The End: Story Two
To Home, From Hell
By: David K. Montoya
I was awakened by a loud crash that came from outside of the SUV. As I sat up in my seat, I saw shards of a wood hitting the already shattered windshield. The damage might have been worse, if not for the protective metal panel that covered most of the glass.
I looked around but saw nothing, as the night shadowed everything. I asked Michael what was going on and after turning on the dome light to illuminate the inside, he told me that we had gone through a wooden barrier.
That did not sit well with me as we were already inside Corpseland. Why would anyone put up a containment wall? Unless I asked Mike if he had any idea where we were. He replied that he had no clue. The last sign we passed said, 'Welcome to Lund' and that had been an hour or so ago.
When I looked out the window I saw a street marker that indicated we were on Highway Six. We had to travel this road all the way through in order to get back on the '93.' But that meant we would have to drive through Ely, the heart of Corpseland.
I told Michael to floor it all of the way through that town and not to stop under any circumstances. I heard the engine begin to run harder and felt the vehicle surge forward. Within seconds we had sped past open fields of what I believed to be the outskirts of Ely.
As we turned into the town proper, I saw lighted street lamps lining the sidewalk that stretched completely through the city. I wondered, how could this be Ely? It still had power. I did not know of any place (other then Haven) that had working electricity.
We sped down the road as I looked out the small slot that was cut out from the protective metal paneling. I saw many older buildings that had been boarded up. As we drove past an old abandoned bank, a loud bang came from beneath the SUV.
Michael shrieked that he had just hit something! I told him not to stop; whatever he hit was dead and there was no reason to turn back. I could tell he wanted to go check on whatever he had hit, but I told him that nothing could have lived through the impact, not even an Unlucky.
But I was proven wrong, as a bloodied Unlucky crawled from beneath the SUV and onto the hood. It began to swipe at the metal panel, trying to get inside. Even though we were safe on the other side of the glass, Michael started to become nervous.
He started to yell that he couldn't see the road in front of him, and with another crash, the vehicle almost came to a complete stop. Looking out the side slot, my stomach twisted into a knot when I saw that we had run into hundreds of Unluckys. Several bodies became impaled on the makeshift spikes that had been welded onto the font of the SUV some hours ago. We barely maintained any speed as we climbed up and over those beasts. The sound of bones cracking, as well as howls of pain rang through the vehicle.
The SUV teetered back and forth as we made our way through the growing crowd and bounced over the corpses that were beneath us. At one point the vehicle was completely covered with Unluckys, all trying to claw their way inside the SUV. My heart began to race and I felt the urge to kill starting to work its way up in me. But I knew I had to keep my wits about me; I could not afford to black out and get everyone killed.
We began to draw our weapons and fire at those monsters through the small slot holes that were cut in the metal panels. Killing them was almost too easy. All I had to do was simply pull the trigger; no aiming was required because there were so many of them.
I felt our momentum slowly decreasing, but I encouraged Mike to keep going. Gun shots rang out across the SUV. At one point it was entirely covered in the dark tarry blood of the Unluckys.
A few moments later, we came to a sudden halt. Michael whipped around and shouted that they had us at an utter standstill. The creatures began ramming the vehicle, causing it to sway from side to side. As the force intensified the vehicle began to rock violently back and forth.
I realized that those demons were trying to tip us over! How was that even possible? That would require a higher cognitive level than any of the Unluckys could possibly have. Then my mind shifted back to a few days ago, when Richard had told me about how the 'Sickness' had mutated and created new hybrids.
I was about to asked Richard about that, when he pulled open the moon roof and squeezed his entire upper body through the small opening. I heard countless shots being fired from up top, and I yelled to see if he was all right. He only replied with more gun shots. Beginning to feel helpless I told Michael to try and get us out of there! I heard the engine roar and we shook a bit, but once again we came to a complete stop. Turning toward me with a heavy sigh, Mike told me it was no good.
We all sat there in silence for a moment; I could sense that everyone's hope was fading fast. We could hear the howls and the hissing of the Unluckys. Then, without warning, everything went quiet. I knew that they were still out there; I saw them through the window standing next to us. It almost appeared if they were listening to something.
