Author: literaryheroine PM
Simon Barrett lives in hell. And hell just so happens to want to eat his brains. A short story I wrote for a Writer's Craft class.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Suspense/Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 2,596 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 05-11-12 - Published: 04-16-12 - id: 3014037
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She had been at work that night. It was sweltering hot, even this late at night, a stark reminder that it was the dead centre of summer. It was quieter than summer usually seemed to be, but Molly didn't blame parents for keeping their children inside. Not with the news that had hit the world just weeks ago.
It scared her too, the virus. Of course, they said it would take weeks to kick in, but that served as no comfort for her. The thought that her friends could slowly be shifting into monsters—just enough that she wouldn't tell the difference from day to day—made her relentlessly paranoid. She would never say anything out loud, but she certainly kept her eyes peeled, even on her most trustworthy loved ones. She assured herself that if someone did snap, she'd be the first out.
She was wrong.
Her customer service job kept Molly busy in the most utterly headache-inducing and mundane way hell could imagine for her. It was always the same, listening to customers complaints about the most inane things and practicing the patience and self-restraint that a Buddhist monk would probably envy.
She didn't have much choice though; university was expensive to begin with, not helped any by the cost of wanting to be a doctor.
He was an older man, she guessed mid-fifties, and he was barely more than skin and bones. He looked sick in the way that most would not leave the house for; no, more like he should have been in a hospital bed.
She clenched her teeth as he walked up to the counter, staring intently at her friend Jo. She told herself she was letting her paranoia get the better of her—it certainly wouldn't have been the first time, remembering back to the time she had convinced herself that her prom date in high school would stand her up as some sort of cruel joke, resulting in her not going at all.
Of course, she revoked that thought the minute he opened his mouth and lunged at Jo.
He hit the back wall, Jo having apparently been as prepared to move as Molly had. He got up, a little disoriented from the crash, and she could see Jo land a reluctant kick to his stomach. Molly looked down, mentally sifting through the returned items bin and to her non-existent luck, found nothing that resembled a real weapon.
By the time she looked back up, Jo was pushing the Infected away, who was on top of her, biting at the air viciously. Careful not to hit her friend, Molly threw something hard at it. Both the Infected and his to-be-victim looked over at her, one in anger and one in fear.
It had been a baby rattle, she noticed with a split second of morbid curiosity as it stood at the feet of the creature.
It was only as she felt herself hit the wall behind her did it cross her mind that there was no time to think of her surroundings.
"Run!" she yelled to Jo, holding the creature's face from hers with one hand and frantically grasping for another weapon with the other.
Molly could feel the monster's breath against her neck.
People, by the logic of the human nature, feel that in preparing ahead of time, ensures some sort of elevated chances of living; this, however, is complete bollocks, Molly thought to herself. In planning, everyone seems to disregard the fact that having a 150 pound cannibal inches from your face certainly doesn't make for the clearest thinking.
What seemed logical at the time – not so much in retrospect – was to use the closest weapon she had at her disposal; this brilliant weapon, as one would expect, being her head. To her benefit later, she'd learned her lesson.
There was a loud crack as their heads met, followed by a string of profanities (all of which are omitted by recommendation of our lawyers). She cradled her forehead, muttering and backing away as quickly as she could manage.
Stumbling into the seemingly endless maze of shelving, she made her way to the back of the store, wherein was the weapons section. She didn't dare look back, knowing how precious the few seconds it would waste could be; it was a human eat human world out there, and she sure as hell didn't want to be the latter part of that cliché.
Whether it was still behind her or not, Molly couldn't be sure. All she knew was that there was a glass case, right in the middle of the closed up sporting goods section, that quite likely was her only saving grace.
She flinched at the sound of glass shattering filled the room. The baseball bat she had pulled off a nearby shelf had gone clean through the cabinet as soon as she reached it. Molly turned suddenly, holding the bat in full attack mode, fully expecting to come face to face with the creature; she was met with nothing more than the empty aisles she had ran through.
Reaching her hand into the case, she armed herself with a decent sized gun. Of course, the bat would have worked, but she didn't fancy getting that close to that- that- thing again.
She couldn't even remember how she had gotten back to the front door, her mind obviously preoccupied with the situation at hand. He was there waiting, the man, hunched over something on the floor; she could feel her throat fall into her stomach.
In grade school, Molly had gained a reputation - she was the girl who would never, and likewise could never, hurt a fly. She had no problem with that being her defining thing; after all, she certainly didn't want to hurt anyone. Molly, as well as everyone who though this, was wrong. They were all wrong.
Well, maybe not completely. After all, an Infected certainly wasn't a fly.
Her heart raced as he hit the floor. How she had even hit her target was beyond her, especially since, with her pale shaking hands, she had never shot a gun before.
It was only after she stopped looking at the monster, still scared it might get back up, that she saw what—or rather, who—it had been leaning over.Her heart, which had previously been vying to win some Nascar event, now seemed non-existent.
She ran, trying to get the image of Jo—mangled and broken—out of her mind.
Molly Wilson would not be the first one out.
Nor would she be the last.