The End: Story Two
End of the Line
By: David K. Montoya
As I came around the corner, the first thing I saw was an Unlucky on top of my son. It was trying to bite him, but Michael was smart enough to wedge his knee between them that made a gap between him and the monster. Renee was trapped in a corner with her weapon drawn and readied, but she did not fire at the creature that had her trapped. I saw the fear in her eyes. I pointed toward her and told Richard to handle it, which was the only thing I remember before I leapt upon the Unlucky that was on top of my son.
While I wrestled with the monster, I saw Richard run over to the creature that was attacking Renee. He swung the fire axe wildly but he was able to sever the demon's head from its shoulders; which caused dark tarry blood to erupt from the open wound spewing on Renee and himself. My attention was drawn back to the beast I was struggling with when it grabbed the side of my neck and shoulder where I had been bitten a few days earlier. I let out a cry as the creature dug its fingers into my wound.
Then something weird happened. The Unlucky let go and quickly crawled away from me. Once it got back up to its feet, the creature just stood there staring at me. It hissed a few times as if it were talking to me.
I looked slightly to my left and saw the other threeRichard, Michael, and Renee. They almost had the same look on their faces as the creature that stood in front of me had. I jumped back when I heard gun shots being fired, and then the beast fell dead. When it hit the ground I looked up and saw the professor and Rose. The weapon that the professor held had smoke swirling from its barrel, so I assumed he was the one who shot the Unlucky.
After a few moments of stunned silence, we quickly regrouped. I showed everyone the map that I found only minutes before. We learned that at the end of the hall was a staircase that led into another section of the school, where the chart said the Principal's Office was located. Before we were able to move on, Michael pointed out that I was bleeding from where the unlucky had grabbed my shoulder. The professor wanted to take a look at it, but I told him it was a small wound and there was no need to worry about it. My protest went unheeded as he pulled back my shirt and saw the dressing I put over it before we left Palace City. The professor removed the bandage and examined the wound that was underneath. He gasped when he saw the extent of the damage and asked me how long had it been since I was bitten.
I told him it had been a few days now; it happened the day we left Airepseh. I asked the professor how bad was it and if it was infected. He explained that it was not infected but the way my skin looked he could tell that I had contracted some form of the "Sickness". I told the professor that I knew I was sick, but did not want to worry everyone about it that's why I had not said anything about it.
Everyone stood there for a few moments without saying anything, but I knew what each one was thinking. 'Should we kill him now or wait until he has completely turned.' I gave everyone a stern look and told them if anyone wanted to try and take me out, the time was now. They all just stood there, and to my relief no one made an attempt on my life. I told them the day I felt that I was losing control and acted like one of those demons instead of a human, I would end things myself.
After that, I folded the map up carefully and placed it back into my pocket and started up the hallway to find the stairs. I led the group. They remained a few feet behind me. I knew at that moment I would be alienated by the others for the rest of our journey to the City of Haven. We traveled up the hallway without anyone saying a word. Finally, in the distance I saw the staircase that led over to the farthest wing of the school. At that point the only thing I wanted to do was get the keys to the bus and get the hell out of Corpseland.
When we arrived at the steps of the staircase I cautioned everyone to be careful. They looked fragile and weak, as if they were made of aged wood. No one responded to what I said, so I turned my back to them and slowly made my way up the stairs. The first thing I noticed once I was in the next level was the gut wrenching smell of mildew and rot. Water damage was significant in this part of the building. I looked up and saw a gaping hold in the ceiling.
Next to the staircase was a decomposing wooden door. I thought about not waiting for the others, but I decided against that. No reason to make things between us more difficult and awkward than they already were. A few moments later they arrived and appeared to be surprised to find me there waiting for them. It seemed that because I was infected, I was no longer honorable or cared for by my family and friends.
I walked over to the door and tried to open it, but it would not budge. After a quick glance I could tell that after so many years of neglect the steel had rusted, sealing the wooden frame where it stood. Without further thought I reared back and drove my boot through the rotted timber, only to be greeted by an Unlucky who was on the other side. The monster burst through the already splintered door, knocking me to the ground and headed straight for the others. Still on the floor I reached out and grabbed its leg which caused it to fall. But, the creature refused to be slowed and continued to advance toward the gang.