Then the noise started up again and they begin to ram the SUV once more, causing the vehicle to shift back and forth, but this time with more force! The gunshots from Richard commenced once again. We could hear him yelling that we needed to do something, because he was running out of ammunition.
And then it came to meI had an idea!
I told Michael to throw it into reverse, and if we could get a few feet of opening to then hit the accelerator. He did just that. As soon as we began to go backwards I could hear bodies of the Unluckys hitting the frame of the vehicle. Then, without warning, Mike punched the gas and we jerked forward.
Slowly we made our way over the bodies with new found hope and we continued to unload rounds on those demonic creatures. I wondered if we were ever going to reach asphalt, as we bounced over the corpses. Blood spewed all over the front windshield panel as we neared the end of the group of Unluckys.
Before we could get the windshield cleaned off, a bloodied arm crashed through the glass and latched onto me by the throat. Michael tried to pull the beast's claws away, but I told him I would be all right and for him to focus on the road. I tried to grab the shotgun that was sitting on the dashboard when a second hand came through and began to strangle me!
As I struggled to reach my weapon, I heard the Professor calling my name. I glanced into the rear view mirror and saw that he was trying to hand me his handgun. Reaching over my shoulder I attempted to grab it, even as I felt that the monster was squeezing tighter. Finally I touched the barrel with my fingertips and stretching back with one last effort, I was able to grasp the gun.
Unable to see, I aimed blindly at the windshield and fired a single round, which caused what was left of the glass to shatter and rain down onto the wedge of the dashboard. The creature's hands fell lifelessly away from my throat allowing me to breathe more freely. Before I could push the body from the SUV, it was pulled from the vehicle by other Unluckys. The creatures wasted no time ripping the demon open to begin feeding on its insides.
Finally, Mike said that he had found an open part of the road. Shifting the wheel to the left, we turned onto the deserted road and quickly accelerated, moving farther away from those demons. We sped down the old road gaining speed and hitting anything that got in out way; other cars, fences and bodiesliving or dead. The tires squealed with each turn as we moved deeper into the city.
Looking through the slot in the back of the rear window, I saw that the Unluckys were only yards away from us and they were moving in on us quickly. They were so close I could look into those faces. They looked more human than any of the others we had encountered thus far. They still were wearing clothes, but I knew that they weren't freshly turned Unluckys by the way their faces looked; pale white skin with patches decaying from the sickness. I pondered whether they were indeed hybrids.
I watched as they got closer to us, even as Michael continued to push the SUV to its limits. Finally reaching a clear stretch of road, he got the vehicle up to sixty miles an hour and we drew away from the beasts.
Richard came back inside and said that we appeared to be in the clear. Moving faster down a back road, I saw another wooden barrier. It did not look very frail and I started to worry about how much more abuse the SUV could take before falling apart.
Moments later Mike yelled out to everyone to, "Hold on." Slamming into the wooden barricade dead on, we surprisingly busted through it with ease. I was overwhelmed with a sense of safety as we drove away from the destroyed barrier, but that feeling soon faded as after traveling only about a mile, the SUV started to sputter and backfire.
We only went a few more blocks before the engine completely died. With what little momentum we had left, we were able to coast a couple more yards before coming to a stop in front of an old library. I asked Michael what had happened? He explained that the gas gauge read empty! Somehow we were out of gas, even though he and the Professor refueled in Sunnyside.
I knew that something had to be done before the Unluckys tracked us down. I snatched the shotgun off the dashboard and loaded a few shells into it. I told everyone to stay inside, no matter what happened, unless told otherwise by me. I opened the door and scanned the area for any unwanted visitors. Once the door was closed behind me, I heard someone click the locks, preventing anything from getting inside.
I got down on my hands and knees to look underneath the SUV, but it was too dark to see anything, so I got on my back and inched myself under the vehicle. I continued to clutch the shotgun in my left hand. If something tried to sneak up on me, I would be able to protect myself without having to stand up.
