The Man with the Zombie Hand - Final Draft

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Man with the Zombie Hand

(This short story is part of the Tales from Death Valley by Bishop1611).

Some call them zombies but the mind blowing, epidermis morphing Z-virus has produced things more horrifying than walking dead. Follow the family of Brent Smith as they struggle against freaks, the harsh elements, and the man with the zombie hand. Some demons are of our own making!

Submitted: May 18, 2013

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Submitted: May 18, 2013

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A A A


The Man With the Zombie Hand

By Bishop1611

 

  His brother would randomly text, “Look to your right. That’s your weapon. The zombie apocalypse has just started! Will you survive?”  Then it happened. The nearest thing to him was his Abbey Pro Heavy Duty Bramble Slasher. A rather odd shaped agricultural tool with a thick wooden handle about 40 inches long with a “slasher” on the end, or so that’s what the UK based company called it. The razor edge looked like a bizarre weapon used by a hell spawned demon. Maybe that is why Brent Smith had ordered it. He needed something heavy duty to mince the thick roots in his newly purchased lot. The “Slasher” fit the need and looked wicked-cool!  The blade resembled a warped question mark, which oddly enough, answered his brother’s playful text.

The real trick was not to use his full strength. He had to balance force with precision as he beheaded and bashed the undead army of neighbors who had surrounded him that misty morning.  The first kill was the most challenging. The swing was too powerful and the blade cut through the top of the head, neck and came to a stop midway down the sternum. The freak crumbled before him and the slumped position wedged his weapon.  He heaved to retrieve it as he heard the labored breathing and mumbled growls outside his metal shed. He gave the downed freak a kick and it tumbled to its back. Standing over the corpse he retrieved his Abbey Pro blade.  A ghoul stumbled in the open door and Brent met it with a thrust to the forehead.  He yanked open the door to his F-350 Platinum truck, scanned the area and then carefully placed his weapon inside.  It might be the end of the world, but no one was going to mess up the interior of his pride and joy. The 20-inch, 7-spoke cast-aluminum wheels had no problem dispatching the infected that he plowed down on his trek back to his home a few miles away. 

  He was determined to survive this reign of hell and he planned on taking his family with him. In the days to come he and his new friend, “The Slasher” became proficient at splitting, spiking and slicing the meandering hordes and anyone else that got in his way! The one enemy he was not prepared for however, was his demise. It came from a special place in hell: the man with a zombie hand!  The shock was only surpassed by his rage. He was folded over like a marionette with its strings cut. He could only watch as his family suffered horrible things. He could not move, but he could feel the infection taking over his body. His brain, no longer able to absorb the blood being franticly pumped to it began to swell as the Z-virus transformed him into the very thing he abhorred the most. The screams from his wife and daughter became stifled screeches as his ear canals were crushed by the swelling.  His eyes became dim as vessels began to burst and the blackness slowly spread until it had totally consumed him.

Earlier that day, Brent Smith led his pretentious family down an alleyway headed toward his brother’s house. Weary, yet determined, Brent cautiously advanced as quickly as the environment would allow. They had been traveling for almost two weeks. Stopping to fortify random homes; scavenging and looting for food and supplies; moving on when the fortification was compromised by Freaks, bandits or him: The man with the zombie hand! He was a horrifying mystery. The others did not know who he was or why he hunted them, but Brent knew. He knew the moment that ring came into view: a fancy gold college ring or something, capped by a crimson red jewel. It was still as shiny and polished as it was the day he had separated the arm from the pervert who had kidnapped his precious daughter. It was a quick, clean cut, almost surgical. The Slasher was prepared for that moment. The tireless guardian kept it ready with the sharpening stone he carried in his pack.

