Welcome to the free blog version of Robert R Best's zombie novel Lakewood Memorial. A new chapter will be posted every week. Find prior chapters in the archive to the right. Subscribe for the latest. Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thirty Three

Angie looked around one last time for Park, then turned to run outside. She heard movement from behind the smashed remains of the dispatch desk. She stopped and looked. Park’s form emerged from behind the desk.
“Park?” she yelled.
Park lumbered forward.
“Shit,” said Angie, turning to run.
Park coughed. “Wait for me, dammit!”
Angie sighed and turned back. “Say something quicker next time!”
“Mom!” came a voice from outside.
“Maylee?” yelled Angie. She rushed out of the hole in the wall. The cool morning air hit her. Flaming corpses were scattered around the parking lot. Maylee and Dalton were running toward her.
“Mom!” yelled Dalton.
Angie ran forward after them.
They met and Angie hugged them both as tight as she could. “Are you both alright?”
“Yeah,” said Dalton, nodding. “But man do we have a lot of crap to tell you!”
“Me, too,” said Angie. Park stepped up behind them, brushing off his hunting jacket and looking around.
Angie looked at Maylee. She looked tired. Dirty, bruised and tired.
“You sure you’re okay?” Angie said.
“Yeah,” said Maylee, nodding.
“You did good.”
Maylee smiled and nodded.
“Damn,” said Park, looking around.
Angie looked around too. The lot was scattered with corpses, some of them still moving.
Beyond that, she could see a few corpses stumbling down the road.
Beyond that, corpses wandered the woods near the hospital.
And beyond that, she could see the faintest dots of corpses stumbling on the horizon.
She gripped her kids to her. Tightly. “Well, shit.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thirty Two

Angie and Park ran to the corner and stopped. Smoke was building up. The screeching alarm drowned out the sounds of corpses eating Kristen far behind them. The lights flickered.
Park looked around. "Fuck. Wonder how long we have until the power goes out completely?"
"There's a back-up generator," said Angie. "It should kick in about a minute after the power goes out."
Park nodded.
Angie braced herself and peeked around the corner. A few corpses were wandering just up ahead, their backs to Angie.
She ducked back. "Got a few up ahead. How many bullets you got left?"
"Not nearly enough."
Angie nodded, then gasped as one of the corpses grabbed her throat from around the corner.
"Shit!" yelled Park. He pointed the rifle right next to her ear and fired.
There was an explosion of sound, then silence. Then a ringing. A high-pitched whine. She felt Park grab her and pull her away from the corner. As she spun, she saw the corpse that had grabbed her. Part of its head was exploded away. It was sliding down the wall, still. The other corpses were coming around the corner.
She heard Park yelling something, his voice muffled and buried under the ringing. Then she could hear muffled moans and the sound of the fire alarm.
Park jerked her backward and she fell into the visitor bathroom. Park shut the door. She could hear the door click and Park cursing, less muffled than before.
She stood and shook her head.
"Dammit!" she said, her own voice echoing in her head. It sounded like her ears were full of cotton. "Be careful!"
"You were damned near fucked," said Park, leaning back against the door. "Plus, you made me waste a bullet."
She looked at him and he smirked at her.
She smirked back and rubbed her ear. Her hearing was returning.
"Okay," she said. "We'll need another weapon."
Moaning and scratching came from behind the door.
"Fast, too," said Park, reloading his rifle with the few bullets he had left. He tossed the empty ammo box in the trash. "Or it'll just be a question of deciding if the fire or those fucks outside kill us."
Wisps of smoke came under the door.
"Fire..." said Angie, then looked around. She ran over to the toilet and snatched up the plunger.
Park snorted. "You gonna plunge their brains out with that?"
"Not quite." She twisted the rubber end off the plunger, leaving only the wooden handle. She stepped over to sink and opened the cabinet underneath. She started rooting around in the cabinet.
"I've been thinking," Park said, checking the rifle over.
"Yeah?" said Angie, still looking in the cabinet.
"About why I haven't offed myself yet. You talking about your kids got me to thinking about my girls. They'd be about fourteen by now. When we get out of here, I'm gonna find them. See how they are."
