She sits and watches, the little girl lying there on the floor, curled up in a ball with her hands drawn to her mouth. Her skin is still warm, her flesh pale but pink, and her eyes are now fully shut. The puddle of gore that envelopes her is the life draining out of her, the warmth of life spreading about her and slowly growing cold.
Pulling her own knees to her stomach, Sandra watches and cries. The gun lays at her feet, every chamber empty and smelling of freshly burnt cordite. Small patches of fetid biomass cling to the walls where the bullets landed, once they tore through their intended targets. Their crumbled bodies lay below, their milky white eyes open and staring, but otherwise dead to the world.
No longer an issue, she looks solely at the little one and rocks back and forth, moaning softly.
The girl was so young, so fresh and innocent. That didn’t stop the monsters from tearing her to pieces. They did her in, and Sandra could only stand by and watch. It was only after they were through with her, once they had done irreparable harm, that Sandra had found the will to empty her gun and kill them.
And the worst part of it is, they were her parents. The ones who gave her life, who reared her and protected from the monsters. They turned, and became the very thing she needed to fear the most. Had they been someone else, she might have run. Instead, she stood and cried as the lifeless faces of the people that used to Mom and Dad lumbered towards her and overtook her.
No… that’s not the worst part, thinks Sandra. The worst part is, in a few moments, she will awaken, and be just like them. And she will have no bullets to fend her off.
She knows she could run. She could leave this place and seek shelter elsewhere. Part of her wants to, to try another house, look for more survivors, and seek out anyone who might help her.
But another part of her wants to stay. She’s seen what it’s like out there. The people who still live, they feed too. They feed on the innocent and the weak, those who cannot defend what they have left. They take and kill without a second thought, believing that they are justified in doing so. She knows that she, unarmed and a woman, would have everything to fear…
That’s one thing the monsters do not possess. They do not care whom they kill, and take nothing from the dead save their lives. They prey on the guilty and innocent alike, murdering indiscriminately as they spread their filth. They are the great equalizer, a plague that is indifferent to sin, vice and virtue.
And when it comes right down to it, isn’t it better to simply die? Isn’t that all that remains? What purpose in running and hiding, fighting the inevitable for another day, only to face another full of running and hiding? What kind of life is that?
On the floor, the little one stirs. A faint cry escapes her lips, low and rumbling. Sandra looks to the door one last time. She looks around for anything she could use to defend herself. She spots the poker to her right which was knocked clear of the firepit during the commotion. Its sharp point looks inviting, notably effective against one of their kind…
And yet, she cannot move to retrieve it. She cannot find reason to fight, to defend herself or flee. As the girl’s body reanimates and her eyes open again, admitting opal-white pupils to the world, Sandra sits and waits. It’s not long before she looks up and sees that she has company. A lean lady, a fine meal sitting before her…
“You’re name was Suzy, wasn’t it?” she asks. “Your mother and father let me in a few days ago. They were very kind. They didn’t deserve what happened to them.”
Suzy pulls herself forward, the slippery pool of her blood helping her slide along. Her broken legs will not allow her to stand up, but she doesn’t need to. Her would-be meal is sitting right before her. She’s going nowhere.
“You were a kind little girl. I remember you were very scared. You didn’t deserve this either little girl. I’m sorry…”
Suzy is mere feet away now. She pauses and looks up at her, her eyes wide and wanting. Her mouth falls open to reveal her blood marked teeth and emit a small roar.
“I’m sorry I didn’t act in time. I’m sorry I let them do that to you.”
Sandra closes her eyes as hot tears fill them and blind her to the world. She feels Suzy’s fingers touch the skin of her foot and clamp on, using it to pull herself closer.
“I’m sorry for this-“
Sandra’s arms are a blur. Reaching out in one swift motion, she grabs the poker and brings it down on Suzy’s head with a loud crunch. The sharp end perforated her skull and delivers instant death. Quickly, her body subsides and her clawing fingers become limp against the floor. Her growls become a quiet rattle and all movement ceases shortly thereafter.
Maybe its not worth it, she thinks. But it’s not negotiable. Standing up, she grabs hold of the poker and holds it close to her chest. No matter what’s become of things out there, she knows she has to face it. At some point, it stopped being about a choice and became a necessity. And when that runs out…
Then I become one of them. She opens the door and runs into the maelstrom, never to return.