Authors: Macaela Reeves
s like being on a perpetual diet. Every once in
you want to cheat.” She scoffed, her tone reeking in superiority. “I
.t get what he sees in you. Small. Plain. Stupid.
s my bubbly personality.” In the blink of an eye she was in front of me, fangs bared, my nose assaulted by her designer perfume.
“I really hate you.” She hissed. “I knew it was you, at
. Dimitri claimed it, but the place reeked of your inferior flesh.” With a smirk she reached out and
ripped my mother’
s angel pendant off my neck. The pain seared the skin for just a moment where the chain had broken. “I cannot have you ruining the arrangement I have.”
“So are you going to kill me then?” I tried to back up, but the plaster of the wall was at my back.
I have a better idea.” She grabbed me by my shirt.
In an instant we were no longer in the center. We were in the heart of the city. On the balcony of one of the ritzy downtown apartment buildings, her face wild with excitement as she shook me like a rag doll, forcing me to look at our surroundings.
There were deadheads everywhere; on the balconies next to me, on the ground below and in the building across the street.
Leaning into me, she whispered in my ear seven little words before disappearing.
m going to let
When you signed up for wall duty, you went through training. Hardcore training. How to survive, how to make a weapon out of anything, how to beat the impossible.
Standing there, on that little balcony of an apartment complex in the center of downtown I
remembered none of it.
t hear the moans that surrounded me or the beating against the glass behind me, both deafened by the sound of my own heart. It was a moment of fight or flight, that instead of either my brain decided to take a time out.
m not sure how long I stood there in the cold, utterly flabbergasted.
t until the glass behind me started to crack that my brain kicked in with
move. Now move it. Move or die.
I blinked, the words started to make sense. I told my feet to comply but they resisted.
Quickly, I looked around. I was at least five stories in the air on a balcony that was barely big enough for the two cheap yard chairs that were sitting there. Inside there was at least one deadhead that was trying to get at me.
There was another row of balconies below me, containing who knew what. None above. Okay this had to be the top floor? Gauging the distance between this ledge and the one across from it I wondered if it was even possible.
d seen this in movies, people jumping off the side of buildings across decks...
end up with a broken ankle. A broken ankle equaled lunch.
I turned around seeing it paw at the crack it had made in the glass. There was nothing behind it but blackness, if there were others in there. I would see them soon enough, its sounds would carry them to join in at the glass.
Time. I had some time. I needed a weapon. Deck chairs were not a good weapon.
make it should jump
s going to grab your arms and bite you shoulder and
ll bleed to death just like Adam
. I shook my head, trying to shut my fear engine off. Even if I got off this balcony I had to get back to Junction. That was so far, I had no weapon no wheels and they were everywhere.
I looked down, the streets were thick and they were active. Maybe the roof? Maybe Dimitri would come looking for me.
If he wasn
t involved....she had gotten into the house and left the note.
No, he wouldn
t do that. I couldn
t believe it.
The glass cracked further.
I picked up the ceramic potter that sat on the small table between the two chairs and smashed it
rabbing the longest and sharpest piece from the remains.
Deal with the one here, then make a plan. Time to be up close and personal. Something two balconies over mewed desperately to get my attention, arms waving.
It toppled over the edge and fell to the grounds below, landing on top of several other roamers with a splat. Not that it phased any of the others.
t go down there.
I had to go up and pray or at least wait till daylight when things calmed down. The thing behind the glass created another loud thump and a wail. Turning my attention back to the
mmediate I held up the piece of ceramic, my eyes focused on its milky white orbs with
almost colorless irises. Its face was not badly mangled but it was a decomposed mess, most of the damage appeared to be to the torso where a gauze bandage was still tightly wrapped. Perhaps this guy had been bitten in the street and thought he could come home and sleep it off. No ring on the ring finger pounding on the glass made me hopeful that this was the only one I had to deal with.
It lunged forward. I ducked in and up shoving the long ceramic shard through the soft flesh under its jaw bone and into its skull. It didn
t fall though. I had removed its ability to bite but its hands still tried to sink into the flesh of my arms, shifting my footing I swept its legs out, it landed with a crack.
Using my steel toed boots, I kicked it in the head till it was a pile of red mush.
Good thing it had been too cold for flip flops.
Catching my breath, I peered through the now open sliding door into the black void beyond. No immediate motion, no wailing.
I edged into the space letting my eyes adjust. It was a very sparsely decorated bachelor pad, studio layout. The smell was so disgusting I about vomited. Like jerky and rotten eggs. I moved quickly over to the kitchenette, grabbing the longest knife I could find. The fridge was ajar and its contents long since
a likely source of the smell along with
the tenant. Going through the
drawers I searched for a flashlight.