"And how their mother is?"
"Can't say I give a fuck about that. But I guess I'll have to see one to see the other."
Angie found what she was looking for, pulling out a white hospital-issue hand towel. She straightened and wrapped the towel tight around the top of the plunger handle.
"The hell...?" said Park.
Angie took out Park's lighter. She put the plunger handle under her arm and used both hands to snap the plastic casing of the lighter open.
"Hey!" said Park.
"I'll buy you another one," she said. She took the plunger handle from under her arm and poured the lighter fluid over the towel wrapped around its top. "Now, open the door and clear me a path."
Park raised his eyebrows and pushed himself away from the door. "I think I know what you got in mind. You sure about this?"
"Have to be," she said.
"Okay, then."
Park opened the bathroom door and stepped back. A corpse was waiting just behind the door. Park leveled his rifle at the corpse's head and fired. The corpse's head exploded and it fell to the floor. Angie leapt over the falling corpse and ran out into the hallway, heading to the left. Toward the fire.
She felt relief that no corpses were waiting for her. She heard them groan from behind and she heard Park firing, keeping them at bay. How many bullets did he have left?
The smoke stung her nose and eyes as she ran closer to the flames. She hoped no corpses had managed to keep ahead of the fire. She hoped she wouldn't meet a corpse before she found the outer edge of the flames.
To her relief, she met the fire first.
The heat was overwhelming. She saw still corpses, their brains cooked from the heat, lying about ten feet in front of her. Kristen's torn body was among them.
She ignored that as best she could and shoved the plunger handle, towel-end first, into the fire. The towel burst into flame. Angie turned and ran back up the hall, her makeshift torch flashing as she pumped her arms.
Park was aiming for another corpse when she arrived back at the bathroom door.
"Don't waste the bullet!" she yelled, swinging the torch at the nearest corpse. The corpse caught fire. It and the others backed off, back down the hall.
"Well, fuck me!" said Park, lowering the rifle and wiping his forehead. "I half-expected you to burn to death."
"Not yet," she said. "We got kids to get to. Let's move."
* * *
"There it is!" said Maylee, pointing through the trees. The hospital parking lot was lit up just down the hill and across the road. The other side of the hill was free of trees, cleared long ago by road construction. It was a clear run.
Dalton let go of Maylee's hand and started running down the hill. "Come on!"
Maylee gripped her bat and followed.
Her legs pumped under her as she ran through the tall grass of the hill. Dalton was just a few feet ahead. The way was clear. They would be there any minute now and Mom would...
Dalton cried out and fell to the ground.
Maylee didn't have enough time to stop. She tripped over Dalton and sprawled out onto the grass in front of him.
She rolled over and saw Dalton struggling with a fallen corpse in the grass. It was a man in a ruined business suit. Bones protruded from his limp legs. He had one good arm, clutching at Dalton.
Maylee leapt back to her feet and swung golf-style at the man's head. It snapped to one side and he let go of Dalton.
Dalton stood and looked at her. "You're getting scary with that bat."
"Saved your ass," she said, then ran, motioning for him to follow.
Within minutes they were across the street and into the parking lot.
* * *
Angie turned the corner first, holding the torch in front of her. Park stepped out behind her. He had his rifle at the ready, sweeping right and left, looking. Lights flickered. The alarm blared. The smoke was getting thicker around them.
A corpse came for them. Angie slammed her torch into the corpse's head. The corpse caught fire and fell to one side, struggling to get away from both Angie and the flame on its face. A second corpse came for Angie before she could bring the torch around for another blow. Park fired over her shoulder. The corpse's head crumpled inward and it fell.
They walked a few more feet unmolested. A corpse lumbered up to them. A large, muscular man who looked imposing even dead.
Angie blinked at him. "Ed?"
* * *
Maylee hit the parking lot first and kept running, heading for the entrance.
"Hey!" said Dalton, turning to run to the left.
Maylee stopped and cursed. "Dalton! What the fuck? We're here!"
She looked and saw Dalton running to a police car. A door was open. The light bar was still flashing. "A cop, Maylee!" said Dalton, almost to the car. "He can help!"
