Thursday, October 16, 2014
IN THE FLESH: PART FOURTEEN
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
Carson Ryder: Former marine/Former police officer/Suffers from retrograde amnesia/ Searching for clues to his past
Damien Albright: Found and saved Carson/Has no family or friends outside of the group/Doesn’t seem to have a care in the world
Kenny Sudrow: Former spa porter/Happy to be doing something else
Eli Burton: Survivor found in Cherrywood Mall/Parents were rich and left him a large inheritance when they died
Vern Sheldon: Former truck driver/Carries a badass flamethrower
Terry Watts: Proprietor of the Starlight Hotel
Valentina Jackson: A new ally that was saved by Carson Ryder
Tyler Reese: Saved Kenny Sudrow’s life/Carries a submachine gun/a native Bostonian
IN THE FLESH
By Daniel Skye
Day One Hundred and Seventy-Nine.
The ground was solid and it took Carson, Vern, and Damien hours to dig through the layers of ice and snow. They dug the hole alongside Janice Whitfield’s grave and buried her and Chase Crawford side-by-side.
The sudden death of Chase put a brief halt on Caron Ryder’s search for Kenny Sudrow. Kenny had run off the day before and had yet to return to the Starlight.
It was a heart attack that got Chase in his sleep. They couldn’t find his carvedilol in time. Even after he had passed on and Vern searched the entire room, they still couldn’t find his medication. His pills just seemed to vanish overnight.
Vern knew no one would be careless or stupid enough to take them from Chase. It was heart medication. Not something that could be used for recreational purposes. So no one had reason to steal them. And Chase was unlikely to misplace something so essential to his survival. So where did his medication disappear to?
The medication vanishing, the Biter sneaking into the hotel. There were many strange occurrences that Vern couldn’t account for. But he wasn’t entirely sure he trusted the group anymore.
He believed that Carson and Kenny were good people, but he was unsure about Damien. And he didn’t know Valentina Jackson or Terry Watts from a hole in the wall. But as the groups numbers dwindled, Vern had no choice but to stay; for the sake of the men he trusted, and for his own sake as well.
After Chase was buried, Vern warmed up in the lobby and enjoyed his instant coffee. It never bothered him that it was cold as ice cubes. The caffeine was what he drank it for. It gave him the energy to make it through the day.
Terry Watts came down from the second floor to check up on everyone. He expressed his sympathies over Chase and took Vern up on his offer for instant coffee. Terry had yet to allow any members of the group access to the second floor. He was still keeping it all to himself. It never dawned on Vern to question why. Others had questioned his motives in the past, but Terry had been friendly and helpful to them up to that point. He hadn’t tried anything funny or done anything out of the ordinary. And alone against the whole group, Terry didn’t stand a chance.
“Wanna play chess?” Terry asked. “Chase and I always used to play.”
“I’d like to,” Vern said. “But I have to help Carson look for Kenny soon. He never came back last night.”
“Probably just blowing off steam,” Terry suggested. But Vern feared the worst. And so did Carson.
* * *
Valentina Jackson was glaring out her window at the snow when she saw Kenny Sudrow emerge and walk past the hotel garden. But he wasn’t alone. And the men he was with were aiming AK-47s at his back. He was being marched side-by-side with another young gentleman with dark hair. Like Kenny, the young man didn’t seem to be marching with free will.
“We’ve got company!” Valentina screamed from her room, and then made a mad dash for the lobby. “Get your guns now!”
“What’s going on?” Vern asked.
“Yeah,” Carson asked as he and Damien entered the lobby. “What’s the hubbub?”
“We’ve got company,” Valentina said again. “Five men with guns. And they’ve got Kenny and somebody else with them.”
“They can’t get through the front,” Damien said. “It’s welded shut. Vern saw to that.”
“So they’ll try the side doors or emergency exits,” Carson pointed out.
“They still won’t be able to get in,” Eli said. “The doors are sealed shut.”
“That won’t stop them from trying,” Vern said. “We have to do something.”
Damien drew his pistols and made sure they were loaded. Carson ran to his room and returned with his Remington shotgun. This time, it was loaded and ready to go. Eli and Vern had the AK-47s that the group acquired from their latest trip to town. And Vern had his .357 Magnum as backup. Valentina was given an AK-47 by Carson who didn’t have to instruct her on how to use it. Valentina was more than familiar with the weapon.
