©2019 by Ami Urban.

authoramiurban@gmail.com

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Jan 31, 2019

Ami Urban

Entertainment

October 16 – Jack Reynolds

Red.

All I saw was red as I tried hard to move my weakened legs. I could barely push myself forward and those things were gaining on me. Damn Biters. If I’d had a gun…

Wait…I did have a gun. My boss, Silas, had given me his sawed-off shotgun so I could protect the house.

I had the gun somewhere… But I wasn’t able to find it in time. A Biter lunged at me with a bitter howl. I dodged it, slamming into a wall. My shoulder ached. I didn’t even know where I was.

Another Biter was hot on my trail. It could smell me. As soon as it was aware of my presence, it came toward me. Of course, I was frozen with fear. Fantastic. I was going to die, and I hadn’t been laid in three years…

A hollow bang bit into my eardrum. Someone had fired a shot straight through the Biter’s head. It went down in a convulsion of blood and foam. And at the sound of the second bang, I was startled awake. I’d been asleep on my boss’s couch the entire time.

Thank God. Or whatever.

I slowly rolled to sit upright. The pain in my shoulder was almost knocking me out again. I felt like I’d been hit by a bus, so I rubbed my hands over my face.

Heavy footsteps echoed down the hallway. Those were the angry Silas footsteps. He was steamed. I couldn’t blame him. I’d fallen asleep on watch again.

As I stood – my bones creaking the whole way – I yawned and grabbed the shotgun from the side table.

“Yeah, I know. I know.” The kitchen was still dark. I rolled my shoulders to ease some of the tension in my neck. “I fell asleep again. I told you I couldn’t—”

My sentence stopped dead – no pun intended. My best friend was stomping down the hallway. Only he wasn’t my best friend anymore. He was a Biter. Thick foam dripped from his mouth. His steps were heavy and uneven. He looked like a ghost.

“Balls.”

Silas stretched out his arms. He was inches from me. I could almost feel the cold grip of his fingers. And that’s when I pulled the trigger.

The blast almost turned me deaf. It was the loudest thing I’d ever heard. But my aim was on point, because there was now a decent-sized hole in my best friend’s chest.

But that wasn’t the shitty part. Nope. The shitty part was when he started to die. Because he grabbed his chest, stared at his bloody hand for a second, then fell against the wall. He looked up at me with eyes that were still alive.

“Why…?” His voice came with a few of those “death gurgles.”

“What…?”

“It was…a prank…bro…”

“The fuck?” I knelt beside him. For some reason, I thought trying to push the blood back into his chest with both hands would do something. But before I could even figure out another course of action, the life drained from his eyes. For a moment, I just sat there and stared at him, trying to comprehend what had just happened. Then I got mad.

“What the fuck, Silas? You think this is a motherfucking game? You can’t play pranks on me you…! Jesus fucking Christ, man!” I could feel the burn of tears behind my eyes, but they wouldn’t come.

No ideas of a next step came to me. My thoughts were racing at a thousand miles an hour. Should I call the police? Hospital? What was the emergency number again? Jesus Christ. Should I bury him?

Feeling around in my pockets, I found my cell phone. Then I punched in the numbers 9-1-1. A beep rang in my ear.

“We’re sorry, the number you have called cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and try your call again.”

I pulled the phone away, hung up and tried again. But again, I received the same message.

“We’re sorry, the number you have called cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and try your call again.”

The phone lines were down. All of them. Not even the landline worked. Well… At least I wouldn’t go to jail.

I was just about to sit down and think about putting the shotgun in my mouth when I heard something outside. Out the window, I could see across the street to the neighbor’s house. There was an old car in the driveway and a woman was hunched over the open hood. That ass, man. Damn.

“Well, since I’m a mechanic…I might as well help some booty. Body! Somebody.” Gutter mind could never be cured.

I took one last look at my poor friend and headed for the door. But when I passed the giant mirror, I noticed blood all over me. There were droplets on my shirt and even my face. If I went out like that, she would have run off scared.

I turned and went to the bathroom where I hastily wiped all the blood off my face and changed into a dirty t-shirt. When I was half-way satisfied with the way I looked, I headed back toward the door.

I held the sawed-off shotgun close to my chest and stepped off the curb to the house across the street. But I realized having a huge gun in my hands would probably scare her, so I tucked it into the seat of my jeans. As I neared the house, the woman cursed and pounded her hands on the bumper of the old Honda.

“Something wrong?”

I must have startled her because she spun around to face me with lightning speed. “Jesus! I’m sorry. My car won’t start,” she said. “It’s been doing this forever. I just haven’t had a chance to take it in.”

Her eyes were dark blue, almost black. I found myself mesmerized by them and her heart-shaped face. I shook myself back into reality.

“You may not get a chance again.”

“I know.” She sighed.

I peered into the engine, fiddling with a couple wires. I noticed the problem right away, but my mechanic’s training kicked in without hesitation.

“What’s it doin’?”

“Unfortunately, I’m a Doctor of Medicine, not a doctor of cars.”

That was funny. I chuckled. “Try me.”

“Alright. Every time I try to start it, it clicks. It takes a couple of times to start.” She leaned against the hood. I caught a quick glimpse of her cleavage.

“’Kay, well, your battery’s corroded, here. See the buildup around the wires?”

“Okay.”

“You need a new one.”

“Well, there isn’t a way for me to get a new battery now.”

I shrugged, wiping my hands on my jeans. “Five finger discount?”

She looked at me like I was crazy. “I’ve never stolen anything in my life, and I’m not about to start now.”

I put my hands up in defense mode. “Got it. Sorry. Where you headed? I can let you borrow my buddy’s car… He won’t be using it.”

She hesitated, avoiding my gaze for a moment. “We’re going to Colorado.”

We? “Land of legal dope, huh?” I kicked a loose pebble into the road. It skittered halfway across and stopped. She watched it with brows knitted together. I had that effect on a lot of women.

“There may be a sanctuary there.”

“Sanctu-wha?”

“A safe place to stay. What about you?”

I looked up. “Huh?”

“Don’t you have someone you need to protect? It’s not a good idea to stay here. The five of us are probably the only ones left on the whole street.” There was a mother’s care in her voice.

“I don’t have anyone,” I said. “My boss was the only one and he…” I trailed off, but she seemed to understand right away.

“He’s infected.” Her monotone statement caught me off guard. She must have had a killer intuition. I stayed silent.

“You should use your friend’s car to get to Colorado,” she said.

“Nah… You need it more than I do. Besides, I can fix yours and use it if need be. I’ll just go grab the keys and be back in a sec.”

“Okay.”

I ran back into Silas’s house, thinking about how much of an idiot I looked in front of a pretty girl. Of course, she’d never go for a guy like me, anyway. Aside from that, she seemed way serious.

I stepped over Silas’s corpse. A line of sticky red stood out behind him on the wall where he’d fallen. I felt a hiccup in my chest, but I had to keep going. Silas was gone now, and it wasn’t my fault! I grabbed the keys to his SUV off the counter. And when I turned to go back out the door, I heard a woman scream.

I rushed out into the street just in time to see one of those things trying to bite the girl across the way.

Want to find out what happens next? Check out the book here.

CHAPTER TWO OF THE RABID – EXCERPT