  Brent stopped near the street corner and rested on one knee. His party of five was concealed at the moment. Bushes and trees on one side: an assortment of trash cans and a ripped mattress, stained with blood on the other. What story would it tell had it a voice?  He turned and watched as his dysfunctional family caught up to him.In his mind, Karen was the best wife that a man could want. Reality told a different story. She had once been beautiful, even seductive, but alcohol and drugs had left her barely more than a freak herself. She was shrill, strained and shallow. She had been motivated by baser needs for a long time: food, water, and stimulation. He blamed the end of the world for her condition, but it had developed long before the epidemic. His eyes slowly moved to watch Jason.  Jason was a street smart sixteen year old. He grudgingly followed his strange foster parents dragging his ward, eight year old Lucy, behind him. A few weeks earlier he was planning on making it big with his athletic build and quick moves. Now he was hoping that his skills would just keep him alive. He was a survivor and was ready to do whatever it took to make it to another day. He would have left Lucy behind, she was nothing but trouble: whining, crying and flipping out all of the time. She acted as if she was a hardcore hophead on an acid trip: dark memories invading her causing blubbering bellows and cryptic convulsions. He would loosen his grip and let her pull away, except he knew what Brent would do to him if he let “little sister” get hurt. Jason realized that he was being watched. He looked back at the little girl his fosters called Lucy. He gave her a bogus smile and pulled her to his side as he came to a stop. He placed his itched hand on the top of her head and gave her amber hair a playful twist. He threw a guarded glance toward Brent to spy his response, but the guardian was watching Uncle Lucas now.  Jason snarled. He remembered the day he became part of the family. He had been running with team members from Apple Blossom High. Homecoming night! What a blood bath! His buddies had often talked about smashing the heads in of their opponents. It was a surreal! He and four others made it out, but as it was stated, Jason would do whatever it took to survive, even if it meant sacrificing life-long friends. It was a curious accident that bonded Brent and Jason. It was a fragile bond: dangling on strands of necessity. He would bolt when the time was right.

 Pulling up the rear was Uncle Lucas.  In his attempt to be stealthy, he walked hunched over like an ancient troll. His trench coat bulging from the food and supplies he had stuffed in each pocket. In one hand he dragged an aluminum baseball bat; in the other he clutched his last bottle of whiskey. The others rested and watched as Lucas huffed pass them. He stumbled beside Brent and slobbered, “He’s near! I can feel it!”

“Be quiet!” Brent quietly insisted.

“I know he’s here!” Lucas retorted a little louder.

Brent reacted with his elbow and knocked the older man down. “Shut up!” Brent hissed.

His immediate concern was the movement he had noticed in the street. Lucas eyed the others from the place he had fallen.  Little Lucy started to cry. Jason yanked her in front of him and she fell to the crusty asphalt. Karen reached down and scooped the child in her arms.

“Shhh, baby girl,” Momma is hear. “Momma won’t let the boogie man get you.” Lucy resisted for a fleeting second and then fell limp into the woman’s embrace.

Lucas wobbled on his back like a turtle; “He’s here!” he slurred and pointed toward the bushes that lined the other side of the alley. Everyone reacted in a different way. Brent spun around with the butcher knife in his hand. The Slasher had been lost in the flames that sent them running from their last stronghold. He knew that this was a deadly game-changer. Karen screamed and cringed back, pulling Lucy onto her. Jason whipped around and took the stance he had used as the star running back for his football team. The air was thick with colors as the dusk started to stretch its fingers over them and dusty swirls randomly danced about. Nothing moved. Nothing advanced. Nothing was there.  Jason relaxed his stance and looked at Lucas. He let his heavy backpack slid to the ground. He had had enough of this old fool.  He took in a deep breath and started to vividly express his opinion of him when the bushes exploded with action and the hooded figure leaped forward.  The spry athlete tried to maneuver away from the blade being thrust toward him: It was the deadly end of Brent’s Bramble Slasher. It struck the youth near his left hip and sliced a chunk of flesh onto the ground.  Jason’s lips exploded in agony as he spastically spun around and bounced off the pavement.  He tried to gain his feet but the other end of the Slasher whirled around and revealed the shriveled hand of a freak attached to it. The thick sinewed fingers ripped across his chest and plowed its mark in his flesh.

 Brent grabbed Karen’s arm and pulled her to her feet. She held tight to the child and both of them came to his side. “Run!” he bellowed, “Run now!”  He led by example and started across the street.  A gruesome group of nearby Limpers noticed the movement and stumbled toward them. 

Lucas was still on the ground choking on his own slobber, “Not me, not me.” he gagged.

The curious zombies heard his pitiful plea and stepped into the alley to investigate. The hooded man gracefully shredded the unwelcomed guests. It was almost poetry as the blade glided through the air and twirled under the control of his experienced grip. The man with the zombie hand surveyed the battle field. He then looked back at Lucas who was in a fetal position franticly mumbling.  He watched him for a moment and then walked in the direction the others had fled.