Even Terry Watts pitched in and grabbed the last remaining AK-47. The gun weighed almost as much as he did and it was a struggle from him to hold. But he still had their backs.
They headed for the closest door to the hotel garden and approached with caution. Carson pressed his ear up against the door and could hear a muffled conversation on the other side.
Carson backed away when the men started kicking and pounding at the door to try and break in. The group took a collective step back and raised their weapons. “Lower your firearms!” Carson shouted through the door. “We have you outnumbered!”
“Oh yeah?” Malcolm McCredie spoke through the door to Ryder. “Well, we got your friend here and I’ve got an AK-47 pointed at the back of his skull. In about ten seconds, I’m going to pull the trigger. Kiss your own face goodbye, kiddo.”
“Wait!” Carson shouted back. “You kill him and you’re never getting in here! Not alive!”
“We’ll see about that,” Malcolm said. “Truth is, we have the manpower. We have the firepower too. We have everything that you don’t. There’s a lot more of us where we came from. Right now, we’re being polite by giving you a choice. In a few minutes, when we gun this door down, you won’t have a choice then. Open the door and surrender your weapons and we’ll go easy on you. If you don’t, we’ll do things the hard way.”
“The hard way it is,” Ryder said.
“We can’t do this,” Vern whispered. “We can’t let Kenny die out there.”
“I don’t intend to let that happen,” Ryder whispered back.
“It’s freezing out here,” Malcolm yelled. “And I’m getting very impatient. I’m going to ask you one more time to open the door. Then you can say bye-bye to your friend here.”
“Hey fellas,” a familiar voice called from outside. “You should’ve killed me when you had the chance.”
“It’s Freddie,” Damien whispered. “That creep from the supermarket. I thought you killed him?”
“I guess he survived,” Ryder shrugged. “Must’ve went back and told the rest of his group about us and the hotel.”
“Yeah, he survived and now we’re dead,” Damien moaned.
“We’re not dead yet,” Ryder said.
“So what’s it going to be, gentlemen?” Malcolm asked. “This is your last chance.”
“Please guys,” Kenny screamed. “I don’t want to die out here. Not at the hands of these creeps.”
“Hold tight, buddy,” Ryder shouted. “We’re going to get you out of this mess.”
“So hopeful,” Malcolm said through the door. “You must be the leader of the pack. If I may speak leader to leader, if I was in the same situation you were in, I’d do everything I could to save one of my men. Even if that meant surrendering everything I had.”
Carson considered it for a moment. He didn’t want to throw his gun down and wave the flag of surrender. But he also didn’t want Kenny to die as a result of his arrogance. “Do what he says,” Ryder told the group. “Put your guns down.”
The group lowered their weapons and dropped them to the floor. Ryder opened the door and they all stepped back, arms raised in the air. Malcolm McCredie and his men stormed the Starlight Hotel and patted them down to make sure they weren’t concealing anything.
“Glad to see you’re still alive,” Ryder whispered to Kenny. “And who’s that?”
“That’s Tyler Reese,” Kenny said. “He saved my life. Then we both got caught by these scumbags. I’m sorry, Carson. I had no choice but to lead them back here. They were going to kill us.”
“Enough chitchat,” Malcolm barked. “Boys, separate these assholes and make sure they’re tied up tightly. And bring the girl to me. I have special plans for her.” A sickening grin spread across his pale, withered face.
Carson tried to put up a fight, but Freddie nailed him in the back of the head with the butt of his AK-47 and everything went black.
* * *
“That girl of yours is one tough cookie,” Malcolm told Ryder when he regained consciousness. “She put up a good fight, but she was no match for me.”
“What’d you do to her?”
“Nothing she didn’t want to have done to her,” Malcolm said. “You know, it didn’t have to be this way. We could’ve shared this place in peace and harmony. But you had to draw first blood by attacking and killing my men.”
“I’m going to kill you too,” Ryder muttered. How, he didn’t know. His hands and feet were bound with zip-ties and he had been stripped of all his weaponry. They even found the pocket knife he carried in his boot.
“I’d love to hear how you’re going to accomplish that,” Malcolm said. “But I’m afraid Valentina is waiting for round two. I found this in your pocket, by the way. Is this your wife and daughter? They’re both very pretty. Pity you’ll never see them again.”
Malcolm bid him farewell and left Carson alone in his room to plot his escape and revenge. He was going to tear Malcolm McCredie’s throat out if it was the last thing he’d do.
To Be Continued With Part Fifteen: SUFFERING