Read This Rotten World (Book 1) Online

Authors: The Vocabulariast

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

This Rotten World (Book 1) (8 page)

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
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Rudy used
the noise as a distraction to scoot closer to the peephole in the door.
Unfortunately, the peephole's field of view wasn't wide enough to allow him to
see the door to his neighbor's apartment as the doors on either side of the
hallway were staggered.

He heard
his neighbor strain, and say, "Get the fuck off me!" At that point,
Rudy threw the locks on his door and risked a peek into the hallway. His
neighbor, clad only in a pair of sweatpants, was pummeling the man in the
hallway. They were locked in an embrace, and though his neighbor's punches
landed with a meaty thud every time, the other man seemed to not even notice
them.

Blood from
the man's jaw dripped down his neighbor's chest, and he could see that he had
busted his knuckles open on the man. The man with the bleeding jaw seemed
oblivious to the fact that the bone structure of his face had been completely
rearranged.

His
neighbor was tired and sweaty, and his blows landed with less and less ferocity
and frequency. Somehow, his neighbor noticed him peeking out his doorway.
"Oi, fatstuff, why don't you get out here and help me?"

The split
second it took his neighbor to call out to him was enough of a distraction for
the man with the bleeding jaw to get a thick bite in on the bicep of the
British man. His neighbor popped the man across the chin, and teeth came flying
out, along with a chunk of his own flesh from his knuckles.

"I'm
calling the cops!" he informed his neighbor before he slammed his own door
shut. He turned the deadbolt on his door and ran to the furthest corner of his
apartment. He used his pudgy fingers to dial 911, but the number was busy just
as it was before. He could still hear his neighbor and the man struggling in
the hallway. This night sucked.

Chapter 20: Never Too Late

 

Dustin
stood out front with the cops. He had told them his entire story, but they
didn't quite believe every word of it. Luckily, they had received a steady
stream of calls, so they were in a hurry to be out and about. They took down
his statement and his information, and when the crime scene photographer had
left and the coroner had arrived, they let him go about his business. One of
them told him not to leave town, but Dustin knew how these things worked. He
could leave whenever he wanted to. They'd find him eventually.

He laughed
in his head at the sight of Old Han yelling at him in broken English about him
cleaning up the mess he had made. He simply hopped on his throwback bicycle
with the chrome fenders, gave Han the finger, and rode away.

In the
night, Han had yelled, "Fuck to you! You fuck to you!"

Dustin
doubted that the man would ever learn proper English, but when you've got all
the money, you can afford to treat people like heartless products. He rode down
the street, pondering it all, the unfairness of a wannabe despot hiring good
people, the wind in his hair, and the silence of the night. Most of all, he
pondered the fact that two people had died tonight, and he had witnessed both
of them.

The feeling
of shock hit him suddenly, as is the case with most haunting experiences, the
true impact of them seems delayed, like that moment when you cut your finger
and it takes a few seconds for the blood to actually come pouring out. Dustin
slowed to a halt, hopped off of his bike without thinking and sat down on the
curb.

He put his
head in his hands and tried to press the images out of his mind with the palms of
his hands. All that seemed to accomplish was making his eyes ache dully. He
reached into the pocket of his camouflage cargo shorts and fished out a
cigarette. He put it to his lips and lit it. In the smoke that he exhaled, he
swore he could see the image of the young man that had stumbled into the bar.
Death had walked into the bar tonight, and he was the only one that had left it
alive. Well, him and Teach, but who knew where he was.

At that
moment, he saw his life with a burning clarity that few people ever see.
Pouring drinks for drunks... how did his life wind up that way? What kind of
life is that? It's certainly not what he dreamed of when he had been a kid. He
could still remember his father's bearded face asking him what he had wanted to
be when he grew up. The answer had always been the same... a lawyer.

