Chapter Eight: Kyle Richards
Hot and sweaty, my hands clung to the heavy metal bat that had a layer of metallic blood and a few strands of flesh hanging from it. My face screwed up in disgust. We were running towards the church that was located down the road. By we, I mean Aria, this Jason dude and I. Where we were running to was towards a place we thought might be safe. The church had strong foundations, huge, heavy, mahogany doors and besides, as Aria pointed out, which zombies would think to look in a church? I hoped not these ones.
There was only one minor flaw in this very sketchy plan of ours; one small problem. Originally, the zombies had erupted and spilled out onto the streets from this road. In addition, heading towards the church meant that it was more likely for there to be more zombies since there was a graveyard there. “Great chances,” I thought to myself. I just hoped that luck was on our side today. We were going to need it. Uneven, cobbled stones that made up the ground on the street annoyed me no end. Whenever I’d take another stride while we were running, my ankles would threaten even more each time to go over and sprain themselves. That isn’t what we needed right now. Especially with what was up ahead of us.
Another mass of zombies ran haphazardly towards us at full speed. Stopping, we all raised our bats. What Aria said next almost made me laugh. “Let’s kick zombie ass.” The only thing was; I knew she was deadly serious too.
Waves of them constantly kept coming. They never tired, merely tried to kill you until you were dead, or they were once again. With each swing, it became harder and harder to maintain the strength that they seemed to be gaining with each passing attacker. Rotted flesh flew everywhere, blood splattering and somehow satisfying squishing and squelching noises each time they were hit. I knew that we wouldn'dt be able to keep this act up for much longer; we were going to be overwhelmed, and soon.
“Let’s go!” I shouted to Aria and Jason. “We’ve got to drive forward. They’ll drive us even further away if we don’t!” The others seemed to agree with me, so, with much effort, we ran head first into the danger.
Wildly swinging was the only way that you could almost guarantee that you’d survive. The more psychopathically you acted, the more they cleared a path for you. Now I knew they were capable of rational thinking, unlike what was portrayed in the movies and books. This was a hell of a lot worse than was ever in the books, movies, or even the slightly more gruesome comics.
Howling noises followed us as we were chased by zombies seeking revenge for the destruction of their companions. Running was getting near impossible on this ground. The blood that covered every inch of it was slippery and the guts and other organs and flesh that lay in the pools also made it harder to stay upright. Being cobbled, the foundations for the floor weren’t good for balance either. In addition, the fact that we were all terrified and running from dead people who were no longer dead didn’t help.
All we needed was to have enough energy to get us inside the beckoning, comforting church. I thought that was weird. I’d just thought of a church as comforting. Usually, I couldn’t stand religion and all the rubbish that all the people who tried to recruit you to their ranks spewed constantly. Everything was a war over religion these days. It just isn’t worth it. After all, there isn’t a god, is there? There is no way that there is some kindly worn old man sitting on a cloud up there somewhere, plotting against all those with hopes and dreams. Constantly keeping wishes from being granted and peace from being negotiated. All of it is just lies. I know that Aria feels the same way that I do. We’ve spent many a day scaring away the Jehovah Witnesses that come and knock onto your door regularly. Our favourite thing to frighten them off was to wear pentagrams while we answered the door. We didn’t usually even need to say anything after they saw the symbol. Hilarious.
My concentration was slipping, as was my balance. I never was much good at staying upright on even floors anyway. There was never a doubt that I’d be the one to fall over first on the uneven, messy and easy-to-lose-your-footing floor. Slipping in the pools of metallic, crimson blood, I fell flat onto my face. Blood entered my mouth and I spat it out disgustedly. Yuck.
I looked up into the death beckoning skies. More blood ran down my face, dripping from my eyes and into my mouth again. Salty warmth consumed me. I must’ve hit my head. I could make sense of the world, but my body would not respond. I could hear faint screams. I could see Aria turn around, confusion in her eyes. She saw me lying on the ground, a group of particularly blood shedding, happy zombies bending down around me. Jason turned and stared in wonder at what Aria was doing. Them both fighting off the zombies: saving my life in the process. I wanted to thank them, but I couldn’t. I was too weak. My head felt heavier and heavier. Wanting to collapse, I blinked hard and concentrated. No matter what happened now, I’d live. So would Aria. Jason would too hopefully. Although to be honest, I was more worried about Aria.
