Funke had lost the ability to think. Her mind was a frozen image of Samuel's still form with blood oozing from his chest. Everything else had faded away. Unable to process the event, her mind was trapped there like a faulty Tv on the weather channel---or a busted radio stuck in the limbo between stereo frequencies.
The voices in her head were silent. Nothing else existed. She might've stood there for longer if not for Chinyere's scream.
Funke blinked and looked around as if seeing the room for the first time. Then she saw the gun on the floor.
Chinyere's banshee-like wail reverberated within the house.
The dark crimson was fast spreading across the front of Samuel's shirt. His eyes were open, but he wasn't moving.
"Oh God!...oh God!" Chinyere had her hands on her head.
Prince crouched next to Samuel, staring at the body as if it were something alien.
"Oh God!...oh God!..oh God!"
"Chinyere, Shut-up!" Prince's voice sounded more panicked than angry.
Chinyere grabbed her chest, and started wheezing. "I...I can't breath." Frantically, she searched her pockets. Both hands came up empty.
Prince's trembling hand touched the side of Samuel's neck. For the first time since the madness began, there was fear in his eyes.
More rapid breathing from Chinyere.
Justine was still on the ground. Her expression blank.
Sounds of rapid breathing.
"Fucking bitch!" Prince charged at Justine. She lashed out with her hands, but his fingers snatched her by the throat. "You fucking killed him!"
Chinyere's chest felt like a cement bag were sitting on it. Her lungs struggled for air, which made the tightening in her chest worse. Falling to her hands and knees, she ignored the pressure on her chest and tried to control her breathing. But it was impossible to be calm when your friend had a bullet hole in his chest.
In periphery of her mind, she heard Justine fighting for her life as Prince's hands squeezed her throat.
Funke was on auto-pilot. None of the voices in her head were talking. All she had in her head was white noise.
She slowly picked up the gun, and walked passed Chinyere--towards Prince and Justine.
PRINCE'S sanity was gone. His hands continued to squeeze her tender flesh. The rage blinded him from the pain in her face, it deafened him from Chinyere's Wheezing. His mind was stuck on the image of Samuel's body. He continued to squeeze...
...until he felt the warm touch of steel on the side of his head.
Justine felt herself sleeping away. The hands that held her were immovable. Darkness slowly engulfed her. Her eyes felt like they were about to pop out of her skull. All she could think about was John's beautiful face. As last thoughts go, it wasn't so bad. In some far of part of her mind, she heard the words: "Let her go, or die!" It was a woman's voice---the one who had opened the gate. The hands on her throat let her go. Gravity shoved her head to the ground.
More rapid breathing."Ple--please,"Chinyere's words were barely audible."he--help m--me!"
Prince slowly got off Justine and put his hands up, "Just...stay calm, Funke."
She tightened her grip on the weapon."Back away from her, NOW!"
He obeyed, keeping his eyes on the gun at all times.
CHINYERE was losing consciousness. The tightness around her chest and neck had increased. Nothing else existed but the pain. It drowned out everything else. 'Why hadn't Big Bruce sent anyone in to help them?' The room had become a hazy version of itself. She was losing strength.
Then her eyes settled on something...
...something gray...and shiny lying on the ground next to what looked like one of the stools.
"She killed Samuel,Funke!" His eyes never left the gun in her hand.
"I don't know what the fuck is going on,"She suddenly felt the weight of the weapon in her hands. But she held on tight. "But you're not touching her!"
"SHE SHOT SAMUEL!" He halted his advance when she shoved the nozzle closer to his face.
"...it was an accident!" Justine said.
But neither of them heard her.
Prince tried to compose himself"You're...going to take this bitch's side?"
Sound of Chinyere sucking on her inhaler.
Images of the snarling shadows charging towards her suddenly filled her head. "You... didn't see what I saw at the gate."
"SAMUEL IS DEAD!"
Sharp intake of breath.
"I'm okay...I'm okay--I'm okay," Chinyere's voice said.
Neither Prince nor Funke moved.
Then Samuel coughed.
Chinyere's eyes lit up. "He's alive!" She scrambled to his side.
Prince stole a side-glance at Chinyere and Samuel. "He needs... medical attention, Funke."
She followed his eyes.
Chinyere was crouched over Samuel. But...
Something was wrong.
A black fluid sputtered from Samuel's mouth with each cough.
"Samuel...?" Chinyere's hand was on his chest.
"W---what's---what's wrong with him?"
Justine suddenly looked like she was staring at the most frightening thing in her life. "Oh, No!"
Samuel coughed some more and made a strange sound.
"Wh--what Is it?" Funke didn't take her eyes of Prince.
"...the black stuff came out of John too,...before he---."
"Just shut up with that zombie-talk!" Chinyere was beyond pissed."Samuel needs a doctor."
"She's right," Prince said.
"Y-you don't understand," Justine was on her feet and slowly backing away from them."It's the black soot that turns them into---!"
"Oh shit!" Justine clutched the side of the couch."It's...happening!"
Chinyere's eyes met his eyes. But they weren't Samuel's eyes anymore. In that moment, she sensed he was gone. Even as her heart rate sped up, even as the hairs on her neck spiked.
Chinyere knew the eyes staring back at her were...soulless.
A dark fluid seeped from his eyes...and mouth.
She started to move away. Then he lunged at her. Her scream was cut off when he sank his teeth into her throat. Blood exploded from Chinyere's neck as he chomped down on her neck. He tore out a chunk of flesh from her wriggling body. A blast of dark crimson hit his face.
"JESUS...!!!" Prince screamed.
Once again,Funke was frozen. Her bowels loosened and a warm fluid oozed down her legs. There were no words for what she was seeing. She'd seen horrors before but this was...indescribable. In some far off part of her head, she could hear Prince,
"Oh shit! Oh shit!oh shit..!"
Samuel's face was buried inside Chinyere's throat---gnawing...and growling. Her body twitched sporadically as the life left it.
"Oh shit! Oh shit...!"
This isn't Samuel, she thought. The eyes that stared back at her were glazed over and hollow like a well without a bottom. Justine was tugging at her arm
"We...we have to run...NOW!"
Prince was delirious "Oh shit..!"
LOUD banging at the front gate.
Loud growls and violent shaking.
"Fuck...!" Justine whispered.
Funke barely heard her. The thing that used to be Samuel tossed Chinyere's limp body aside then charged towards her. Without thinking, she leveled the revolver at its head and pulled the trigger.
The gun was empty.
...to be continued.
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