The second part of my first zombie short story.
The inky darkness of the corridor lies before me, an invitation to the gates of hell. The power in the uppers floors must have been cut off. Someone must have thought that the husks would not be able to see in the dark but I know it is the smell of live flesh that directs them rather than sight.
I call out her name as loud as I dare to at intervals as I move down the corridor. Some of the doors are left open and a quick glance inside shows evidence of the occupants having to leave abruptly leaving luggage and personal items behind. It seems so futile and I consider giving her up for dead or un-dead. The corridor ends at an exit to the stairwell. I climb up the stairs to the next level. I gently open the door and carefully poke my head through. This time I may be in luck. I hear muffled yells coming from one of the open doors. I dash up but stop short of the entrance.
The hotel room is a mess. Bed sheets and pieces of clothing are strewn everywhere. A body sits at the sofa. Its head looks bashed in and the cause, a bloodied brass table lamp on its lap. Further into the sitting room is a full length window which allows me to see city skyline and the Singapore Flyer in the foreground. Spidery cracks radiate from the point of impact on the glass panel. A flipped over armchair lies near it. Did Jaslyn try to escape by trying to break through the window?
I see light flashing behind a pillow on the ground. It is coming from a smartphone. Could be Jaslyn’s. I pick it up and turns on the screen. It displays my last message to her. A photo frame lies next to it its glass splintered. It shows the three of us when times were better.
As I walk closer to the panel I make out sounds of scratching. I turn round a pillar I halt and I hear my own sharp intake of breath. A group of three husks is crowding outside the toilet clawing at the door. I can clearly see two figures inside through the frosted glass.
“Is someone out there?” I hear a man call out.
I have to draw them away. I took out my lighter and flick it on. I pull out the butane canister from my belt and give it a good shake, hoping that it works just like in the movies. I press down on the button and the jet mist of flammable fuel ignites readily. The methane from the decomposition catches fire almost immediately. I move the spray in a zig-zag pattern making sure the husks are fully on fire.
There are no screams of pain coming from the mouths but only bubbling sounds mixed with the crackling of fire. They seem disoriented two dropped to the carpet smouldering. The third one, with a woman’s figure, rush in my general direction. I sidestep it easily and it smashes into the window. The glass shatters and the husk goes right through and out, it’s long hair burning and trailing smoke as it falls.
“Larry is that you?”
I turn to the voice. I must be in heaven to see this beautiful angel before me. A most welcome sight.
“Hey friend, thank you.” It is Alex. Both of them were nearly naked save for their underwear. They must have been in bed when it all went down.
“Thank goodness you are here! We’ve been in there for more than a day. You don’t know how…”
Jaslyn runs up to hug me but she does not make it. As she steps over one of the burnt husk it suddenly lashes out and grabs her ankle pulling her down.
“No!” She screams in full terror.
I grab the armchair and smash it down with all my might on the husk but it is already biting large chunks of her ankle and leg. The armchair breaks and I take a broken leg and with all the force I can muster, drive the leg like a stake into the eye of the husk.
Alex watches in silence.
I cradle her head and I see her eyes glazing over. It is too swift. The corruption courses through in her veins. I want to vent all my anger at God or the devil if indeed this is the work of either.
Jaslyn tries to say something to me, her voice coming in gasps.
“He…brought…it. The …thing.”
I lift my head up and look straight into Alex’s eyes.
“What the hell is she talking about?”
“W..what? Nothing. It’s not my fault. I bought this armadillo from South America. It escaped…”
“Tell me you have something to save her.”
She looks at me with her pleading eyes.
Then she convulses violently, guttural sounds emit from deep down her throat and then a wail of pain or despair.
From the corner of eyes I see Alex slowly backing himself out of the room.
My tears flow freely when I place her head down.
I contemplate pushing her out of the opening in the window before she fully turns but a better idea comes to me.
I turn about and walk purposefully past Alex and out of the room. I slam the door shut before jamming it with a fire extinguisher.
“What are you doing?” shrieks Alex, banging on the door.
The last sounds I hear as I go away are Alex’s pleas and whimpers.