Truths and Hopes Lost

2
Charlie rushed inside the Doc’s house after Grayson gave out another low unintelligent moan. Grayson…was…alive. How much alive, Charlie did not know. He shouldn’t be, but he was, and that sent waves of terror through Charlie’s body. He was shaking at the realization of it. Grayson Stant was alive! But how could that be possible? You can’t bring someone back from the dead. Or can you? The Doc must have done it, Charlie thought, somehow he’s done it, but I told him time and time again NOT to do it; to leave it alone ‘cause your playin’ around with stuff you shouldn’t be. But did he listen. Nope! Now look where it got him, D-E-A-D on the floor that’s where. Now Grayson Stant is alive! He shouldn’t be walkin’ around out there. Man I should have high tailed out of here when I had the chance. Real horror hit Charlie full-force causing him to stagger a step. A thought flooded his mind like a loosened dam and made him lose his breath. Charlie’s vision became pure clarity once the thought entered him. Sound became crystal clear and he felt like he was moving in slow motion. He said the words inside his head. What if there are more dead people walking around out there? Then, true horror hit him square in the gut. He wanted to vomit at the thought of it. What if there are dead people in here; in the house? What if they are walking around? No, that can’t be good, Charlie thought and began moving through the door at a rushed pace. The Doc’s arm snapped and broke with a loud crack as Charlie finally burst through the door and into the house afraid that Grayson would soon be chasing after him. He feared Grayson wanted to rip out his heart, or eyes like in some old horror movie. Charlie slammed the door behind him and waited around the Doc carefully placing his footing, not wanting to touch his lifeless body that was only inches away from his feet. The Doc’s death was personal. He knew the Doc and that made it all the more weird and surreal for Charlie. Beads of sweat formed on his temples and ran down into his eyes. He wiped the sweat away as it stung his bulging orbs. Charlie waited patiently in short issuing breaths in the foyer, unsure of what to do. His last thought lingered in his mind like a fetid odor that wouldn’t go away. It was stuck in his head and he panicked.

Charlie looked around the room; he refused to look down on the floor at the Doc whose arm was now broken, thanks to him. He scanned to find anything out of place; anything out of the norm. The Doc’s living room was as it always had been, neat and orderly without anything out of place. Thunder erupted behind him as Grayson slammed into the door with huge deadheavy fists and growled a sound that made Charlie’s flesh crawl. Panic struck Charlie, who wanted to scream and run, but he had nowhere to go. There could be lots of dead people out there walking around. Another slam rocked the door and Charlie wondered how long the door would hold against the beatings of that force cast upon it. He looked around again and then finally down at the Doc. A small syringe was sticking out from underneath the Doc. Charlie looked closer and saw a note with long and hurried scratches on its surface. He bent down low to get the note when Grayson hit the door a third time. Charlie jumped and brushed the Doc with his foot as a loud splintering wood sound came from behind him. He turned around and saw a long crack had formed in the door. Another two blows and Grayson would be inside; inside looking for him, wanting to rip him apart and eat his flesh. Charlie’s heart-rate doubled inside his chest as sweat continuously ran down his face in rivulets to his eyes and mouth. Flesh… That word slowly crept into Charlie’s mind as he looked around not knowing what to do. The Doc had succeeded at his plan, and in true fashion he went above and beyond his set goal; nothing unusual about that for him. The Doc was a genius. Doc Larson set goals in his interest of reanimating and rejuvenating dead cells from human tissue, and accomplished just that. Flesh… The discovery and success of such a goal would probably have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. No more amputee victims, no more need for prosthetics for the future generations to come, and no more long hours of rehabilitation for burn victims. Yes, the possibilities seemed endless and they were. “But I told you not to do it, you crazy ole fucker, but you went ahead and did it anyway.” Charlie said aloud, his voice cracking because he was scared shitless and because he was alone… with dead people.

