I continued screaming, my hands gripping my face tightly in terror, waiting for the horns to penetrate me. No horns came, though, and I stopped screaming and opened my eyes. To my utter surprise, I was inside the barn. In fact, I could see the barn door to my right, I must have been right up against the wall that I was against outside. My hands slid over the cool wood, feeling the grains of the planks.
Outside there was silence. It was as though the decaying bull had disappeared completely.
I moved away from the wall and realized that my chest no longer burned; I gently applied pressure to the broken ribs, but no pain followed. I pushed hard down on them. They were completly intact and undamaged. There was no pain whatsoever.
Before I was able to take in my quiet surroundings my mind raced. A half-rotted bull had, against all the laws of science, just attacked me. The mystery had gotten deeper, the pool in my mind, thicker. Suddenly pain shot through my head, as though the bull had pierced my skull with one of its mighty horns. I fell to my knees in complete pain, holding my head in agony.
As sharp and fast as the pain had started, it quickly subsided, first into a dull throb, and then into nothing. I moved my hands away and turned my head from side to side. My neck cracked from the tension that had built up, but other than that, there were no echoes of the pain that was there only seconds before.
I got to my feet once more, feeling a little light-headed but other than that I was fine. I began to take in my new surroundings. The inside of the barn was dank, the air felt heavy, cool, and wet. There was a musty smell of chicken feces, although, I don't recall how I was able to determine the smell.
To my right as I had noticed before, there was the barn door. My memory of the penned-in yard kicking in, I realized that it would probably exit out into the yard in front of the farmhouse. In front of me there was a line of horse stalls, every so often one of the stalls had a horse bridle and saddle hanging on a hook outside.
It was then that I heard a slight whinny; I froze. There was a horse in the barn, and from what I had heard, it sounded like it was coming from one of the stalls at the end of the long hall. My mind began to process the situation; a horse could provide me with a way off of this disturbing farm, but then again, I could be coming up against another zombie animal. I looked around again, there was really nowhere for me to run this time except back down the hall.
I decided it was worth a try, but first I would check each stall, just to make sure I wouldn't run into anything else surprising, if I came running back. With this decision made, I slowly worked my way toward the back of the barn. My boots echoed my foot falls as they hit the hollowed floor. This barn had been built on large wooden planks for foundation instead of cement; the style gave away its age.
I reached the first stall and slowly poked my head inside. There was a large pile of hay where the horses would have lain, but other than that, the stall was empty. I went across the hall to the other stall. At first I couldn't see very well, but as my eyes began to adjust, I noticed a small pile of bones in the corner of the stall.
Cautiously I went over to the bones, in my mind I saw them suddenly jumbling to life and attacking me. When I reached them I gingerly poked the nearest bone with the toe of my boot, and then quickly pulled it away.
The bones lay motionless, and the barn was silent. I poked them again, a little harder this time, and the bone slid a little across the floor with my force. I kicked the bone in anger and frustration and it flew into the pile of hay beside it, uncovering another bigger bone; the skull. I crouched down slowly and, without fear, I picked up the skull and examined it.
Right away I could tell, it was a canine skull, the long snout, rows of jagged teeth, four sets of fang teeth at the front. It could have been a german shepard, the snout was very thin and long.
I dropped the skull into the pile of bones and it clattered and raised a small cloud of dust. The jaw of the skull now hung open, gawking at me, laughing. I kicked it, sending it flying into the wall, and walked out of the stall. My frustration was beyond white hot, I wanted to tear this barn apart. I stood outside the stall, closed my eyes and counted to ten breathing slowly.
As I reached ten and my breathing and emotions returned to normal, I heard the soft whinny again. This time it was a little louder though, almost more insistent. I glanced down the hall again, my curiosity once more driving me.
I continued walking down the stalls checking each one, and now only finding hay and dust, no more bones or zombie farm animals. I was reaching the two stalls before the final two when I thought I heard something other than the whinny I had heard before. It sounded like a flutter, but then there was something more; a clucking.
