Night Of The Living Dead: The Cooper Family
(© Matt Hayward)
(Also available on the Kindle Store, with an added "Afterword")
"Harry, look out!"
But Helen knew it was already
too late. That man had come out of nowhere.
Harry swerved to the left,
slamming the wheel as far as it would go. Reaching behind her seat, Helen
grabbed blindly for Karen's hand. But it didn't matter. Not at this stage. The
tree was right there. Helen braced herself.
There was a dull thump as invisible
hands forced her forward. The sound of shattering glass and buckling metal came
from all around. Helen squeezed her eyes shut and screamed as the seatbelt bit
into her chest. Cold shards of windshield rained over her. Her handful of
Karen's blue dress ripped free. She let out a winded gasp as she bounced back
down onto her seat. Her mind reeled like an amusement park ride. The entire car
seemed to swirl.
"Karen?" She mumbled.
"Karen, are you all right?"
The smell of gasoline was
instant and terrible. Helen unlatched her belt-buckle with trembling hands. She
saw Harry, out cold behind the wheel, a dime-sized bruise on his forehead. She
didn't care. Karen was all that mattered. Karen was all that ever mattered.
I hope you're dead,
Harry, She thought. You stupid idiot!
"Karen, are you okay?"
Turning in her seat, Helen cried with relief when she heard Karen moan.
"Oh thank God! Let's get you out of here. Are you hurt?"
"No," Karen said.
"Daddy? Is Daddy okay?"
Harry moaned, his eyes beginning
"Your Dad's fine. Are you
sure you're not hurt, honey? You're sure?"
"I'm fine, Mom.
Honest." Karen said. "Did Daddy hit that man?"
Helen sniffled and searched the
road behind them for the man but the window was fogging up. She wiped at it
with her sleeve.
"Mommy? Mom, what is it?"
"Nothing, Karen. Just stay in your seat, okay?"
Outside were five men. They stood in the middle of the road as if in a trance, none of them moving a
muscle. They were facing the car.
There had only been one a moment ago, Helen thought.
She wanted to vomit. One man. Not five. Where did they come from? Is this a set up?
Suddenly, she wanted Harry to be awake.
"Harry!" Helen rocked her husband by the shoulders. "Wake up! Wake up, now!"
With a sharp sniff, Harry shot forward in his seat. He instantly reached for the bruise on his forehead. He winced. "Jesus... Karen. Good lord, are you all right?"
Harry shuffled around in his seat.
"I'm fine, Daddy."
"Oh thank Christ. Helen?"
Harry reached for his door-handle.
"Wait," Helen said.
She flashed her eyes towards her window, indicating the five men. "Harry,
"... What in God's
From the backseat, Karen sounded
terrified. "What is it, Daddy?"
"Uh, it's nothing, honey.
Just a second."
"Harry," Helen whispered.
"There were five just a moment ago. Now-"
"I can count, Helen.
There's sixteen of them."
"Sixteen of who?"
Karen asked from the backseat. "What's going on?"
"Just stay in your seat,
honey," Harry said, his eyes never leaving the people outside.
Helen's skin crawled. "Why
aren't they doing anything?"
"How am I supposed to know,
Helen? Huh? Do I go and ask them? Would that help?"
"Oh, just shut-"
A smack on Harry's window made
them all scream. Helen's stomach rolled. There was a man out there. No, wait.
There were at least ten of them.
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