Grayson hit the door again with such force Charlie thought the door was going to come flying off its hinges. He bent down to grab the needle and the note and saw something twinkle down by the Doc’s waist. Wanting to find out what it was Charlie moved the Doc’s body… just an inch, or two. That took courage Charlie didn’t know he possessed. As Charlie moved the Doc’s body, he saw a vial. His mind put two and two together and he grabbed all three items in a rush like a child gathering his toys after being told to come inside for the umpteenth time by his parents. He looked back to the door and saw the crack was bigger. Light was spilling into the room from the long vertical gash in the wood. He ran over to the far side of the living room and opened the note and read. It wasn’t the normal elegant script the Doc was known for. It was inconsistent and hard to read. Some lines were written on top of each other. Charlie at first thought this wasn’t written by the Doc, but when the first word of the note began with his name Charlie’s heart sank. He was doomed and trapped in this nightmare from Hell now to the very end. Why this day of all other days was I late? I might have stopped this before it began. “Charlie, I’ve succeeded in my project, but only with the dire results you warned me about. If only I had listened to the mind of a simple man and not tried to play God. But my intentions were good. The results are disastrous and I think the world may be in trouble if this reaches the outside. I curse my ever inquisitive mind for even thinking up such a monstrosity. The formula not only reanimated the flesh, it also brought them back to a barely functioning sentience. But enough about that, here is what you need to know. I don’t have much time. I was bitten. Hopefully you can stop this disaster before it gets out to the world…” Bitten? Charlie didn’t like the sound of that. His eyes darted around the room as his body jerked like a nervous bird. He looked at the door and wondered how long he had until Grayson came through teeth bared and arms flailing wanting him, biting him… killing him. He read on. The words weren’t good. The writing was wild and erratic.

“…All of the bodies are reanimated. Some I have injected more than others. The freezer is empty. Some are locked in the lab. I barely escaped from down there. Don’t go down there for any reason, Charlie! Those are the one’s that are dangerous. That was where I was bitten. Don’t go down there! I couldn’t keep them all inside. I tried, but fearing for my life I was too slow and over half of them escaped…to the outside…” “Half?” Charlie said to himself. The note began shaking in his hands. “…The syringe and vial is the antidote for you, Charlie. Take it and you should be safe. I tried to inject myself, but was tackled and bitten; the syringe broke in half. It was too late by then. It was over. I was bleeding too much from the bite wound to counter the effects. Some of them are mean, Charlie. Look in their eyes and you can see it. Stay away from them! I don’t know how you can stop them, Charlie. I never devised a way to kill the reanimated cells. Hell, I never thought I would find success in the first place. I tried to stop the bleeding, but it’s no good. I can feel myself starting to slip. The world is turning gray before my eyes. Please end this Charlie, for me, for the world outside. I don’t want to be remembered by this vile act of science. I had time to make a last will. Everything is signed over to you if you stop this. The will is in the safe upstairs. Combination is 21-73-21-12.” There was nothing more but intangible words. The Doc was dying as he wrote this. Charlie sat down on the arm of the nearest sofa. He let the note fall from his hands. Time seemed to stop. He looked down at the syringe and vial, still in his hands. Charlie never dreamed of having to inject himself. What if he got it wrong? What if he got air in the needle and it went into his blood then worked its way to his heart? He had seen the effects of that in high school once when an evil boy by the name of John Spows injected a helpless chick with nothing but air. The tiny hatchling twitched and convulsed. Its eyes bulged from the pain. Charlie thought they would pop out of their sockets. The chick fell on its side, little legs and wings flailing. Its mouth flew open at the end and its appendages went rigid

and were sticking out at odd angles.