While the
thought of being a lawyer made him feel stupid and naive now, it wasn't the
money or the prestige that he wanted; it had always been the ability to help
people that had drawn him to the profession. Who did he help now? No one. As a
matter of fact, he was guilty of actively making some people's lives worse. You
could see the signs on people's faces as they bellied up to the bar with
trembling hands and alcohol blooms on their faces... and yet, it was their
money and their time. Who was he to deny them the comfort of alcohol? After
all, what did anyone really know about anyone else? How can one man make the
call for another? Sorry sir, you've had enough.

Now he was
the one who had had enough. Dustin vowed to never return to bartending.
Instead, he would go back to school and find himself. It wasn't too late. It
was never too late... unless the world ended tomorrow, which he highly doubted
that it would. Dustin dropped his cigarette to the ground, stepped on it with
the toe of his Chuck Taylor's, and dove to the ground when the explosion rocked
the night.

Chapter 21: Katie Bar
the Door

 

The old man
saw Kevin rise from the couch. Katie paid no attention as the cordless phone
dropped from his hands and shattered into pieces on the floor. He was there. He
was alive. For the first time all night, something finally made sense.

"Kevin?"
she said hopefully. There was no response, and Kevin stumbled around, his arms
out in front of him as if he were blind.

"Kevin?"
she said again, hoping that he would snap out of his daze and recognize his
mother.

She saw his
eyes dilate, and then he focused on her, a thin stream of drool running from
the side of his mouth. But his face was expressionless, and for the first time
in her life, she thought her baby boy didn't actually look like a male image of
her. Right now, he looked like his dad, or at least what his dad had suddenly
turned into. The raw wound at his throat had stopped pumping blood when they
had gotten into the house, but now, as Kevin sat up, the blood ran down the
wound, staining his already stained Portland Timbers t-shirt.

She wanted
to hug him and make sure that he was alright, but something didn't quite feel
right. The old man hurried to the boy and put his arm on his shoulder, looking
into his face with concern.

"Jeez
Louise, kid. We thought you were dead." The old man's mirth faded as Kevin
took a brief look at him with his emotionless face before he launched himself
at the old man, snarling and sending drool flying everywhere. The old man fell
backwards, and the fact that he walked at least two miles every day did nothing
to help the fact that he was old. His hip broke upon impact, leaving him on the
ground struggling to fend off the ferocious attack of Kevin.

Katie
looked on in disbelief, a glut of emotions surging through her heart and mind.
There he was, her boy, alive. He was trying to murder the man who had tried to
help them, which was a little disconcerting, so she did what mothers do. She
said Kevin's full name, "Kevin Adam Thompson."

Normally,
the mere sound of the first two names would be enough to stop Kevin in his
tracks. Not so this time. He paid as much attention to her as a blind man pays
to paintings. "Kevin Adam Thompson, you get off that man right now!"
she yelled in her best mom voice.

The old man
pleaded with her to do something. She was at a loss. She stood there, confused,
elated, and completely clueless as the old man struggled to keep Kevin from
biting into his leathery neck. He was in agony, as each movement sent nerve
feedback from his hip up to his brain. His arms burned from the strain and
still the woman did nothing. "He's not your son, anymore!" he
strained, the veins in his neck popping.

Katie shook
her head, as if something the man said had actually made sense.

"Look
at him," he pleaded through grit teeth.

Katie,
finally understood, and it broke her heart. She would never be the same again.
She moved to the old man and pulled Kevin off of him. Immediately, he began
attacking her, and she knew that something was not right. The thought of
disease sprang to her mind, and the fact that the boy in her arms was cold only
made matters worse. She shoved Kevin away, hoping that something would be
jarred loose in his mind. He fell across the room, knocking over a bookshelf in
the corner. The books tumbled about his head, but he paid them no mind. His
only concern seemed to be reaching her and taking a bite out of her flesh. A
dark voice in the back of her mind asked her why she kept resisting. She tamped
it down in the corner of her mind where she kept her secrets, the dark ones she
had never told anyone.

He was upon
her again. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the old man crawling backwards.
He was trying to move as silently as he could. Eventually he succeeded in
dragging himself into the other room. When Katie was sure the old man was out
of the room, she tossed, Kevin, gnashing and clawing off to the side. He landed
with a thump against the wall, and then she turned and ran out of the room,
slamming the bedroom door behind her.