Brent and Karen were moving at their top speed which was little more than a jog. He was holding the girl now as they ran across the lawn leading to their destination. He doubted that his brother would be there but he was convinced he would have the provisions he needed.  They came to a four foot cyclone fence and Brent placed Lucy safely on the other side. “Stay right there baby. Daddy will keep you safe.”

 He turned and reached for Karen who had fallen to the ground in terror. “Get up!” He begged, “Don’t quit on me now.”

He yanked her to her feet webbing snot between his hands and her face.  Brent violently shook her, “You want me to leave you, Karen!”

“No!” she grunted and stared at him with wild eyes, “Please...” She wanted to say it, but she knew it would be the death of her!

He pushed her toward the fence. “Get over there. Lucy needs you.”  Brent jerked his eyes toward the empty back yard. The girl was gone. Fear whelped in his throat, “Lucy!” he screamed. He grabbed Karen’s leg and hurled her over the fence and then jumped over.  They began to franticly search for the child.

Back in the alley, Lucas pulled himself to his feet. His eyes were glossy as he tried to see through the newly fallen darkness: nothing was there.  The man with the zombie hand was gone. His rejoicing was cut short as he noticed Jason standing in the shadows.

“Jason?” he gasped.

Jason’s transformed body stumbled forward and sniffed the air. The scent of flesh ignited the adrenaline within him and he charged. Brent looked back into the darkness as he heard the scream.  He took the woman he called wife by the arm and swung her around toward him, “We have to find her, Karen!” He looked over the fence into the darkness, “He’s coming for our daughter. He’s coming for Lucy!”

The woman glared at Brent, “You know who he is!”

Brent shoved her away from him and seemed to ignore her accusation. “Karen we need to get Lucy and get out of here!”

She staggered back. Her fear had numbed her senses enough that the rage within her was finally unleashed.  “My name is not Karen!”

Brent slowly turned and stared at her. His face was stretched and tight. His mouth was pressed shut as if he had sucked in her words and could not swallow. His wild stare tried to burn a hole through her.

She took in a deep breath and repeated her assertion, “My name is not Karen!”  Words were not enough. She started to beat on his chest. “My name is Becky! Your wife is dead and you can’t bring her back you stupid prick!”

Brent’s eyes were wide and glaring as he turned away and looked into the shadows: he painfully remembered that first misty morning. He was driving frantically toward his house swerving to hit every freak he could.  He jumped the curb and slammed on the breaks a few feet from his front door.  As he slid from the cab and reached back to retrieve his weapon, the front door swung open and Lucas, his wife’s brother bolted toward him.

“Help us!” Lucas cried as he fell to his knees.

“Where are they?” Brent shouted.

Lucas pointed toward the side gate, “The yard!” he heaved.

Brent rushed to the gate. He could hear his wife screaming. The gate was locked from the other side.  Brent pointed the Slasher toward the wooden fence and started chipping away at the place near the lock. It yielded to the blows and he sprinted toward the sound.  Karen was on her knees reaching out to her hideously altered child.  The once precious daughter greeted her motherly compassion by ripping her flesh. 

Brent partially regained his senses.

Becky was behind him, with both hands around his neck shaking him.  Brent remembered the rage and turned with the butcher knife in his hand and jabbed it into her stomach.

  Becky tried to jerk away, but the deranged warden grabbed her by the back of the neck and pulled her toward him! “Karen is not dead you stupid whore!”

 He drove the blade in again, and then loosened his grip and let her fall to the ground.  He hissed, “But you are!”

Becky gasped for air as she lay on the damp grass. The life-flow running through her veins was now rushing into her lungs as the emissary of death. As her life drifted from her she could have thought of many things, but the words stupid whore rang in her ears. It was true, that was exactly who she was, and that’s how she had first met Brent. Lucas had introduced them. Nothing personal: just business.  It was by chance that she had stumbled upon them that afternoon.  Brent was dazed because of his wife and child, and she knew how to manipulate the moment. She was a cheap substitute for his dead wife, but his grief-stricken mind had been broken: any willing participant would have done and to save her life she was more than willing to play house; but the pieces fell apart shortly after when Brent saw Serenity Arvello and her family holding up next door to them.  His twisted mind was convinced that the child was his dead daughter, after all, his expired wife had returned from the dead in the form of Becky Ersatz.  He had to rescue his darling daughter from the depraved abductors next door. At first Becky had protested, but the look in his eyes, the same look she had just despised, changed her tune and made her a hesitant accomplice to the crime. Jason was there too: His blood lust erupted as he joined in the raid; His football jersey was soaked with blood, afterwards he burnt it: but she was the key! She was the helpless little lady who came to their barricaded door and cried for help. She was the reason the little girl’s father jeopardized his family and compromised their security. It was a slaughter. One survivor was left moaning in the corner. The old man had a gash in his head. Becky remembered him: He was some big shot in the marines or something. Becky began to cough up blood and rolled to her side. She felt warm, almost cozy, and numbness took over her body. Her mind faded back to the hideous murders. She remembered the ring! Serenity’s father was wearing it.  Even with his guts hanging out, he reached for Brent, defying the pain, trying to stop the hideous murderer from reaching his sweet Serenity. That wicked blade sliced right through his arm like it was paper.

