Chapter Two-Highway to Hell
Water. That’s all my prune of a brain could think. Water.
My father and I had been walking for hours, his chestnut tresses plastered to his bare shoulders and neck, my ashy hair like a second skin on my head. My grey eyes scanned the desert for some sign of anything… Alone. We were staggering around in the desert, with the noon sun hot on our heads, and no-one was there to see. At least, no-one useful. My father heard a groan behind us and glanced at me, eyes wide. We had already encountered enough of these monsters to know what they did. “Run.” So I did. My legs pumped harder than they ever had before, even in my sorry state. My father pistoned on ahead of me, arms working, legs flying. Then I heard several shuffling noises in quick succession against the burning sand behind me and I made the mistake of looking back, thinking I was being chased by some possessed coyote. All I managed to register was THE THING WAS RUNNING?! How?! From what we had seen in our long exodus, these thing had only been able to shuffle. Obviously this thing was some sort of super-breed… Or they were evolving. The corpse came tearing at me, and as it leaped, my father screamed, “Dustin!” I went tumbling, the monster confused from the fall, but still scrambling around trying to get to me. As soon as it got up I would be dead. I edged away from it as quickly as I dared, because I had sussed this thing couldn’t see. Its eye sockets were black, mouldy, and empty, only a small trace of an optic nerve dangling over the edge of the droopy right bottom eyelid. The thing cocked its head towards me and lay poised, as I scuffled a load of rocks whilst I backed away. My father, seeing the thing, well… regarding me, he pulled out his gun, and took a shot at this Satanic being. It rolled, and the bullet clipped its temple, making it roar in pain. Everything seemed to slow down. My father yelled “RUN!”, and slung his backpack towards me. “Meet me at the abandoned train station, two miles up the path.” The corpse, in ragged dirty clothes, which could at one point have belonged to a ranchman like my father, sprung at him leaping the 30m between them in one single bound. I picked up my father’s rucksack and ran, as his puffs receded into the dust behind me. I kept running, knowing he would be alright. Just then I heard the screams. The screams, of flesh being scraped away from bones, intestines pulled out through a quarter sized hole, bones being wrenched from broken skin, and the marrow sucked dry. I shuddered, as I bawled, “Father!” I didn’t care if the thing decided to hunt me down. It was kill or be killed for me now. My father had been brutally dismembered, and I was going to hunt down whatever monstrosity had murdered him, or it was going to find me. Either way, only one of us was coming out of this encounter alive… or at least unscathed. I had no doubt now whatever that hellish thing was, it was nothing with a pulse. I pulled my steel baseball bat from my shotgun holster (no gun, just a melee weapon) and a heavy Swiss army knife from my dad’s backpack. I hefted my bat in my right hand and knife in my left. I was ready for whatever decided to come my way.