Yellow Eyes

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

Chapter 4 (v.1)

Submitted: April 17, 2008

Reads: 206

Comments: 3

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Submitted: April 17, 2008

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I woke up slowly, my eyes flickering several times before opening fully.My mouth was dry and my head was swimming.I looked around slowly, unsure of where I was, taking in the woods, sunlight filtering through the canopy overhead, birds singing, the sound of some small animal scurrying along the ground through the leaf mould and undergrowth.My shoulder was on fire, something cracked and dry was on my face and I realized the bleeding had subsided from those scratches and dried out.I was aware of dozens of stinging insect bites, and the humming of the gnats and mosquitoes was constant.I checked my watch.It was a little after eleven.
As I came slowly to full consciousness, I was aware of a grogginess to my thoughts and the humming in my head that had nothing to do with the swarms of insects around me.I drew my legs toward me and, bracing my back against the tree, rose to full height.Dizziness tried to overtake me and I realized I had a fever, probably from the loss of blood and the shock of the bite wounds.I slid my hand under the makeshift dressing on my shoulder and felt the warm wetness and realized I was still bleeding.
Sitting back down, I drank half of one of my two remaining Gatorades, ate two of my candy bars, and some beef jerky.I thought about taking some of my wife’s diet pills because they were loaded with caffeine and some sort of natural extract that contained ephedrine.It would help keep me alert and get me moving.Of course, I was still bleeding and didn’t know whether that would make it worse, so I didn’t take any.I zipped up the pack, struggled into it and then slung my 30.06 across my raw shoulder and started off, using the shotgun for a staff.
The ridge I was climbing was steep and the undergrowth was thick.Feeling like I did, weary, my head swimming with fever, I made slow progress.It was about a quarter mile to the crest and I had to stop several times to rest.Once, I sat down, but getting up was so hard that I decided against doing it again, choosing instead to lean against the trunk of a young Beech.When I finally did reach the top, I peered down cautiously through the trees.The birds were still chittering around me and I decided that was a good sign, a natural sound.I knew from my experience hunting that moving too fast through the woods would bring an unnatural quiet to it.
I decided to rest then.This time to maybe take an hour or so.With my back against an oak facing the way I had come, I sat with my pack between my legs and ate another of my sandwiches and drank sparingly from my open Gatorade bottle.I wasn’t sure where I was going to get food or drink from when the time came, probably I would loot an empty house, but how far in the future that would be, I had no idea.Sitting there, I allowed my thoughts to turn toward the yellow-eyes and my current situation while keeping vigilant to my surroundings.
I didn’t waste time wondering why people had dropped and transformed as they had.There was no point in it now.I realized that my existence had been reduced to its barest form and was nothing more than survival.There were still multitudes of risks, which any person might encounter that could threaten life, but foremost among these were the yellow-eyes, apparent enemies of human life.I thought about what I knew of them, which was very little.
All the yellow-eyes I had encountered so far seemed to be possessed of the same strength they had wielded before the transformation.I had only striven with two, hand to hand, and the child had been easily overcome.I recalled the encounter with the large brute that had tackled me at the construction site and realized that the man he had once been could have handled me in like manner.Remembering the hardness of his muscles as I grappled him, I nodded my head in agreement with my thoughts.
I had heard none of them speak, but had only encountered them in acts of aggression.Considering that, and the ferocity and doggedness they had shown, I concluded that if they could talk, they showed no inclination toward it.I shrugged.What was the point of their aggression?It seemed animal, primal.Was there malice to their actions or was it merely the manner in which they existed?To kill and destroy.Then, a sickening question arose in my thoughts.What did they eat?
That they were made to be carnivores and predators was obvious from their appearance.Surely those claws and teeth were made for rending flesh, not to nibble on salads.I supposed it was reasonable to assume they ate whatever they could kill.I shivered at the thought and tried to push it aside but couldn’t.Dozens of zombie movies that I had watched flashed through my mind and I wished those slow shuffling and decaying creatures were what I was facing.Instead, I was looking at an existence of a determined, swift and strong enemy.What about all those paunchy and slow moving future heart attack victims that were now hunting down and attacking people throughout the city?If they were to exist on a diet of raw meat, how long would it be before they lost their fat and became lean and strong?