Still the world revolved slower. Everything in my vision was blurred. I found it impossible to understand what anyone was saying. Light was dimming. No. I was determined. I’d not die here. Not here. Not now. Not in this way. Not without the thing that I needed. Not without being able to tell Aria my secret.
Concentrating all my energy, I lifted my head up higher. Blocked out the darkness. Stood up. No. Not yet. I pushed up onto my arms.
From the corners of my eyes, I could see Aria and Jason still fighting hard. If they were still fighting, why the hell was I not fighting? They obviously couldn’t fight off a whole horde of zombies on their own. I mean, who did I think they were? Batman and Cat woman? I thought about what was going through my mind at the moment. If that really was what I was thinking, why the hell was I thinking it now? I should be getting up and making a break for it towards the church. I should be there for Aria. Backing her up.
The offending zombies that happened to be attacking Aria and Jason spotted a weakness. They couldn’t keep it up for much longer. Although they weren’t geniuses, they were definitely not the mindless fools that we’d taken them for, for far too long in human history and myths. Well. I suppose they’re legends now though, are they not? Anyway, the zombies were throwing all their force at them. I could spot some at my level that were hanging back slightly, not attacking with the crowd. I knew that Aria and Jason couldn’t keep it up for long, but I couldn’t get up. My body would simply not respond to any voluntary movement. It was hard just to be able to open my eyes again after letting them fall to just simply blink.
Just for a moment, I let my eyes rest. They fell to look at the ground, staring down at the reflection that was staring up at me in the pools of forever-growing blood. I heard a scream. I knew something important was wrong immediately. That wasn’t ordinary scream. Neither was it the scream of a particularly pained zombie, or another group of barely surviving hopefuls. It was Aria.
Almost instantly, I was on my feet, blocking the attack that was an attempt to injure her. The force of the blow swiftly knocked me down again, but by that time, Aria and Jason were ready to fight back and win. Before I fell, I noticed the face of the zombie that had attacked Aria.
It was the one who had hung at the back before. The one who looked as though he was in charge. Why was he attacking her? Why did he hang back before? Why did he not just attack like all the others before him? What made him different to the others? But most importantly, why Aria? Why not me? Why not Jason? Why not some other suffering survivor? Why her?
I felt the harsh wooden bat the zombie used to attack me with splinter against my shoulder. Debris from what was left of the bat flew everywhere, stabbing me even more in the process of the assault.
My shoulder caved in, crushing my lungs. Wheezing for breath, I struggled to stay alive. From in the distance, I heard the pained screams again. They were emanating from Aria. I couldn’t stand to see her, or hear her in this case, in so much anguish. What I wanted most in this world was to be her hero. I wanted to be able to stand up now on command. To be able to command my own body again. To be able to hurt and murder all these zombies. For her to be safe. For us to be safe. For us simply… to be us together. Not having to worry about being slaughtered where we stood on a day that used to be an ordinary, sunny day out shopping with the person that meant most to us.
Why was that so hard to ask of the world? What did the world have to do with it in the first place? Why was the world involved anyway? Why could they not pick on someone else? Were we easier targets? Were we just closer than other people? What is it? I promised that the revenge I’d seek to whomever it was that was the cause of this disturbance would be so sweet. I wanted to taste the revenge right now. The worst thing was I’d a feeling that we were going to either fall at the first hurdle, or perish at the last hurdle. Maybe we’d never know what was happening. Maybe we’d find out in five minutes. Maybe there was no explanation that was possible to be understood by the capacity of the human mind.
I know what whoever, or whatever, will die at my hand for causing Aria that pain. She’s the closest thing to me. My family don’t care. I was kicked out on my sixteenth birthday. I was the second child. Amazing school stats, scores in tests, never got into fights or even in trouble for anything as small as talking… but I wasn’t my older brother. I wasn’t an athletic person by any means. I wasn’t a jock, and I never will be.
Knowing myself as well as I do, the only person who understands me more than myself being Aria, I never thought I’d be able to say that. I never thought that I’d ever be able to physically kill, murder or slaughter someone. Today, I’ve done all three, still with intentions of taking more with me if I go. If I do go, I want Aria to know one thing. With the last of my limited energy, I lift my head from where it rests on the ground and I say something. “Aria.” She looked at me. “Aria. I love you.” She didn’t show any sign of having heard me, but I didn’t have the strength to say it again.
And so, once again I was left staring at my own reflection in a pool of blood. The only difference was, this time; it wasn’t the zombies’ blood. Oh no. It was mine. I felt it was my time. I blacked out.