  Becky’s eyes focused and the zombie hand dangled in front of her. The avenger had found her. The death blow was quick, unlike the slaughter she remembered. Brent heard her scream. He was inside his brother’s house now, but the girl was nowhere to be found. He made his way up the stairs. His brother had a shotgun. He knew where it was. It was time to put the hunt to an end.

The hooded figure scanned the area for freaks. He was growing weary. He had been following the murderous band for two weeks.  He had watched them from his son’s home after he had revived. He could see his granddaughter Serenity in the house with them. He was familiar with hostage situations. He could tell that she was unharmed and that she was temporarily safe. He had to recoup from the blow to his head. When he could think straight he would go get his granddaughter. He would also get revenge for what they had done to his family.  He looked at the thick, shriveled hand he had attached to the odd pruning tool.  He pulled a flannel piece of cloth from his back pocket and gently manicured the ring on his son’s mummified-like hand.  He read the proud words that incased the red jewel: Marines.  He had heard his son swear with is dying breathe that he would kill Brent Smith with his own bare hands.  The old soldier decided he would honor that vow.

His son had been bitten the day before as they fortified their home against the ghouls. They did not know what that meant. It was a small wound and they had no idea that he would have eventually turn. It would take a long time for the virus to do its work on the healthy ex-marine, but it would eventually win the battle. Which was harder: Watching his son die by the hand of a madman or having to kill him a second time with his own hands?  Even detached the infection worked its transformation on the arm which began to turn immediately after being severed. That was the old soldiers warning to what would happen to his beloved son. It was the kind of Intel he needed to stay alive.

The blast from the shotgun sent the avenger to the soggy ground with a hard thump! Anthony Arvello Sr. was stretched out like a dead man, but old soldiers do not die that easy. He had a vest beneath the dark hoodie that took most of the blow. Internal bleeding was certain, but he was not going to slip away that easily.Brent Smith raised his weapon above his head and shouted in jubilee. The hunt was over! He was free from the demon he had created.  Brent steadied his weapon on his shoulder and pointed at his trophy, “How you like that you weak, pathetic old man?”  

“Stop it!” Serenity screamed as she ran toward her capture. “Leave my grandpa alone!”  Her voice was weak and pathetic. Brent Smith was not amused. “You little brat,” He swung his free hand toward her and missed, “After all I did for you!” he growled.

The little girl held her ground and snarled back, “You are a mean man and my grandpa is going to get you!”

Brent started to laugh, but a cold shiver lumped in his parched throat. He spun around and was greeted by the rigid fingers of his former victim across his face. It was a solid blow and the hardened appendages of the zombie hand ripped across his face splatting a chunk of his nose against the white aluminum siding of the house.  Brent dropped the shotgun and stumbled back. His’ eyes watered from the blow and as he patted his face he realized the damage that was done.

“My nose,” He cried, and then sprayed blood into the invading darkness as he heaved the tainted air from his lungs.

The swaying blur came toward him. Brent stumbled to the fence and pushed himself over. He hit hard on the other side, but his fear drove him away from the man with the zombie hand and he disappeared into the night.

Battalion Command Sergeant Major Anthony Arvello Sr. removed the hood that had veiled his head in mourning. He steadied himself as he knelt and held his granddaughter gently in his arms. The happy reunion was cut short by the vicious onlookers pressing against the fence. Grandpa took his precious little lady into his arms and slipped away. Their path would be hard, but it would lead them to a place where she would be safe.

“Karen,” Brent Smith mumbled as he lay slumped in a nearby vacant lot.  Life was slipping away. His blood was boiling and he was consumed by the fever. His body began to spasm as the adrenaline laced virus violently shut down the major organs of his body and then partially resuscitated them instantly. Like the shock of a defibrillator Brent came back to consciences: He was in his backyard.  He could only watch as his family suffered horrible things. The screams from his wife and daughter became clearer as the endless blackness consumed him: endless memories: endless nightmares: endless rage.

