(Thinking of what we could enjoy for Halloween and it strikes me that it seems like a good time for a bit of ghost and zombie action. This story is a blast from the past and available in Hate Candy. I hope you find more treats this weekend than you do tricks)
Jerry had three flash bangs left. It wasn’t much but they could still give him the distraction he needed. The house was still two blocks away and there was a hoard between him and it.
He lost Sam a few miles back. It was a grisly hit and he hated himself for it. Sam knew better, he shouldn’t have tried for the trunk of that car. Hell, Jerry knew he should have stopped him. It was a gut reaction but his gut hadn’t been wrong so far.
Who the hell, wires a trunk to explode like that. Assholes must have hoped to trip it when a group came through. The hordes aren’t as dumb as it was believed. Jerry figured the bastards must have gotten what they deserved.
He laughed. The laugh was hollow, the laugh of a man close to the edge of reason. He spent too long in the field looking for an end to the madness around him.
The last time he was able to get a radio signal to base they directed him to the safe house. All he had to do was get to the house and make it to the roof. A helo pickup would be inbound.
By his watch he still had an hour. He only kept it as a timer. The hordes came out night or day and for the most part the only thing on anyone’s schedule anymore was, stay alive.
He lit the fuse on the first flash bang and chucked it as hard as he could. He hoped it would draw them away from him and mask the sounds of his movement.
Luck was on his side, it landed in a recycling bin. It exploded with a small boom. Aluminum cans and plastic jugs went flying. Could be a dog or cat knocking stuff over by the sound of it.
The noise caught the attention of some of the hoard in his way. Some crazy hive mind turned about ten of them as one. They shambled toward the sound. He took the opportunity to quick step to a side yard of a house ahead of his position.
There was a scuffle where he had thrown the flash bang. He wasn’t sure but it looked as if they were fighting over something from the garbage pile. The struggle caught the attention of other walkers. He dashed from cover to a porch further up the street.
If he judged it right, he would only need to use one more of the flash bangs to finish the run. Back the way he came there was another recycling bin he could use to his advantage.
A quick light and toss, the flash bang was out of his hands. He was good, plenty of time throwing these things was good practice for accuracy and timing. The flash bang landed in the bins, then blew a few seconds later. The force knocked the bins over spilling glass jars and tin cans onto the street.
The crash of the bin was drowned out by a shriek that came from the house behind him. His heart jumped into his throat as he jumped into the air. “What the…” he said. He dropped down, if he went flat they might not see him.
The walkers closest to his porch let out an agonized groan. He wasn’t fast enough and he knew it. “Shit shit shit.”
He needed an escape path and needed it fast. Once they had his scent they wouldn’t let it go. The porch had too many access points for them to get to him.
“They can’t turn a door knob,” he said. He gave it a twist and pushed the front door open. There was no way he would be looking back to see if they were following him. He knew they would be there, looking back only slowed you down.
He shut the door behind him, then locked it for good measure. “What the fuck was that shriek?”
The room was a mess. There weren’t any bodies lying around but it had been ransacked. Looters from when it all started by the look of it. He was standing in the wreckage of what had been the living room.
The TV screen was kicked in, cushions from the couch and easy chair were either ripped or missing. Stuffing had been scattered through the room with papers and old magazines.
He found Sam in a place like this. Just a kid, her parents lost to the walkers. She had made a fort from the furniture in the living room. It was a barricade to keep the monsters away. “I don’t have time for this,” he said, looking at his watch again. He shook it off. That was a long time ago and Sam was gone now.
There were two ways out of the room. Three if you counted the front door, but he knew that one wasn’t an option. He went to the left.
A bedroom as trashed as the living room. The mattress and box-spring were at least on their side blocking the window. Scraping noises coming from the porch, broke through the sounds of his breathing. The closet was empty. The door was torn from its hinges.
He heard and felt a thump come from the upper floor. “Walkers can’t climb,” he muttered. He unslung his shotgun and checked the rounds in the chambers. If he could avoid it he wouldn’t use it. The noise would attract even more walkers. He still had his last flash bang in his pocket.
Back in the living room, he saw the flash of movement in the other doorway. If it was a walker it would be coming toward him. More scraping on the porch, time was running out.
He stepped into the kitchen/ dining room. A stairwell for the upper floor was at the far end of the room. The fridge was open, emptied long ago. They took everything, even the baking soda that people leave in the fridge for years.
The fridge light was out. It made sense. Electricity was one of the first things to go. It still looked weird. When he found Sam, it was before things had gotten this bad. They stocked up on the food left in her fridge and cupboards before bugging out.
A thump from upstairs again, broke through the quiet and his thoughts. A noise at the stairs caused gooseflesh on his arms. A slinky walked from the top of the stairs down into the kitchen. It flipped to its side on the linoleum and rolled across the floor.
“Hello,” he said. “I’m not a walker.” No one answered. “I can help you.”
Jim climbed the stairs with the shotgun in his hands. “I’m not going to hurt you.” At the top of the stairs, the passage way connected four doorways.
He saw it going into one of the rooms at the end of the hall. A child, must have been about five years old. “I can help you,” Jim said. Nothing, no answer.
The doors along the way were open. From what he could tell there was nothing hiding in them. The rooms were ransacked with nowhere for anything to hide.
He hadn’t noticed it before, but the smell grew as he walked down the hall. It wasn’t the walkers. He learned to block their smell out some time ago.
The room, it was coming from the room. The door was partially opened and dark. He pushed the door open the rest of the way through resistance. Something was blocking it.
The family was here, or at least what was left of them. The decaying bodies were arranged around the room. From what he could tell there were a couple kids and the parents. One of the kids looked about the size of the five year old he saw earlier.
The father must have killed the rest then turned the gun on himself. A 38 was still gripped in the decaying hand. Jim stopped at the door. No need to go further.
He heard it coming in the distance. The chopper was on its way. If he made it to the roof he might still get its attention with the last flash bang.
He found the pull cord for the attic. He hoped that there would be a way through the roof still. The ladder came down as he heard a crash from the door below. “Here we go,” he said. The scuffles from the walkers coming in the house drowned out the sounds of him climbing the attic ladder.
He pulled it up behind him. The attic was unfinished. Though there were windows on the east side. Jim went for broke and knocked the window out with his shotgun. He cleared the glass so he could slide through.
It didn’t take him long to reach the roof. The helicopter was hovering over the safe house. He risked it all and lit the flash bang tossing it into the air. The timing was right. The chopper swung around toward the house he was on.
It pulled away with him gripping the rope ladder. Walkers were climbing through the window he broke out in the attic. With his last look back he was sure he saw a 5 year old boy waving at him from the room with the dead family.
If you are still in a zombie mood for this great holiday spend a little time with A Death in the Family or maybe any of the books in the Hate Candy series. There is bound to be some monsters waiting around a dark corner for you.
And just so you know, you can pick up A Death in the Family for free on Smashwords with coupon code YW68N until November 7th.
Happy Trick or Read.