Maylee sucked in her breath and ran after him. "Dalton, no!"
Dalton reached the police car first. Maylee could see a cop, slumped over in his seat. "Officer?" Dalton said just as Maylee reached him.
The cop looked up and opened his fogged eyes. He hissed at Dalton and reached for him.
Dalton screamed and jumped back. "He's one of them!"
"What a surprise," said Maylee, pushing Dalton back and raising her bat.
The cop leaned forward, still reaching. His torso separated from his legs and fell forward into the parking lot. Blood and ropes of intestines fell out after him.
Maylee and Dalton jumped back in disgust. Maylee whacked him on the head and his jaw slammed into the pavement. She heard a "crack" and the cop was still.
She turned to Dalton, about to speak, then stopped. Moans came from behind where Dalton stood. Dalton heard it and moved to Maylee's side.
"Shit," said Maylee. She leaned into the cop car, doing her best to ignore the bottom half of the cop, and turned on the headlights. They flooded over an approaching group of corpses.
"Oh crap, Maylee, we gotta go," said Dalton, tugging at her hand.
"Not yet. We can't lead these things to Mom." Maylee grabbed the keys in the ignition and started the car.
She straightened back up and pulled her hand free of Dalton.
"What are you doing?" said Dalton.
"This," said Maylee. She grabbed the cop's torso and carried it back to the car. She leaned into the front seat and shoved the torso onto the gas pedal. The engine roared. She pulled the gearshift into drive and jumped back.
The car lurched forward, ramming into the approaching corpses. Groaning and crunching came from in front of and underneath the car.
Maylee turned back to Dalton. "Now we can go."
* * *
Angie stepped back as the corpse of Ed lumbered forward. The smoke around them was getting thicker. The alarm blared. The lights flickered.
"Ed?" said Park. "From the diner?"
Ed groaned and blinked clouded eyes at them. He had a horrible bite wound on his right forearm. The center of the wound was black and thick fluid oozed from it.
"Yeah," said Angie.
Park pointed his rifle at him. "Shall I?"
"I got this one," said Angie. She swung the torch at Ed. Ed groaned and stepped back, swinging his arms at the torch. The torch hit Ed on the wounded arm. The fluid from Ed's wound ran over the flame. The flame sputtered and went out.
"Shit," said Angie.
Ed bit at her, raising a hand to grab.
Park fired. The bullet slammed through Ed's hand and into his skull. Ed let out a long hiss and fell over.
"Shit," Angie repeated, looking ruefully at her ruined torch.
"How much further?" Park asked.
Angie squinted through the gathering smoke. She could make out the edge of the doorway to the emergency room.
"Just up ahead."
* * *
Maylee ran across the parking lot, heading for the door.
She skidded to a halt when she saw the large hole where the ambulance entrance had been.
"Damn," said Dalton, pulling up next to her.
"There," Maylee said. "I bet that's where Mom's headed for. Easiest way out. Come on."
Maylee took a step forward just as a cold hand closed on her arm.
She screamed and spun around to face the corpse. It was a balding man in a doctor's coat. His intestines spilled out of his front, going between his legs and trailing behind him.
"Doctor Gordon?" said Maylee, recognizing him from the few times she had been with Mom at work.
Doctor Gordon groaned and black blood spilled from his mouth. He reached for Maylee.
Maylee screamed and slammed the bat against his head. Dr. Gordon stumbled to the side and fell. Maylee stepped over and slammed his head again. And again. And again. Dr. Gordon was still. Maylee kept slamming down on his head.
Maylee screamed as she brought the bat down. "I am so fucking sick of these fucking things!"
"Maylee..." said Dalton.
Maylee kept slamming down. The bat rang against the pavement. Dr. Gordon's skull was all but completely gone.
"What?" Maylee hissed at Dalton, turning to him and panting. Then she looked around. Corpses were coming out of the hole in the side of the hospital. Toward them.
* * *
Angie and Park crept to the entrance to the emergency room. They both cast quick glances around the edge.
Corpses filled the room, wandering around and groaning at nothing. Angie recognized a few patients and a few aides among them. All dead and all hungry.