His brother would randomly text, “Look to your right. That’s your weapon. The zombie apocalypse has just started! Will you survive?”  Then it happened. The nearest thing to him was his Abbey Pro Heavy Duty Bramble Slasher. A rather odd shaped agricultural tool with a thick wooden handle about 40 inches long with a “slasher” on the end, or so that’s what the UK based company called it. The razor edge looked like a bizarre weapon used by a hell spawned demon. Maybe that is why Brent Smith had ordered it. He needed something heavy duty to mince the thick roots in his newly purchased lot. The “Slasher” fit the need and looked wicked-cool!  The blade resembled a warped question mark, which oddly enough, answered his brother’s playful text.

 The real trick was not to use his full strength. He had to balance force with precision as he beheaded and bashed the undead army of neighbors who had surrounded him that misty morning.  The first kill was the most challenging. The swing was too powerful and the blade cut through the top of the head, neck and came to a stop midway down the sternum. The freak crumbled before him and the slumped position wedged his weapon.  He heaved to retrieve it as he heard the labored breathing and mumbled growls outside his metal shed. He gave the downed freak a kick and it tumbled to its back. Standing over the corpse he retrieved his Abbey Pro blade.  A ghoul stumbled in the open door and Brent met it with a thrust to the forehead.  He yanked open the door to his F-350 Platinum truck, scanned the area and then carefully placed his weapon inside.  It might be the end of the world, but no one was going to mess up the interior of his pride and joy. The 20-inch, 7-spoke cast-aluminum wheels had no problem dispatching the infected that he plowed down on his trek back to his home a few miles away. 

He was determined to survive this reign of hell and he planned on taking his family with him. In the days to come he and his new friend, “The Slasher” became proficient at splitting, spiking and slicing the meandering hordes and anyone else that got in his way! The one enemy he was not prepared for however, was his demise. It came from a special place in hell: the man with the zombie hand!  The shock was only surpassed by his rage. He was folded over like a marionette with its strings cut. He could only watch as his family suffered horrible things. He could not move, but he could feel the infection taking over his body. His brain, no longer able to absorb the blood being franticly pumped to it began to swell as the Z-virus transformed him into the very thing he abhorred the most. The screams from his wife and daughter became stifled screeches as his ear canals were crushed by the swelling.  His eyes became dim as vessels began to burst and the blackness slowly spread until it had totally consumed him.

Earlier that day, Brent Smith led his pretentious family down an alleyway headed toward his brother’s house. Weary, yet determined, Brent cautiously advanced as quickly as the environment would allow. They had been traveling for almost two weeks. Stopping to fortify random homes; scavenging and looting for food and supplies; moving on when the fortification was compromised by Freaks, bandits or him: The man with the zombie hand! He was a horrifying mystery. The others did not know who he was or why he hunted them, but Brent knew. He knew the moment that ring came into view: a fancy gold college ring or something, capped by a crimson red jewel. It was still as shiny and polished as it was the day he had separated the arm from the pervert who had kidnapped his precious daughter. It was a quick, clean cut, almost surgical. The Slasher was prepared for that moment. The tireless guardian kept it ready with the sharpening stone he carried in his pack.

Brent stopped near the street corner and rested on one knee. His party of five was concealed at the moment. Bushes and trees on one side: an assortment of trash cans and a ripped mattress, stained with blood on the other. What story would it tell had it a voice?  He turned and watched as his dysfunctional family caught up to him.In his mind, Karen was the best wife that a man could want. Reality told a different story. She had once been beautiful, even seductive, but alcohol and drugs had left her barely more than a freak herself. She was shrill, strained and shallow. She had been motivated by baser needs for a long time: food, water, and stimulation. He blamed the end of the world for her condition, but it had developed long before the epidemic. His eyes slowly moved to watch Jason.  Jason was a street smart sixteen year old. He grudgingly followed his strange foster parents dragging his ward, eight year old Lucy, behind him. A few weeks earlier he was planning on making it big with his athletic build and quick moves. Now he was hoping that his skills would just keep him alive. He was a survivor and was ready to do whatever it took to make it to another day. He would have left Lucy behind, she was nothing but trouble: whining, crying and flipping out all of the time. She acted as if she was a hardcore hophead on an acid trip: dark memories seemed to invade her causing blubbering bellows and cryptic convulsions. What would a kid so young know about horror? He would loosen his grip and let her pull away, except he knew what Brent would do to him if he let “little sister” get hurt. Jason realized that he was being watched. He looked back at the little girl his fosters called Lucy. He gave her a bogus smile and pulled her to his side as he came to a stop. He placed his itched hand on the top of her head and gave her amber hair a playful twist. He threw a guarded glance toward Brent to spy his response, but "father" was watching Uncle Lucas now.  Jason snarled. He remembered the day he became part of the family. He had been running with team members from Apple Blossom High. Homecoming night! What a blood bath! His buddies had often talked about smashing the heads in of their opponents. It was so surreal! He and four others made it out, but as it was stated, Jason would do whatever it took to survive, even if it meant sacrificing life-long friends. It was a curious accident that bonded Brent and Jason. It was a fragile bond: dangling on strands of necessity. He would bolt when the time was right.

