Good morrow fine humans!
Back again just letting my asshole heal from the reeming of my day job. It’s been a crazy few days making dat paper. But without it I wouldn’t be able to pay for this fine editing or food.
But here we are with Chapter ten, should be on the way out soon so I can start something else.
I was thinking of completely throwing out my plan from nanwrimo and doing something else entirely but more thought is required on that, I’ll keep you posted.
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“There he is!” Dave said as he pointed over his Sikh billionaire boss’s shoulder.
“You littal caant!” Pete said as he cranked the pressure gauge in his custom air arrow launcher. He narrowed his eyes to keep track of a wily moving target.
The scope flitted around, trying to keep track of the ragged green form as it darted from cover to cover. “Keep still you little barstard!” Pete spat. “Think you can outrun me, you little facka?”
“He’s over there!” Dave screeched as he leant on the raised lip of the gun store roof.
Pete tried to steady his breathing; he tunnelled his vision down the scope of the rifle. A quick flicker of light and a sharp piercing feeling. Pete was sent reeling off his makeshift perch on the roof.
“What was that?” Dave said.
Pete patted himself down for injuries “Something came right at me.” He readied himself again at his perch.
“There!” Dave screamed. A lithe figure slipped through a gap in the wall of milling living corpses.
“You fuckin’ what?’” Pete said as he gritted his teeth, pulling hard on the trigger of the arrow launcher. With a satisfying release of pressure, an arrow soared into the crowd, just as the figure disappeared.
“Did you get ‘im?” Dave said.
“I dunno,” Pete said as he lifted the rifle up and rested it against the wall.
“Who the fuck was that?” Dave said, feeling a little buzzed and drained from the excitement. As if, for a fleeting moment, the shoe was on the other foot, he glanced back to the spot where he’d last seen the cornered animal through his binoculars. He had to catch his breath despite not having moved an inch. “Hah, does that one kinda look like Burt Reynolds to you?” he said as he looked out over the shambling corpses on the other side of the street.
“Another caant like us, I reckon. Didn’t get a good look at ‘im,” Pete said as he leant against the lip of the roof. He took out a hunting pipe and filled it with tobacco, lit it and took some measured pulls on the horn lip piece, with a faraway look on his face. He listened to the sound of his own heartbeat. As he put pressure on the wall, the other side cracked a little and pieces of mortar and brick crumbled.
Unnoticed by Dave and Pete, lodged a good four or five inches into the mortar was a shiny and very sharp-looking butterfly knife.
A sickly light trickled through the gaps in the shutters of an upmarket house on the more affluent side of town. The house was still and looked vacant in the bluing light of the evening. The night was on its way, bringing a much needed stillness to the busy town. The house was old-looking, reminiscent of some older New England town houses: a two storey affair, made of retouched white wood and roofed with grey tiles. The windows were partitioned with the same white wood. All the curtains and shutters were drawn.
Inside the house a deathly cold gripped the anterooms and the hall. A musty smell the owners must have gotten used to permeated the rooms. And the floorboards creaked like those in an old, haunted house.
The stairs were fairly grand, made of an elegant hardwood. They were cold as century-old bone to the touch. The faded blue light gave them a dreamlike quality, as if the whole house were some sort of display or diorama meant for looking but not touching.
Nevertheless, something lived there. Something stirred in the dull blue light. Little feet slapped the icy staircase as they descended, creating the slightest creaking noises on the old steps.
A little girl, maybe five or six, in a frilly night gown, descended the stairs, like a ghost. She held a stuffed iguana close to her little chest. She peered into the inky blue stillness of her home and saw a spark of light. There was a warm glow building in the furthest corner of her house, along with whispers and hissing sounds and a strange smell.
She tiptoed down the stairs, trying to make as little noise as possible. As she got closer the angered hissing noises continued. She could hear a few choice words and laboured breathing as she approached the light source.
The light was coming from her living room. A small fire had been stoked in the old, wood-burning fireplace. There was a man sitting in front of the fire talking to himself angrily.
“I’ll get you, you asshole, you just wait! I know where you are! I’ll get you and I’ll-ergh!” The man muttered to himself as he nursed a wound in his shoulder. A bloody arrow had been tossed onto the hardwood floor by the fireside. He sat on a large green army coat in front of the fire, rocking back and forth like a caged animal, a blood-stained kitchen knife clutched in his hand.
“Santa, is that you?” The little girl said as she saw his scraggly beard and long hair. “It’s a little early. Where are all the presents?”
“Presents?” Carpenter said, furrowing his brow in a confused daze. Caught off guard by the little girl in her pyjamas, he gripped the knife tighter. “I don’t have any presents.”
“Oh,” the girl said, taking it surprisingly well. “Well, could you help me?” she said as she tightened her face a little. “My mommy and daddy are sick.” Her voice caught.
“Shhhhh,” Carpenter said. He put his finger up to his mouth. “Take me to them.” He smiled broadly, exposing his yellowed teeth. “Santa has something for them.” He stood up shakily, sliding the knife underneath his belt.