Killer's Army

short stories collection - a compilation of my short stories.

summary

The trees flew past us, the wind almost drowning out the roars, hisses, and howls that permeated the area. The gun felt cold in my hand; it weighed me down and got in the way of my agile attempts to slip through the undergrowth. To my left was Marsha, like a sly fox she twisted and turned to avoid everything Nature did to obstruct her path. To my right was Judy, her movements labored owing to the gash running down the side of her leg. It oozed green and yellow puss—we may have to kill her before she turns. The twigs and branches continued to rip through my clothes and skin, yet it was nothing compared to the terror that drove us forward. The howls grew louder and the falling of trees could be heard behind us.

Perhaps the pinnacle of my horror stories, it is a relentless, fast-paced tale of zombies, an accident in the making and a mysterious man. There are two independent stories being told, but drawing the link makes everything much more satisfying.

The trees flew past us, the wind almost drowning out the roars, hisses, and howls that permeated the area. The gun felt cold in my hand; it weighed me down and got in the way of my agile attempts to slip through the undergrowth. To my left was Marsha, like a sly fox she twisted and turned to avoid everything Nature did to obstruct her path. To my right was Judy, her movements labored owing to the gash running down the side of her leg. It oozed green and yellow puss—we may have to kill her before she turns. The twigs and branches continued to rip through my clothes and skin, yet it was nothing compared to the terror that drove us forward. The howls grew louder and the falling of trees could be heard behind us.

The department store manager kept trying to catch his breath, but each time it seemed he was ready to talk, it left him again. The reporter looked shaken: her skirt was ruffled and torn in places, hair wild and appeared unkempt, and she shifted between looks of absolute terror and pure joy. This was to be her big catch, the story every reporter dreamed of and dreaded at the same time. A thousand people were trapped down in the basement of that department store, all the elevators had broken, and the architect, a genius, had violated building codes by not installing stairs. They were likely going mad: there was little food or water in the clothing section. The fire department was working around the clock to get the elevators working; yet, every attempt and technique had proven futile, as if something else was interfering with their tasks. The reporter straightened herself out as much as possible, then with a clearing of her throat, gave the cameraman the go-ahead.

“…1…2…3…and you live!”

“Hello citizens of the greater Hitchworth area, I am reporting to you about a series of extraordinary events…”

We could see the road ahead and with it—hope. The car was still there—thank god—but the question remained whether the key was. We were in such a hurry braking didn’t occur to us and slammed into the car. The door flew open and we commenced searching for the key: under the seats, in the glove compartment, between the chairs. In the background the sounds grew louder, the streaks more chilling and—for the first time—the stench started to waft toward us. My eyes started to water, whether it was due to the odious odor or the malignant terror that had been steadily taking over our minds, thoughts, and action—I could not know. In any case it blurred my vision, increasing my panic and anxiety.

“Marsha, have you found it!?” I slipped and hit my head on the bottom car frame as I frantically tried to search around the car. “It is here somewhere, Judy, Judy, HEY JUDY, get the fuck up, this is no time to sob. Oh Jesus, we’re going to die.”

If I had learnt anything in my travels, it was not to trust the government to do a private man’s job. These nutcracks thought they could fix the department store’s elevators without knowing how they were designed—fools. They had called upon me to help fix this dreary scene; hopefully, I could make a buck or two while I was at it. I had read up on the architect of this building before arriving at the scene, a Dr. William Jinks, a provost at the University of Northern Hitchworth. He’d had some funky ideas about building design and economizing their production, but this was probably his nuttiest and most ill-received idea—mostly because he was allowed to actually implement his crackpot theory. Not only was there no stairs in the building, he’d designed the elevators so that they use each other as counterweights—again, to save money. Now—don’t misunderstand me—I am all about this money saving business, but this was taking it to another level. It was starting to cloud outside, this was not to my liking. But, this was just a sign of the day, rather than an approaching storm. The building was quite large; it was a department store after all, with a beige exterior and a design that was reminiscent of Harvard’s Main Quadrangle (if your educated enough to get that reference). Imposing, intimidating, yet somehow empowering: that was exactly how I—rather Hardwork Department—liked to portray themselves to influence their customers.

