Jack performs the laborious deed of pushing Gabby over the uneven ground in the blistering heat. There were answers needed, questions to be asked, a possible soul to be slayed, yet all three survivors made their way across the barren land. A sinner’s actions clung to Jack’s right hand, yet a saint’s thoughts restricted his actions keeping his grip upon the handle bar of the wheelchair. Kirk seemed unaware of the hate fuming against his aura of self proclaimed innocence, keeping a steady pace with the others. He looks up towards the drooping sun and says, “S**t, looks like we might be hopping a ride on the Reaper’s ferry.”
Gabby squints her eyes while using the bridge of her hand as a shield above her eyebrows, “It’s not too low. God willing there’ll be someplace to take refuge.”
“God willing, huh?” Kirk chuckles. “You think there’s a God?”
Jack remains silent, staring ahead keeping an eye open for any place to rest. His legs had begun to turn muscle into jello, forearms into strained laces entwined among chunks of delicate meat. His heart however had kept a steady pace, if anything elevated with each syllable escaping Kirk’s mouth.
“Well, yeah. I mean just cause things are going bad it doesn’t mea-”
“First off,” Kirk interrupts. “You’re wrong. Let me save you the lesson of paying for this and that. Do you see the world we live in?” He expands his arms and turns around in a full circle. “We’re literally being hunted down by creatures once the sun goes down. We’re starving, we have limited supplies, no water, where’s your God, huh? Where’s your f*****g salvation?”
Gabby looks up to Jack, he continues to walk without speaking. She looks over to Kirk and smiles. “I don’t have anything to prove to you, my God is real. I don’t wanna die, but I have faith. What do you have, Kirk?”
“Common sense,” he replies. “I’ve had enough talk of imaginary beings when we have enough trouble focusing on real ones. What’s the plan, Jack?”
Jack walks ahead in a trance, tuning everything out so he could concentrate on the apparition ahead of them. Lyla stood in the way, beautiful as ever. She had an alluring smile with glistening eyes, Jack was drawn in as she spoke to him. “Jack, baby it’s me. I’m here.”
Kirks rough voice cuts through and catches his attention once more. Startled, he turns to him and back ahead. Nothing but an empty road with vacant houses lined up graced his vision. “Jack, what’s the plan, brother?”
Brother. The words felt like venom soaking into his soul. “That house up ahead, the green one. It’s a two story one, bigger chance of it having supplies. Well, maybe?”
Kirk doesn’t question it. He continues on with the others as they cross over the road and approach the rickety porch. The steps were crooked and led up to a worn out platform. Wooden boards bent downwards from years of excessive walking, they groaned to the heavens as Jack made his first step upon them. He pauses for a moment, looking at the door frame. The right side was splintered as if it had been kicked in, scratches marked the upper edges leading in.
Three windows were placed above the porch with two more on the front of the house. Both sides had two more windows, every one of them had the blinds pulled down. Jack looks to Gabby, almost as if he was seeking her approval. She slightly nods, Jack turns and twist the knob to the heavy door. It creaks open revealing nothing but darkness.
“Is this really a good idea? Every window is closed with the blinds shut, why not pick another house?” Kirk asks.
“If you’re so concerned, why don’t you go pick another one?” Jack replies. He grips his fist into a ball so tight that his nails dig into his palm, hiding it beside his waist. Kirk stares off into the sun then replies in a calm manner, “Alright, Jack.” He turns around heading towards the house across the street. A peach colored one floor house with broken windows, a missing front door, and plenty of light within. “Hey are you gonna be okay by yourself?” Gabby asks. Jack hesitates before stepping in, her words managed to slice his anger in two to reveal his inner common sense resting in the center. He turns around and begins to walk around the porch. A gas can sits idly be the door. Stepping over it, he scans the area and gathers his options in his mind. One cracked wooden board from possibly a bench, a tin can with a razored edge, and a mangled shoe with the front half missing. Jack picks up the board and tosses it slightly out of his hand to catch the reverse side. Looking over to Gabby he raises it up and begins to step inside the dark house. Even with the sun on his side, the devil had been on their backs. There was no comfort in how this would turn out.
The light from outside seeped in, but wasn’t much to work with. He takes a step in with the board gripped in his hand, arched near his head ready to swing. Nothing was there, just a ripped apart couch next to a pair of crutches and empty beer cans. He pulls the blinds up illuminating the room, in a new light he was able to see a trail of blood leading from the living room to around the corner down the hall.
