The door creaked as Aaron Brown nudged it open with the tip of his boot. He walked slowly, hammer in hand, his fingers white. The house was not in the most pristine of states. Pale green wallpaper was peeling from the wall, carpet was covered by layers of dust and grime. The ceiling had a hole around a foot long, exposing the rotting floorboards and wires sparking and sizzling. It didn’t look as if it housed any inhabitants but survivors were remarkable well at concealing themselves.
Aaron closed the door behind him with the heel of his foot and it slammed into place with a loud bang noise. Aaron cursed softly to himself as he listened for any signs of life. After a minute or so of waiting Aaron raised his foot to move on but he then heard a weak groan. Aaron raises his hammer, his fingerless glove felt almost at home with the frayed leather handle of the hammer. Aaron exhales loudly, his breath sending dust particles sprawling.
Aaron stopped for a second and he was almost positive his heart did as well. A scraping noise could be heard, as if someone was racking their nails across a chalkboard. The noise seemed to be coming from upstairs. The stairs were on the far right of the room, no carpet covered them and they had some sort of black liquid pooling at the end up the stairs.
Aaron didn’t know what willed him on, maybe it was the fact he’s been eating rice for the past week or the insomnia that kept him from sleeping was messing with his head. Aaron raised the hammer one again as he walked towards the stairs. The brown substance ran down the stairs, leaking through the crack under the door at the top of the stairs. The door was shut and it was obvious the groaning and scraping noise was coming from there.
Aaron lay a foot gently on the on the first step, a loud creak echoed across the house and sent shudders down his spine. The rest of the steps didn’t make a sound. Aaron stood in front of the door and lay a shaking hand on the handle.
The groaning thing was right at the door, either right next to it or laying against it. Aaron lets go of the handle and reaches for the revolver stuck behind his jeans waistband. He grips onto the gun and pulls it out and puts the hammer in it place. The gun was in a bad state, the barrel was scratched to pieces and had a few shots left in it before it blew up which was lucky because he only had three bullets.
Aaron took a deep breath and opened the door and it was as if million things happened at once while in reality it was only one. A shotgun lay hanging in front of the door, the barrel pointing directly at his unprotected face, a wire snapped and Aaron heard the bullet firing. He dropped to the floor, a stray bullet caught the top of his peaked cap and sent it spiraling down the stairs.
The hat landed upside down, Aaron with his ears ringing turned his head meekly and saw a large brown boot come down on the, hat crushing it. The boot belonged to a man, tall , maybe 6’2. The man wore a worn out trenchcoat and looked at Aaron through the reflective visors of a gas mask. The man lifted his hand revealing a pistol, Aaron scurried into the room as a bullet tore past his head, smashing a fist size hole through the window in the room.
This room was not so much different from the one downstairs except for for the window. Aaron lifted his head and saw the man slipping on the brown liquid, falling to his face. Aaron took his chance and rose to his knees, with his right hand outstretched Aaron took aim and fired. The recoil sent the gun flying out of his hand and onto the stairs, two steps above the mans head. The bullet on the other hand found its mark and caught itself in the mans shoulder.
The man rose to his knees holding his shoulder, attempting to stop the flow of blood spurting out. He reached out with his other hand and picked up Aaron’s revolver and fired blindly. Aaron had grabbed the door by this time and slammed it shut, the door wasnt enough to take the bullet. It tore a hole through the door, sending wood spiraling into the room. The bullet caught itself in Aaron shoulder. Aaron let off a weak shout before putting his wait against the door as he ripped the sleeve off his shirt and wrapped it around the wound. Sweat obscured Aaron’s vision as he looked for something to get him out of this situation, then he saw it.
The shotgun was spiraling around in circles when Aaron limped towards it, with his left arm now dead weight. Aaron grabbed the gun with his good arm and gives it a strong tug, the wire gives away after the second pull. The gun was heavy, Aaron guessed he would have even struggled with it even if he still had another arm.
Aaron lugged the gun over to the door, with the barrel scraping across the rough ground. Aaron got to one knee and rested the gun on it, with the barrel pointing to middle of the door. On the other side of the door, stood the man, breathing silently with Aaron’s revolver pointing at the top of the door, each of the held their breath, now it boiled down to who shot first.
The man fired first, Aaron heard the click and fired as well. The shotguns bullets tore a rough hole through the door, sending a mix of bullets and splinters into the mans gut. Aaron heard the scream, and checked the door. The mans bullet didn’t make it through, the mans bullet didn’t make it out of the gun. It got caught in the barrel and exploded the firearm.
Aaron eased the door open, alongside the man whimpering in the middle of the stairs, the door made an eerie creaking sound. The revolver was at the top of the stairs, half of it missing and the other have charred into a black crisp. The man was in worst state, his hand lay twitching on the step above his head, not connected to his body. The hand was gone crispy from the explosion, splashes of blood gave the hand a scarlet tint. Aaron exhaled and continued down
To finish what he started.
Aaron stepped over the whimpering man and picked his pistol up from the bottom of the stairs, Aaron grabbed the man by the collar of his coat and pulled him down the remainder of the stairs. Aaron rested the man on the bottom step. “Will I take off the mask?” Aaron asked, his voice remarkably still for someone who planned on killing a cripple with his own gun. The man shook his head while groaning.
It was better off that way, the mask itself was in bits, one of the visors was cracked and both of the respirators had fallen out in the fight. Aaron doubted he could kill the man if he wasn’t wearing the mask. Aaron took a deep breath. “On three”
The man even in a hopeless battle had lifted a small gun that must’ve been hidden on him and tried to at least kill his killer. Aaron took the mans second gun, a small pistol. Even if the man shot Aaron it would have taken at least four shots to kill him. Aaron searched the man and found nothing of worth. He placed the small gun inside his leather bag then he heard the voices.
