by Gail Smith (Linda Mooney w/a)
The handwritten account of one woman's struggle to survive in a world gone DEAD.
Something has happened to the world, and now the living are gradually becoming the living dead. This is the story of one young woman's struggle to live a life that has no future.
The custodian’s closet had yielded a flashlight, giving me some extra light to enjoy the book. In the middle of Miss Haversham, I felt myself nodding off. My wristwatch told me it was nearly midnight. I felt safe. Secure. Confident.
All I could tell was that the dead thing had been a teenage boy. He was also recently dead. What I don’t know is how he got into the room. Maybe I left the door partially open. Maybe he was already in the room and I just wasn’t aware of him. Maybe he was able to open the door, which I hadn’t locked. (That thought totally freezes my blood. Dead things can’t think to turn the doorknobs, but what if this one had managed it?)
I thank God those walking bags of rotting meat smell to high heaven. It’s like the worst kind of fart you could ever imagine, then multiplied. I smelled it just before it fell on me. Even though he was a fresh dead thing, and those kind don’t normally stink as bad as the riper ones, he must have gotten into something offensive. Kind of like the way a dog will roll itself in a dead animal’s remains and end up smelling like the carcass. It was kind of like that except this thing was worse than anything I’d ever encountered before. The stench curled my stomach, and I was awake, backing away, and gagging, all at the same time. That instinctive move saved my life. The dead thing brushed over my legs and managed to grab my ankles. Its teeth were clicking as if someone had wound them up with a little silver key. They caught the edge of my jeans and clung, forcing me to almost drag the entire body across the floor. With a hand on my ankle and its mouth brushing against the skin of my leg, it tried to reach up with its other hand and take hold.
When you’re that scared, you can’t scream. When you’re so terrified that everything you do comes from that primal need to save yourself, you don’t think. You just DO.
I kicked with my other foot, catching the side of his skull. I heard a popping, sucking sound, like when you take a Tootsie Pop from your lips. The dead thing’s head still clung to my jeans, but it was no longer attached to the body. The hand managed to grab my jeans on the same leg. Incredibly it tried to pull itself up toward my waist and chest area.
My revulsion was like thick waves of vomit. Somewhere inside me I found the courage and ability to reach down with both hands and take hold of the skeletal claws. I can’t begin to tell you what they felt like, but what I remember most is how cold they were.
I pulled on the claws until they released me. With a couple more good solid kicks, I knocked the skull away. Then, by placing the bottom of my feet to its chest area, I rolled backwards and cartwheeled it over my head. It landed on its back where it remained motionless, or motionless long enough for me to grab my stuff and run for it.