A/N: This is my first Fiction Press published story. Any hiccups in grammar and spelling that you notice left in a review would be greatly appreciated. This story follows a man who's faced with a tough life and tough decisions, as a small fascinating fungus destroys everything. I took inspiration for this story from my excessive time spent playing Call of Duty.
The bitter cold air kisses my face as I walk slowly toward the door. I can hear them, behind the door; their grunting, moaning, thumping. I hear their dead flesh pound against the cold floor. My breath comes quick and short, little white puffs of moisture in the frigid air. They know I'm here; they can't see or hear, or smell, or feel, but they know.
When this epidemic first broke out the world sent top minds to decipher how, why, and to find a cure. Those pencil pushers figured out the first two. There is a fungus that thrives in the jungles that can reanimate dead insects. This fungus jumped the food chain, too fast to be noticed. It liked the body's natural temperature and moisture content, because compared to the rain forests, people are warm and dry. Warm blooded mammals are now this parasites new favorite host.
For being such smart people, they should have realized there is no cure; but they still tried. Fungicides that kill a person slowly, small doses of microwave radiation that kills you slower, while boosting the rate of growth of the parasitoid, but I figured it out, I found the fast way, the humane way. The only lasting cure… a bullet to the brain.
The door buckles as the zombies throw their weight against it. Their shrieks are louder now, almost like they are communicating. I back pedal away from the door, giving myself space and time. The door buckles again and an arm manages to get in between the door jam and the door. I draw the revolver from the holster at my hip, and swing the cylinder out. I've got the full seven rounds. I raise my gun; ready, shaking but ready. The hinges groan as they break free from the wall and the stench of death hits me like a truck, nearly knocking me over. My body tenses as I stare down six inches of cold, blue steel.
The first undead corpse standing in the doorway screams, excited at the prospect of food. The ear splitting shriek ends abruptly as a bullet tears through its eye socket, sending a spray of pink flesh over the group behind it. My ears haven't even stopped ringing before I pull the trigger again, sending another cloud flying. The monsters come shambling through the doorway, jagged teeth gnashing in anticipation of my flesh. I blow them all away, at least I try too. The last freak, a little more than an arms length away, doesn't get a slug. I pull the trigger, the hammer falls, but no bullet fires. I try again; the cylinder rotates but still no gunshot. Its rotting hands grab my shoulders as it lunges and throws me to the ground.
My gun flies from my hand as my head hits the smooth concrete floor. I fight the stars and the blackness as another deafening scream rattles the room, I can feel its putrid breath on my cheek. I try to push it away; I kick at its knees and chest, desperate to free myself. My hands grab at anything, blindly searching for something to beat this monster back. My fingers brush something hard, I stretch my arm to the limit, grab hold, and swing whatever it is into the creatures head. The blow sends the corpse off of me. I spring to my knees and lunge, swinging my makeshift mace into its temple. I bring it down again and again, until only its bottom jaw, with its broken and rotting teeth, is left. I sit back, out of breath and shaking. I look down at my gore soaked hands and see that the cold lump of metal is actually a pipe wrench. I let it fall from my hands, too tired to even hold something.
My eyes lazily scan the room. Slowly my brain processes what lies before me, the trail of broken and bloody corpses leading from the door, the blood and brain matter everywhere. It coats the ceiling and the walls, it pools on the floor and it covers me. I raise my shaking hands, they are filthy with blood and grime and things I don't want to think about. My brain says otherwise. I keep seeing the spray and keep feeling the weight of the wrench in my hand. I close my eyes, but it gets no better. Bile begins to rise in my throat as I try to stand, but before I can reach the door I vomit. The hot fluid pours up and out of my stomach burning my mouth and nose. I spit, trying to rid the taste of acid from my mouth, and wipe my face with a grimy sleeve.
I pick up my revolver from where it lay nearby, stuff it into its holster, and leave the room. I don't even care if I step on a body.
The fungus is actually a real species, it is called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. The gun used is the Taurus Model 66, a .357 magnum single action/double action revolver. Let me know if you would like this story to continue, it won't be an epic piece but it could have multiple chapters.
Thanks for reading!