Angie and Park pulled back.
"Shit," said Park.
"It's still crammed full of those things," said Angie. "How many bullets you got left?"
Park checked, then looked at her. "Fuck."
"What?" said Angie.
The lights flickered and went out.
* * *
"Shit," said Maylee, backing away from the corpses pouring out of the hole. "Let's take the main door after all."
She and Dalton turned to head that way. More corpses came from that direction, hissing and moaning.
"Crap!" said Dalton.
"Here," said Maylee, lifting Dalton up on the hood of the nearest car. "This will buy us some time to think." She climbed up after him.
Dalton clambered to the roof of the car and looked around at the corpses. "Think of what?"
Maylee joined him on the roof and looked around. "I don't know."
The parking lot lights flickered and went out.
* * *
Angie and Park crouched in the darkened hallway. The alarm had stopped when the lights went. Angie could hear groaning and could smell smoke. All was dark.
She fished out Freeda's cell phone and flipped it open. The pale blue light from the display lit up Park and the immediate hallway. The display showed her last received call. Brooke's cell phone.
"How long until the back-up generator kicks in?" said Park.
"Not long. Less than a minute. But what the hell do we do when it does?"
Park rubbed his stubble, looked at his rifle, then back at her. "I got an idea."
* * *
All around Maylee and Dalton was dark. The moon was gone. Maylee could hear corpses surrounding the car. She could smell them. They groaned and scraped at the metal of the car.
Dalton clung to Maylee. "What are we going to do?"
She blinked away tears. "I don't know."
* * *
"Are you insane?" said Angie.
Park shook his head in the pale blue light from the cell phone. "Listen, I do two things. Three if you count jacking off. Cars and guns."
"The ambulance isn't a car, Parker," said Angie.
"Close enough," said Park.
The lights came back, dimmer than before. The fire alarm started blaring again.
"And there's the generator," said Park, grinning and standing. "Come on."
Angie stood. The smoke was thick. The corpses groaned from the emergency room. They were running out of time. "We're both going to die, Park. You know that, right?"
"I know no such thing," said Park. "Make some noise!"
Park ducked around the corner and entered the emergency room.
Angie sighed and ran in after him.
Corpses groaned and turned to Park. Angie started screaming and waving her hands.
"Hey!" she yelled. "Fuckers! Over here!"
Some of the corpses groaned and came for her.
"Hurry!" she yelled and the corpses closed in around her. She was cornered.
* * *
Park looked around the emergency room as he entered. Angie started screaming and waving her arms, drawing some of the corpses away.
He looked at the ambulance. He was facing the front of it. He could see the crushed head of the dispatcher under the front wheel. He was looking for something. Which side would it be on?
He took his best guess and ran for the remains of the dispatch desk. Several corpses reached for him but he knocked them aside. He leapt up onto the smashed desk and looked at the ambulance.
Fuck yeah, he thought. Gonna see my girls yet.
He leveled the rifle at the side of the ambulance.
Or more specifically, at the gas tank.
He pulled the trigger.
* * *
The force of the ambulance exploding threw Angie against the wall. The corpses surrounding her were knocked forward, falling into her. The fireball flooded their backs and set the corpses alight. The corpses groaned and scattered.
It looked like the whole world was on fire. Thick smoke choked her as she stumbled forward, looking around. Corpses were still groaning and scattering, all of them more concerned with the fire than with her.
“Park?” she yelled.
The fire grew around her. The fire alarm shrieked. Smoke and the smell of burning flesh surrounded her.
* * *
Maylee and Dalton clutched each other in the darkness. Dalton was crying. Maylee was too, but she was fighting to hide it. The corpses were close now. She could hear them groaning and scratching at the car.
She looked up at the sky. It had gone from black to just a hint of dark blue. The sun was coming up.
Great, she thought. Just in time for us to see the things eat us.
Then the front of the hospital exploded. Flame shot out into the parking lot, dousing most of the corpses. The corpses groaned and scattered. Away from the fire, each other, and the car.
Maylee let go of Dalton and stood. “What the hell?”
“Who cares?” said Dalton. “Let’s go!”
