Till Death Do We Part: The End!

The fire drove the approaching figures away, opening a narrow path for Eddie, who raced the flaming gas down the street. Behind him, as he ran, he heard an explosion as a gas tank went up. Looking back over his shoulder, he saw that the house next to his grandson’s had caught fire.

Let it burn, he thought. Let it all burn. Leave them a world of ash. It was all they deserved.

As he drove back across Industrial Boulevard, he came to a gas station, and  an idea formed. Pulling in, he found the station empty. Next to it was a convenience store and from there he retrieved several cases of wine. Pouring the contents onto the ground, he filled each bottle with gasoline and stuffed a rag into the neck. In the store he had also procured a lighter and as he pulled away from the gas station he tossed a Molotov cocktail at the pumps. He watched in his rear view mirror as the puddle of gas from the open handle erupted in a fireball that quickly consumed the remaining gas pumps. Half a mile away he heard the thump of an explosion behind him and stopped to watch as a black mushroom cloud rose above the trees.

Without the local fire department to control the flames, Eddie was confident the entire south side of town would be engulfed in no time. Not that he’d be around to see it. He had no desire to live in this world without those who loved him, and he set out to find his wife.

Several times he had come upon a crowd of shambling figures blocking the roadway. A single cocktail was usually enough to clear the way as he backtracked the path his wife would have taken that morning on her way to work. At the corner of Valley and Center, he found her abandoned Kia, the door standing open, the inner panel stained with dried blood. He struggled with his emotions as he looked around at the deserted streets. She didn’t deserve that, she’d never hurt anyone in her life, and he imagined what it must have been like for her as she tried to escape. Unable to run, hobbling away from that approaching horde.

His world had been turned upside down. Everything that he loved and cherished was gone and he stood alone against this wicked thing. His presence drew several of the staggering dead and a small crowd of them approached him as he worked to drive away the images that crowded his mind.

The soft sound of dragging feet intruded upon his sorrow and he spun around to find six of the fearsome creatures trying to sneak up on him. The sight of them awakened a rage that drove away all sorrow, replacing it with the cold desire for vengeance. He wanted to destroy them. It was no longer a matter of survival; it became a burning need to wipe their presence off the face of the earth. They didn’t belong. This was not their world.

He waded into their midst, unmindful of the possibility of becoming infected. He no longer cared what happened to him. Everything he cherished had been taken by these despicable things and he was going to get his revenge. They were no longer people, simply objects that had wronged him, and years of suppressed anger boiled over as he waded into the small group.

When he was done, panting as he stood alone in the middle of the street with dismembered corpses scattered around him, his clothes covered in a thick layer of putrid fluids, his phone rang. Pulling it from his pocket, he saw it was from his wife and accepted the call.

Again all he got was heavy breathing and the steady footfalls of someone, or something, walking with a resolute pace.

“Is that you, sweetie? Can you hear me?”

No answer save that ragged breathing that awakened all manner of horrific images in his mind. Was she tied up somewhere? Had someone taken her phone? Were they teasing him with the promise that she could still be alive even though she was dead? The questions chased one another through his mind. Circling the truth like two hungry dogs vying for the same bone.

He returned to his truck and slipped behind the wheel to continue his search. After four hours of crisscrossing vacant streets and avoiding the roaming groups of the undead, he decided to return  home. There were preparations to be made and he didn’t know how much longer the electricity would stay on. Surely it would go out for good within the next day or two. With no one to maintain the system, a simple event could trigger a region-wide blackout that would never get repaired.

As he was driving up the road to his house, he came upon a single dead person plodding up the hill. From this angle, he knew immediately who it was and his heart broke as he pulled alongside his wife. Blood covered the front of her jeans. The tee shirt over her stomach had been shredded. Beneath the bloody fabric, he saw the white ends of bare ribs poking through torn flesh. Muscles filled with clotted blood expanding and contracting with each step she took.

Her attention remained fixed on some distant point, her cataract-covered eyes shimmering with a strange light in the waning day. In her hand was her cell phone and as he watched, she pushed several buttons with her thumb and lifted the phone to the side of her head. His phone rang in his pocket, responding to her call, and his rage collapsed into an empty sadness that consumed his soul. Some part of her remained and it was trying to reach out to him, whether in warning, or in search of her next meal, no one would ever know, but that simple, humanizing act brought the truth home to him. He no longer belonged here. The world now belonged to the dead. He had become an exception to the rule.

He pulled ahead of her, watching her in his rearview mirror until she vanished around the turn. She would be home soon, and he now understood what he had to do.

Reaching the house, he ran into the basement and knocked the supply line from the gas furnace. Back in the living room, he stood at the picture window and watched for her approach. She soon appeared around the turn as the smell of natural gas filled the house around him. She held her phone to her head and he looked at his own phone, suddenly full of a heavy sadness when he saw that his phone was as dead as the world around him.

Soon she was at the back door he’d left open. Whether from memory or following his scent, she entered the house and came into the dining room where he waited for her.

He didn’t see the blood staining her jeans as she walked towards him, nor did he see the animalistic fury that twisted her expression into an evil sneer. Instead, he remembered what she had looked like on their wedding day as she came down the aisle on her father’s arm. He thought only of the good things that had happened in the past they shared together. She crossed the room and he put out his arms to wrap her in an embrace. She closed with him, opening her mouth at his neck, and as her teeth sank into the soft flesh of his throat he  flicked the lighter he’d been hiding behind his back. 


 Thanks for coming along with me on this brief journey, if you liked what you read I have several other works available on multiple platforms. Stop by and check them out. 

While you're here sign up to be notified of my new releases when they become available. I promise not stuff your inbox with unnecessary crap and will only contact you for important updates or when I've released a book. You have nothing to lose and you can cancel anytime.Sign up HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment