Mr. Saxby

     The rusty revolver clattered softly in his shivering grip to the beat of his ragged, phlegmy breath. Eyes white and wide in sheer horror, he spun around yet again, his gas lantern causing a dreary kaleidoscope of shadows against the mildewed walls and forsaken detritus that was once a schoolroom. The moans and raspy callings of his name were never ceasing... and were somehow always closer. Pale, sickly moonlight filtered through the broken windows of the 4th story of the school house, the largest in the city. Once, children played and learned here, but now, since The Fall, only death... hungering and unceasing... stalked these halls. No more schoolmarms with their hair in buns and tales of ‘darkest Africa’ with its lions and elephants, oh no... far deadly things now haunted the mind of Mr. Saxby.

     Thumbing the oily, sweat-slicked hammer of the revolver, Mr. Saxby once again, almost unconsciously, produced his pocket watch with his trembling, convulsing hand. He glanced at it with one eye merely out of reflex, only to clumsily shove it back into his blood-stained vest, the time forgotten before it was even known. From the street below he could hear the shuffling of dozens, maybe hundreds, of his townsfolk... now slowly and inexorably coming for him, for his still beating heart and his twitching eyes and his clucking tongue within his parched mouth.

     Figures, hunched and torn, made little more than slightly blacker blotches against the few remaining frosted glass windows between the corridor and the school room. Broken bones piercing putrid skin and lipless, toothy maws still dripping with the shredded flesh of their last victim danced before Mr. Saxby, the hallway now thick and heavy with the grunts of the undead.

     “BACK! Back I say, monsters!!” shrieked Mr. Saxby, his voice high and cracking. He thrust out his left hand that clenched the sputtering gas lantern towards the horrors beyond the light’s reach. The grunts raised into an unholy chorus of eager, pleading moans as the creatures responded to the sounds of a living throat and the delicacies that lay within.

     He hadn’t eaten in days... and in his wan, pale complexion, it showed. Already a thin, slight man, Mr. Saxby’s strength was now completely gone. He had been running for what seemed like weeks now and his heaving chest looked like a ribby, worn out bellows on its last leg. His companions were all killed... most eaten alive in front of his very eyes. Including sweet Bonnie. Poor, poor, sweet Bonnie. How he had planned on saving her from these monstrosities...

     “Damn you all to Hell!” He screamed as he pulled the trigger on the American made Colt revolver. The cacophony of gunfire drowned out the moans of the undead for those few short moments... only to have the moans grow even louder as the creatures’ lifeless eyes somehow still functioned enough to spy him through the now shattered frosted windows. Rubbery, flaked arms clawed forward into the room, never minding the jagged remains of glass that shredded their flesh. The hunched forms surged forward, the weight of those behind pushing the closer ones through the now open gaps in the walls. Some of the shambling corpses even made the effort to climb over the short wall. Mr. Saxby still couldn’t help but wince as he heard their flesh being ripped and torn by the jagged glass.

     In a final push, about a dozen of the once living fell into the room and began to crawl or shamble towards their next, and perhaps final, meal. Lamp jangling madly as he shook, the indistinct bodies cast insane dancing shadows upon the walls. His revolver jumping back and forth, from target to target, Mr. Saxby backed up as far as he could go... His back now pressed against the empty window frame, he glanced out and down... and saw a sea of mindless, rotting corpses coming for him. The streets of the city were packed with the undead. Shoulder to shoulder in every direction he see in the hazy, stone-cold moonlight, they shuffled forward like a tide of decay amid the smoke stacks and cathedral steeples.

     He slowly turned his bloodied, matted and sweat soaked head back into the room. Mere feet away now, Mr. Saxby could hear their breathy, hollow calls... “braaaains... mhrrrrrrr... Sxxxbeeeee.... hhnngreeeeee... ”

     With a “HYAA!”, Mr. Saxby flung the lantern at the closest monster... and watched as it simply bounced off of the creatures’ chest and clattered to the ground and went out, its flame extinguished. In the moonlight, Mr. Saxby flicked his wrist and then stared down at the pistol. Five empty chambers. Only five, he thought, gleefully. The flicked the pistol back closed.

     He slowly and deliberately lifted the rusty revolver to his temple, the tip of the barrel still warm from its previous discharges. Mr. Saxby, now strangely calm, looked at the decayed, putrefied countenances of the zombies that surrounded him. They didn’t stop. They would never stop. But they won’t have me, he thought. They won’t have me. He pulled the trigger.

     The soft click of the pistol’s hammer striking a dud bullet sounded louder than it should by being so close his ear and it surprised him, causing him to flinch. Slowly opening his bloodshot eyes, he looked up to see the heavy, reeking wave of dead bodies fall upon him, bony, clawed fingers grasping and stained teeth clattering. His screams of being slowly eaten alive echoed throughout the night.

Scott Kelley - 11/28/2014