Word Count: 1,025
I couldn’t say anything to Rayn straightaway; I was too busy trying to hold it together.
The shock and grief of seeing him bitten hit me hard. It hit Cancer a hell of a lot harder though, and he wouldn’t let him go. Cancer had tears in his eyes and Rayn was full on sobbing. It felt wrong to be there almost, like I was an intruder. They had known each other their entire life and were practically brothers and I was some stranger pulled into the small group only a few weeks ago. I couldn’t imagine the pain they must be feeling.
Cancer’s attempt at saving him was showing no visible effects. Rayn’s breathing began to deteriorate.
‘Rayn,’ I said suddenly. He looked at me through bleared eyes. ‘I’m sorry. You’re a good guy.’
He tried smiling. ‘You too, Joe. I wish we had more time to be friends.’
My eyes stung and I put my hand on his shoulder. He looked young and vulnerable, much like he had before but his skin had taken on a chalky pallor. His hysterics had calmed down slightly and he seemed tired now, like he just wanted to rest.
You can rest; you don’t have to suffer anymore.
Cancer bit his lip hard and stared over Rayn’s head. ‘Goodbye.’
Silence consumed us and the car became Rayn’s final resting place. He passed away in Cancer’s arms, peacefully. It was like he was going to sleep.
My cheeks felt wet but I don’t remember the tears falling.
Cancer clutched Rayn’s body tightly, looking at nothing in particular. His eyes were dark and hard, full of fury and loss. We both knew what would happen next but there was only one of us that was prepared to do anything about it.
Feeling the seconds tick away, I tried speaking. ‘Cancer.’
He didn’t reply, just carried on staring.
‘Cancer, you know what’s going to happen.’
It was like talking to a solid wall, I was getting no response whatsoever. I think his eyelid flickered at one point but no words came out of his mouth.
I rubbed my forehead, not sure what to do next. It was only a matter of time before Rayn turned and all of us would be in danger. I didn’t want to be the heartless one, but I was trying to be practical. I had no desire to die, not anymore, and trapped in such small confines with a zombie wasn’t going to bode well. I wasn’t even entirely sure that Cancer would fight that hard to survive.
Maybe he wouldn't do anything, just let death come for him. I had no plans on leaving him, but if the situation looked hopeless I wasn’t going to just sit here.
‘He’s going to turn.’
Cancer’s head snapped in my direction. ‘Don’t talk about him like that.’
‘I’m sorry, I really am. But we have to act.’
‘If you touch him, you’re fucking dead.’
I sighed. There was literally nothing I could do.
My hand was moving towards my gun with each moment and I prayed that Cancer didn’t notice this. I knew he’d have no qualms about shooting me if I put a bullet in Rayn’s head.
Instead, I tried something else. I opened the door and got out slowly. Cancer didn’t even seem to notice. I passed round the car and opened the back door.
‘Why don’t we bury him? Give him a proper burial. We can’t leave him here.’
Cancer didn’t seem to object to this idea, but really I was just trying to get them both out of the car so the damage might be less severe.
Never letting his best friend go, Cancer climbed out the back and began traipsing through the woods on the side of the road. I followed.
From this angle I could see Rayn’s head bobbing up and down with each step Cancer took. I was now clutching my gun tighter, ready for the moment when Rayn would return. I didn’t want to do it, not in the slightest, but no one else would. It wouldn’t be fair to let him go on as one of those mindless, violent creatures. I hadn’t known Rayn long but I wanted to honour his death by letting him go in peace.
Cancer seemed to find a spot that was suitable and kneeled on the ground, laying Rayn out flat.
He was oblivious, too consumed in the torment and agony to notice the first signs of threat.
I had watched two reanimations so far, one was the girl we had encountered not too long ago and the other was my dad's. I didn’t wish to experience it again but knew I had no other choice. Cancer’s back was in the way of Rayn’s head and I had to move slowly round him to get a good aim.
It started off with the fingers twitching. It was small at first, unnoticeable to anyone who wasn’t looking for signs. I was, Cancer wasn’t.
However, when his movements became more invigorated, Cancer saw completely the wrong thing. Rayn’s leg moved and Cancer’s eyes sprung alive with hope. My heart plummeted so far. This was not going to end well at all. I had hoped that Cancer would know what Rayn was doing at this point; he wasn’t returning to life he was joining the undead. Cancer was in complete denial though.
‘Rayn?’ His voice was anticipative; he leant over his friend and grabbed his shoulders. ‘Rayn?!’
Rayn’s eyes opened slowly and all hell broke loose.
The whites of his eyes had turned a milky pink, the irises had melted into a brownish hue and when he stretched his mouth open, he let out the most haunting snarl I ever heard.
Cancer seemed genuinely confused.
Rayn tried to lunge; Cancer was too slow to move.
I chose this point to pull the trigger.
Rayn’s movements halted for a final time and he slumped back to the ground. All the hope drained from Cancer’s features and he turned rage filled eyes onto me.
I knew, in those moments, that I wasn’t going to fare well.