It just appeared. It wasn’t there and then it was, its wood surface scarred with the claw marks of some beast, or someone trying to escape the confines of whatever circle of Hell they were trapped in. I haven’t gone near it yet. It hums and whispers, like ghosts in the halls of the dead, its handle shuddering and turning frustrated half circles.
What lies beyond I don’t know, but it calls to me, calls me by name, rattling like chains in my dreams at night, seeping into the circle of thoughts that roam the darkened rooms in my mind. I’m meant to know what is there, the bloody handprints and scratches upon its scarred surface say so. But I’m afraid. More afraid than anyone could ever guess.
It stands in the trees, far back from the house I currently reside in. In these days of my life, in the relative solitude of the world, it was the safest place, away from the crazy people, survivors and madmen both. I thought I was insane, sure of it in the days following the end of the world, the weeks of travelling by night, creeping in the shadows and cold in the dark, until I found this place, free of the senseless violence that broke out.
There is a member of the lunatic posse outside, wandering through the dusk, voicing its mindless chatter. If you didn’t know, if you weren’t aware of the social breakdown, he might sound normal. Certainly it speaks words, strings them together as any human capable of speech could, but its voice is raspy, guttural and the strings of words it makes are jumbled. That’s how you know.
There’s more. Now they are a trio, slobbering and snarling around the Door, heads cocked at the whispers that emanate from the keyhole, their grimy hands poking and caressing the peeling paint that still clings to its surface. The paint chips fall like snow, small shards of what was. When we had a future. If there are other survivors, we could put the world to rights, with luck on our side.
Mindless. Slobbering idiots all, their clothes torn and stained with the blood of the unlucky ones caught out when they passed by. Ravenous killers the Lunatic Posse are. I saw what they can do, in a group, lost my love when they caught us moving from one side of the road to the other.
They caught him, human hands with inhuman strength, his flesh splitting and running blood like a piece of meat through a grinder. The others, they battened on him, tearing into his side, with their teeth, one had his face buried in him, the other, she was before him, on her knees and burrowing into his stomach, tearing with her nails, yanking until his guts tumbled onto the pavement.
I ran then. As hard and fast as I could, I didn’t look back, couldn’t look back. He screamed my name, it ended in a gurgle; I assume they tore his throat out, but I don’t know for sure. I didn’t look back. I should have looked back.
Damn, I’m crying again. I hate these things, destructors of life, of the living. They don’t kill all life. Animals seem safe, some of them anyway. Livestock goes untouched, birds of any sort as well. Domestic animals too. Just humans, it seems. These, things. They bear no changes to their features, no growth of pointed incisors or claws instead of fingers, no rotting flesh nor wolfish fur. No, they look human. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t think they were monsters. They are.
The lone Posse female is staring directly where I sit, its eyes ticking back and forth, nostrils flaring as it watches. I dare not breathe, move, think…It senses me. The other two, continue their mindless search for answers, their jerky movements and arm waving as they shout jumbled curses and mutterings at one another. It watches, its eyes on mine through the darkness and opaque curtains that block the inside from view. That’s another thing. The Lunatic Posse don’t sleep, never rest, and never stop hunting for survivors. We thinking beings were top of the food chain. Now we are food. For the biggest baddest killers that roam the Earth.
It screams, its mouth open wider than should be capable, wider than a human could stretch and it screams, tongue vibrato in its maw. It hurts my ears, its high pitched rage making my eyes water, and freezing my breath in my chest. Molten rage, not the flowing honey of the norm. Normal doesn’t exist here anymore. No this is a killing scream. It knows I am here. I have to leave my safe haven. The only sense of civility I’ve had in weeks. I don’t know if I can make it. I have to make it, they will be in here soon, and I have to be gone.
The Door. The handle is rattling again. I can see it from here, the bloody handprints growing deeper and oozing crimson in long drips, seeping from the wood. I lean forward, closer to the window. Dangerous game I play but I have to see. The female, swipes one of her Posse away with a slash of her nails, opening a gash in its cheek. It does not bleed. It’s still essentially human, why doesn’t it bleed?
It pulls its eyes from where I sit, reluctantly it seems, turning to the shivering Door. It does shiver, quaking in its frame, the chips of paint flying off in shards. If I had a key. If I could know that I’d survive the other side of that Door. If I could get past the Lunatic Posse. A key. I’d go. I’d even risk getting torn apart as my Love did, to get away from these abhorrent monstrosities.
I creep from the window, gathering my belongings, few of which were unpacked since my arrival. I’m grateful for it now. A last glance, out the window where the Lunatic Posse gather before the Door. Distracted. I ease open the back door. Alone. I Run
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