I found two. One that took batteries and one of the fancy one
s that you shook. Neither turned on. So I shook the fancy one. Over and over while looking around the space. I kept waiting for something to move in the dark corners I couldn.t make out. By the bed there was something on the floor, down and hunched over.
I pressed the little switch on the black handle.
Clothes. It was a pile of clothes.
With a hiss, I walked up to the hall door and listened.
I didn.t hear much, hell I didn.t hear anything.
Thinking it over, I could hunker down here and wait or I could make my way to the roof. No matter the logic I tried to throw at it, I didn.t feel safe in this room. I needed to keep moving.
One. Two. Three. Deep Breath.
I threw the door open and panned the flashlight.
A long narrow corridor that was empty as far as I could see. I waited for sound, for movement.
Right or Left. No exit sign. No fire exit sign.
How did this building have a permit?
I went with the left, closing the door behind me.
Knife up at attack position I edged forward. Not as slowly as I would have liked as I was worried about battery life.
I turned the corner quickly it seemed to be a u shaped hallway.
Two paces forward and I caught tennis shoes in my light source.
More than one pair. I raised the light as faces turned to look at me, horribly mangled faces.
I only had the one knife.
I turned and ran back the way I came. Down the hallway around the corner.
Which room did I com
e out of? I didn’
t get the number.
Keep going forward.
The carpet pattern danced under my feet while the light bounced. An unlit sign in front of me said Exit pointing forward.
A six foot deadhead blocked the path, its right arm hanging by a patch of withered muscle.
Things seemed to slow down; it reached for me with its left arm. I ducked down and skidded across the floor, the knife in my hand nicked my own arm.
I scrambled to my feet and collided with the stairwell door with a surprising amount of force. Twisting the knob frantically I practically fell into the stairwell, an episode that felt too similar to the event surrounding Adams death. Except this time I was alone and unarmed.
My trek up the stairs the one flight to the roof was a quick one, despite the pain in my chest from where my ribs had come in contact with the metal railing inside the stairwell. It was just twelve up, pivot and twelve more. The door was clearly marked roof (caution door locks
from inside) I
smiled at the sign. That wouldn’
t be a problem, no way I was going back in here.
Stepping outside the open air at this altitude whipped my face with its late fall chill. Refreshing and revitalizing as the moonlight poured over the pebble covered roof.
I may have no food or water, but this way I would have time.
Taking a step forward, I rounded the large air conditioner unit.
My feet stopped. Breath stopped.
I slowly turned my head behind me to the door, which was now shut. The large spray painted S.O.S sign painted over it and the whole wall.
The decade old scene played out like a movie in my head, survivors scrambling to the roof waiving at helicopters going by desperately trying to be saved. Somewhere in their ranks a loved one was bitten, was scratched. The one became many and soon the safety of the roof top was a bloodbath with nowhere to run. They had all clustered on the far side of the roof, over
where I had been dropped off was my assumption based on the view. Families, elderly couples, singles no longer. Varying heights were all that remained of whatever traits they had that identified their gender or age. Bald skulls and snapping jaws, leather skin fragments that looked like
cobwebs on their bones. A few tattered bits of cloth remained on some of them, so overly sun bleached it was difficult to determine the original color. The sounds below had drawn them there.
Now the sound of the door was turning over a dozen withered skulls toward me. Hunger pains croaked out of their broken jaws, the angels of death with their eyes upon me.
Once I had been so willing to accept death for my actions.
Now...now I wanted to live.
Dad. Zoe. Candice. Mark. Tyler. Max. Dimitri. Cole. Sammie. Ben....all the faces I wanted to see again.
This would not be my death. I couldn
t let it be. Yet, there was nowhere to go.
I edged toward the closest ledge behind me.
They moved so quickly for the dead. I had less than a heartbeat before...tattered hands would grab me, teeth sinking into my flesh.
Adam no! It had pulled back, blood and bone. Blood everywhere. All over him all over me, the copper scent of the end. He was dead. Dead like me.
t waste the time to look down, perhaps there were balconies below as
there were on the other side.
Perhaps it was a five story free fall to my death.
Either was better than being eaten alive by the deadheads an
length behind me.
I closed my eyes and jumped.
There was wind blowing past me. The freedom feeling reminding me of when I had ridden the back of the motorcycle with Cole. I was a bird. For that split second in time, it was elating.
Then my eyes wouldn.t open. My ears rung so loud it felt like there was a church bell in my brain. My arms wouldn.t move, my legs wouldn.t move.
Why wouldn.t my eyes open?
A croaking sound, dull and raspy overruled the ringing. The dead! Oh my god...I had fallen. I had fallen five stories and I didn.t die...now they were going to eat me. They would bite and I would become one of them and...