Dalton climbed off the car and ran for the hospital.
Maylee hopped down and followed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thirty One

Angie stepped away from the maternity ward, heading down the hall. Soon they would be just outside the emergency room. Then, outside. Hopefully in time for Maylee and Dalton.
"Hey, we gotta move," she heard Park say behind her.
She stopped and turned. Kristen was standing just outside the maternity ward, shaking her head and sobbing.
Angie stepped back over, sighing. "Come on, Kristen, we have to keep moving."
"No!" she spit, flashing red wet eyes at Angie. "I can't!"
Park sighed, looking back up the hallway. The smoke was getting thicker and the alarm kept ringing. Even with the alarm, Angie thought she heard groans approaching. "Look, sweetheart, we gotta..."
"You shut up!" Kristen yelled. "Both of you! You're both awful, awful people! Sam's dead, Dad's dead, and the whole fucking world is dead!"
Moaning corpses rounded the corner behind them.
Park saw them and grabbed Kristen's arm. He started to pull her down the hallway but she wrenched away.
"Let go of me!" she screamed, putting her hands to her head. "And someone shut off that goddamned ringing!"
"Kristen!" Angie yelled, hoping to snap her out of it. "Come on!"
Kristen looked at Angie with wide eyes. Oh shit, Angie thought. She's gone.
"The whole world is dead," Kristen said again, quietly. Smoke billowed and the alarm clanged. The corpses drew near.
Kristen noticed the corpses and turned. "Oh look. Here comes the world now. All of it dead."
She stepped toward the corpses.
"Kristen, no!" yelled Angie, lunging forward.
Park grabbed for Kristen but she pulled away, spinning around to glare at them.
"I said keep your hands off of me!" she shrieked, backing away and into the waiting arms of a corpse.
"Sam?" she said, turning around.
But it wasn't Sam. It was a young man wearing a t-shirt with a beer logo. And with a huge rip in both the shirt and his chest underneath.
She screamed as the man bit into her neck.
"No!" yelled Angie.
Kristen bucked and jerked as her blood spewed out across the man's face. The man chewed and moaned. Several other corpse hands closed on Kristen, pushing her backward.
Her body bent over backward as more corpses bit into her arms and chest. Her head fell back and Angie could see her still blinking. Blood ran out of her mouth.
"The whole world..." Kristen said, rasping through the hole in her throat, "...is dead."
Park ran over to Angie. Angie couldn't stop staring. The corpses fed as the smoke billowed behind them. The alarm clanged all around.
"Come on!" said Park, tugging on her.
Angie stared.
"I said come the fuck on!"
Angie blinked at Park, then nodded her head.
They both turned and ran.

Monday, December 3, 2012


The woods were darker than Maylee had anticipated. The headlights of the wrecked car were far behind them now and the moon did little good through the thick covering of trees. It was fall, but not enough leaves had fallen to allow much light.
"It's dark," said Dalton, gripping Maylee's hand. It had taken a lot for him to agree to hold it.
"I know," said Maylee, stepping over a root and guiding Dalton around a tree. "That's why we have to stay close to each other. If we keep walking forward we should get to the road again soon. Right across from the hospital."
Was she sure about that? She wondered. It was very dark and they could have so easily gotten turned around among all the trees. At least it was quiet. No corpses could be heard groaning.
Of course, in this dark it would only take one.
Maylee swallowed, tried not to think about that, and kept walking.
"How much further?" said Dalton after a few more steps.
"Don't know yet," said Maylee. "We're still going uphill, so a little ways yet."
"I can barely see anything." Dalton's hand was sweaty in hers.
"I know," said Maylee, looking around and gripping the bat with her other hand. "But once we get to the top of the hill, we should be able to see the lights from the hospital parking lot. That should help."
Dalton said nothing and they kept walking. After a few seconds, Dalton stopped.
"What?" said Maylee, stopping with him.
"I heard something."
Maylee fell quiet, listening. First she heard nothing. Then, a rustle.
"Maybe it's the wind," she whispered.
Then, a moan.
"Shit," she whispered hoarsely into the dark. "Down!"
