More than Anyone can Chew

The door slammed behind us, shut out the shine of the day. “What is this place?”

“Nursing. Home.” I said between gasps.

“We’re safe here?” I shrugged, but there was no power, lights, for Bobby to see me by. “You think everyone is…”

“Probably dead, man,” My breath had returned to normal but heart still pounded, hadn’t gotten the memo, “Everyone here was close before this happened anyway.”

I heard Bobby unzip the bookbag we’d come from runing away with, then a click; a muted yellow beam shot into existence. “And batteries, bottled water in here; we’re lucky those people-“

“No.” My hand flew into his chest, stopped him from speaking and walking. “That isn’t what they were anymore. We didn’t kill anybody. Zombies aren’t people.”

The beam went away, after a jiggle from the darkness it came back more intense; the hallway in front of us was filled with garbage, gurneys, the occasional robed, essentially naked, corpse with skull bashed in. “That isn’t the right word.” He said with a step around a puddle of blood.

My feet plopped through the same puddle he’d avoided. “You told me you saw your mom bite your dad, then they came after you, didn’t stop when you begged, or when you broke every bone in their body; only when you bashed their skulls in.” My hands, covered by hockey gloves, tightened around the baseball bat I carried. “I don’t even have to mention my own shit.”

“We aren’t in any rush, there’s no reason to jump to conclusions.”

We’d resumed walking and our loud steps, in addition to the jangle of Bobby’s assorted putters in a waistband quiver, were the last bit of decibels necessary to shoot sound past the weak cone of light, into the darkness of the hallway. The shuffle of feet of came back, I thought an echo, then snarls became apparent, then a loudness too much to have been produced by two sets of feet; we ducked into a nearby open doorway, shut the door behind ourselves.

In the technical sense of the term the space had been lived in, but the only remaining décor was an electronic picture frame on the wall featuring a loop of pictures, different circumstances where an elderly woman with a whiter than milk smile displayed affection to her family. The bed was dislodged from frame, sheets disheveled, bloodstained but still on top. “These poor people-“ Bobby began but a banging on the door stopped the talk; we moved the mattress into a lean against the fiber.

“I think it’ll hold.”

“Thinking like that won’t help anything” Bobby said, took out a putter, slammed it into the cushion as if that had been more appropriate.

“I’m just focused on safety.” The only window in the room was occupied with a pane of frosted glass, impossible to see through. “Our minds shouldn’t be on anything but; we’ve both counted the eleven seconds it takes after a bite to turn.”

Bobby sighed, sat next to the bed frame, dropped his head into hands, “If my mind was where yours’ was we’d have been dead from the start; we listened to you, now where are we? Trapped.” The  banging outside intensified, “AGH!” Bobby rolled to his side, grabbed at his ankle.

The old lady from the pictures had her mouth around his Achilles’ Tendon, produced a sound nowhere near ‘That’s only your second serving of leftovers, dear’; I smashed her head with the bat, the first swing knocked wig off, second busted flesh, third broke skull then her mouth slackened, body lost tension, dropped next to Bobby on the floor.

“Wa-“ He didn’t finish the word because my bat cracked him across the jaw; he collapsed fully, tears dropped from his eyes, mingled with blood but I didn’t relent, swung over and over until Bobby’s head was reduced to a puddle of red.

BANGCRACKTHUDBANG – the mattress moved a little

I used the back of a glove to wipe the splatter from my face, moved to the window, busted out glass; found metal bars blocking my escape.

I screamed.

My eyes went to floor, this time I sobbed; next to the old woman’s brains were her set of dentures, white, unblemished as I discovered Bobby’s ankle to be.

End

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