The Locked Room Pt 6

by Jon Peters

Outside the church, everything is right in the world. Maybe it’s only that I just escaped the inferno inside.

Evelina and I back away from the building as the smoke begins flowing out of the exit. That’s when I realized I was shivering. My teeth clatter. I glace at Evelina. There are creases in her face that I’ve never seen before. She looks terrified.

This is too much. How can we survive this world, knowing what we just saw? Will it ever be normal again? No. Absolutely not. Like a shattered bottle from a bullet, this world can’t be put back together again. All the king’s horses, or some long dead fable I can’t quite recall.

Zombie shrieks are upon us. They’ve broken through the windows of the church. Some of them are on fire, their clothes burned off, their charred bodies falling out of jagged windows. I stare in fascination.

"Do you think they realize they’re on fire?” I ask Evelina, grabbing her hand for support.

One of the, short fat used-to-be middle-aged man, rolls on the ground before looking in our direction. Crotch smoldering, he howls and lung-sprints toward us.

“Looks like my ex-boyfriend.” Evelina spats, arms crossed, frowning. I snort laugh, and she puts her elbow on top of my head like I’m a stool. Just like she always does when I need it most.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here,’ I say, brushing her arm off me and not bothering to mask my smile, the fear replaced by an endorphin high.

“Seaside.” Evelina grunts the word. Her decision is made. No need to argue.

“Lead the way,” I say, pushing her forward. Evelina quickly breaks into her long stride and I struggle to catch up. But I do, running in her shadow, one eye on the zombie horde spilling out of the church. We out pace them quickly.

“Guess all those games of chase really came in handy,” I say, breath catching in my throat. I force deep belly breaths, breathe in my nose and out of my mouth. My legs feel tight, my stride too long. I shorten it, pull myself upright. Now I’m in the race.

League City borders a sleepy coastal town called Seaside. Nothing there but a few crab shops and an old draw bridge. Place is stuck in the mid-twentieth century. Something you’d see in a black and white photograph. Feels ancient. A part of my grandma’s life. Old Texas.

It’ll take us twenties minutes at this pace to reach Seaside. There’s a shrimp hut underneath the draw bridge, right on the water. Our friend Christy works there. The three of us can overcome anything.

Between us and Seaside is a desolate marsh. Chest deep water.

Surely the zombies can’t follow us through the salty wasteland...