figure shambled in front of the car and Wendy’s words gave way to an inarticulate scream as she slammed on the brakes and tried to swerve at the same time. The car fishtailed but it was too late. She felt a sickening crunch as her front bumper impacted with the person. The car bucked as one of the front tires rolled over something.
Scarcely taking time to slam the car into the parking gear, she threw open the door and leapt out. She saw nothing at first, then she spotted the arm protruding from beneath her car. The limb wasn’t moving. Her stomach clenched as cold fear wormed around in her belly. Something new caught her attention, bringing her focus to it. The sight of the severed leg, lying a few feet away, made her stomach churn with nausea. She turned away and vomited. As it had been awhile since she’d last eaten, she was quickly wracked with painful dry heaves as tears flowed down her cheeks.
After a couple of minutes she turned, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Wincing at the feel of the sticky fluid now on her hand, she brushed it off on her sweatshirt. To her amazement, the arm beneath the car was now moving. She watched in awe as the fingers twitched, the hand clawing at the asphalt in slow motion, as if trying to gain a grip on it. She turned back to the open car door and practically dove inside, snatching up her cell phone. Part of her thought that she should speak to the person who was lying broken beneath her car. But she had no words for them; nothing she could say would comfort them or make their pain lessen. As she fumbled with the phone, a niggling little thought tugged at her mind. She flipped the phone open and tried to dial. Her hands were shaking so badly that it was all she could do just to hold onto the phone. She pressed the 9 button then managed to press the 1. As she was trying to press it a second time the niggling little thought forced itself to the fore of her mind.
She felt her eyes widen. Slowly, she turned to look again. The leg still rested a short distance away. The arm still reached out from beneath the car, scrabbling weakly at the pavement. She could hear faint scratching sounds as the fingernails scrapped over the rough surface. She looked again at the leg. It was clad in what appeared to be the tattered remains of the leg of a pair of dress pants. The foot was clothed in a dark sock and brown leather shoe, caked with clods of dirt. The leg had been severed just above the knee. A shard of bone, almost washed out by the glare of the headlights, stuck out of a mangled mess of ragged, pale flesh. But there was no blood anywhere in sight.
Then the smell hit her, the sick, putrid stench of rot and decay. Her stomach tightened and she thought she would be sick again. The shock she felt at the thought of having accidentally killed somebody was replaced in an instant by a new fear. It was a dread so deep that she felt tears begin to roll down her cheeks the moment it settled on her. Her mouth went dry and her throat was tight. Only half aware of what she was doing, she folded her cell phone closed and held it tightly as she stared at the pallid shreds of flesh visible among the torn fiber of the suit leg.
The soft scraping sound drew her eyes back to the hand as it slowly clawed at the asphalt. More of the arm could be seen now. She saw the cuff of a black sleeve and the white cuff of the shirt beneath it. She watched as more of the arm came into view until, finally, she could see the shoulder and a thatch of dirty, unkempt hair falling forward to hide the face. The body stopped moving.
A small popping sound made her realize that she was gripping her cell phone tightly enough to have cracked the plastic casing. Still, she kept her hand tightened on it.
The mangy head lifted, the neck it was attached to bending at an unnatural angle. Upon seeing the face, Wendy nearly choked and had to put both hands over her mouth to keep from screaming. It was broken and pale, an ashen, bloodless color. Tangles of dirty hair hung over eyes that were blind with rheumy cataracts. The mouth was opening and closing slowly, the pallid lips gummed with a thick, sticky substance that Wendy refused to even think about. She watched in horror as the corpse pulled itself the rest of the way out from beneath her car. The right leg was missing and the left was crushed and mangled, bone shards clearly visible. The thing twisted its head once more, turning its hideous face toward Wendy. The death-white features pinched into an expression of gleeful malice and a grotesque smile pulled at its mouth, the lips sticking to each other for a moment before parting fully. A large, shining black beetle scuttled from the corpse’s mouth, tumbled to the ground and scurried away. The corpse began to crawl toward her, pulling itself along with its arms, ruined legs dragging behind it.
Not vampires! Keely was right when he’d called them zombies!
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