“I hope to god Seamus ain’t fucking dead” one said in a rough harsh voice.
” Same, He’s a good a man and I doubt his sister could take another of her family dying” answered another in a quiter, younger sounding voice.
The voices came from outside. Aaron had at least two minutes before they came inside. He couldn’t run away and he was in no state of fighting them with his arm the way it was. Aaron looked at the gun in his hand and it came to him, the oldest trick in the book, playing dead. If it worked for possums it had to work for him.
Aaron quickly ripped off the bandage and bit his tongue as the cold air got at the wound. He aimed the gun at the wall behind them and fired twice. The gun made a sharp bang that sent Aaron’s ear’s ringing again. Quickly he placed the gun into Seamus’s hands before laying next to the door with the small pistol in his hand in case the worst comes. To anyone else it would look as if a small fight took place which ended in a standoff of sorts, two of them fired at them same time and each killing eachother.
“Awhh fuck” exclaims one of the them as the door creaks open. They walked in cautiosly, not yet noticing their friends killer. The older one looked to be in charge, in his hands he held a small shotgun which was wrapped around his neck with a long strip of leather. The other one was a lot younger, with only a few small hairs starting to grow on his chin. He held a rusty machete in his hand and had a knife tucked into a sheath at his waist.
The door slowly went back into place as the duo walked towards Seamus. “He was fucking ruined” said the older man, pointing his barrel at Seamus’s chest, “That right there is the work of a shotgun, no other gun could rip apart a man like that”. “At least he died with that helmet he loved so much” said the younger man as he ran his hand through his dark, messy hair. “Your already using the past tense” the old man noticed
The older man saw him first. “Holy God, Seamus was shot down by a monkey”. Aaron held his breath and fought to keep his eyes from peaking, “looks like he took the him down though”. The younger one replied. Aaron could almost sense the older man nodding as they stepped closer. “Still though, we should refrain from telling the rest of the group that one of his kind killed our Seamus”.
“Do you want me to check upstairs” asks the other one as he picks the gun up from Aaron’s side. “No, you stay here and watch the door and take whatever you can get off of the nig-. The man stopped himself when he glanced up that stairs.
“What the fuck happened up here?” Asked the old man when he reached the shotgun room. The other man was after patting Seamus and was in the process of rooting through Aaron’s bag and had a little pile set up of what was useful and what was going to left with the supposed dead. Then he heard it again, the scraping and the audible cough. How could he have forgotten, it was the reason he was going up the stairs in the first place. The cause of the liquid at the bottom of the stairs that saved his life and the maker of the trap that instead of killing him prolonged the process that was his life.
The young man didn’t take note of it, probably assumed it was his partner. The man paced across the room, staring at the gun and back at Seamus and then at Aaron. He fucking knows Aaron thought, just wait until he sees the bullet holes in the wall and puts two and two together. The man walked over to the wall and bent over to look at the wall and Aaron could practically see the light bulb flicking on inside his head. Gripping the machete he strided towards Aaron.
“Your not that fucking smart mate” and kicked Aaron’s in the face, his nose now a mess of blood and bone. Aaron couldn’t help but shout and due to natural instinct went to grab his nose. The mans attempted to slash Aaron’s throat but he rose an arm just in time and the blade only grazed across his skin. Aaron grabbed the mans machete arm and winced as he glimpsed the fist closing in. Aaron almost blacked out at the punch but stayed awake. Still gripping the mans arm with his two hand he kicked at the mans shin with his two feet sending him pummeling.
It wasn’t ten seconds and the man was after scurrying away from Aaron with the small gun in hands pointing dead on at Aaron’s face. The man was scared, even though he had the upper hand and no life threatening injuries had a look of pure fear on his face. Fear of what Aaron never found out, the fear of taking a life, the fear of missing the shot or just fear in general.
“G-g-g-get d-d-down here Pa” shouted the man weekly. It wasn’t until now that Aaron remembered that the other man even existed and almost instantly he remembered the groaning person existed as well. In some remarkable coincidence the two of them arrived at the same time. They crashed down the stairs as had Seamus in what seemed a lifetime ago. The old man was dead by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs. A small blade jammed into his neck.
A large stained tank top covered the bald attacker and it was had the same black substance covering its baggy pants. It scampered over to the old man and pulled the blade out from its neck. It then stared at the young man with its completely white eyes, it stood up slightly and but kept crouching as it waved the blade around. The young man was looking at Aaron’s foot as a bead of sweat rolled down his face, the machete lay there. Aaron stared the young man and mouthed the word “cough”. Thankfully the young man understood him and coughed slightly.
The man raised his gun and fired at the thing as it charged towards him. The first bullet missed completely but the second found its mark in the things chest, the thing didn’t flinch at all, just kept running. Aaron picked up the machete and threw it at the monster. Another second and it would’ve been too late. It was mid jump when the machete slammed into its head. The blade sunk in with a sick “slick” noise and it tumbled onto to the ground. The same black substance seeped out of the creatures head and pooled across its lifeless bady.
The two men looked at eachother. The man kept his gun to his side when Aaron went over to his bag and filled it again. The two of them stared at each other coldly for around two minutes before holding out the gun. “Take it” whispered the man, “Too many died today, no point in risking your own life”. Aaron’s felt a faint smile coming on when he took the gun. “Thank you” he said as he turned and walked out the door with a broken nose and a useless arm.