She slumped
to the ground with her back against the door. For a second, there was absolute
silence, except for the labored breathing of herself and the old man. Then the
thumping began. For the second time that night, she held the door against a
loved one who now wanted nothing more than to devour her flesh.

His skin
glistening with sweat and his shirt covered in Kevin's blood, the old man
looked at her and said, "Well, Katie, bar the door."

"How
did you know my name?"

The old man
laughed out loud, the sort of laugh that you can't help but love. Deep and
raspy with age, it echoed throughout the walls of the old man's stuffy bedroom.
Katie didn't know whether to laugh with him or cry. It rose up within her, like
an infection from out of nowhere. Together they laughed as her dead son beat
upon the door outside. Madness was creeping in. It would serve her well.

Chapter 22: Making
Stories

 

The glass
shattered, and that was all there was to that. Zeke had already loaded as many
shotgun shells as he could into his shotgun. He racked the weapon and steadied
it with one hand. He looked at the window to see the used-car salesman pawing
through the bars. He was slicing his arm on the glass, but he didn't seem to
care.

"I've
had about enough of this shit," he said to no one in particular. He pulled
the door open in one smooth motion and clomped out onto the porch in his
polished, black army boots. He about giving the man a warning, but the dark
part of him decided against it. Zeke raised his shotgun as the man turned and
squeezed the trigger. Shreds of flesh splattered the light blue porch along
with a healthy dose of other red matter. The man flew backwards and fell onto
the ground. Zeke reached into his pocket for another cigarette, just as an
ambulance pulled onto his street.

With his
shotgun tucked under his arm, he was looking down trying to light his cigarette
when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Zeke couldn't believe what
he was seeing; the man on the porch was rising from the ground. It didn't
matter that he had just taken a shotgun blast to the chest, he was rising
anyway.

The
cigarette fell from Zeke's mouth as he mumbled, "No fucking way."
Disbelief was replaced by rage. Somewhere in his mind, he saw the flashing
lights off an ambulance, he heard the ambulance doors slam shut, and then he
heard some sort of shouting. He was too busy racking another shotgun shell to
pay any attention to what they were saying. Without hesitation, he leveled the
shotgun at the car salesman's head, squeezed the trigger and flinched when his
face was speckled by splatters of blood from the man's exploding head.

The
headless body slumped to the ground, and Zeke pumped his shotgun one more time.
He stood over the body and gave it another blast just to be sure. He calmly
walked back to the front door where he had lost his cigarette. He bent down to
pick it up, but there was blood all over it. He broke it in half, and then he
walked back inside. He plopped his shotgun down on the couch and then pulled a
fresh cigarette from the pack in his pocket and lit it. He walked through his Spartan
house and into the kitchen, a cloud of smoke following him. With a trembling
hand, he turned on the hot water and leaned over the sink, as if he was going
to throw up. Steam rose from the sink and billowed around his head.

He had
killed people before, in the name of freedom, in the name of democracy. Somehow
it was different when you did it out of self-defense. He didn't feel good. He
tossed his cigarette in the sink where it hissed.

The water
in the sink was piping hot, and he put his hands underneath the tap, enjoying
the burn of the water, which somehow felt right. He splashed some water on his
face to get the blood off. His head still throbbed from where he had hit his
head on the porch, and his hands burned with the heat of the water. He dabbed
his face with the old hand towel that hung from the cupboard handles underneath
the sink. He stared out the window that looked onto his plain backyard. Square,
completely devoid of personality, and 100% unnecessary... just like him.

That's when
he realized he was being watched. He turned around to see two cops standing in
the doorway of the kitchen, red and blue light ricocheting off the walls behind
them. Their guns were trained on him. Zeke turned away from them, turned off
the tap water, and giggled a little bit, more to himself than to anyone else.

"Boy,
have I got a story for you guys."

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
4.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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