The sun glistened over the horizon, filling the house with awkward shadows. Sweat had made Kyle’s hands slippery. Anna had already started up the stairs, but he snapped out of his desire to escape and pulled her back. He couldn’t let her go up there by herself.
“I’ll check it out. Stay here.”
She looked at him with a hint of contempt in her eyes. “You are going to leave me down here by myself?”
He nodded and started up the stairs before she could utter any comment. Two steps later, she followed.
“I’m coming.” She said.
He didn’t want to argue, so he continued to creep up the stairs. The steady thumps from upstairs matched his racing heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Thump. The top of the stairs came into view. Trace amount of light reached the hall.
He stopped and turned toward the sound of the thumping. It came from behind the door that he left the woman in. Anna stopped beside him, her breathing heavy and sour. He couldn’t explain it, but his feet started to shuffle toward the door. Anna followed him.
He wanted to ask her to stop, but didn’t. She wouldn’t listen anyway. Reaching the door, he pushed it open. Inside, he saw the decaying girl sitting in her chair, rocking back and forth. Her rotten feet cracking against the wall. The sun streaked across her face, hiding part of it in shadow.
“Stay here.” Kyle said as he stepped into the room.
Anna’s breath caught in her throat and he saw her hair in a blur as she raced toward the bathroom. Her lurching overpowered the thumping for a moment.
In the room, the woman laid sprawled out on the carpet. Half her face torn off. Tendons and ligaments, stretched like silly putty to the puddle of blood. A coppery taste filled Kyle’s mouth and he felt sorry for the woman. She was crazy as a bat, but still didn’t deserve this. Approaching the woman, he kept his eyes on the girl. She stopped rocking, and turned to Kyle. Bits of flesh clung between her teeth like mountain climbers. Her eye sockets drew him in. The emptiness, darkness, and the sense of being watched.
Kyle froze, the tips of his fingers numb, and as the girl stood up, gnarling her teeth and the low growl began. Kyle stepped away like he would a rabid dog. The girl couldn’t see him, yet she moved toward him with deceptive speed.
Turning to flee, he tripped over his own two feet, and the girl tripped over him. She tumbled into the wall, allowing Kyle a moment to get some distance. It would be all he would need as he dove out into the hall, pulling the door shut behind him.
The girl crashed into the door, the echo of her thud and growl filled the hall for a moment. Kyle scurried on his hands and knees toward the stairs, not getting to his feet until he reached them.
He didn’t see Anna. He ran to the bathroom. She sat against the bathtub, her head coated in sweat and her eyes shut.
The thudding against the door gave way to the snapping of wood. The girl continued to crash against the door, oblivious to the sound. More growls came from outside. Almost like a mating call.
No time to waste, Kyle picked Anna up, and started to carry her toward the stairs. The girl had gotten one arm through the hole her head had made and madly gnashed at him. She couldn’t see him, but it didn’t stop her as the door buckled from her constant slamming.
Kyle hoisted Anna over his shoulder, his back screaming in pain, and raced down the steps, nearly falling most of the way.
He reached the bottom, turned and found creatures approaching the house through the front yard. His legs ached, but he pushed onward. Racing toward the back door. He reached the back door and yanked on it. The door didn’t budge. The large deadbolt held fast. He set Anna down in the corner. He searched his immediate area for the key to the deadbolt, but came up empty. The growling continued to grow as more of the creatures encircled the house.
He couldn’t shove Anna through a window, so he needed to find the key to the door. Creatures had reached the front porch, crashing against the door. Kyle bolted toward the man, his heart in his throat as he searched the man’s pockets. All empty. The woman, he thought. If the man didn’t have them, then she must have.
Turning back to Anna, she had grown pale. He didn’t have time to waste.
What should Kyle do?