Read Ashton Memorial Online

Authors: Robert R. Best,Laura Best,Deedee Davies,Kody Boye

Tags: #Undead, #robert r best, #Horror, #zoo, #corpses, #ashton memorial, #Zombies, #Lang:en, #Memorial

Ashton Memorial (8 page)

“Yeah,” said Park. “Been
like that for miles.” He nodded at the road in front of them. There
were just a few cars ahead of them, moving at roughly the same
speed they were. Other than that their side was empty. “We're all
the only ones stupid enough to be headed
to
Ashton.”

Angie glanced back to the
kids. Still asleep. She turned back to face the road. “Must be bad
there.”

“I think the theme of today
is that it's bad everywhere.”

Up ahead, on the other side of the freeway,
a car broke away from the others and raced across the grassy strip
dividing the two sides. It drove up onto their side and down the
wrong direction, toward their car.

“Shit!” said Park,
wrenching the wheel to one side. They swerved and the car raced by
them, speeding the wrong way down the freeway. The cars in front of
them swerved back and forth. “Asshole!”

Angie and Park had seconds to notice that a
truck had followed the first car.

“Goddammit!” yelled Park,
slamming on the brakes. The truck collided with one of the cars up
ahead. Glass flew across the pavement as the car and truck spun
around each other. A few spins and they stopped, steam rising from
both engines. Park turned the wheel hard and the car skidded
sideways, stopping inches from the wreck.

Angie looked to the back seat. Both kids
were wide awake and staring.

“You guys okay?” Angie
said.

Maylee and Dalton nodded.
“What happened?” said Dalton.

“Some people are fucking
stupid,” said Park. “That's what happened.”

“Are they hurt?” said
Maylee, leaning forward.

“Who cares?” said Park,
putting the car into reverse and backing up.

“Parker!” yelled Angie.
Park glanced at her and stopped the car.

“What?”

Angie leaned in to whisper,
sharp and brittle. “You will not talk to my children that way.” She
leaned back and spoke at a normal volume. “Maylee might be right.
We should check on them.”

“They're the idiots. They
almost got us killed.”

“Not the other car. The
ones they hit.”

Park shrugged as if to
indicate she had a point. “Fine. Let's check.”

He and Angie undid their
seat belts and opened their doors. Angie turned to Dalton and
Maylee in the back. “Stay here.”

Angie shut her door and looked up the road
to the wreck. The truck and car were badly crumpled. Neither looked
remotely drivable. She saw movement inside both.

“They're moving in there,”
she said.

“Yeah,” said Park, shutting
his door and readying his rifle. “But that could mean fucking
anything nowadays.”

Angie nodded. “You just
have two shots left?”

Park nodded.

“Let's be careful
then.”

They both walked toward the wreck. Angie
glanced over at the long line of cars filling up the other side of
the freeway. She saw people staring at her, Park and the wreck.

The truck shook as they
approached. The driver's side door opened with a loud creak. A man
climbed out, crawling across the seat on his hands and knees, and
stood shakily on the road. He had a ball cap and a work shirt that
read
Chuck
. He
saw Angie and Park approaching.

“Everyone okay?” said
Angie, tension creeping up her back. Was the guy even
alive?

Chuck looked around, blinking his eyes. Then
he rushed to Angie and Park. He moved like one in pain, using a
kind of limping run, but moved faster than any of the corpses Angie
had seen so far.

Both she and Park stopped.

“You better say something
soon, buddy,” said Park, aiming the rifle.

“What?” said Chuck, seeing
the gun and stopping. “Don't shoot! I'm still alive. I just need
your car.”

He resumed limp-running toward them. Angie
took a step back. Park cocked the rifle.

“Well, that ain't fucking
going to happen,” said Park. “Sorry buddy.”

“No!” yelled Chuck,
stopping and whipping his cap off in frustration. “You have to! I
have to get to my fiancé! You don't understand!” He had a wild look
that made Angie nervous.

“We understand,” she said,
holding up her hands in a gesture she hoped would stop him from
coming any farther. “There's nothing we can do. We can't give you
our car.”

