Chapter Seven: Aria Stephenson
Screams rose from the ground floors of the building, penetrating the double glazed glass like just throwing a brick through it, shattering our eardrums. We wondered what had happened to cause such a cry of pain. Surely, it was just someone who had dropped something all over themselves or fell over or something similar. I walked with Kyle over to the huge window on the side of the building, overlooking the streets below.
The sky was blood red with grey and black clouds the size of planets storming across the view, smothering the tops of some of the taller buildings. I could tell that this weather wasn’t just your average little fit of rain that happened nearly all the time in England. This was definitely supernatural. A huge cracking noise, like the cracking of a cat o’ nine tails whip from a slave master, ripped across the whole sky above, threatening to tear holes in the fabric of time. Lightning bolts struck the ground in fits of anger, miraculously leaving the people on the ground unharmed each time. Buildings shook from the lashings of the lightning and the deep rumbles of the thunder.
Silence filled a suddenly obvious gap. Tension gripped the air and flexed its fingers slowly, squeezing any feeling from the moment. Even fear was eradicated, replaced only by anxiety.
In the distance, a lone wail slit the throat of the silence, installing a new fear to the air. People were rooted to the spot, terrified of moving a muscle and triggering some sort of chain reaction. Then there was the wait. Once the wail had finally cut off after a minute or so, silence once again took precedence. Eerily silent and creepy skies didn’t make me think that today was a good day for being outside, shopping.
Steps echoed from the alleys and tiny cobbled streets through the town. Still nobody moved – everyone was transfixed on that sound. From around the corner, the footsteps grew louder and louder, punishing those closest to the noises with the worst apprehension.
From the same small, cobbled streets that I’d walked down less than half an hour ago spilled a hoard of zombies. There was no control, but almost as if a camp of captives had been released and they were sick of the sight of the place they’d been held in. Arms flailed everywhere, no discipline whatsoever. Flesh rotting corpses ran amuck through the streets. Nobody had the sense to move. They were all petrified, frozen to their places in the… unusual circumstances. Through the glass I watched, as innocent people stood rooted to the spot, having no hope of running away, or even trying to save themselves.
These zombies weren’t like the ones in the movies: oh no. Running at full speed, they were faster than most of the population in this town. Rotting flesh flew off in some of their mad sprints, littering the floors with their dead skin and other body parts. And what was I going to do? What was I going to do with Kyle? What were we going to do? How on earth were we ever going to escape?
Glancing at Kyle who was standing at my side, I noticed he was pointing at something down in the terror-stricken streets below. I looked back down onto the streets. Children were being mercilessly slaughtered. Blood was shed no matter who the victim was. There were no criteria for whom to slaughter, probably just the order of everything that moves. I liked gory books, movies and anything including creatures like this, but this was just sick. I felt so angry, I was forced into action.
All along the sides of the sports shop were various clubs, bats and other sports equipment, typical of a sports shop. I reached out and chose a sturdy, strong metal bat from the racks. I didn’t know what these monsters were capable of, but I was going to find out. Sensing the force of Kyle also choosing a bat as I walked towards the top of the stairs to the ground floor, I couldn’t help but smile sickly.
“Let's go then,” I said quietly as I started to descend to the lower floor.
“Bring it!” said Kyle. He was trying to act confidently, but I knew by the way his voice shook that he wasn’t happy about the whole thing. I sighed inwardly. We could deal with his fear later. Right now; all that mattered was living to see tomorrow.
The descent to the streets below was thrilling in a way. Adrenaline pumped around my system, making me glow an even worse, darker crimson shade of anger. This was it. The showdown. Although, to what, I didn’t quite know. Nevertheless, I promised myself now that I’d find out. I’d extract revenge for the human race. Whoever was doing this would pay – in blood. Heavy breath escaped from my mouth into the air and clouded up. It was freezing now, even though just half an hour ago it was the hottest day of the year so far.
As I reached the bottom of the stairs, the zombies had branched out, now exploring buildings. Around ten zombies had reached the bottom of the stairs. With a savage cry, I swung my metal bat in a beautiful arc, exploding the nearest zombie’s head on impact. Three more of the zombies went back to their slumbers before Kyle could even swing. Whether their slumbers were peaceful or not, I don’t know. I certainly hope not. Kyle helped me to finish off the rest of the stray zombies that thought they could mess with us. Now the adrenaline was pumping through my body more fiercely than before. At least now, I was letting off steam – venting my anger. Another thought popped into my head. Nobody would get me into trouble for unleashing my fury like this! That cheered me up slightly – that is, until I heard a small child scream.
