If Only She Could
“Her finger’s not getting any better.”
Tom looked up from his workbench and pushed his glasses up onto his forehead. He looked at her standing there, outlined by sunlight streaming in through the back door. Lucy was standing in her shadow, the strong, older hands resting gently on Lucy's shoulders.
"It looks like it's spreading. Could it be this thing that going around?" She was just starting to get a little of that wild animal look. The look that developed when society started falling apart. When the grocery stores closed down and the police stopped patrolling and folks starting seeing one another less and less.
And where was everyone going, anyway? Did they just disappear or did they know something she didn't? Was there something better someplace else? She didn't have an answer. And neither did Tom.
And Howie was missing going on three months now. Not much hope there anymore. But Lucy was still here, though she seemed sick somehow. And that damn finger that wouldn't heal. To hell with Beth Gurgens and her biting! Jesus, they weren't three years old anymore! And where was Beth now anyway? Gone. Just like the rest of her family. Just like the others.
Maybe they shouldn't have moved so far outside of town. Tom and his damn fool ideas about living off the grid! What she wouldn't do for a little taste of the grid right about now.
It seemed like they came from every direction at once. Everywhere she looked the shambling bodies closed in, slow, emotionless, merciless. Too many of them.
"Do something, Tom!" she screamed. She was angry, not really at him, but at everything all at once. And she was scared. She'd never been so scared in her whole life.
"Like what?" he bellowed back at her. The noise around them was a deafening cacophony of moans and grunts. A hand smacked against the glass of the window behind her. The glass cracked, a long crooked line shooting up toward the top edge, the sound like breaking ice.
"I don't know! You're a fucking marine!" she screamed.
He shoved her up into the attic opening, tearing her jeans along the left leg. And then he jumped up and grabbed the wooden framing and started to haul his body upward and the glass window shattered and the sound filled everything and Tom screamed and then he was up there with her and they breathed heavily for a bit.
"We can't stay up here forever," she said.
"Oh, I don't know," he said. "I wouldn't mind." Tom smiled. He held her hand and squeezed. And she loved him for that. And then she noticed all the blood on his legs.
"Hungry bastards," he said, wincing, as she gently touched his torn jeans. "All right, let's get moving."
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