Without warning a dark mass divebombed from the rafters and whizzed past my face, leaving behind a flurry of white feathers. It was a chicken, more likely a rooster the way it had been able to fly up to the rafters again. I looked up at the rafters. It was very dark up there and I wasn't able to make out anything. Then the shadows moved and once again my feathered attacker dive bombed me.
This time I was able to get more of a clear look as it hurtled towards my face. It was a chicken, but it was thin, as though malnourished, and its wings were not feathered at all. In fact they were leathery, and scaled. They looked like the wings of a bat. Its claws, which were open and facing me in a ready-to-grip fashion much like a hawk, were long and thick, and the clawed ends were elongated and wickedly curved. They looked as though they could rip through anything.
The chicken-bat swiped at me with its claws as it neared my face and then flew back into the rafters again. It cawed at me, sounding almost like a rooster but it was gargled, and stretched out. My surprise continued as now two chicken-bats came at me, both from different directions; it was as though they were strategizing. I fell backwards in surprise and narrowly missed a claw to my face.
Backing up against a stall, my hand closed over a hard wooden pole. I looked down and thanked my luck, when I realized I had grabbed a large square shovel. I stood up once more, shovel in hand, ready to bat the chicken-bats into oblivion.
They waited this time, as though realizing that I could now fight back. It was a few minutes of silence before I heard the flutter behind me. I spun around with the shovel, and slammed the chicken-bat that was trying to launch a surprise again on me. There was a cracking noise, as my shovel connected flat with its skull, and the chicken-bat dropped to the ground dead.
I swung around quickly once more when I heard the fluttering behind me again, but the second chicken-bat escaped my swing and flew back into the rafters again. I ran a hand across my brow instinctively to wipe away the sweat, but found none there. In fact my body had not strained or overheated at all. I was, however, very afraid, and nervous; although my body was not reacting to these emotions.
A flutter again, the chicken-bat was moving around the rafters out of sight; trying to figure out the best position to take against me. These strange chicken-bats were smarter than a regular chicken. Getting an idea I bent towards the dead chicken-bat, I pretended to be examining it, keeping the shovel tightly in my hand. The chicken-bat in the rafters fluttered around a bit more trying to figure out what I was doing. Eventually, though, it realized it had an advantage of the situation.
It cawed finally divebombing towards me, and just as it was within range I swung my shovel around catching it and sandwiching it between the blade and the support beam. Blood dripped down from the crumpled body and I pulled the shovel away letting it fall to the ground in a messy heap. I leaned down and wiped the shovel blade off on some hay nearby. The grimey goopy mess fell easily onto the hay, while the blood took a bit more wiping.
The shovel blade cleaned, I stood up. I held the handle in both hands, standing erect, ready to face what was next. Something inside me had snapped, and I could feel myself becoming fearless; reckless.
A more insistent neigh called me to the last stall, and I walked forward with newfound strength and courage. The final stall was blocked from my vision by a long, floor-to-ceiling, stall door. I no longer was in the mood for caution and kicked the door in. It slammed inwards and against the stall wall, echoing throughout the entire barn. This echo was joined by a large cloud of dust that raised from the floor and walls as the vibrations from the impact shook it free.
I coughed and waved my hand in front of my face to clear the air. My vision was completely impared and in that moment, the fear suddenly returned again, as I realized I was open to any attack from whatever creature awaited me. However, no attack came, and slowly the dust began to settle; with its settling the silence of the barn once again overwhelmed me.
The stall was empty; that was the first thing I noticed when the dust had cleared enough for me to see. It was empty, just large piles of hay everywhere. I threw the shovel down in frustration; I felt it building again like a virus in my body, taking over.
I stomped into the stall and began to kick hay around. There was no reason behind it, my anger had taken grasp and was making me lose control. It almost felt normal, to lose control like this, as though I had done it many times before; just let go and let my emotions seal my fate.
