Scotty’s skull made a popping sound as the round met it’s mark. The 22 Magnum sent a small puff of gray and red mist erupting from the back of his head. His body weight collapsed on itself and stuck in a standing position for a moment before it slowly fell backwards and slumped to the concrete.
A hoarse growl drew my attention to the now approaching Sarah. Upon seeing her, I stumbled back, my heel catching on the entryway of the door and I fell backwards into the house. I thudded hard to the ground, my elbows landing sharply on the wood floor. While falling, I tried to keep my head up to maintain sight of Sarah as she approached. She had reached the foot of the stairs and was hissing, a rough sound deep in her throat. Her hands outstretched grabbing at me, and the hiss changed to a crackling groan that cut the air like nothing I had ever heard. The sound was awkward like she struggled to produce it but it was simply terrifying. There was great eagerness in the sound like she was starving to reach me. I noticed she moved somewhat faster than Scotty had. She tried to step up onto the first step but stumbled and fell on Scotty’s now unmoving corpse. Her head came crashing down on the sharp edge of the brick step. She was still for a moment then raised her head and I saw a deep gash on her forehead, bloodless, it was just red, raw flesh and the white bone of her skull was visible underneath. She stared at me, those black pupils glaring into my face with hungry contempt. She renewed her awful hissing, a crackling moan and abruptly her upper body lunged forward reaching out towards me, her hands clawing through the air. She was only about two feet away from my sock clad feet. I drew my legs back, quickly spread my feet apart, bending my knees. I raised my back holding my revolver in both hands centering it between my knees. I adjusted my aim to bring the front sight to cover her now wretched and horrible visage. I rapidly fired the remaining six rounds. With each impact puffs of reddish brown and gray mist exited the back of her skull. Two or three shots missed high as her head dropped from the path of the bullets and fell with a wet thud to the top step of the porch. Thick fluid began to ooze from the open wounds but quickly stopped. I gazed in disbelief at what I saw and what I had done. I then scrambled backwards and rapidly got to my feet, dropping the empty wheelgun on the wood floor with a clatter.
I stood just inside the doorway, breathing heavily and staring down at Sarah. I heard Alan’s pistol crack several more times and looked over in his direction. He had freed himself from his wife’s pleading grasp and was now firing more intently into the group that had formed in his yard. He was shooting wildly into the group, his wife no longer visible in the window. I took a step forward, one foot on the porch only inches from Sarah’s now shattered skull. “Alan!” I called out, then gesturing with my index finger toward my right temple, “In the head, in the head, they’re Zombies!” Alan stopped shooting and froze. He look up in my direction and dropped his arms to his sides. I gestured again with my finger, “In the head, you have to shoot them in the head!” He was still kneeling on the roof and he stared at me blankly for a moment. Without hesitation he lifted the pistol and stuck it in his mouth and fired a single shot. His head jerked back and his now lifeless body fell slowly forward into the mass of zombies beneath him. They grabbed eagerly for him as his body began it’s descent. Once they caught hold of him they pulled his body to the earth. They fell on the ground around him, and they all tore and gnashed at his flesh. I began to feel sick to my stomach, bile rising in my throat and I shook. Simultaneously I was overwhelmed with sorrow. I stared for a moment at where Alan had been on the roof then more movement became visible to my left.
Some sleepwear clad zombies were making their way from the neighbors yard towards my house. My head scanned slowly over to the right and I saw more zombies trying to negotiate the hill and get into my yard. They were crawling and pulling at the weeds, their clothes catching and snagging in the thorns. One had made it through and was negotiating the slope with some difficulty. The ones in the weeds howled in what seemed like angry frustration and others moaned in some kind of bloodthirsty anticipation. I looked back and forth from the two approaching groups, assessing the threat they posed, and contemplating the reality of what I was seeing. Finally, I drifted back through the entryway, grabbed the door and slammed it shut. I stepped forward, close to the door and flipped the deadbolt closed dropping my head against the door and closing my eyes. I paused there a moment trying to grasp what was happening, what I had done. “Zombies? Really?” “What the hell was going on?” “Did I just watch Alan die? Did I just shoot Scotty and Sarah?” As I rested my head against the door wrestling with the new reality I was being forced to face, the door shuddered under an impact of some kind. I snapped my head up and simultaneously stepped back from the door. They were on the porch. Suddenly a face appeared in the glass to the right. It snarled, bearing its teeth and dragged its gray, gaunt face over the glass trying to peer into the house. It was a man, I didn’t recognize him. He thumped listlessly against the glass and snapped his head back and forth as if trying to see individually through each eye. He moaned a dry, throaty emission as more zombies filled the spaces around the door and joined in the hellish chorus. The entryway became dark as they blotted out the morning light. “So that was it,” I thought, “that was the sound that I woke to this morning, the sound I’ll never be able to wrest from my ears or my dreams.”