 Pulling up the rear was Uncle Lucas.  In his attempt to be stealthy, he walked hunched over like an ancient troll. His trench coat bulging from the food and supplies he had stuffed in each pocket. In one hand he dragged an aluminum baseball bat; in the other he clutched his last bottle of whiskey. The others rested and watched as Lucas huffed pass them. He stumbled beside Brent and slobbered, “He’s near! I can feel it!”

“Be quiet!” Brent quietly insisted.

“I know he’s here!” Lucas retorted a little louder.

Brent reacted with his elbow and knocked the older man down. “Shut up!” he hissed.

His immediate concern was the movement he had noticed in the street. Lucas eyed the others from the place he had fallen.  Little Lucy started to cry. Jason yanked her in front of him and she fell to the crusty asphalt. Karen reached down and scooped the child in her arms.

“Shhh, baby girl,” Momma is hear. “Momma won’t let the boogie man get you.” Lucy resisted for a fleeting second and then fell limp into the woman’s embrace.

Lucas wobbled on his back like a turtle; “He’s here!” he slurred and pointed toward the bushes that lined the other side of the alley. Everyone reacted in a different way. Brent spun around with the butcher knife in his hand. The Slasher had been lost in the flames that sent them running from their last stronghold. He knew that this was a deadly game-changer. Karen screamed and cringed back, pulling Lucy onto her. Jason whipped around and took the stance he had used as the star running back for his football team. The air was thick with colors as the dusk started to stretch its fingers over them and dusty swirls randomly danced about. Nothing moved. Nothing advanced. Nothing was there.  Jason relaxed his stance and looked at Lucas. He let his heavy backpack slid to the ground. He had had enough of this old fool.  He took in a deep breath and started to vividly express his opinion of him when the bushes exploded with action and the hooded figure leaped forward.  The spry athlete tried to maneuver away from the blade being thrust toward him: It was the deadly end of Brent’s Bramble Slasher. It struck the youth near his left hip and sliced a chunk of flesh onto the ground.  Jason’s lips exploded in agony as he spastically spun around and bounced off the pavement.  He tried to gain his feet but the other end of the Slasher whirled around and revealed the shriveled hand of a freak attached to it. The thick sinewed fingers ripped across his chest and plowed its mark in his flesh.

 Brent grabbed Karen’s arm and pulled her to her feet. She held tight to the child and both of them came to his side. “Run!” he bellowed, “Run now!”  He led by example and started across the street.  A gruesome group of nearby Limpers noticed the movement and stumbled toward them. 

Lucas was still on the ground choking on his own slobber, “Not me, not me.” he gagged.

The curious zombies heard his pitiful plea and stepped into the alley to investigate. The hooded man gracefully shredded the unwelcomed guests. It was almost poetry as the blade glided through the air and twirled under the control of his experienced grip. The man with the zombie hand surveyed the battle field. He then looked back at Lucas who was in a fetal position franticly mumbling.  He watched him for a moment and then walked in the direction the others had fled.

Brent and Karen were moving at their top speed which was little more than a jog. He was holding the girl now as they ran across the lawn leading to their destination. He doubted that his brother would be there but he was convinced he would have the provisions he needed.  They came to a four foot cyclone fence and Brent placed Lucy safely on the other side. “Stay right there baby. Daddy will keep you safe.”

 He turned and reached for Karen who had fallen to the ground in terror. “Get up!” He begged, “Don’t quit on me now.”

