(© Jack Bantry)
from the doorway of the diner into the bright sunshine. It was mid morning and the
day was already heating up. Today was going to be a scorcher. He looked up at
the clear blue sky, then down to the dusty main high street which reminded
Bagley of the old Wild West. The store fronts were dilapidated. The town was
badly in need of investment.
Jobs in town
were few and far between. If you wanted to earn a decent wage you had to escape
and many headed for New York City. There was nothing in town to attract tourism
but people visited the nearby Adirondack Park and mountain range. Mountaineers,
hunters and fishermen staying in the cabins situated around the many lakes in
lucky. He worked at the local garage. His boss had sent him out for coffee and
bacon rolls which he carried across the street heading back to work.
Ahead he could
hear the screech of tires as a pickup veered onto the high street coming from
the direction of the nearest lakes.
revving, the vehicle drove at speed, swerving like the driver had been
drinking. Suddenly it swung to one side and clipped the corner of another
pickup parked at the side of the road. The driver lost control, the pickup
swung back round the other way and crashed into a parking metre on the opposite
side of the street.
towards the vehicle. Curiosity... well, we know where that can lead.
to the incident had already gathered around the pickup, probably checking to
see if the driver was okay. Bagley could see the driver’s door open, then the
crowd scattered. Bagley squinted against the glare of the sun, trying to get a
look at the driver to see if he recognised him.
It was a small
town after all.
running past Bagley, away from the driver, one woman banged into him, knocking
the coffee out of his hand.
down at the spilled beverage, unsalvageable, then to the running woman.
Something about the desperate way she ran, as though her life depended on it,
made Bagley look back at the pickup. He stood shocked at what he saw before
him, the woman already forgotten. The driver swayed like a drunk, but this
wasn’t what shocked Bagley, it was the appearance of the man. His hair was
dishevelled, his greenish tinged skin seemed to be running off his face as
though it was turning to liquid, and blood dripped from his mouth, over his chin
and down the front of his previously white t-shirt.
someone shouted as they backed away from the man. Not wanting to disappear, but
finding a safe distance to observe.
Zombie<, thought Bagley
quizzically, not immediately connecting what he saw with the fictional monster.
There ain’t such a thing as a fucking zombie!
staggered, holding his arms out, imitating one of the walking dead.
screamed, and protectively gathered her daughter against her.
zombie!" he heard another shout in alarm.
the brightest star in the sky, even he knew zombies only appeared in fiction,
but this man in front of him sure looked like one.
into the street from Bagley’s right.
from the hardware store, rifle in hand.
He got in
close, aimed, and put a bullet in the man’s head.
dropped down dead.
gathered in once again for a closer look.
wasn’t large enough to have a hospital, so the sheriff and a deputy - both
wearing large winter storm coats, face masks like the ones used by carpenters
to stop them breathing in dust, and latex crime scene gloves - covered the
corpse in a sheet, carried it into a police cruiser, then took it to the police
station until it could be collected by an ambulance and taken to the morgue at
the hospital in the next town.
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