She dropped to her knees. Dalton dropped down next to her.
They both listened intently. From their left they heard moaning and rustling. The sound of something moving through the underbrush.
"It's coming!" whispered Dalton.
"Shhh!" whispered Maylee. "We'll just let it pass, then keep going. It won't see or hear us down here."
Wouldn't it? She wondered. She hoped.
They lay in silence a few seconds longer. The rustling grew louder. Maylee braced, waiting for the sight of stumbling, rotten legs.
A rotten face appeared, inches from hers. It was a corpse missing both legs, dragging itself along on its elbows.
Maylee screamed. Dalton screamed.
The corpse hissed and reached for Maylee. It had a rotten, slimy face and it ground yellow teeth at her. The face was so decomposed Maylee couldn't tell what gender the thing was.
Maylee tried to jump up but the thing grabbed hold of her hair. Dalton leapt to his feet and started screaming. The corpse pulled, stronger than Maylee would have expected, and she slid across the grass and twigs toward the corpse's rotten mouth. Maylee swung the bat in her hand, but the angle would not let her connect with the corpse's head.
"The bat, Dalton!" she yelled, straining her head back away from the corpse's teeth. "Get the bat!"
She heard Dalton start to move. Then he was screaming. She heard a second corpse groaning.
"Maylee!" Dalton yelled. "There's another one!"
"Shit," Maylee muttered to herself. The corpse pulled harder and she slid closer to the mouth. Maylee dropped the bat, put her hands in the dirt and dug in her fingers. She clenched her knees and wrenched herself up. The corpse kept hold of her hair. Maylee rose up and the corpse rose with her. The corpse crashed into Maylee's chest and knocked her over backward.
Maylee landed on her back, the legless corpse on top of her. It groaned and bit at her. Maylee pushed the corpse up and away from her. The corpse kept hold of her hair. Maylee pushed as hard as she could. She felt her scalp strain as the corpse pulled and tugged.
Somewhere nearby, Dalton was screaming.
Maylee glanced to her left and saw a rotting log. A sharp broken branch jutted up from it. She put her foot up underneath her and shoved. She rolled, still holding the corpse, over to the log. They reached the log and Maylee rolled on top of it, the corpse under her.
She heard a thick "chunk" noise as the branch punctured the back of the corpse's head.
The corpse hissed and bit at her.
Maylee grunted and shoved the corpse's head farther down. The branch shot up through the corpse's eye and Maylee snapped her head up, avoiding the explosion of thick blood and muck. The corpse hissed once more and slumped.
Dalton screamed to Maylee's right.
Maylee stood and ran to Dalton. Dalton was struggling with a corpse, a fat woman with cuts and scrapes all over her body. He was pushing her back, keeping away from her mouth.
"Maylee!" he yelled.
"Hold on!" she screamed. She ran over to where she had dropped the bat and snatched it up, barely breaking her stride. She was back to Dalton and the corpse in seconds.
Screaming in fury, she swung the bat at the corpse. The bat barely missed the top of Dalton's head and slammed into the woman's face. She blinked and let go of Dalton. She groaned at Maylee and reached for her.
Maylee screamed again and slammed the bat down on the woman's head. A bloody split appeared in the woman's face and she staggered back. Maylee let out a feral roar and rammed the bat down again. The woman's head split and fell to either side. Brains and blood slid down the woman's front. The woman fell over still.
Maylee stood, panting down at the woman.
Dalton stepped over. "Maylee?"
She whipped her head over to him. "You okay?"
"Good. Fuck this. We're running."
She grabbed his hand and started running up the hill. Within a few seconds they could see light coming from up ahead.
The hospital, Maylee thought. Just over the hill and across the road.
Almost there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Twenty Nine

Angie raced down the hallway, Park and Kristen behind her. The fire alarm kept up its shrill clanging, all throughout the hospital. Smoke was coming from the hallway behind them.
"How much further?" said Park from behind.
"Not much," said Angie. "Just around the corner is the..."
And she stopped.
Park and Kristen drew to a halt behind her. "What?" said Park.
Angie stepped around the corner. "The maternity ward."