He yanked her to her feet webbing snot between his hands and her face.  Brent violently shook her, “You want me to leave you, Karen!”

“No!” she grunted and stared at him with wild eyes, “Please...” She wanted to say it, but she knew it would be the death of her!

He pushed her toward the fence. “Get over there. Lucy needs you.”  Brent jerked his eyes toward the empty back yard. The girl was gone. Fear whelped in his throat, “Lucy!” he screamed. He grabbed Karen’s leg and hurled her over the fence and then jumped over.  They began to franticly search for the child.

Back in the alley, Lucas pulled himself to his feet. His eyes were glossy as he tried to see through the newly fallen darkness: nothing was there.  The man with the zombie hand was gone. His rejoicing was cut short as he noticed Jason standing in the shadows.

“Jason?” he gasped.

Jason’s transformed body stumbled forward and sniffed the air. The scent of flesh ignited the adrenaline within him and he charged. Brent looked back into the darkness as he heard the scream.  He took the woman he called wife by the arm and swung her around toward him, “We have to find her, Karen!” He looked over the fence into the darkness, “He’s coming for our daughter. He’s coming for Lucy!”

The woman glared at Brent, “You know who he is!”

Brent shoved her away from him and seemed to ignore her accusation. “Karen we need to get Lucy and get out of here!”

She staggered back. Her fear had numbed her senses enough that the rage within her was finally unleashed.  “My name is not Karen!”

Brent slowly turned and stared at her. His face was stretched and tight. His mouth was pressed shut as if he had sucked in her words and could not swallow. His wild stare tried to burn a hole through her.

She took in a deep breath and repeated her assertion, “My name is not Karen!”  Words were not enough. She started to beat on his chest. “My name is Becky! Your wife is dead and you can’t bring her back you stupid prick!”

Brent’s eyes were wide and glaring as he turned away and looked into the shadows: he painfully remembered that first misty morning. He was driving frantically toward his house swerving to hit every freak he could.  He jumped the curb and slammed on the breaks a few feet from his front door.  As he slid from the cab and reached back to retrieve his weapon, the front door swung open and Lucas, his wife’s brother bolted toward him.

“Help us!” Lucas cried as he fell to his knees.

“Where are they?” Brent shouted.

Lucas pointed toward the side gate, “The yard!” he heaved.

Brent rushed to the gate. He could hear his wife screaming. The gate was locked from the other side.  Brent pointed the Slasher toward the wooden fence and started chipping away at the place near the lock. It yielded to the blows and he sprinted toward the sound.  Karen was on her knees reaching out to her hideously altered child.  The once precious daughter greeted her motherly compassion by ripping her flesh. 

Brent partially regained his senses.

Becky was behind him, with both hands around his neck shaking him.  Brent remembered the rage and turned with the butcher knife in his hand and jabbed it into her stomach.

  Becky tried to jerk away, but the deranged warden grabbed her by the back of the neck and pulled her toward him! “Karen is not dead you stupid whore!”

 He drove the blade in again, and then loosened his grip and let her fall to the ground.  He hissed, “But you are!”

Becky gasped for air as she lay on the damp grass. The life-flow running through her veins was now rushing into her lungs as the emissary of death. As her life drifted from her she could have thought of many things, but the words stupid whore rang in her ears. It was true, that was exactly who she was, and that’s how she had first met Brent. Lucas had introduced them. Nothing personal: just business.  It was by chance that she had stumbled upon them that afternoon.  Brent was dazed because of his wife and child, and she knew how to manipulate the moment. She was a cheap substitute for his dead wife, but his grief-stricken mind had been broken: any willing participant would have done and to save her life she was more than willing to play house; but the pieces fell apart shortly after when Brent saw Serenity Arvello and her family holding up next door to them.  His twisted mind was convinced that the child was his dead daughter, after all, his expired wife had returned from the dead in the form of Becky Ersatz.  He had to rescue his darling daughter from the depraved abductors next door. At first Becky had protested, but the look in his eyes, the same look she had just despised, changed her tune and made her a hesitant accomplice to the crime. Jason was there too: His blood lust erupted as he joined in the raid; His football jersey was soaked with blood, afterwards he burnt it: but she was the key! She was the helpless little lady who came to their barricaded door and cried for help. She was the reason the little girl’s father jeopardized his family and compromised their security. It was a slaughter. One survivor was left moaning in the corner. The old man had a gash in his head.Becky remembered him: He was some big shot in the marines or something.Becky began to cough up blood and rolled to her side. She felt warm, almost cozy, and numbness took over her body. Her mind faded back to the hideous murders. She remembered the ring! Serenity’s father was wearing it.  Even with his guts hanging out, he reached for Brent, defying the pain, trying to stop the hideous murderer from reaching his sweet Serenity. That wicked blade sliced right through his arm like it was paper.

