Defence

Defence

A Story by HoWiE
"

A young father vows to defend his family to the very end...

"

B L O O D.

 

 I’d never seen so much of it.

 

            The way it stains, coagulates, becoming viscous and sticky before drying, cracking and then flaking off.  I’d seen blood before, of course, but not as much as this and not so close up.  There was blood on my hands, I flexed my knuckles and watched the stuff crumble off like rust.

 

            I turned the SA80 over in my hands and run my thumb across the sight, there were flecks of dried blood there too.  I’d prised it from the grip of some dead soldier I’d come across in the street a few days ago. I couldn’t shake his face from my mind; it haunted me, an expression of unrelenting terror frozen in place. He had died horribly. They all had.

 

            “Hey champ.”

            I started violently, glad instantly I’d not had my finger on the trigger.

            “Hey Dad,” I said.

            The old man hunkered down beside me and rested a hand on my shoulder. “How’re you holding up?”

            I nodded and forced a smile.

            “Have you had any luck with the radio?” I asked.

            “No... there’s been nothing for a few days now.”

            We fell silent for a few moments before I said, “have you spoken to Sarah yet?”

            Dad nodded. “She’s... you know...” He gave a tight smile.

 

            A bottle skittered across the pavement outside, clinking on the concrete slabs.

            I immediately brought the weapon to bear, my finger hovering over the trigger. I pressed the cup of the sight into my eye socket and fought to control the tremor in my hands.  My heart thudded painfully in my chest, the muscles my throat and left arm constricting. My eyes watered and my mouth parched instantly as the figure moved across the front of the house.  From my bolstered position at the top of the stairs I watched the stilted, shuffling movements though the front doors frosted window as the intruder lurched across the garden path.

            I was acutely aware that my father’s grip had tightened on my shoulder, his nails digging in.  We remained like that for some time, our breath cramping in our chests before I finally relaxed. I let the stock of the rifle rest on the edge of the upturned mahogany table and worked my tired eyes with the fingers and thumb of my free hand.


            “And I always thought it would be the Russians coming over the barricades,” Dad muttered ruefully.


            “Yeah...”

 

            That much was true. We couldn’t have seen it coming; no one could. Some said that it was a terrorist act; a biological agent perhaps. Others said it was a viral illness, bird-flu mutated.  Early reports had suggest the outbreak had been caused by a satellite re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere carrying bacteria; extremophiles, a few scientists had said, an organism that thrives in extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth.

            Whatever it was, whatever had caused it, we were unprepared.

            Utterly.

 

            It seemed like some sort of freakish nightmare, something that you still couldn’t grasp no matter how hard you try. A situation so improbable that you could never, ever conceive of it being real... but it was.

            The dead had come back to life... if a looser term for ‘life’ could be found.  They had been certainly reanimated somehow; a shuffling, shambling mass of putrefying flesh and misfiring synapses. They would walk and bite and feed until they rotted out completely, until decaying bones snapped under the weight of their bloating bulk and they crawled, dragging themselves along the ground leaving trails of stinking offal in their wake. The stench was palpable, the sweet sickly reek of mouldering meat.

            And the flies, my God, the flies, the air was thick with them; so many that they often choked the sun.

 

 

            I was amazed at how quickly everything had collapsed. At first people just panicked, they started running, they ran anywhere without plan or second thought.  My neighbour, I had known her for maybe five years, was a nice woman, a good mother but one whom had bolted without fear of consequence. I saw her scrambling out of her bathroom window, the terror in her expression indescribable, the loss of self control total, as the dead hauled themselves into the house. We could hear her baby screaming in the kitchen but she kept running and did not look back.

            The child's screams stopped a few moments later.

 

            It didn’t take long for the cities to become death traps, the motorways suddenly thronged with the exodus, accidents closed most of the major roads and travel by car became nigh on impossible. It also didn’t take long for the violence to start, it’s almost inconceivable that with the human race in its darkest hour we decide to try and kill each other, to rob each other, to rape each other. Perhaps we deserve this.

            Perhaps it’s Biblical.

 

            “Mike?”

            I blinked.

            Sarah was stood by the bedroom door hugging herself. Her eyes were red.

            Dad leaned over and laid his hand on the rifle. “Let me take watch for a bit.”

            I looked at him, my grip unconsciously tightening on the weapon. He held my gaze and nodded. I relinquished my hold on the SA80 and shifted place with him.

            “The safety’s off,” I said to him.

            “I should certainly hope so,” he replied with a thin smile.

           

            I followed Sarah into the bedroom.

            “How is she?”

            Sarah stared down at our daughter who lay curled up on the single bed that we’d pushed into the corner of her room. Her thin arm was wrapped around Pascal, her favourite teddy; I had brought him back from a business trip to Limoges a couple of years ago - before the world had gone to Hell. I crouched by the bed and smoothed a lock of hair from her cheek. Her small nostrils flared slightly as she breathed. She looked pale and drawn.

            “I love you poppet,” I whispered.

            I stood up and reached out for Sarah who fell into my arms. She pressed herself against me, her face nestling into my neck. We stayed like that for some time, not speaking, hardly breathing; just holding one another, our eyes closed.

 

            I closed the bedroom door and locked it behind me; the last things I saw were the empty pill bottles on the side and my wife’s face.

 

            Dad was kneeling behind the upturned table; he’d taken out his 9mm pistol and had jammed it into the waistband of his jeans. He handed the SA80 over to me. “Here. You’re a better shot than me,” he said. “And my shoulder won’t take the recoil.”

            I took it and crouched beside him.

            “There are a lot of them out there, more every day” he said. “They will start running out of food before long. If they come in...” He stalled and swallowed, pursing his withered lips. He stared back to the bedroom door. “If they come, we’ll defend it...”

            “We’ll fight if we have to and I’ll fight as long as I can...”

            Dad gave a slow nod and patted my shoulder. “I got you champ.”

            “I will not let those b******s have them.” I clenched my teeth.


            The pain in my abdomen was increasing and my muscles were cramping more and more as each minute passed. The bite wound on my arm continued to burn and I pulled my shirt sleeve down over it.


            “Remember... when I start to change...Dad... I won’t be the same person. I won't be your son any more. Don’t give it a second thought.”


            Dad nodded, there were tears in his eyes.


            “I got you champ...” He said, putting an arm around me. “I got you.”






    

© 2018 HoWiE


My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

110 Views
Added on September 6, 2018
Last Updated on September 6, 2018
Tags: zombie, horror, death, family, Howie

Author

HoWiE
HoWiE

Plymouth,, Devon, United Kingdom



About
Well, I'm back - it only took 8 years to get over my writer's block! Now 47, older, wiser and, for some reason, now a teacher having left the Armed Forces in 2012. The writing is slow going but .. more..

Writing