slim was moving around in the service room, the sounds of his exploration audible to us as he swept papers from the counter and moved small items from the service desk.When he came up behind me he slid his hands under my armpits and pulled me to my feet.
“Found a CB in there.” He said.“Maybe we could wire it in sometime.”He unzipped my backpack and slipped it.
“Any keys?”I asked.
“No.But I found a crowbar too.”
He zipped my bag back up and we moved from the door, turned left and headed for the yard gate.Dale caught up and slid an arm around me.Leaning into her, I staggered and she fought to keep me on my feet.As we rounded the edge of the building, I shook my head at her and she lowered me to the ground.
“Just help me get my back against the office.”I told her.“I’ll wait on you.”
Ginger stepped up and stood in front of me.“I’ll stay with you.”
I shook my head again.“No.I can see well enough around here.Nothing’s sneaking up on me.You go.”She hesitated.“Go.Slim might need you.”
She knelt in front of me and leaned forward.When I looked up at her, she handed her gun to Dale and slid her arms over my shoulder, gave a squeeze and then planted a motherly kiss on the crown of my head.I patted her arm and then she was up.Dale stood off to the side watching us, something like jealousy clouding her face.
I watched them as they turned away and moved to the yard gate where Slim stood waiting with Nadia.As they entered the yard with Slim in front and Ginger in the rear, they turned slow circles, their guns held at port arms.Then, they were turning left, toward the pumps, and out of sight.I heard Dale saying something about a gas can, heard the hollow clang as someone lifted one and then there was only the crunch of gravel under their feet and then that was gone.
The sun was burning hot then.A swarm of gnats had found me and buzzed around my head.I swatted at them a few times before the knifing pain in my ribs insisted that I give up and Soldier padded around the side of the office and hopped into my lap.I stroked his head and watched around me, listening for sounds of approach and to the sounds of Slim trying to break the lock free from one of the pumps.Sweat ran from under my bandage.The raw flesh where my ear had been itched and I resisted the urge to scratch it.
Straightening my legs out in front of me, I leaned my head against the rough wood siding of the office building and watched the woods across the gravel drive from me.Cicadas called from the trees and birds flitted in and out its edge.I tried not to be lulled by the familiar sounds and found my head dropping to my chest anyway.Soldier purred on my lap and I thought about my companions in the yard.There was a loud crack, Slim cursed triumphantly, and then there was little more noise.I closed my eyes.
Genie was there, her arms outstretched and her face beautiful like I wanted to remember.I could hear Dale, our son, cooing and giggling.The cicadas were there too, buzzing away.I knew I was losing consciousness, knew I shouldn’t.Genie gripped me, leaned in and kissed me.The cicadas started singing.Blueberry Hill, the Louis Armstrong version.We danced, our bodies close together.Genie had her mouth by my ear and her breath was hot, sending shivers down the back of my neck.She whispered to me and I held her closer.She whispered again and this time I heard what she said instead of just experiencing the sensation of her words vibrating my eardrum.
“Dale needs you.”
“Huh?”
“Dale.She needs you.Wake up.”
I opened my eyes slowly, felt the swirling dizziness of my fevered mind trying to pull me back down into sleep and jabbed a finger into my side.My breath caught as pain seared through my ribs and my eyes jerked wide.I was awake.I turned my head to the right and looked across the parking lot, over the road and into the woods on the opposite side.Nothing seemed out of place.I turned my head and checked the woods across the drive from me and was satisfied.Footsteps crunched gravel and I turned to see Dale, Ginger, Nadia, and Slim coming through the gate with two gas cans.Slim smiled at me.
“We got some.” He said.
I nodded my head and watched them approach me.When they drew up, Slim laid his can down and offered me his hand.I shook my head and he stretched his smile wider.
“Come on.Let’s get back to the van.”
“I can’t.”I told him.
“Yeah you can buddy.”
He extended his hand farther and tried to reach under my armpit.I clamped my arm to my side and shook my head again.Ginger came over and knelt beside me with Dale behind her.
“Aaron.” Ginger said.“You have to come.”
“No.You have to come back here to fuel the van.I’ll wait.”
Dale dropped down beside her and shouldered past, laying her head across my chest.“Come on Aaron.We’ll carry you.”
“No.Just get back here quick.You need to get to the van and get back here.”I paused and sucked breath, the pain in my side growing from the talking.“I think I’d fall down and wouldn’t get back up.”
“I’ll stay with you then.” Dale offered.
“No way kid.”
She turned her head and looked up into my face.Shaking my head again I reached to stroke her hair.Ginger stood and turned to the others and motioned them to start off.Nadia and Slim stepped away and stopped near the front of the building before Ginger sank down to her knees before Dale and me again.
“How rough are you?”She searched my face and all I could do was shrug.
“Pretty bad.”I confessed.
She nodded and stood up, catching Dale’s arm and lifting her as she did.Dale turned away from me, took a few steps and then looked back over her shoulder.
“We’ll be back.Stay awake.”

I nodded at her and then they were moving away.I watched the group as they made their way back up the hill and then fell from view as they descended the other side.I was leaning my head back against the building and closing my eyes again when the shot came.It was a small report, sounding a lot like a firecracker, and it came from the direction of the van.I waited for more and when they didn’t come I closed my eyes.


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