Blood… blood was everywhere. Splattered across the ceiling, spattered on the walls, the floor deluged with it. This gruesome scene greeted Stuart Walker as he made the groggy climb toward consciousness. His mouth tasted of iron and salt, the air was heavy with a coppery odor. He became acutely aware of every sound that accompanied every move he made. His vision seemed cloudy, obscured, and when blinking failed, he swiped his forearm across his eyes. In doing so he noticed the bandage on it and oval shape stain which had bled through.
Was there an accident? Was this the scene of it? He tried to catch his breath, realized he couldn’t and quit trying. Any sense of panic or curiosity abated to a driving compulsion to move. He slipped from the bed, every joint creaking and popping. My god, he thought through a haze, that can’t be good, as he stepped into a body. Not onto but literally into, as the body was in two halves with him now standing in the eviscerated middle.
The body was… a nurse? Was he in a hospital? Consideration of this faded and focused on confinement and escape. He staggered on numb legs to stabilize himself against the nearest wall. Then turning, he moved along the wall, leaving a red smear along its white surface.
Circling the room once… twice… thrice “Hello” or “Help” was what he tried for but only issued a garbled groan. His vocal cords must have been damaged in the… accident? Though not his intention, the noise brought a response. Door hinges creaked behind him.
In desperation he lunged toward the sound, pushed through the open door and in the process knocked an orderly to the floor. Total… sensory… overload struck as he left the confines of the stagnant room. But above all else there was an undeniable, undefinable, uncontrollable craving. Something akin to that of the maddening desire to have “just one more puff” in the initial stages of cessation.
Before this compelling sensation could fully process, “Daddy!” and two kids (his kids?) raced towards him… stopping short at his macabre appearance. He lurched forward on unsteady legs to embrace their screams… and they… were… delicious.
The hunger momentarily sated. The haze of his mind lifted for a fraction of an instant. Long enough to absorb the horror of what he had done. He resigned to a feeling of no remorse along with the knowledge that he would do it again, as the urge returned to consume him.
His coherence was on a primal level. A sensation best described as being intoxicated in the back seat of a car. Unable to care about the destination as long as the beer didn’t run out and the party kept going. Time lapsed, between blurs of shambling about and feeding, until he escaped the confines of the hospital.
Never once did Stuart consider himself as a “zombie”, assign himself a proper undead pronoun, nor give a thought to defining his condition. He didn’t “consider” anything. Aside from hunger, he was numbly emotionless. However, as he lumbered across the hospital’s connecting graveyard there was a momentary twinge of what might have passed for empathy. He could hear the tortured cries of corpses who couldn’t escape their earthen tombs and pitied them. Then there was a loud crack sounding of thunder. Someone was ringing the dinner bell. He was drawn towards it and the damned were soon forgotten.
Bodies littered the square, all dead, none edible. In their midst stood one lone man who held some sense of familiarity. A gust furled red flannel, carrying away smoke from cigarette and shotgun barrel. The man turned as Stuart approached.
Tall and lean, the man showed no rush to reload the firearm for Stuart’s reception. White tainted sideburns framed a smiling smirk. And a quirked brow shadowed by a baseball capped brim.
Stuart let out a guttural moan and lurched forward. The man waited. The last thing that went through what was left of Stuart Walker’s mind was a load of 12 gauge buckshot. His rotting lifeless body fell onto the brick walk never to rise again.
Satisfied the man turned and called up to the building behind him. “Tammy, Carys… you ladies can come out now… Hell-o-ween is officially over.”
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