Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 14


Sam watched the gory scene unfold before him as he peered through the blinds of the small window. The window was open a small crack in an attempt to circulate some of the stale air, and he had been woken by the four's loud antics.

“Hey Jimmy. Watch this.”

They had busted some of the windows on the liquor store, but the bars prevented the four of them from getting in. They had already raided the grocery store, the corner store, and the Goody Goody on the opposite corner, drinking until their heart’s content. Now those other places were empty. Everyone had had their fill, and then left. Now they were the only four left, and they had a whole store to themselves.

“Frank, watch out,” Jimmy said, “That thing can’t be safe man.”

“Aww, Jimmy. It’s all good. Watch”

Craig cringed as Frank pulled the cord on the chainsaw, but nothing happened.

“SHIT!” Frank yelled, and pulled on the cord again. The chainsaw sprung to life momentarily, before exploding, leaving Frank staring at the ragged stumps where his hands used to be.

“Oh my God!” Billy said, running up to where Frank stood dripping blood.

“Now how are we going to get the rum you idiot!” Jimmy screamed, lividly.

The rum came to him as the explosion started the wooden shelves inside the store on fire. Liquor from broken bottles, also caused by the explosion, fueled the fire as well. This in turn, heated the rum in the bottles sitting on those shelves, causing them to explode too, triggering a chain reaction that cascaded through the building, sending glass shards, mortar, and even pieces of the metal bars, shooting in all directions.

With the four men dead, Sam turned and wretched into a nearby wastebasket, the image of Frank getting ripped to shreds by flying debris stuck in his mind. After his stomach was empty of what little contents it previously held, Sam thought back over what had happened in the previous five days.

After the house had caught on fire, he had made it out the back door, and watched the house burn down that night. He could hear no noise over the crackle of the fire, no noise over the timbers as they twisted in the flames. While he was standing in the back yard, he had become aware of other bodies standing near him, also watching the fire. Looking into their eyes, Sam had felt a presence, but they were intent on the fire, and ignored him as he walked down the alleyway, away from the ruins. He had been scared and lacking in weaponry. A confrontation was not what he had needed.

He had walked that night and broken into another house, looking for a place to sleep. He had been unable to sleep that night, afraid that they had followed him. Afraid that he would not wake up the next time they set his temporary home on fire. Once the sun had begun to rise, he had set off in the direction of Boulder City, hoping to meet up with his new friends somewhere along the way.

As he had walked, he saw the destruction that the gas explosions had caused. The road he walked was pitted with large craters where tankers or large vehicles had once driven. He only passed a few gas stations that were still in one piece, most were nothing but a large hole where the gas tank had once been.

He managed to survive by breaking into houses or shops and eating the food he found inside. He had found a few changes of clothes and carried them in a backpack slung over his shoulder. Sam had also discovered a handgun in one of the houses he ransacked, and now carried that tucked into his belt.

He got sunburned pretty badly while walking, so had broken into the doctor’s office looking for something to treat the burns. He found some burn gel and applied it before passing out in one of the exam rooms. He awoke that night, feverish due to the sunburn, and heard a cacophony of voices singing, dozens of voices, dozens of songs. He had passed out again before he could investigate.

He awoke the next day and thought it had been a bad dream. He spent the day holed up in the doctors office, feeling very tired and worn out, but recovering. That night, the voices were singing again, this time, it was one melody - “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” and this had caused him to look out the window, but he did not see any lions, tigers, or bears, just about two dozen of the Others, walking down the street, singing the song, one even had a radio on his shoulder, it’s cord trailing on the ground behind him.

That had been last night, and now Sam felt good enough to move, and now that the four men that had been standing across the street all morning were dead, he felt safe enough to leave the office. He grabbed some extra burn medicine and a lab coat, which he put on. The long sleeves would make him hot, but that would sure beat another sunburn.

Sam started out the door and down the road, north and west, Boulder City a distant goal, living through the day a closer one.

If you read something you liked, didn't like, or just have a question about the story in general, I would love to hear from you. even if it is as minor as an misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe, it made it this far so someone obviously missed it.

I take feedback seriously, it is the best way for me to improve and the easiest way for you to help me improve.


1 comment:

J. A. Platt said...

Huzzah! Sam lived. I was worried about that guy.

Oh my god. I love that they just stand around after he blows his hands off. Which one of them shouts “Now how are we going to get the rum you idiot!”?

And now I sort of picture Sam leaving town humming Follow the Yellow Brick Road without realizing it.

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