Park stepped forward, still
aiming the rifle. “So turn the fuck back, buddy. I've seen a lot
scarier than you in the last 24 hours and I'm getting to my fucking
girls!”

Chuck stopped, looking
honestly, tragically confused. Angie noticed blood creeping from
his hairline.
Shit,
she thought.
He's
hurt
. She considered calling an ambulance,
but knew full well none would come. Not today.

“But...” Chuck
started.

“Hey!” came a voice from
behind Chuck. “Asshole!” Chuck turned to look. Angie and Park
looked past him. The driver's door on the wrecked car was open. An
older man, Angie guessed maybe in his fifties or sixties, climbed
out. His arm was crooked and bleeding. Behind him an older woman
climbed from the passenger seat. “Norman?” she called.

“Stay in the car, Martha!”
yelled the older man, presumably Norman. Martha limped to the back
seat. A much older woman sat limply there.

“Sir?” said Angie. “Are you
okay? We saw the accident.”

“How nice for you,” said
Norman, walking toward them. “Now give me your fucking car!” Angie
noticed something in his good hand, swinging with him as he walked.
A crowbar.

“This is nuts,” said Park,
slinging the rifle over his shoulder and holding up his hands. “You
both have your little wreck party, we're going.” He turned to
Angie. “Aren't we?”

She looked at her car, at
the kids, then at Chuck and the approaching Norman. She sighed.
“Yeah.”

They both turned and moved toward the
car.

“Hey!” said Norman from
behind them. “Where the fuck do you think you're going?”

Angie saw something hit Park in the back. It
was shiny and fell to the ground with a jingling sound. She and
Park stopped.

Park looked to the ground,
then at Norman. “Did you just throw your fucking keys, old
man?”

“You're giving me your
fucking car, hillbilly!” said Norman, still coming.

Chuck blinked at Norman.
“Does your car work?”

“You shut up,” said Norman,
pointing at Chuck as he walked past him. “This is your fault!” Then
he pointed at Angie and Park. “And you! I'm taking your car! My
mother has to get to her heart doctor in Ashton.”

“Listen, sir,” said Angie,
growing increasingly nervous with each step the man took. “Maybe we
can give you and your family a ride.”

“I never said anything
about sharing, redneck bitch! I said you were giving me your
fucking car!”

Angie heard a door on her
car open. She turned and saw Maylee climb from the back seat.
“Mom?” said Maylee.

“Get back in the car,
Maylee!” said Angie, turning back to the older man.

“No, get out of the car!”
said Norman, still swinging the crowbar with each step. “Everybody
out of the car!”

“Please!” said Chuck,
reaching out and grabbing Norman's shoulder. Norman wrenched
away.

“Keep your fucking hands off me!” he yelled,
swinging the crowbar at Chuck. It connected with Chuck's chest. A
loud sharp “crack” rang out. Chuck staggered back, blinking in
surprise. Norman panted.

Chuck reached up to his chest. He opened his
mouth to speak and blood leaked out. He swayed, then fell backward
and was still.

“Great!” yelled Norman
crazily. “Just great. Now he's dead and they'll blame
me!”

Angie and Park took slow
steps backward. Toward the car. Park slid the rifle strap from his
shoulder. “I really don't want to waste the bullet, buddy. So back
off!”

“You!” said Norman,
pointing the crowbar at Angie. “You saw him! He attacked me! He
might have been turning into one of those things!”

Martha gave a moaning cry
from the back seat of the wrecked car. “Norman!”

Norman either didn't hear
or ignored her. He stepped toward Angie and Park. “Now give me the
car and we'll call it even.”

“You're not making the
slightest little bit of fucking sense, asshole,” said
Park.

“Fuck you!” yelled the man,
raising the crowbar and running at Park.

“Get to the car!” yelled
Park to Angie. He moved to shoot. Angie moved to block Norman's
run. There was no way he was getting to her kids.

“Norman!” shrieked Martha.
Norman stopped mid-run and frowned. He turned back to face the
wrecked car. “What the fuck is it, woman? I'm getting the car!
We're getting her to the doctor.”