“There has been a reported surge in the grid, which is said to have caused the elevators to become overloaded and shut down. At this time crews are working around the clock to restore power and save the estimated one thousand people currently trapped in the basement of the store.”

The reporter looked over her shoulder at the building, its grid of sixteen big, square planters and their obnoxiously large bushes blocked the camera from getting a clear shot of the happenings. Walking past the crew was a man in a light brown trench coat, his manner a tad bit too austere to be a random passerby.

“Excuse me. Would you mind answering a few questions?” The reporter took a step back as the man twirled and gazed at her with icy blue eyes. “It will only take a minute...”

“What do you have to say or ask?”

“Do you know what is going on or has transpired?”

“Only that someone did not finish the job and cut corners. Now, if you would be so kind, I have business to attend to.”

RAWRRRRRR, AYEEEEEEEE, HAHAHAHAHA. The sounds grew ever closer; our hands started to sweat and grow numb, making it all the more difficult to feel around for that god-damn key. Clouds had started to drift in from the east and we could hear the pitter-patter of rain in the distance. Please, please let the rain wait a bit, this would go from impossible to hellish real quick if the rain came pouring down.

“I FOUND IT!”

I rushed toward Judy and lifted her off of the ground, kissing her continuously. We quickly got in the car and tried to start the engine. BBBRRRRRR, pck pck pck, BRRRRRR, pck pck pck. The car wasn’t starting—typical. I rushed out and opened the hood and looked around-the rain had started to fall. Haha, like I was going to find anything wrong with a cursory glance. I fell to the ground, the world was spinning around me as my head throbbed; I could hear Marsha yelling my name from inside the car. BBBRRRR, pck pck pck, bbbbRRRRRRR. The car started, yet I was in too much pain to get up, something had hit me—hard. I felt a cold hand touch the back of my neck, then another grab my leg and I was momentarily weightless before being thrown into the back seat.

“go, Go, GO!”

I looked at the wiring on the elevators and shook my head; whoever the electrician was that did this job was incompetent in the extreme. He’d wired the whole thing up in series, one thing is this complex circuit could be wrong and—poof—the whole thing goes to hell. No wonder the crews could not fix this thing, it was a near impossible task. As I labored on the elevators, I noticed a man in a brown outfit wandering about, observing the scene and being the paranoid man I am, decided to figure out what he was up to. Approaching him, I inquired as to his name.

“Davin.”

“You are here because?”

“I am observing the work, my master sent me. I am an apprentice and this is a great opportunity to learn.”

“…Well, please stand as far back as possible, we’re watching you…”

Not one to trust a stranger, especially one that uses ‘master’ in any phrase, I asked one of the firemen to watch over him. The rain continued to soak through my clothes: my body shook, hands tingled, and teeth chattered—just stripping a wire grew laborious. Then I happened upon a wire that had not (or should not have been) touched, deep in the wiring on the elevator. If it was just a tear, then no problem, but this was a clean, precise, fresh cut—to one of the vital components no less. Turning around, I nearly jumped out of my skin to see the stranger staring over my shoulder.

“Just need some paste to fix that, mind if I help?”

“What? No, this isn’t your spec…”—the man procured a badge, it read ‘Electrician’s Conglomerate certified’—“ialty. Alright, yeah sure, the tools are over there. I’ll watch over our shoulder.”

“Thank you.”

The camera continued to roll, but the reporter, exhausted from hours on the job, was taking a nap. The trees still obscured some of the scene, but to the far left of the building, opposite the crews, a shadow flickered along the tree-line. The cameraman looked up, but seeing nothing, refocused on the crews, trying to get a better shot.

“You think we should move closer? They probably wouldn’t mind, right?”

“Ahhh! Oh, it’s you, when’d you wake up? We could try, can’t make any promises.”

“Alright, let's do it.”

The car bounded across the deserted streets, every once in a while a car would rush past, though never toward them. Judy was driving, but she never was a hotshot and it showed-the windy street was causing her all sorts of problems-they were probably averaging thirty miles-per-hour.

“Hey Judy, can you speed it up any? Those things were…”

“Are you kidding me? We outran them through a dense forest, how are they going to catch up to a car on an open road?”

“It’s just that…I don’t know. Things just haven’t been right…or adding up. I’d rather be in a safer location…”

“Yeah, we hear you, just rest.”