My kicking eventually led to my discovery of something very hard and large with my foot. Luckily the boots provided enough protection to stop my foot from taking any critical damage but it still hurt and I saw white rage. I picked up whatever the object was without seeing it and hurled it into the wall. It smashed like ceramic into a thousand pieces and littered the back of the stall, like hail on a tin roof.
The sound broke me out of my silent rage and I slowly came back to my senses. Walking over to investigate the strange object I looked down; I could see large pieces of it everywhere. It had broken into several large chunks; they were dark brown and white in colour. I crouched down and picked up a big chunk; it was completely dark brown and some of it felt smooth. As I put it down and pulled my fingers away I realized they were covered in a sticky red substance; it was blood.
Instantly I checked my hands for abrations, but there were none; it wasn't my blood. I picked up another blood covered piece and wiped away the red stickness to reveal a clue to what the object was. It was a large number twelve and a number one spaced out from each other. It was, or rather had been, a clock. A clock covered in blood.
Suddenly, I noticed that around me the hay had shifted away to reveal a pile of bones surrounding me. They were large and pale yellow; and they were vibrating. The vibrations began to get stronger and the bones began to quiver and then quake, rattling against the wooden hollow floor. Soon they were all bouncing in agitation, and then, without warning, they all clammered across the floor towards me. I yelped in surprise and then jumped back, falling backwards out of the door and hitting the ground.
I pushed myself up and rubbed my head looking towards the center of the stall, where the bones had begun to pile up and shift, and connect. They clicked and clacked, they began to form a large mass. Legs, spine, ribs, neck; they all started to connect into a large creature. As the skull pieced together from tiny splintered fragments like a puzzle, I realized what this bone creature was. It was the horse; the horse that had been calling me to the stall. It was a ghost and it called me to my death.
I sprawled out and reached for my shovel to defend myself from this bone-horse. It snuffed and reared calling out in a sinister roar of triumph. I remembered horses, being around them, but this bone-horse was a twisted, menacing version of the beautiful creatures I once knew. It fell back to the ground and gnashed its teeth at me. I wormed across the floor more, trying to reach the shovel desperately. The horse trotted out towards me, its long bone legs shaking from the weight they held; ghostly whisps of muscles held the stucture together.
The beast neared me and I closed my eyes in relief as I felt my hands reach the cold wooden handle once more. Wasting no time I brought the shovel around and smacked dead on to the horse's skull. I watched in amazement as the skull fragmented and pieces of it flew away. Then, as though they were attached by an elastic, they stopped in midair and flew back towards the skull, rearranging themselves back into place.
The skull once again pieced together, the horse roared at me once more in its devil cry. I scrambled backwards and to my feet running down the hall, my memories jaded and dark flashing past me. I caught a glimpse of some of them, like faded pictures in a moldy album. One memory stuck out as I ran: I saw a woman with blonde hair spinning around, slowly, in exaggeration. It quickly disappeared as the bone horse flew over my head in pieces, and then reassembled itself in front of me, blocking my exit. It reared once more, as if claiming victory over my defeated attempt to escape.
I backed up slowly, the shovel in front of me, in some sort of pathetic attempt of defense. Though I knew that I couldn't beat the horse with this tool, I had no other option. I watched in despair as the horse slowly trotted towards me, its head down low, sniffing the air, smelling my fear. It suddenly stopped, and raised its head again. It stood, as still as a statue, and I thought maybe whatever spirit had inhabited this bone creature may have left it.
My fears came slamming back into me as the horse pulled its head far back and screamed into the air. The sound pierced my ears painfully, and I covered them falling to my knees, crying out in agony. The sound echoed around the barn in waves, showering over me again and again. Then it was over, and the horse was looking at me with its empty sockets; except there was something different. The bone-horse had a new appendage; there was an extra leg sticking out of its ribs, ending in four claws.
More bones began to attach themselves to the horse, they came in hordes, flying out from the stall I had first investigated; the stall with the dog skeleton. I felt the pit in my stomach deepen as I realized what was happening. The bone horse was fusing with the dog bones, providing it with more of a deadly upperhand.
