Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hollow World Chapter 29


A gunshot off in the distance awoke Sam. He tried to roll over and succeeded in falling off of the sofa. His head smashed into the edge of the coffee table and he felt blood trickle down from above his right eye.

“Damn,” he said to himself, holding his hand to his head. Pulling himself into a sitting position, he waited for his head to clear before standing up. Once on his feet, he had to steady himself with the couch’s arm, but managed to remain standing. He walked into the kitchen, a gust of wind from the broken sliding glass door stopping him, a chill running down his spine. He approached the empty frame, the blinds rattling softly in the wind and moved them slightly to peer out. The back yard was as still and empty as he remembered it from the previous night.

Another gunshot rang out. It sounded further away than the last, so Sam resumed his business in the kitchen. He had rifled through the pantry the night before and found an unopened box of Frosted Flakes which he now dove into. To no avail, he wished he had some milk. He had not dared to unleash whatever rotting smell the fridge held. His appetite sated, he went to the office, where he had seen a gun rack the night before. It was locked, so he smashed the glass with the butt of his pistol. Inside was another rifle and a brass key. Looking about the room, he saw that the desk held a drawer with a brass-plated keyhole.

He sat down at the desk’s chair, sending a cloud of dust into the air. His coughing finally subsided, he tried the key and the drawer opened. His heart jumped as a third shot was heard, this one closer. Looking back to the drawer revealed two boxes of shells as well as a hunting license belonging to a David Roberts. Saying a thank you to the well prepared hunter, Sam took the shells and the rifle and proceeded back to the kitchen. He chanced a glance out the broken door again and saw a figure approaching across the lawn, gun in hand. Sam paused long enough to click the safety off of his pistol before he opened the door, gun raised.

An overly burnt man, face a mess of oozing, popped blisters, kept coming at Sam. He had trouble seeing the man’s eyes, but took no chances and fired two shots. The first one hit the advancing man in the chest and he jerked. The second hit close to the first but stopped the man entirely. He fell over and Sam moved toward where the moaning man lay. His gun still trained on his fallen foe, Sam reached down and grabbed the man’s gun. It felt light in his hand, so Sam stole a glance at it. On its side in big letters was the word “Airsoft” and closer inspection revealed that the orange tip had been removed.

“Damn,” he said as he thrust the gun to the ground. It hit the dying man who moaned again.

Another shot, now the fifth that he had heard beside his own two, echoed from between the walls of the neighboring houses. He could not be sure, but he thought that the shot had been very near. He darted back into the house and slammed the door behind him. Harried, he tossed his belongings into his backpack and slung his two shotguns, the old one and the new one, over his right shoulder.

Checking out the peephole of the front door, he saw three more figures wandering the streets. The two closest were headed towards the house he now occupied while the third was slowly taking aim at the back of the closest one with a rifle of some sort. Another thunderous crack and the target’s head exploded in a shower of gore. The other wanderer turned his attention from the house to this new threat and met with the same fate, the body spasming as it fell to the ground.

Scared, but elated to have found someone else normal, he opened the door, shouting
“Don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me.”

“Show yourself!” Came a female voice.

Stepping from behind the large columns that framed the porch, Sam kept his hands where they could be seen. “Are you real, miss?”

“The question is, are you one of them?” She trained the gun on him and he flinched.

“Oh God no!”

“Prove it!” She said as she reached up and removed the cowl that covered her face. The gun faltered for a second when her hand released it, but he was back in it’s crosshairs quickly.

“Look at my eyes.” He pleaded, mad that he had revealed himself. “My name’s Sam. How many of them have told you their names?”

“Ok, Sam, you have a point there. I believe you,” She relaxed her grip on the rifle, its tip pointing to the ground. “But don’t you think about trying anything,” she snapped the gun back towards him, causing him to flinch again. She smiled, revealing a gap-toothed smile, the teeth still pristinely white. “Name’s Gina. You alone?”

Sam nodded, “Yeah, you?”

“Yeah.” Sam looked her over. Her skin had the same weathered look that a glance towards a mirror revealed. Her hair was sun-bleached blonde and her eyes were an emerald green. She wore a thick jacket and jeans that appeared at least a size too big, hiding her form from him. “So Sam, where you headed?”

“Right now? West,” he said, unsure that he should reveal the turmoil in his mind as to choice of destinations. “You?”

“Headed to see if the Dam is working still.”

“Hoover Dam?”

“Yep. Care to join me? It’ll be nice to have someone to talk to.”

Sam debated his options, which, admittedly, weren’t many. He could continue walking alone or he could walk with this new woman. She was, at least for the moment, going the same direction as him. “Sure, where are the rest of your supplies though?” He looked around and saw that all she had with her was the weapon.

“Around the corner, come on.” Warily, glancing back over her shoulder every other step, she led the way.

As they rounded the corner, Sam stopped, his mouth hanging open.

Idling in front of him was what he could only describe as a car, its trunk open.

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.


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