  Becky’s eyes focused and the zombie hand dangled in front of her. The avenger had found her. The death blow was quick, unlike the slaughter she remembered. Brent heard her scream. He was inside his brother’s house now, but the girl was nowhere to be found. He made his way up the stairs. His brother had a shotgun. He knew where it was. It was time to put the hunt to an end.

The hooded figure scanned the area for freaks. He was growing weary. He had been following the murderous band for two weeks.  He had watched them from his son’s home after he had revived. He could see his granddaughter Serenity in the house with them. He was familiar with hostage situations. He could tell that she was unharmed and that she was temporarily safe. He had to recoup from the blow to his head. When he could think straight he would go get his granddaughter. He would also get revenge for what they had done to his family.  He looked at the thick, shriveled hand he had attached to the odd pruning tool.  He pulled a flannel piece of cloth from his back pocket and gently manicured the ring on his son’s mummified-like hand.  He read the proud words that incased the red jewel: Marines.  He had heard his son swear with is dying breathe that he would kill Brent Smith with his own bare hands.  The old soldier decided he would honor that vow.

His son had been bitten the day before as they fortified their home against the ghouls. They did not know what that meant. It was a small wound and they had no idea that he would have eventually turn. It would take a long time for the virus to do its work on the healthy ex-marine, but it would eventually win the battle. Which was harder: Watching his son die by the hand of a madman or having to kill him a second time with his own hands?  Even detached the infection worked its transformation on the arm which began to turn immediately after being severed. That was the old soldiers warning to what would happen to his beloved son. It was the kind of Intel he needed to stay alive.

The blast from the shotgun sent the avenger to the soggy ground with a hard thump! Anthony Arvello Sr. was stretched out like a dead man, but old soldiers do not die that easy. He had a vest beneath the dark hoodie that took most of the blow. Internal bleeding was certain, but he was not going to slip away that easily.Brent Smith raised his weapon above his head and shouted in jubilee. The hunt was over! He was free from the demon he had created.  Brent steadied his weapon on his shoulder and pointed at his trophy, “How you like that you weak, pathetic old man?” 

“Stop it!” Serenity screamed as she ran toward her capture. “Leave my grandpa alone!”  Her voice was weak and pathetic. Brent Smith was not amused. “You little brat,” He swung his free hand toward her and missed, “After all I did for you!” he growled.

The little girl held her ground and snarled back, “You are a mean man and my grandpa is going to get you!”

Brent started to laugh, but a cold shiver lumped in his parched throat. He spun around and was greeted by the rigid fingers of his former victim across his face. It was a solid blow and the hardened appendages of the zombie hand ripped across his face splatting a chunk of his nose against the white aluminum siding of the house.  Brent dropped the shotgun and stumbled back. His’ eyes watered from the blow and as he patted his face he realized the damage that was done.

“My nose,” He cried, and then sprayed blood into the invading darkness as he heaved the tainted air from his lungs.

The swaying blur came toward him. Brent stumbled to the fence and pushed himself over. He hit hard on the other side, but his fear drove him away from the man with the zombie hand and he disappeared into the night.

Battalion Command Sergeant Major Anthony Arvello Sr. removed the hood that had veiled his head in mourning. He steadied himself as he knelt and held his granddaughter gently in his arms. The happy reunion was cut short by the vicious onlookers pressing against the fence. Grandpa took his precious little lady into his arms and slipped away. Their path would be hard, but it would lead them to a place where she would be safe.

“Karen,” Brent Smith mumbled as he lay slumped in a nearby vacant lot.  Life was slipping away. His blood was boiling and he was consumed by the fever. His body began to spasm as the adrenaline laced virus violently shut down the major organs of his body and then partially resuscitated them instantly. Like the shock of a defibrillator Brent came back to consciousness: He was in his backyard.  He could only watch as his family suffered horrible things. The screams from his wife and daughter became clearer as the endless blackness consumed him: endless memories: endless nightmares: endless rage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Bishop1611. All rights reserved.

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