I realized suddenly I had no idea how widespread the yellow-eyes were.I had been thirty miles south of town when Nick changed and had encountered them running over the city when I got home.Was it like this everywhere?Were they all over the state?The country?The world?I considered the implications and grew cold with a dark foreboding as the enormity of it sank in.
There would be no help if that were the case.Not for a good long while anyway.No National Guard, no organized police or any other military for that matter.It seemed random, the transformations that had happened, and surely if a household was divided into normal humans and savage killing machines, so then, would the military, the government offices.It would be every man for himself until the military could gain control of what must be wholesale bedlam and murder on its own bases.
For that matter, I had no idea just how many of the yellow-eyes there were.I tried to recall the scenes I had witnessed as I made my way from my house to the construction site.I had definitely seen more normal people than yellow-eyes.I tried to sort it out and consider the ratio.I came up empty but blindly guessed we had them outnumbered at least three to one.Still, their ferocity and the abruptness of the change would have winnowed the numbers somewhat.
Fear was becoming a real and living thing in me.A bird lighted on a branch above me and my heart lurched in my chest.I heard scurrying sounds in the underbrush off to my left and drew my shotgun up and rested it on my knees.Panic was beginning to mount and I realized it was partially due to the path my thoughts had been walking.I took deep breaths, counted to ten, then to one hundred.I forced my eyes closed for the count of twelve before opening them sure that one of the yellow-eyes would be sneaking up on me, intent on my death.There was nothing.Sitting there was useless, I decided, and movement would at least take my mind from the growing despair inside of me.
It was slow going down the other side of the ridge.I was weak and dizzy and needed to rest every dozen yards or so to diminish the risk of taking a tumble.I would stop and scan the area around me with my eyes, starting close and working my way farther out.When my pulse had slowed in my ears and my breathing became even, I would continue watching while straining my ears for any unnatural sounds.It took me two hours to get within sight of the state route, although I had been listening to the intermittent traffic for at least an hour of that.
When I sighted the road, I continued my descent until I was only about a hundred feet from it and settled down on my haunches to study it.Cars went by every once in a while, slowly and steering around the abandoned vehicles which rested along its sides.I wondered what had become of the drivers and their passengers.Had every car been abandoned or wrecked by a yellow-eye while they were in the midst of their seizures prior to changing?Had they all perished?Surely some of them had lived if not most, as the bulk of the vehicles I could see did not appear to be violently wrecked, but instead seemed to have been steered to the side of the road as some feeling of impending disaster had probably come over the drivers.
I scanned the woods around me, wondering if any of the yellow-eyes had come screeching and running in here after abandoning their vehicles.Most likely, they had stuck to the road, making for town where they would find their most abundant prey and food sources.Still, I considered my position and thought about the two I had come across in the construction site.Was it possible they were just roaming without direction, intent on slaughter and feeding but lacking the intellect to lead them to their best source?I had no answer.
After watching the road for half an hour, I made my way down to the edge of the woods and stood just inside the trees, looking north and south along the road.One car was winding its way south past the wrecked vehicles.When it was abreast of me, I could see through the passenger window and saw it was a man and a woman of about thirty or so.The woman was staring listlessly through the window and I think she must have seen me because her eyes squeezed shut suddenly and she turned her face away.I watched them go by and then scrambled from the woods and dropped into the ditch at the side of the road and went across as fast as I could make it.
I ran around an abandoned Chevy truck and looked in through its open passenger door and saw the seat was covered in blood.Then I was on the pavement, my lungs were burning, the wound in my shoulder was throbbing and my head swam.I held the shotgun in front of me at port arms and twisted from side to side to cover my route.When I had crossed the south bound lane and ran down into the dip of the median strip, I stopped and turned a slow circle.I noticed an arm hanging through the window of a Cadillac, its hand dangling loose from the wrist.With the shotgun in front, I made it across the other lane and stopped in front of the fence that separated the road easement from somebody’s private property.