Park and Kristen came up beside her.
A small room stood just to Angie's right. She stepped inside.
"I forgot," she said, cold dread creeping over her. "I can't believe I forgot."
A group of white hospital cribs stood in the room. The three closest ones rocked slowly from side to side.
Park and Kristen stepped in after her. "Forgot what?" said Kristen, her voice raw and thick.
Angie stepped over to the cribs and looked down. "The Wilson triplets."
In the cribs lay three identical infants. All three were gray with clouded eyes. They worked their toothless mouths open and closed. They fumbled at the air around them.
And Angie couldn't hear it over the loud and constant fire alarm, but she could tell they were moaning.
"Shit," said Park, looking down over Angie's shoulder.
"Oh god," said Kristen, stepping back. She put her hand over her mouth. "Oh god," she said again, muffled by her hand.
"How'd they die to begin with?" said Park.
"Who knows," said Angie. "They've been alone in here most of the night. Could have been anything."
"Oh god oh god oh god," Kristen kept repeating into her hand.
"Fuck if that ain't awful," said Park quietly.
They both looked at the babies in silence. Smoke built up in the hall outside and the fire alarm blared.
"Come on," said Park. "Let's go."
"No," said Angie, shaking her head. "I can't leave them like this."
Park looked at her. "They're already dead..."
Angie snapped her gaze to Park. "Do you have any children, Parker?"
Park looked at her for several seconds. The alarm blared and Kristen sobbed into her hand. "Yeah," he said finally. "Yeah I do. Haven't seem them for a long time, but yeah."
"Could you leave them in this state?"
Park looked at the cribs, then back at Angie. He nodded and took the rifle off his shoulder.
Angie shook her head. She felt like crying but pushed the tears back. "No. We're almost out of bullets, right?"
Park frowned and re-shouldered the gun. "Yeah. Just what do you have in mind?"
Angie swallowed and popped the lid off the remaining jug of alcohol.
"Oh god!" said Kristen from behind them.
Angie looked at Park and bit her lip. He looked at her and sighed. "Better than just leaving them like this."
Angie nodded and turned back to the cribs. The babies thrashed around and kicked their gray legs. They blinked their clouded eyes.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered down to them.
Then she poured the alcohol across all three cribs. The babies showed no reaction to the splashing liquid.
She took out Park's lighter. "We are sure they don't feel pain, right?"
"Pretty sure," said Park.
Angie took a breath and flicked the lighter on.
"Oh god oh god oh god," said Kristen.
Angie held the flame to the edge of the sheet hanging out of each crib. Flames quickly engulfed all three. The babies showed no reaction. They continued to move around slowly, chewing with their toothless mouths at nothing.
A few moments later the babies were still.
Then they were lost in flames.
Angie turned to Park and Kristen. Park's face was blank. Kristen was looking at her with wide, accusing eyes.
"Let's go," said Angie, dropping the empty jug and moving for the door.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Twenty Eight

Maylee guided the car through another bend in the road. It was a little easier than before. She was getting the hang of this. She smiled to herself. See, I'm not a kid anymore.
Dalton was looking out his side window, watching trees speed by. He turned to her. "How much longer?"
"Not long at all," said Maylee.
Dalton nodded. "Okay, I'll get the bat so we won't forget it this time." He crawled around in his seat, reaching into the back.
Maylee shot a quick look over at him, then back at the road. "Hey, your seat belt isn't on!"
"Put it on right now!" Maylee turned the wheel, going through another bend.
"I'm just getting the bat!"
"Dammit, Dalton!" she said. She took one hand off the wheel and pushed him back into his seat. "Put it on!"
He glared at her, then started to reach for the back seat again.
"Now!" Maylee yelled, doing her best Mom impression. Dalton sat back in his seat, looked at Maylee, then reached for his seat belt. He put it on and stuck his tongue out at her.
Maylee smiled and went around another corner.
Three corpses stood in the middle of the road.
Maylee and Dalton screamed as the headlights washed over the corpses. Maylee panicked and wrenched the wheel as far to the right as she could. The car screeched, slid down the road sideways, and flipped over.
