Monday, August 17, 2009

Romero's Ranch Excerpt

     Running from the living room to the bedroom, I glance out the dirt-encrusted window and see ten of the living dead crossing the two-lane road.  An SUV cruises down the road, then, in a sudden movement, swerves to the left, hitting a zombie in the knees.  It flips up like a rag doll, hitting the windshield, before shattering its skull on the pavement.  The SUV careens out of control and rolls down the short embankment before landing on its hood in our field.

     As I stand with the palms of my hands pressed against the window, I witness two horrific events.  One the road crawls the zombie, whose legs have been ripped off; leaving a blood trail like a snail leaves a trail of slime.  The small group of zombies that I spotted earlier has now descended on the upturned vehicle.  Movement from inside the car tells me that the driver is still alive and trapped half in and half out of the car.  I turn away just those things start to claw and bite at the man's arms and face.

     Just as I talk myself into taking another look, a gangly kid's face slams against the window.  I scream and jump back, nearly dropping the gun in the process.  Even though his face is battered, I recognize him as Bobby Jones from my English Lit class.  He presses his face against the glass, weakly beating his fists against the window.  His sister Kristen, my best friend, shuffles up behind him.  Blood seeps from a ragged hole in her neck, staining her clothes red.  Her white, eyes meet mine and I swear I see a flicker of recognition cross her face, before she and Bobby move off in another direction.

     A sudden wave of panic grips me, as I remember the back door that doesn't close all the way anymore by the back bedroom.  I run as fast as I can, but realize I'm too late, when Bobby's outline can be seen behind the door.  His outstretched arms push against the rotted wood.

     I try shouldering the door against Bobby's body, but it's impossible because Kristen has added to the weight.  Starting to tire, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and count to three.  On three, I throw open the door, hop back and take aim.  I fire off one shot, hitting Bobby in the chest, but he doesn't go down.  Aiming a little higher, I nail him the head and he crumples to his knees.

     Kristen stumbles over her brother's body, whose blood covers her snarling face.  She manages to grab hold of my arm and I jerk it away, causing her to fall forward onto her elbows.  She doesn't even bother to try to stand up, but starts crawling towards me.  Feeling fresh tears brimming in my eyes, I start screaming out of fear and frustration.  Feeling my friend's cold hand wrap around my ankle, I lower the gun, resting the barrel against her tangled, blood-soaked mess of hair.

     Whispering, "I'm sorry, Kristen" I pull the trigger.

     Her head jolts back, taking her body with it.  I drop to my knees and let huge racking sobs overcome my body.  I stay like that for I don't know how long, crying into the palms of my hands.  

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