Once I was completely beneath the SUV I was able to see the problem; the entire fuel line was missing! The gas had poured right from the gas tank without any of us knowing about it. I'm not sure where we lost it exactly; it might have been ripped out when we busted through either barrier walls or possibly after crashing through hundreds of Unluckys.
Climbing from out underneath the SUV, I called for everyone to get out. Once they did, I explained to them that the fuel line was missing and without that the vehicle had became utterly useless. I walked over to the SUV, reached inside and grabbed a box of shells. I sat my shotgun down on the seat while I loaded the revolver that I had taken from the Professor earlier. After fully loading the weapon, I gave it back, thanking him. I told him he was going to need it if we were to travel by foot.
Renee then grasped the realization that we were all trapped in Corpseland. She began to panic, saying that we needed to go back out into the open to look for the missing fuel line. I told her that would be committing suicide; there was no way any of us would make it with what little ammo we had on us. After hearing that news, Rose held her face and began to sob uncontrollably as she slid down the side of the bloodcovered SUV. Renee went over and wrapped her arms around her and started to weep with my sister.
Before I could tell the two of them to pull themselves together, Richard cried out that the Unluckys were coming! I grabbed Rose by the arm, pulled her up and held her until she was able to stand on her own. I took one of my old handguns out from the back of the SUV and gave it to my sister, placing it in her shaking hands. I told her that she was not going to die; not that day.
I then reached back inside the SUV and I grabbed my shotgun. I knew that there was only one package of shells left, so I needed to use them as sparingly as I possibly could.
The group of Unluckys came around the a corner of a building located directly behind the library. I yelled out for everyone to run, hoping we could get a lengthy head start on the creatures, but it was no good; they had caught our scent.
Fully aware that we could not beat them with bullets, all of us took off running down the back street, trying to outrun them. Going as fast as my legs would allow me to, I ran past an open fence and a few steps later I slipped and found myself underwater. I felt a hand slide under my arm and with a gentle tug, I came up from the water. There, staring back at me was Renee; she must have been right behind me. Getting back to my feet, I looked around and realized that we were standing in the center of an old duck pond.
The sound of the Unluckys was becoming louder with each passing moment. I was trying to regain my balance on a threetiered fountain that was once the centerpiece of the pond. I glanced over my shoulder to see that the group was now an army of those beasts.
I grabbed Renee's hand and took off as fast as I could, running out of the duck pond. We crossed a small road that divided the park into two sections, which stretched from the main street and stopped a few blocks down from the library. Reaching the second half of the park, I saw that the other four were only a few yards from where Renee and I were. While crossing the main section of the grounds, Renee tripped and fell to the ground writhing in pain, holding her ankle.
Turning back toward Renee, I told her that she had to get up if we were to get out of there alive! Renee told me to go on without her. She had seriously hurt her ankle and would not be able to walk, let alone run on it. I tossed the shotgun over my shoulder and hoisted her up into my arms. She looked into my eyes with surprise. I asked her if she really thought that I would leave her there alone to die.
I weaved in and out between the park's giant trees, trying to catch up with the others who were in the process of crossing the street.
Those monsters were hot on my heels as I ran past the last tree and was almost to the street when I felt a slight tug on my shirt. Looking over to see what it was; I saw that an Unlucky had hold of me.
Before I could say anything, Renee took the shotgun from my shoulder and fired the weapon, hitting the creature in the chest and he was knocked off his feet.
As I stared across the street, I saw that Richard, Michael, Rose, and the professor were running up a set of stairs that looked to lead inside an old school building. Without looking back, I darted across the street. I knew that the Unluckys were closing in on me from the several warnings from Renee. She was able to see what was behind us and took advantage of that.
Even though I had reached the other side of the street, I did not slow down. I continued to run all the way up the long stairwell until I arrived at the building's entrance door where the others were waiting for us. Speeding through the doorway into the school building, the professor quickly locked the entrance behind us once we were all safely inside the complex.