“She's dead! Your mother is
dead!” Martha yelled. The back door of the wrecked car was open.
She sat in the back seat with her legs out and feet on the road.
The much older woman, Angie guessed Norman's mother, lay across her
lap. Norman's mother was still.

“What?” said
Norman.

Martha was crying. “She
must have died in the wreck!”

Norman took a faltering
step toward the wreck, then stopped. “Mom?”

Norman's mother sat up and bit into Martha's
cheek. Martha gasped in surprise, then screamed. Blood, thick and
red, poured from her wound and down Norman's mother's face.
Norman's mother reared back, tearing free a long strip of flesh
from Martha's cheek. Martha shrieked, the muscles in her face
exposed and flexing. Norman's mother moaned greedily and
chewed.

“Martha!” yelled Norman,
running back toward the wrecked car. Norman's mother leaned back up
and buried her wrinkled face into Martha's throat. Martha's shrieks
turned to gurgles. Norman's mother's head bobbed back and forth as
she chewed. Martha kicked and convulsed, blood and foamed saliva
dripping from her mouth. Her eyes rolled back into her
head.

“Martha! Mom!” Norman
yelled, stopping in the road and staring. “No!”

“We gotta go,” said
Angie.

“Fuck yeah we do,” said
Park.

They turned back toward the car. Angie felt
a hand close on her ankle. Angie cried out in surprise. She twisted
her head around to see that Chuck had crawled across the pavement.
Or rather, his corpse had. He groaned and jerked at her leg. Angie
lost her balance and fell face forward onto the street.

“Mom!” yelled Maylee,
opening the car door. She had her bat ready.

“Stay in the car, Maylee!”
said Angie, lifting her head. She felt blood seeping from a split
lip. Maylee stayed where she stood, door open, but did not
approach.

Chuck growled, tightening his grip on her
leg. Angie flipped over onto her back just in time to see Park
aiming the rifle for Chuck's head.

“Don't do it!” she yelled.
“Don't waste the bullet! Just get him to let go!”

“Fine, crazy-ass,” said
Park. He slung the rifle over his shoulder and kicked at Chuck's
arm. The kick was hard. Chuck shook from the impact but did not let
go. He moaned a wet, gurgling noise and tugged at Angie.

“Fuck you, you fucking fuck
fucker!” said Park, kneeling. “Making me get down on my bad fucking
knee. Fuck!” He grabbed Chuck's hand and pried the fingers away
from Angie's leg.

Angie scrambled to her feet. She ran the
back of her hand across her lip and scowled at the bright smear of
blood left behind. Park, still on his knees, wrestled with Chuck.
Chuck writhed his arms around and growled. Park struggled to keep
hold.

“Keep him down!” yelled
Angie, looking around for a blunt weapon. None presented itself.
She saw that Norman had turned around. He stared at Chuck and Park.
His eyes were wide and he held the crowbar defensively.

She gave Norman a look. “Fuck it,” she whispered.
She stepped over to Chuck and brought her foot up over his
forehead. She slammed down, pounding the sole of her sneaker
against his skull. He blinked and moaned. She grumbled and slammed
down again, harder. This time she heard a “crack.” Chuck slowed a
little but kept writhing and moaning.

“Fucker!” she yelled and stomped down a third time,
so hard the impact jarred her spine. There was a loud “pop” and
thick globs of red shot out from behind Chuck's head, spreading
across the asphalt. Chuck's arms went limp.

Park let go. Chuck's arms fell to the
ground. Chuck was still. Park stood, nodding to Angie.

“I got him ready for you,”
he said.

“Sure you did,” she
said.

They both looked over at Norman. He was
staring, mouth open, at them. The crowbar hung loose in his
hand.

Angie dragged the bottom of her sneaker
across the road, wiping blood and bits of flesh onto the pavement.
She looked at Norman. He stared at her.

“What?” she
asked.

He dropped the crowbar, turned and ran. He
ran past the wreck, past Martha's corpse and his chewing mother. He
ran up the freeway, farther and farther away from Angie and
Park.

“Now where's he going?”
said Angie.

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