The End: Story Three
Onslaught Part One
By: David K. Montoya
I found myself on the outskirts of Haven, where a large body of water once was. Now it was just damp sand with a little stream that ran passed it. The gate surrounding Haven is extended just enough to place my feet in what was formally known as Libby Creek; it was the first time I had seen a body of water since leaving Airepseh months ago. I gazed out passed the chain-linked fence and into the woods. The wildlife appeared to dance in some sort of a game, utterly unaware of the hell that modern life had become.
I admitted to myself that I was somewhat jealous of the animals for their lack of realization. But with The Sickness soon to be a thing of the past with the vaccine or as Helen called it The Cure, perhaps the world will begin to rebuild. However, my mind wandered for a bit. Finally, it concluded that even with a drug to prevent people from becoming ill, the problem was that millions of Unluckys still roamed the planet. Granted, the ungodly monsters would eventually die from starvation and dehydration, but how long would that take?
The realization that Haven would be our home for many more years, and while I was grateful for the fact that my children and soon-to-be grandchild were safe from the savagery of the Unluckys, I missed the adventure and the thrill of wiping out countless demons. It was at that time I felt truly alive! Even with the possibility of contracting the sickness was very probable, I found myself missing it. Maybe, once everyone is vaccinated against the modern plague and my services are not needed there any longer, I will return out into the chaos of the world and help people to other Havens.
Not soon after, I pulled my feet from the running water and put my shoes back on. The sun began to lower, and I knew I needed to get through the woods before dark, or I would spend the night in the wilderness. So, I started up the dirt path toward US Highway 2, back toward the suburb, and to my house. While I traveled, my mind jumped to several thoughts of interest but continuously returned to the idea of going back out into the world to find more uninfected people and get them to another place of safety.
It took a couple of hours before I arrived at my house. The lights were on, and I saw Renee inside. She sat on an oversized sofa with a glass of wine and a book. I had forgotten entirely about calculating her into the equation. It had been so long without a mate that I had selfishly projected my personal needs without concerning her. I knew that she would never agree to leave Haven, and I would never ask her to do such a thing. How many times was she almost killed since I met her? Maybe it was time to accept the fact that we achieved our endgame goal, and it was time to live an everyday life once more.
I walked in and was met with a smile from across the room, Renee wore a thin white nightgown, and I wondered how I got so lucky to be one of the survivors but to have a new mate. There were so many that did not. Was this God's payback for Helen? She placed her book and glass down and got up from the sofa. The closer she came, the stronger I smelt her honeysuckle perfume. Once she stood in front of me, I knew exactly what she wanted. Her hungry eyes were a telltale sign. She reached up, clasped her fingers behind my neck, and asked seductively if I wanted to celebrate the vaccine.
Just as our lips touched, a violent bang came from the front door. Renee and I paused and looked at each other in question; I walked over to the door and cautiously opened it. To my surprise, it was Arturo. He shoved me out of his way and walked inside my home. I thought he was there for Renee, grabbed him with a yank, and had him against the wall. Immediately I realized that Arturo was not well. His skin hung like someone who lost enormous weight in a short time. Eventually, he asked me what I had done.
Arturo explained that he received the Cure, but a few hours after began feeling sick with vomiting and diarrhea. Six hours after the shot, his clothes became baggy. Then it hit me. I grabbed him by the chin and looked into Arturo's eyes, which were turning yellow. He had The Sickness!
Arturo's eyes filled in yellow at that moment, and he let out an uncomfortable but familiar hiss. He tried to bite my hand, but I got into fast blows to the nose, black tarry blood expelled from each nostril, and I screamed out to Renee to run; Arturo had transformed into an Unlucky. He tried to scratch at my face, but his nails were clipped short, and no damage was caused. Then, I unleashed multiple blows to the face while I held him by his jaw, and the freshly turned monster tried to bite me again.
I pushed Arturo over to the sofa, where Renee left her book and wine glass. We collapsed to the floor as we wrestled for a position, momentary Arturo was on top of me, but I reached up and grabbed the first thing I found. It was the wine glass, I shattered it against his skull, but that did not affect him. It was visible that Arturo slipped farther away from his humanity moment by moment. Quickly, I took the surviving glass stem and plunged it into his trachea. More black, tarry blood exploded from the wound and on me, but he fell backward. Arturo was still human enough to panic from having his airway obstructed.
I heard Renee call out to me. I looked over my shoulder and saw her as she handed me my fire axe. I took it from her and gripped the wooden handle, and it felt welcoming and oddly enough good to have that in my hands once again. My attention turned back toward Arturo as he hissed. I saw out of my peripheral vision him leaping toward me. In a single motion, I turned and swung the blade severing the monster's head from his neck. A fountain of black tarry blood sprayed the surrounding area.
I checked with Renee, that none of Arturo's blood got on her. It was then agreed that we needed to let Michael and Fran know not to take the Cure and get to downtown Haven before any more can be distributed to the people.
We stepped out the front door and found our neighborhood was transformed into a scene from a horror movie. Freshly turned, Unluckys chased people down the road. It was an onslaught of the innocents. We ran to Rose's house first; we found her remains outside on her lawn. She still had a baseball bat in her hand, her back had been torn away, and the latterly cut grass was saturated with her blood. I crumbled to my knees and howled out a cry for my little sister. Tears formed and fell rapidly from my eyes after everything we had been through. How was that the way Rose died?
Renee pulled me to my feet and said we needed to get to Michael and Fran's house. I was frozen, momentarily fixed on my sister's dead body. Anger flooded me. I felt my skin begin to burn and itch, I realized that I was turning, but I could not, not in front of Renee. I took a deep breath, charged the nearest Unlucky near me, and split its head in half with my fire axe. Then I found another and removed his skull from the body; in the fifteen minutes that followed, I killed every beast I could.
Eventually, I came to and found myself with the fire axe in hand while I chopped away at the midsection of a dead Unlucky. With the final swing, the spine had severed, and the dead eyes of the Unlucky glared at me. I instinctively unloaded on its head until the remains were unidentifiable.
Renee and I ran into my son's house; both called out to him. But there was no answer. The living room was dark as the night was full, and only the streetlights cast small beams through the closest window. I screamed out to my son and his wife once more but was reminded that it was evening by Renee. Both Michael and Fran were still at work... At work in the city.
I continuously pushed on the accelerator but was not allowed to speed up. I grumbled that at that point, Renee and I would make it into downtown Haven faster by foot. Around that time, we passed the gates that led into Free Zone. We watched in complete horror as Unluckys ravaged the poor people who lived there; it was a demonic all-you-can-eat buffet. I noticed the ground reflected like a dark-colored mirror and realized it was all the human blood that slipped that night that collected on the asphalt. I knew it was too late for the Free Zone, but I prayed to whoever listened that it wasn't too late for downtown but mainly for my son and wife.
Finally, we reached Haven, which appeared to be an active war zone between the regular humans and the Unluckys. Fire and dead bodies littered the streets, much like the Free Zone; people were chased through the streets and, when captured, ripped apart by fresh Unluckys for a meal. I sat in the car for a moment, realizing that all that had and will happen was directly because of me. They used my blood for a vaccine against the sickness, only to learn that it transformed people into the thing they took the shot to prevent.
I looked up and saw that one of the high-rise buildings was on fire. It appeared as if a bomb had exploded inside. That was where Helen and her goons were, but more importantly, that was where Michael and Fran were.