I gently lowered Renee to her feet until she was standing in front of me. I gave her a smile once I knew she was going to be all right. As I started to move away, she stopped me by grabbing my arm. I tuned back toward her to see what she wanted. Once I was fully facing her she reached up, wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a very long heartfelt kiss. As I went to move away, I felt her hand slide up my neck and to the back of my head to hold me in place. I could feel her rapid pulse as I caressed her jaw line down to her neck. With each moment that passed the kiss became more intense, with biting, grasping and finally, the exploration of our mouths with each other's tongue.
Finally, slowly, we pulled away from each other. She looked back into my eyes and in a soft voice said, "Thank you for saving my life." Then she leaned in and placed a quick, small peck on my lips before having Rose help her move over to the steps where she could sit down.
I looked around the building, I saw mold and different kinds of crust covering the discolored brick walls. Moving closer to get a better look, I found that the level above us had a water leak which ran down the stone, causing the mildew and other fungus to grow.
I looked out the window and was completely stunned by what I saw. Directly outside sat an old school bus! I called the others over to the window. I told everyone that I was going to get the bus and pull it around to the front. Michael said that he was going to go with me, but I told him that he had to stay here with the others and that if anything happened to me it would be his job to guide everyone to Haven. I gave my son a tight hug and reassured him that I was going to be okay, before I headed back outside armed only with my shotgun.
Stepping out of the old school building, I scanned for any Unluckys who might still be around from earlier. I could not see anything, but I knew that something was in the works. I would have to go around the building to get to the back where the bus was parked.
I ran down the steps across the front of the building, then I cautiously edged around the side of the building to the alleyway. Seeing nothing, I moved into the dark alley. With one hand I ran my fingers over the slimecovered walls to help guide my way out to the other end of the alley, while I gripped the handle of my gun with the other. With a dozen or so more steps I found myself at the back of the building.
And there it was. Running over to the bus, I could tell it was still in good condition. Using the heel of my boot, I shoved the old vehicle's door open. Just as I was about to step aboard I was blindsided and fell to the ground. I got to my feet as quickly as I could and my stomach turned into a knot when I could not see the shotgun! Looking up, I saw that the attacker was an Unlucky which was running straight toward me! There was nothing else I could do; I had to meet that bastard dead on!
Racing toward the creature as fast as I could I opened my mouth to let out a warcry, but the only thing that escaped from my throat was the evil hiss of an Unlucky! We both leaped at each other, colliding in mid air. It took a swing at me, but I caught his arm and slammed my forehead into the creature's nose, causing the monster's blood to spray everywhere. Once it hit the ground I found myself atop the demon.
It continued to swing wildly, slashing at my arms and face. I grabbed his lower jaw with one hand and latched onto the upper part of his mouth with the other hand. I stated to pull apart its jaw. The beast let out a scream of pure pain, but I was relentless. I heard the sound of the creature's skin begin to rip and even more blood spewed onto me. Finally, with one last tug, the lower jaw tore away from the Unlucky's face; blood flooded back down into its throat which caused the demon to gasp for air as it drowned on its own blood.
Frenzied by the sight of so much blood, I dug my fingers into his flesh, latched onto its Adam's apple and ripped it from the Unlucky's throat! He twitched a few times and gurgled a bit more until it became completely lifeless. I slowly got off of the body and getting back to my feet, I felt a small rain droplet hit my skin.
Trying to contain myself from the adrenaline rush, I began to pace back and forth, finally stopping as the rain started to come down harder. Looking up at the sky I tried to let out a cry, but it was replaced with something that could only be described as a mixture of a roar and a howl!
Falling to my knees, I prayed to whoever would listen to me. I began to bellow in confusion. I remained there for some time, crying, until the urge to kill was gone. Even after that I stayed on the ground, allowing the rain to wash away the blood of the dead.
Finally getting back up to my feet, I stumbled over to the bus and climbed up inside. From the look of it, the vehicle was well kept and appeared to be in good condition. Sitting down in the driver's seat, I leaned over to grab the key and start the motor. But to my surprise the key was not in the ignition!