I grabbed it with my other hand and dragged the beast back toward me. Now I had its attention, as the demon swung at me and sliced the side of my face with its clawlike nails. I grabbed the Unlucky by the throat and slammed my fist into its face several times, which caused me to be strayed by the thing's blood. When I let go of its throat, the beast toppled to one side. As I got back to my feet, I made my way back to the destroyed doorway, but I stopped when something caught my eye. It was a long thick sliver of wood from the doorway, at least a foot long and about two and a half inches thick. I picked up the piece of wood and walked back over to the barely conscious Unlucky on the floor.
It was reminiscent of an old horror movie, as I drove the wooden stake into the demon's chest. Blood spewed from around the entry wound, and I must have punched through its lung as it began to cough up the tarry dark substance. It twitched and convulsed there in front of me. My attention was turned away when I heard Richard whisper something to the others, who could do nothing more than stand there and talk among themselves. I decided that I would give them something else to whisper about and I leaned in on the peace of wood that stuck out from the monsters chest, causing it to sink deeper inside of the creature.
After a few moments passed the Unlucky finally lay still, completely lifeless, engulfed in its own blood. That sight soothed the rage that was inside me. It was rapidly replaced with a strong feeling of what I can only describe as pure blood lust. As I walked away and headed toward the exit that led to the other wing, I tried my best to keep my wits about me. I could feel myself slipping further away, becoming more like one of them, craving the blood lust. I wanted to go back and inflict more havoc on the bloody corpse, but instead I remained strong enough to walk through the threshold to the other side.
Once I passed through the doorway, I only took a dozen or so steps before I reached a large counter. As I looked around, I saw a few full sized desks placed in an order that gave the appearance that it was a part of a giant maze. I realized then where we werein the administrative level of the school building. I walked over to a large open part of the counter, and with a fast swipe of my hand I pushed any items that were in my way to the ground so I could place the map down and review it with a bit more ease.
I gathered everyone over to the map, and after a thorough assessment of the chart, I learned that I was correct in my assumption; we were indeed in the administrative sector of the building. Just past the maze of desks that lay in front of me was the Principal's office. I turned to everyone and told them that hopefully the keys were just beyond the door across the room. They began to walk and I grabbed my son's arm. He stopped to see why I had halted him.
He would not look me in the eyes, as I tried to look into his. I told him to not abandon me; I was his Father and if I was to get through everything that had been going on, I would need his support. Finally, he looked at me and told me that he did not want to see his father turn into an Unlucky. After which he broke down into tears and embraced me. I explained that I hadn't turned yet, and with everyone's help we would get to Haven so the professor could get me the cure. When I looked up I saw the others standing around me. Rose said that no one was going to abandon me, that we were all family and that we would see it to the very end. The professor told me that he owed his life to me since I helped him escape his prison in Palace city, and then Renee stepped in to remind me that I had saved her life back in Airepseh from those Unlucky's who had hopes of making a meal of her.
Richard interrupted Renee to let me know that he did not owe me anything. It was my decision to rescue him from the Palace City prisons, he never asked for my or any other person's help. He was about to say something else before I cut him short and told him that he may not owe anything to me, but his life's debt was owed to my daughter. Richard stood there for a moment without saying a word. Finally he sighed and told me to lead the way. I folded the map and placed it back into my pocket before I walked over to the other side of the counters. We moved between the puzzlelike layout of the complex, until I found a dead end. I tried to move the desk to create a clearance only to find out that it was bolted to the floor. I decided instead of going around the large metal desks, to go over them. One by one we made our way past the obstacles, until we were standing in front of a door labeled, "Principals Office".
The door opened with ease and we walked inside. To my surprise the entire office was well kept. The office itself was a large space with everything appearing to be make of wood. I asked myself how it was possible for one room in the entire building to remain flawless. My question would soon be answered as I made my way to an over sized mahogany desk. I was in awe to find that a high backed leather chair remained behind the desk, but the back of it faced me so I was unable to make out what sort of condition it was in. The closer I got to the desk I could hear an odd sound, like the rattle of keys. I asked the others if they heard it as well, which they all did. The closer I got to the desk, the louder the jingling was becoming.
Finally, I was in front of the desk, when the unthinkable happened. The large high backed chair began to turn around on its own, and there in it was an Unlucky, which was indeed swirling a ring of keys around its long bony finger.
I was in utter disbelief when the creature looked up at us. Its demonic howl sounded like he said, "I've been waiting for you."