Kirk steps out of the house with nothing but calluses in his palms. The home had been deserted with nothing but empty cereal boxes and signs of a struggle.
“Hey, is it me or is Jack acting different?” He asks while approaching Gabby.
“I don’t know, like more agitated?” Kirk steps up to the porch and peeks inside the house. “Hey, Jack, you good?” Silence waits in the room, he turns around and bumps his foot into the gas can. “Huh, this might come in handy.” He shakes it around near his ear then steps back down. “You haven’t noticed Jack acting different?”
Gabby rubs her hands across her legs, back and forth as anxiety kicks in. “No, not really. I mean we’re all stressed out, how do you expect him to be at this moment?”
“Trusting? S**t, I don’t know.” Kirk places his hands on the bars of her wheelchair and leans in. “You haven’t been talking behind my back now, have you? Cause now that would be just hurtful to me.” He slides his hand from the bar to her shoulder and slightly grips it, massaging his tips into her collar. Gabby makes contact with his hand and tries to gently push it aside. “No, Kirk. We’re in this together.”
“That’s kinda funny,” Kirk looks toward the dropping sun in the distance. “Cause’ I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Jack. Apparently you two were curious as to why I was in prison?”
Gabby’s mouth goes dry, her throat closes up in a panic attack. She awaits Jack to return, yet he was still inside the house. “If you were wondering, all you had to do was ask. Some girls say ‘No’ but mean ‘Yes’, they just get confused is all. I mean it happens so I’m not mad at them, they just forget what they agreed to. You know what I mean, I’m sure you would understand if I told you.” He slides his hand down towards her right breast and tries to caress it.
Kirk slaps his hand over her mouth and shoves a pistol to the back of her head. “You’d be amazed at what you find in abandoned homes, call his name again and you’ll be meeting your God a lot sooner than expected.”
Jack rushes out and comes to a halt once he sees Gabby’s tears running down to the crevice of Kirk’s palm. “Yeah, I had an issue with women. Landed me in the slammer since you felt the need to know, it ain’t none of your f*****g business where I plant my seed.” Kirk aims the gun his way then back at Gabby. “And since we’re peeling off layers of truth, yeah your wife died because of me. I was hoping to get somewhere safe before becoming the ‘bad guy’, but s**t happens. That night you went to look for help, your wife gave me the look, like she wanted me to save her.”
Jack takes a step foward but is greeted to the wrong end of a gun. “Ah, ah, stay there. You’re gonna hear me out, Jack. Your cheating wife wanted me but couldn’t make up her mind, in the middle of it she ran away. Tried to at least. She opened the front door and got scratched by one of those things, sun was already down and you were out doing God knows what. She turned, Jack. Turned into something crazed, something evil. Macy didn’t-” He stops for a second, eyes glistening with tears. “She didn’t deserve what happened to her. For that, I’m truly sorry.”
“You m**********r! It was your fault!” Jack takes running steps towards Kirk. He pulls the trigger sending a bullet inches away from Jack’s knee, allowing him to know he was to be taken serious.
“You had to bury her in bags, I couldn’t imagine what that felt like. But despite everything, I’m still more worried about my life than yours or hers.”
The sun begins to swallow within the shadows, bringing on the darkness. Jack notices and yells, “And what now, huh? The dark is coming and you’re out in the open.” Grumbling, raspy noises emanate from the blackness. Single at first, but then leading to multiple ones overlapping each other.
“Let Gabby go and we’ll go our own separate way. You don’t need her.” Jack had sin in his eyes, but Gabby was innocent. Her life mattered.
Kirk keeps his gun pointed towards him and listens to the disturbing noises coming from both sides of him. The sun was behind him so the dark was about to ingurgitate him first. Kirk begins to panic, picks up the gas can he had retrieved earlier and swings it over Gabby’s head. He violently shakes the canister dousing her in gasoline while simultaneously covering her cries for help in liquid.
“Kirk, don’t do it!”
Gabby looks to Jack and screams for help, in the moment everything seemed to go into slow motion. Claws protruded from the dark, reaching out towards Kirk. In a swift move he strikes a match from a matchbox he had found in the house, dropping it onto Gabby’s lap. Flames erupt into a fury, sending the monsters away in a hurry. Gabby reaches out to Jack, engulfed in fire. Her screams echoed and reached him, yet there was nothing he could do.
Jack drops to his knees and watches Gabby burn alive.