08 September 2012

Rise of the Zombie-Pires, Part Three...[]

It didn't end swiftly. It didn't end at all.

When she finally let herself take another breath, she was amazed to find she was still alive. Somehow, she found the courage to open her eyes and look up at the monster that had leaped at her. Its eyes were still empty chasms,  but all the ferocity and hunger had left them. Its mouth was agape, fangs still dripping undead saliva onto its blood-red tongue. But it wasn't moving.

She looked down at her hand, the one she had raised in self-defense with whatever she had grabbed. Her fingers, still trembling, were closed around the handle of a butter knife, the blade of which had pierced through the monster's chest, aided by the force of its leap. She pushed the creature off of her with as much strength as she could muster. There it lay, again a corpse, the instrument of its demise protruding from its ribcage. A butter knife. A silver butter knife, from the antique set her family had always owned. She drew it out of the corpse, and a brief trail of flame followed the blade, followed by the stench of burned, rotting flesh.

Suddenly, a knock came at the kitchen door. No, not a knock; it was the sound of several more monsters rushing at the door. Her heart began to race again, as she planned her escape. Quickly grabbing the tray of silverware from under the counter, she poured its contents -- all silver, all now her only means of self-defense -- into her old school backpack. She found a battery-powered radio and flashlight and packed these as well. All of these would do her no good without food, however, so she grabbed the first, best source of non-perishable food she could find -- an unopened box of Twinkies -- and stuffed it into the backpack before zipping it up and making for the basement.

It was eerily quiet in the basement, but she knew there was a secret door which led to an old Underground Railroad tunnel somewhere down there. If the monsters hadn't found it, she would be able to use it to make her escape. If they had...there weren't really any other options. She pushed aside an old bookcase, full of her parents' dime-store science fiction novels from the '60s, and found the secret trap-door which led to the tunnel. The hinges had long-since rusted away, but with some difficulty she was able to lift off the door. The wooden ladder had also either been taken or rotted, but a newer one was standing nearby, so she used it to descend into the dark tunnel beneath her house.

The tunnel itself was surprisingly still clear, although the air was stale and stagnant. She had to crawl for the last way, which wasn't easy with her backpack, but she made it to the other end and looked up at the other trap door, hidden inside an old toolshed behind a neighbor's house across the street.

Now, of course, the problem presented itself of how to get up there. She was almost ready to crawl back for the ladder, when the trap door opened with a crack, and a face looked down at her. She screamed and threw herself against the tunnel wall, but the figure above put a finger to his lips to silence her. Clearly, he was still among the living.  He lowered a ladder for her; she climbed to the top and tumbled onto the floor of the shed. The light was off, and only the darkness of a moonless night came in through the lone window.

Her rescuer put a hand on her shoulder, and she started. "Hey," he said grimly, "so I guess that means the zombie-pires are at the other end of the tunnel too." She blinked at the unfamiliar word, but nodded her head nonetheless, grasping the meaning. "They crashed into my house just a couple minutes ago," he continued. "Got my fiancee...got my cat...probably even went after my goldfish." His voice was pained, and now she saw that he was keeping a hand over a makeshift bandage on his right thigh. Seeing her gaze, he explained, "They didn't get me; Rachel was just always a poor shot. Anyway, bullets don't seem to kill them." He pointed to the handgun holstered at his hip -- a .44 magnum, which should have been able to blow a monster's head clean off at close range -- and muttered a curse under his breath. "So how did you escape?" he asked. "I only managed to get away because they were too busy with --" He dropped his head, unable to finish.

For an answer, she pulled out one of the knives from her backpack. His raised his eyebrows in recognition. "Silver," he acknowledged. "Good thinking. A zombie-pire has all the strengths of a zombie and of a vampire, but also their weaknesses." He reached out to take the knife from her hand. "So," he said, appraising the new weapon, "we know how to kill them at least. Now how are we going to escape?"

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