Pushing Up Gravestones – Chapter 36

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It had taken them close to a week to get to the farm. Casey and George had been dead worried; their daughter had been missing during a zombie apocalypse, they only thought of the worst. Denise was still their little girl, in their eyes she was vulnerable, and she needed their protection.  But they couldn’t have been more proud when she and her new friends walked through the gates of the farm. She clearly had her Uncle Bob’s gift when it came to survival and she had shared it with others in her quest to get to safety. She was finally here.

After the kids took a well needed bath, Casey took the girls to her room to check for injuries while George took Rory to a spare room.  She started with her daughter, inspecting her body for any sign of injury or illness but only came up with minor scratches and bruises, to which she tended with care. Denise smiled gratefully at her mother and gave her a hug, taking her place on the back of the bed, while Casey checked the other girls.

Ferrah came next, as little Tina needed to be reassured there was nothing to fear, it was just a check-up.  The small girl shared the fear of many of her peers so Casey understood, as it was something she faced every day. She let the girl watch her carefully and answered all of her questions as she took care of Ferrah, whom like her daughter, didn’t have any severe injuries except the bite mark on her neck.

Casey told Ferrah to wait for her to take a look at Tina, so she could examine the girl before she caused her to panic from the mention of the bite. She kept a close eye on the girl, waiting for her to show symptoms as she examined Tina.

Tina smiles as the woman examines her; Casey reminds her of her mother. She tends to her injuries with care and warns her before applying any medicine that will sting. But she doesn’t miss the pause or the worry in her eyes when she sees the old, almost healed bite that caused Tina so many nightmares. She was so scared but now she’s brave, because she is strong and alive. And those words are enough to put a childish smile on her face when Casey asks Denise, the only unbitten girl, to leave the room.

“It’s ok, mom; they’re immune. They’ve been bitten for a while now. They’ve had no symptoms whatsoever.” Denise explains to her mom. Casey looks at the bitten girls carefully; they have no trace of zombie symptoms. In fact, after their bath both look gleeful and alive. But her medical training says otherwise, causing suspicion to take over, along with curiosity and hope. Maybe, there is a cure.

“If so, there must be a cure. I can try to make an antidote with their blood.” Casey says to her girls with a hopeful smile on her face. “We can save everyone if it works.” The girls smile, Tina jumps up and down on the bed. The others laugh at her joy and at the relief from their possible salvation.

“I’ll go tell dad we need to capture one.” Says Denise and walks out the door.

Casey smiles at the girls and explain them what she’ll need for the antidote. Tina smiles when the syringe penetrates her skin to draw blood, because now she is a hero, not a vulnerable little girl. Her dreams of growing up are coming true.

#

After a little bit of planning, Denise, Rory, George and Uncle Bob set a trap to catch a zombie for the experiment. They hid behind one of Uncle Bob’s old trucks parked outside the farm and waited to ambush the zombie, and use one of Uncle Bob’s secret formulas to incapacitate it.

They wait an hour before they hear the sound of footsteps heading their way. George rises to shoot it but pauses under the curious gazes of Denise and Rory. They also rose, ready to back him up and shoot but came face to face with a young boy, about the same age as Tina, with a big bite mark on his neck. He looked infected; his face was red and sweaty from the fever and his eyes full of fear.  He stopped when he saw them and lifted his hands in defense.

“Hello. What is your name?” Asked Denise, slowly as to not frighten him.

“Lucas.” Came his answer, his voice faltering at the end.

“Lucas, if you let us tie you, we might know a way to cure you.” Denise said, slowly approaching him.

“Ok.” Said Lucas shyly holding his hands out for Denise.

She tied him up and together they took him inside where Casey finally had an antidote ready. Lucas was getting worse by the second; he had reached the rage stage and was scaring the girls so with Uncle Bob’s orders Rory took all of them out of the room, minus Denise. She watched as her mom gave him the shot and he slowly turned back to normal. The fever lessened and he looked more like a young healthy boy every second.

“How do you feel Lucas?” Casey asked the young boy after a few minutes.

He smiled and answered. “Alive.”

Lucas asked if he could go and play with the girls now. George hesitated yet allowed him to go, Denise right behind him. But before she left, Denise was stopped by her father. He handed her a gun and told her to keep an eye on him. She looked terrified but still nodded.

#

Lucas and Tina ran around the fields playing tag while Ferrah and Denise watched. They had been playing tag for close to two hours now and Denise felt a lot better keeping watch. She almost knew he wouldn’t turn that they’d be alright. So after another fifteen minutes she turned to Ferrah, started chatting completely forgetting about Tina and the possibly dangerous young boy.

That is until she heard a scream.

Denise grabbed her gun, knowing what she feared had happened. Tina came running at her Lucas in tow, clearly a zombie. Luckily the young girl was fast and she had gotten away fine.

Denise didn’t even hesitate; she raised her gun and pulled the trigger.

It was as if everything around her slowed down. She saw the bullet hit Lucas, on the shoulder, then fired again. Repeatedly, until she was sure she had hit her target.

And she had.

But she watched each one hit him. She watched him bleed and his rage grew.  Her hands shook and a tear fell on the gun, she didn’t even know she was crying. Tina clutched her waist; she could see Ferrah trying to ply the young girl from her. She shot again, this time hitting his neck. Ferrah lifted Tina and got away to a safe distance where she couldn’t watch her new friend die. Denise shot again, this time she got him right on the head, between the eyes.

Lucas’ eyes rolled to the back of his head. He, now a lot more lifeless than before, looked right at her with blank eyes. She shivered realizing what she had done. No matter how just the action was, she felt disgusted.

He hit the ground, dead.

She had killed.

It was over.

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