It wasn’t high, and it was only wire fence that came about to my middle, but going over it was rough in my condition.I leaned over it and laid my shotgun on the ground, then unslung my rifle and laid it next to the Mosberg.I tried to climb, but ended up just toppling over the fence and landing on my shoulders.I winced at the pain it brought to my wound and scrambled to my feet, recovered the guns and moved through the thick brush and into the woods beyond it.
These woods were darker than the ones I had just emerged from.The land sloped steeply for several hundred yards and the trees grew close together.They were larger than the ones in the woods across the street, twisted by age.Fallen limbs littered the ground and I had to be careful as I made my way over them.As the ground leveled out, I sat on a fallen limb and stared before me at the swampy earth.Stagnant water was pooled over the ground, limp vegetation hung at its edges and there was the stink of decay.I thought of all the swarming mosquitoes that would be down there, slapped at the ones that hung around me and shrugged. I had grown accustomed to the swarming cloud of insects that followed me.After a short rest, I stood up and moved into the ankle deep water, muck gripping at my boots and making sucking at them as I lifted my feet to move through the bog.
I went slowly.Even slower than my condition required, because if I fell here, I was sure to wind up with an infection where the stagnant water entered my wounds.I was already fevered and hurting and wondered if I didn’t have one already.Still, I moved slowly, setting my feet down with care, avoiding submerged branches that I might slip on.It took me the better part of an hour to cross the bog and reach the other side where the ground started trending upward again.When I was across, I made my way up the inclining terrain and sat down when I was about a hundred yards from the edge of the water.
After a brief rest, I checked my watch and realized that night would be closing in within a matter of four hours or so.I didn’t relish the idea of sleeping out in the open, even though I had encountered no yellow-eyes since entering the woods by the golf course.I thought of the way the one had been sniffing the air, scenting me, at the construction site and decided that with my open wound, it was just a matter of time before one of them picked up my scent.Of course, they would have to come across my path, and I was hopeful that crossing the bog would throw them off.I wondered how sensitive their sense of smell was and decided there was no way to know.It would be safest to assume they could track me like a bloodhound if they wanted.
It was pushing seven when I emerged from the woods and stood at the edge of a cornfield.This time of year, the corn comes up close to your knees, and as far as movement was concerned, it offered very little cover.Across the field there was another woods.I looked to my right and saw the back of a large barn about half a mile distant.There would be a house there too.I knew the place, had driven past it almost every day for the past six years.I wanted nothing to do with any place where people were, but wondered whether the place was abandoned, or if there were people there, holed up and alive.
Maybe there were bodies ripped to pieces, lying in the yard or in the house.Could there be yellow-eyes there?Would they think to seek shelter?Did they sleep?I didn’t know.I looked left and saw that the woods horseshoed around the field and that they were the same woods I was looking at across the field.
I sat down there and ate my last sandwich and finished off my open Gatorade.After brief deliberation, I popped two of the diet pills.I was going to need food.I desperately needed to tend to my wound, and my shirt was ragged and bloody.I had grown used to the stench of it and my unwashed body.I supposed it was warm enough out and I didn’t really need fresh clothes, but thinking about the filth of my shirt pressed against the wound in my chest that I had not tended, I craved a clean one.I was nearly out of food and would need more.I wanted some Tylenol for the pain and fever.
In the house, whether there were people there or not, I was sure to find a fresh shirt and the Tylenol.Most likely there would be food and first aid supplies.Maybe, I could sleep there for the night if it was inhabited.Maybe, if it was deserted I could stay there anyways.Of course, there was always the possibility of running into one of those damn yellow-eyed demons there, maybe more than one.

Well, I shrugged, I was sure to run into some sometime, and why not now, while it was light out and I could at least have a chance of spotting them from a good ways off.When night fell, it would be dark and weak as I was, I would need to sleep.At least in the house I could fort up, lock myself in the most secure room and hope for the best while I slept.Standing, I slipped on the backpack and gathered my rifle and shotgun and struck out for the barn.


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