Saturday, October 8, 2016

Day 08: Scared by Vermin

Group 4: Matthew, Josh, Liz, Jeremiah, Edward, Nicole
Location: Barn/Farmhouse

Matthew cocked his weapon and walked into the abandoned farmhouse. Well, almost abandoned. Dust in the air. The smell of sweat. Someone had been here not long ago and for all he knew, they were still inside. The farmhouse roof provided a reprieve from the sun, if not the heat and for that Matthew was grateful. The faint stench of death rode along the stale air that carried throughout the opened space and he could make out a trail of dried blood leading into another room.

His first instinct was to call out for anyone; check in hopes the recently disturbed dust meant there was a living person somewhere inside. But Matthew thought better of that. Even if there was a survivor, judging by the amount of blood and the lingering smell of rot, they were not alone. He blew out a breath and crept towards the other side of the room.

His footsteps echoed across the hollow floors. One step forward, then another. Nothing but silence from the other side of the door. Matthew reached out to take the handle and just as he did a single deafening roar punctuated his move like an exclamation point.

Though the sound had startled him, Matthew ducked behind cover ready for anything. He waited a moment, watching the doorway for any signs of movement. Moments passed before a large raccoon crept through the opened doorway and into the barn, trailing sawdust in the dusty ranch air.

Matthew smiled to himself at his own fear and waited a moment before continuing his search. Entering the room from which the small creature escaped, he noticed the trail of blood went further along the hall. He traced it until it ended…right outside a closed door. Matthew knocked first, waiting and listening for the now too familiar sounds of the walking dead. Nothing.

Trying the handle, he pushed, but it wouldn’t budge. He turned it again, this time pressing his body against it, hoping to move it with the pressure of his weight but the door was not moving. With a sigh, he exited the front doors of the barn and headed towards the group. “We should be fine here for a little while. Let’s get Josh inside and tend to that wound.” Handing Liz his weapon, he transported Josh inside the barn and laid him down on a pile of hay. “There’s a first aid kit on the kitchen sink just in there,” Matthew said, nodding towards the door.

Liz dropped her bags beside him and quickly went to fetch it. Josh was barely conscious. The blood loss was staunched by the self-made tourniquet Liz had applied. He winced as she helped remove his shirt and tossed the soggy cloth to the side. Handing Matthew the alcohol and tweezers, she placed a rag in Josh’s mouth and quickly turned her head as he dug inside the wound in search of the bullet.

While the others tended to Josh, Nicole settled beside a pile of empty crates; the picture of Yolanda burning a hole in her pocket. For a moment she hesitated to look. The image of the smiling young woman with her whole life ahead of her did little to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. And yet, she found herself unable to stop her hand from fumbling around for the crumpling photograph. 

A wave of guilt doused her. If Yolanda hadn’t gone to the bar alone that night, if only she’d have gone with her, Yolanda would still be alive today. “Who’s that?” Miah’s voice startled her and she dropped the picture to her lap.

“Just…someone I used to know,” Nicole replied, running her thumb along the image.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said before dropping to the floor beside her. “If I ever lost my brother, I don’t know what I would do.”

“Josh? Is he…”

“No. Dominic. We got separated tonight but I know he’s alive,” Miah smiled faintly and inhaled a deep breath. His brother was out there. And if he knew him well enough, he was searching for him. “What happened to her? If you don’t mind me asking.”

Nicole thought for a moment and then sighed. Of course she minded. It’s all she did these days. Everything reminded her of the like-sister best friend she’d had her entire life. But talking helped keep the good memories from fading. She clutched the picture tighter in her hands as she began recounting the night of March 17th and the last time she heard Yolanda’s voice.

But March 17th wasn’t the last time she’d seen her best friend’s face. No. That became a nightmare all in itself a few weeks later. Nicole wrapped her arms around herself. It had been seven months, but the scene was as clear as if she stood there tonight. The door opening to reveal her friend’s rotting face, locked inside a closet with other living corpses. The milky glaze of Yolanda’s eyes. The way her mouth fell open in a death moan as she crept towards her. The smell of blood and death overpowering the scent of her normal floral perfume.

But Nicole’s heartache was worse than that. Much worse. And with no real time to grieve she found herself often replaying that day and the moment her hammer bashed in the skull of her closest confidant. Pressure built behind her breastbone and she hugged herself tighter, holding it all inside, using the pain in her wrist as an anchor to the present. 

Silence fell over the group. Nicole looked up to realize all eyes were on her. She inhaled a deep breath and slowly released it, lowering her eyes to the picture in her hand as she slipped it back into her pocket. “Sorry I don’t mean to be a…” her sentence was cut short by the sudden and loud banging somewhere inside the barn. Matthew swiftly hopped to his feet. With weapon in hand he moved into the hallway and froze as he realized where the noise was coming from; the room he couldn’t enter earlier where the trail of blood led. Something or someone was on the other side of the door and they wanted in.



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  1. Wow...poor Nicole. She not only lost her friend, but ended her as well. Odd as it is, that is something that Matthew would respect, means she can hold her own weight and can make the tough choices if the time ever came.

    1. Nicole's had a rough go of it. It really must have been hard on her. But if she loved her as much as she says it was probably also out of mercy. To not let someone else do it or have her forever roaming the earth like that. Ha! That's probably true. They would have a bonding moment over something like that. Terrible but true.

      Thank you for reading :)

  2. I have a feeling no matter what, that wound is going to put Josh at a disadvantage for things to come. Poor guy.

    1. Shooting a gun would definitely be painful and any close quarters combat may also prove difficult. Sadly, he may cause a problem for the group later :(

      Thank you for reading :)

  3. I really do feel for Nicole. it would be very hard smashing in your best friends head.

    Josh, Oh I had to say I think he's going to be a fighter... he managed to make it to the barn, why not the rest of the way too?