Free Read Friday: G is for God Is Dead Pt III

© Can Stock Photo / Zeferli
Author Note: What follows is a brief foray into the world the four boys from my post apocalyptic series inhabit. A world of unrestrained brutality where death lurked at every turn, where the only law was the firepower one carried, and the only hope was for a swift death followed by a dreamless sleep.

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G is for God is Dead!

On a winding country road four boys reach the edge of reality.

It took all four of them to do it, but they managed to move one of the heavy pews at the back the church, sliding it across the wood floor with a loud screech, shoving it tight against the double doors, effectively blocking them before they stepped back to admire their handiwork.

No sounds came from beyond the closed doors, there were no listless slaps of dead flesh against the barrier, no moaning, no crushing weight as hundreds of the undead tried to get into the church where fresh meat was hiding.

“What’s going on? Why aren’t they trying to get in?” Billie-Bob said, crossing to one of the windows where he took a quick peek outside. The undead stood in an immobile crowd more than fifty feet away. Watching the church silently as the sun shimmered on their cataract clouded eyes. It was like looking at a group of people who were wearing mirrored sunglasses, and the image left Billie-Bob more than a little unnerved.

“They’re just standing there,” he said, glancing back at the other three who stood shrouded in the deep shadows of the church. Behind them he saw a shadowy figure hanging from the wall.

“What the hell is that,” he said as he pushed past the others, the undead momentarily forgotten, as he walked down the center aisle towards the statue of Christ on the Cross that dominated the wall behind the pulpit. The statue was more than double the size of an average person. Painted with immaculate detail, the eyes were full of sorrow and seemed to follow them as they trooped down the center aisle towards it.

“God is not dead,” Window said in an obvious attempt to inject some humor into the situation, “he’s right here.” He approached the statue, staring up into the haunted eyes, noting the crown of thorns and how each one appeared to pierce the flesh, each drawing a line of blood that followed the creases of the forehead like a network of  rivers flowing among the mountains.

He was reaching up to touch the face when a booming voice shouted. “Don’t touch it,” stopping his hand several inches from the carved cheek.

All four of them whirled around, weapons drawn as they searched the shadows for the owner of the voice. Sunlight streamed through several skylights in the vaulted ceiling, creating shafts of light that spawned even more shadows for any would be attackers to hide within.

“Come out where we can see you,” Window shouted, scanning the shadows for any sign of movement.

“If I do will you shoot me?”

“Only if you mean to harm us.”

“I’m not here to hurt you.”

“Then you don’t have anything to worry about.”

“That’s easy for you to say, after all, you’re the one who came into this church armed.”

Window looked from one to the other and with a shrug slipped the forty four that was his birthright into its holster, yet his hand never strayed very far from the sandalwood grip as he turned back to address the disembodied voice.

“I’ve put my gun away, it’s safe to come out.”

“Do I have your word?”

“Of course, you’ve nothing to fear from us.”

There was a moment of silence as the unseen interloper considered what Window said.

“I’ll take you at your word.

A man appeared from the deep shadows gathered along the left wall, small of stature with a bald head, he wore the garb of a priest as he stepped into the light shining down from above.

Meat approached him with his hand out, “we’re not here to cause any harm,” he said as he got closer enough to the man to spot the white collar at his throat. “We were just running from the undead and picked what looked like the safest spot.”

The man laughed nervously at that, his head on a swivel as he searched the shadows all around him.

“It’s far from safe here,” the man said, finishing with a laugh that bordered on the cackle of insanity.

Window shot him a knowing look and Meat understood he would never fully trust the man who appeared from the shadowy depths of the church.

“Are you the priest for this church?” Einstein said as he stepped forward, following the man’s gaze that was constantly searching the shadows all around them. “Are you all right? Can we help you find what it is you’re looking for?”

“Who says I’m looking for anything?” The man shot back, pinning Einstein to his spot with a penetrating stare.

“I was just saying…” Einstein’s words faded under the priest’s withering stare.

From the shadows came the sound of movement and the man spun around to confront whatever lived in that deepening gloom. It sounded like something being dragged across a coarse surface. Soft, almost imperceptible, the sound multiplied as it grew to surround them.

“I told you, not now,” the priest shouted into the shadows and the sound faded to silence.

“What is it?” Window said as he stepped forward, moving Einstein aside, “what are you hiding from us?” He pulled his revolver as he searched the shadows for the source of the  sound.

To be continued!

The four boys featured in this story appear in my post apocalyptic coming of age series available from Amazon.

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