Energy bursting from nowhere, I sprinted faster than I’d ever ran before to the source of the cry. From the heavy panting slightly behind me, I could tell Kyle was following close behind.
“Oi!” I shouted to the zombies backing up a six - year - old child to the wall that threatened to crumble from the rough shakes in the ground. “What do you think you’re doing? Come over here! Fight someone our own size for once!” Anger stirred in their faces. At least now I knew that they could understand me – they weren’t just mindless souls after all. Maybe that could be used against them one day.
After a moment, they turned and advanced faster towards the poor child. “No!” I screamed, lashing out with my bat. There were just too many of them, even with Kyle helping me. Twice as many as we met at the bottom of the stairs in the sports shop must’ve attacked and boxed in that innocent girl. By the time we got half way through the oncoming wave of attackers, a grave feeling swept over me. Moving faster, hitting harder, I went to the rescue of the six year old. Just three were crouched around her now. With an almighty roar, I swung the bat heavier than before, hitting my mark exactly. All three of the zombies’ heads exploded, covering me in guts and blood.
Finally, the child had a clear path to run away – to escape. But she didn’t move. “Little girl. Oi! Girl!” my voice got harsher with each passing word. “Come on! Hurry up! We need to go, now!” Her head rose towards me.
Incorporated into the ranks of the zombies, she was effectively dead already.
Tears filled my vision, thinking about how all that work was useless. Kyle saw the same as me and raised his bat, aiming to kill her and let her rest in peace forever. “No.” I said it quietly, but as I said it more, I spoke louder. “No. No. Kyle. No. Leave her. Let her go. She’s only a child. Give her mercy.” With that, I turned my back, sensing as she ran away. I wondered whether she knew what I’d just done for her, whether she could understand me like the others had before.
Walking away, I bumped into a lad of a similar age to me. Raising my bat in defence, I was ready to swing. “Whoa there! Stop! I’m not a zombie! Don’t hit me!” said the boy, voice dripping with terror. “Look. I won’t be able to survive without you! Please let me stay with you. You see?” he held up his hand. “I’ve a bat too! I’ll also be able to kill the zombies; I won’t be a dead weight.” Sensing the uneasiness in my haste to answer, he hurried on. “I can defend myself. Honest.”
I didn’t get much time to respond to his plea. Another wave of zombies attacked, leaving no room for any mercy. Acting instinctively, I swung fast and hard. So did Kyle and the other lad. Soon enough, we were coated in blood and not a single spot of the ground was clean.
“Not bad,” I commented when the worst was over. “What is your name?”
“Jason. Jason Graz.” Both Kyle and I stared at him blankly. “I go to your school?” he added after a pause. “I’m in your art class?” Finally, the cogs began to grind into gear. I nod, finally realising. Looking at Kyle, I can tell he doesn’t have a clue. Laughing, I realise the situation we’re in.
After killing a few more of the dead, flesh-rotting corpses for good, we ran into a nearby alley to rest. It was deserted – nobody in sight. We were safe, but only for a moment.
“Wait.” I start. “Where are we going to be able to get to keep safe for a couple of hours? None of the shops are safe and almost all the electricity has blown out. What can we do? We can’t fight forever you know. We’re going to need to rest and refuel at some point. I’m already starving and I only ate about half an hour ago!”
Screams and wails don’t reach our ears as often now, but they all pierce my eardrums even more with each passing sound. If all the pain could be taken away somehow, if I could take it away, I would. It physically pains me to think of all the torture happening to perfectly innocent people in the streets.
The new person, Jason, put forward an idea. “How about the church down the road?”
“Why there?” said Kyle. “What can the church do to protect us? We need somewhere better than that.”
“Wait a minute Kyle. Jason here might be on to something.” I paused, thinking over the advantages. “Well, it is a sturdy building. The doors are strong, and it isn’t like the zombies are going to go looking in churches, are they?” Kyle’s face filled with understanding. He nodded, and I knew he agreed with me. “The only problem is it is up there.” Raising my arm, I pointed over to where the massive hoards of zombies had all originated.