I watched as the final piece, the skull of the dog, bounced along the floor and flew up into place on the extra neck that had sprouted out of the side of the bone-horse. The two headed beast then roared at me; both placid horse and menacing dog skull with jaws gaping open.
It came at me, heads swinging down; first the horse head swung past trying to knock me down, then the dog skull gnashing at me with sharp teeth. I dodged the heavy horse skull and then smacked the dog skull with the shovel. Its teeth closed down on the blade and pulled. The shovel handle was yanked from my hands and flung behind the monstrous beast. It swung its head back and eyed me down once more.
I raised my hands in protest, but it was my singular mistake; the dog skull clamped down tightly, its teeth shearing into my skin. I screamed aloud in pain as the blood poured from my hand. The skull seemed to relish in the flavour of my hot, rich life liquid and it shook its head back and forth, tearing up my hand. I brought my fist down on top of its skull and it momentarily let go of my injured hand in a daze.
The moment was not long though; it growled and gnashed at me again, thirsty for more. I moved backwards again, holding my injured hand to my chest; the blood staining my shirt quickly. It was then that I stumbled on the mangled body of the first chicken-bat I had killed and I fell backwards, crying out in rage and fear. I fell and hit the ground, but my descent did not stop there. My weight was finally too much for the old floorboards and they creaked and gave way, sending me falling a few feet more to the dark black earth; below the barn.
I shook my head and looked around. I was between two enormous planks of wood, and they blocked me from moving side to side. My only way to move was backwards, and as I couldn't turn around to see, I hoped it was a way out. I looked up again at the hole and gasped as I saw the two heads blocking the way, peering at me intently. The heads disappeared, and I realized why as the horse's weight suddenly came down on the floor boards; it was trying to break through.
I screamed and began to back up quickly. I knocked my head against a plank and cursed at the pain but continued moving; the cracking sound coming from the floorboards was enough to motivate me to keep moving. The bone-horse pounded once again on the floor, and the cracking became louder, like thunder, only sharp and ominous. I suddenly felt my back hit a wall and I felt around behind my body in panic. It was a dirt wall; I had reached the end of the barn. I stretched my hands up and my heart lifted as I felt them slip out of an opening and onto soft grass.
With both hands, the bloodied injured one shooting with pain, I pulled myself backwards up towards the hole. I sighed in relief as my head popped out into open air.
There was a sudden loud crack, and a smash of broken wood; I gritted my teeth, as I realized the bone-horse had broken through. I heard the roar of the beast once more, as it announced its presence.
Frantically I pullled hard, trying to yank the rest of my body out through the hole. It was a small hole though and I was having trouble fitting my large bulk through it. I could hear the shuffling noises as the beast drew itself towards me; probably finding it difficult as it was too tall to stand in the small space, but moving nonetheless.
I pulled hard and finally my body began to slip through all the way, until I was sitting on the grass. I began to pull my legs out when I felt a tug on my right foot. The tug quickly became a yank and I felt my body begin to sink back into the hole again. I screamed and spun around; gripping the dirt, trying to pull myself free. The dirt slipped through my fingers slowly and I sank deeper into the darkness.
With one final attempt at freedom, I kicked wildly with my free boot. Finally I felt it connect with something hard and heard a sickening thock. My right foot was freed, and hastily I yanked myself back out again; my legs and feet slipping out.
I scrambled backwards away from the hole until I was a safe distance away; then I lay on my back staring at the sky breathing normally. There was no sound as I felt my sense begin to calm slowly, and I turned my head towards the hole I had just climed out of. It was dark and no two headed beast poked out staring at me; it was as though the creature hadn't been there at all.
After a few minutes I slowly got to my feet and walked as close as I dared to the hole, studying it. There didn't appear to be anything lurking below, and when I listened intently, I couldn't hear anything at all.
I was about to move away when I suddenly heard a soft neigh eminatting from inside the barn. I gave the wall a cold stare and then turned around and walked away towards the farmhouse.