The trees continued to rush past, the rain growing steadily heavier and Judy’s breathing faster. She sounded exasperated when talking to Marsha; at times I worried she might just veer off of the road and into a ravine—trapping us, to be surrounded and devoured. But she drove steady, if slow, and we continued on our way.

This man was doing something, unusual. I didn’t like it and reached over to stop him. He turned around and with those steely eyes, froze me in my place. Now, I am not one to be easily intimidated, I’d been in my fair share of twitchy situations, but something about this man was starting to unsettle me.

“Mister, I think you’ve done enough. Please, I can finish the job.”

“No, you cannot. Someone previously did not do their job adequately; it is now mine to finish.”

I was going to respond, but I felt this man was...dangerous, that he had more than he let on. Yet, I didn't want him to damage the hard work we-I-had done. I’d give him a couple more minutes then ask the crew to forcefully remove him.

“Think this is a good angle?”

“Oh god yes, this is perfect, get ready to roll.”

Unfortunately for us, Judy tended to have fleeting...blackouts. But that half a second was enough for the car to skid on the wet road and soon be off it, careening down the hill toward the clearing below. Luckily, we only touched a couple trees on the way down: unluckily, the car was pretty much dead by the time we came to a stop. Crawling out, I grabbed my gun and surveyed the area. RAWRRRRRR. My heart skipped a beat and I looked at Judy, then at Marsha, who’d started to tear up.

“What, how, they were behind us the whole time!? Oh god, shit shit shit, what’re we going to do?”

“I don’t know, run? Find the street and run, maybe a car will drive by and we can catch a ride. Judy”—I walked over to her and gave her a smack in the face—“get up, we need to leave, NOW.”

She looked up at me and smiled—that scared me, much more than it should have. Then she pointed toward the far end of the clearing. There was rustling, behind us as well—hell, it became apparent that we were surrounded. Aiming my gun, I fire a round into the trees and a squeal could be heard, followed by the sound of ripping flesh and laughter.

“Judy...Marsha...this is probably the end of the line…”

“Shut the fuck up, we’re going to run!”

“Marsha, give it up, we’ve been running all day, and they’ve nearly caught us every time.”

“Nearly—I don’t want to die, I won’t, can you at least try one last…”

“Sometimes trying isn’t enough. Miracles don’t happen in real life, so scratch that off. At least let’s go out fighting.”

I signaled to the crew that time was up, but just as they started on the man, he got up. Turning around, he grinned a bit as he walked past me.

“All done, hope you guys like the job I did.”

He continued on and I rushed toward the elevator, but not in time as I realized what he had done. Paste, good lord what was I thinking, paste! You don’t paste together wires to fix them. On the other hand, it makes a great weapon…Swsssshhhhh, the elevator started to descend and I turned toward the crew.

“Get him! Don’t let him get…”

I flew off of my feet as an earthquake occurred; flames leapt out of the elevator shaft, licking my back. I could see him in the distance, laughing as he strolled away. Then I noticed, with an odd mix of horror and wonder, that the flames were a bright green and smelt of burnt flesh. A second tremor came and I started to run. There were shadows in the flames, shadows were no living thing should be to create them. The reporter and crew started to flee, scrabbling toward their cars, but I felt this was futile. RAWWWRRRRR, I turned around, wet myself: he’d transformed them, those poor souls trapped in the basement, into...something. Who was that man, what had he created…

“Get in the vehicles, NOW. Good lord what the fuck is going on!”

“Ma'am, the camera, it’s too heavy…”

“Are you kidding? Take the video and drop it, let’s go!”

They started to lung at us and I continued to fire until I was empty, we’d gotten atop the car, but that wasn’t going to save us. The deluge continued and slowly drowned out their yelps and blood curling screams, but it did the same to ours. They tore at our flesh and it finally hit me—we’re going to die here. There was no hope, no helicopter gunship to save us, no Superman to fry all of them with his stare. My gun, and its blunt end, had little effect, beyond increasing their bloodlust. Oh and what bloodlust it was, I could feel it in my bones, my head shook under its intensity. They had no other purpose, no other goal, than to kill, eat, and move on to the next victim. We’d fought so hard, run so long, but sometimes, that just isn’t enough…

-biafra

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©2006-2017 | biafra ahanonu | updated 19 june 2017
biafra ahanonu