For a moment all Maylee knew was the sound of crunching metal and breaking glass. And Dalton screaming.
Then her senses were too numb to know anything.
Then, slowly, they came back. She was upside down in her seat, hanging from the seat belt. Dalton coughed next to her.
Oh god, she thought, looking upside-down at the glass strewn across the road and smelling the burnt rubber of the tires. I am just a kid. What the hell am I doing?
She heard the sounds of feet shuffling to her right. The corpses were coming.
"Dalton?" she said. "Are you okay?"
"I think so."
Maylee fumbled with her seat belt. It detached and she fell to the top of the car. Her head banged against the ceiling. It smarted but she did her best to ignore it. The corpses were getting closer. She could hear them.
She got up to her knees and reached across Dalton to his seat belt. He seemed to be okay.
"Told you to wear this," she said, quietly.
She undid the latch and caught Dalton as he slid out of his seat.
A pair of legs appeared just outside the broken windshield.
"Shit," she said, easing Dalton down. "We gotta get out of here."
Moaning came from over the car. With a "pop" and the sound of flesh tearing, the corpse dropped to its knees. It was a woman in a flower-print dress. She moaned through cracked lips and reached for them.
Maylee turned to her window just in time to see another corpse crawling toward it. It was a man covered in scrapes and cuts. He reached out, clawing at her.
Dalton screamed from behind her. Maylee turned to see that the woman almost had him. She looked past Dalton to see his window was still shut. The car was too wrecked to even think about trying to get it open.
"Back seat!" she yelled, pulling him into the back and clear of the reaching corpses.
The woman at the front of the car climbed into the car after them. Her dress caught on a piece of glass, slowing her down. The woman grunted and tugged, reaching for Maylee and Dalton.
Dalton picked up the bat and swung it at the woman's hands. Maylee kicked at the back window. The window cracked but didn't give.
The corpse at the side window stuck its head inside. It bit and hissed at Dalton. Dalton swung the bat into the corpse's face, then back at the reaching woman. "Hurry!" he yelled.
Maylee kicked the back window a second time. Cracks spread through the glass but the window held.
The corpses up front and to the side reached back at them. Dalton furiously swung the bat from side to side.
"Dammit!" Maylee yelled, kicking the back window with all her might. The window gave. The window shattered outward.
Maylee pulled her leg back and turned to tug Dalton toward her. "Come on!"
They both crawled for the opening in the glass. Wait, Maylee thought as they crawled, weren't there three corpses in the road?
A rotten arm reached down from above and into the broken window. It caught Dalton by the hair and he screamed. Maylee could hear the corpse groaning from atop the overturned car.
Dalton pulled free and smacked the hand with the bat, nearly hitting Maylee in the head in the process.
"Watch it!" said Maylee.
The woman from behind them groaned and Maylee heard glass break. They looked back and saw that she was free of the glass. She was crawling into the car.
"Shit!" Maylee turned back to the grasping hand. She grabbed hold of it and pulled it toward her as hard as she could. The arm caught on the glass of the broken back window. Maylee tugged harder and the skin of the rotten arm tore and snapped. She fell back, the arm in her lap. She flung the arm aside and grabbed Dalton.
"Now!" she yelled, pulling him with her. They crawled out of the car, avoiding the rotten stump where the arm had been.
Out on the street, they stood and looked around. The car was in ruin. A corpse was atop the car, hissing at them. It had no arms. Apparently Maylee had broken off its last one.
"Serves you right!" she said.
"What?" said Dalton, looking around.
"Nothing," said Maylee, taking the bat from Dalton. She slammed it down on the corpse's head. The rotten head collapsed and the corpse fell forward, still. The other two corpses were crawling around in the car.
"Now what?" said Dalton.
Maylee looked around. She pointed the bat toward the woods. "The hospital should be just over the hill that way. If we take a shortcut through the woods, we should still get there pretty fast."
Dalton looked at the woods, then back at Maylee. After a few seconds, he nodded.
Maylee frowned down at him. "Are you scared?"
"No!" he glared at her.
"Well I am," she said. "But let's go anyway."
And with that they turned and ran into the woods.