It made no sound when it died, but Charlie

remembered seeing the pain etched across its soft, tiny, feathered face. Charlie shuddered at the memory. He pictured himself lying on the floor convulsing like that little chick. He was afraid to give himself the injection. But his fear wouldn’t last long. Grayson hit the door again. The sound of wood splintering was deafening in the silence. Charlie looked at the door and could see Grayson through its opened crack. He looked down at the syringe and vial again. His mind would have to make a decision quick. The syringe and vial turned over in his hands. A sound from the floor filled the room. It was phlegm filled and very disturbing. Charlie nearly dropped both the syringe and vial. He looked over at the Doc. He was moving. Charlie watched in horror as the Doc came back from the dead. He was trying to get up, but his broken arm wouldn’t let him. The Doc fell to the floor each time with a dull thud. Charlie got up and began moving backwards away from the Doc and the splintered door. His mind filled with thoughts of himself dead and walking as he watched the Doc trying to stand. His savior was in his hands. The Doc looked at him then and opened his mouth at an odd off-center angle. A sound resonated from the Doc’s mouth. It was both dry and wet at the same time and it nearly drove Charlie insane. He didn’t think a human could make that sound. No intelligence was in it, only death coming back to the living. Charlie backed further into the room until he was by the staircases that led both up and downstairs. His mind forgot the Doc’s warning about the lab. He took the syringe and placed it in the vial and pulled back the tiny stick. It filled with ease. Charlie would not be part of the dead coming back to life. He didn’t know if he could do what the Doc asked. He might just run, haul-ass, and never look back. There were others smarter than he who could deal with this situation. But the Doc had cared for him and called him a friend, and that fact alone killed the thoughts of his desperate escape. Charlie looked down at the vial. It still had some of the antidote inside it, but the syringe was full. Was he supposed to use it all? The note wasn’t clear on that part. “Damn you, Doc,” Charlie said as he raised his shirt and brought the needle close to his stomach.

His hands were shaking. He didn’t want to get it wrong and poke an organ. That wouldn’t be good. The door exploded and Grayson stepped inside. Charlie jerked his hand and the needle scratched his belly. “Shit!” Charlie looked down and saw a tiny line etched across his stomach. A single drop of blood emerged from the line. He backed up and stopped when he hit the stair railing. He had no where else to go. Grayson moved towards him and moaned. The Doc joined in with a dry and wet throaty sound. A symphony of madness played in Charlie’s ears and he was their only audience. He looked down at the syringe and with fear shoved the needle in his skin. It felt like a bee sting as the cold metal went through his flesh. He could feel its coldness penetrating inside him. He took a deep breath and then pushed the plunger down to the bottom. Before he could think his stomach was on fire. He dropped the syringe and thought he was going mad. Grayson and the Doc both called to him. He looked at the Doc and saw his mouth was sideways, the sound issuing from it was horrid. The fire spread out across Charlie’s body, nearly doubling him over from the pain. The room was spinning in front of his eyes. His world turned completely insane. Nothing was right anymore. Charlie watched in fright as Grayson moved towards him. He didn’t run. The thought of even a slow steady pace sent waves of nausea through his body. He thought he was going to vomit. The Doc gave up on standing. Charlie watched frozen in place as the Doc began a simple lurching and heaving towards him. Unbeknownst to him, Charlie began moving his arms. His legs began a walking motion, but he went nowhere. It was his brain telling him to move, to run, to get the hell away from there, but Charlie couldn’t move away. Fear gripped him, cemented him in place. The world before his eyes was maddening. Everything had gone to Hell. The sounds from the Doc and Grayson as they crept closer to their prize held him still and filled his mind. He couldn’t hear the light steady foot steps coming from up the stairs until it was too late. Cold hands with long chipped nails wrapped around Charlie’s neck. They were the hands of the dead; lifeless, but alive with false life and purpose. They heaved against him and Charlie lost his balance. He was going over. Hard ivory teeth bit into the nape of his neck. He screamed as he felt teeth puncture his flesh followed by a warm flow of blood

from the wound. The smell of death filled his nostrils. He was falling now. Airborne. Descending. Down below to where God only knew what existed and walked in the darkness. He felt the softness when he landed but his head hit something hard. It was painful and his eyes opened wide from the impact. The darkness called to him with dead voices. He couldn’t answer; his consciousness faded to black.

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