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He had never really been the same since Afghanistan. The doctor’s diagnosed him with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). They said he suffered guilt for what he’d seen and done, that he was haunted by the face of those he’d been forced to kill. He hadn’t readjusted to civilian life. He father-in-law had given him the construction job which he loved. Instead of being responsible to destroy things he was tasked with making homes for families like his.
Even still there were things he couldn’t shake, he’d come home and become a “prepper,” his Special Forces training providing the perfect base skill set. He had made BOBs (Bug Out Bags) for his wife, the twins, and himself. He even had the twins help out letting them pick out the backpacks they wanted. She picked out a bag with Kim Possible on it. He picked out Captain America. He made Bug Out plans and practiced them with his family. He didn’t know what he was scared of, his therapist said he was scared of the unknown, all he knew is he had an uncontrollable need to be ready.
Then the dead began to walk the Earth.
At first the government tried to cover it up. The media reported things as “mass hysteria” and “bath salts overdose.” It was only when it was too late, when Suzy Homemaker watched her neighbor eat the brains of another neighbor that people began to understand the gravity of the situation. Even with all his paranoia he found himself in the same boat. His wife would spend dinner trying to convince him that everything was okay. That they shouldn’t pull the twins out of school and go to the cabin. No, he needed to plan on being at the soccer game that weekend, it was a big one, versus the team with that one kid who tripped Ryan last time. Loving his wife he took his anti-anxiety medication and went to work.
He was leaving a job site when he saw it first hand. A vagrant was being chased down by an obviously cushy and overweight businessman. The vagrant tripped and the suit wasted no time sinking his teeth into the man. Tearing large chunks of flesh from his throat. Blood sprayed into the air like some kind of sickening sprinkler. Even with everything the man had seen overseas in the sand box, nothing had prepared him for this. He ran over and tried to pull the suit off only to have him turn and try to sink his teeth into him. Before he knew it, the vagrant began snapping at his feet. It’s teeth gnashing against his big steel toed boots. It struggled to get to it’s feet, the gapping hole where it’s esophagus had been filling with a dark fluid thicker then blood. He stumbled back pulling a heavy steel wrench from his tool belt. He swung at the snarling things before him with all his might. The crack of steel on meeting skull chipped away another part of his being.
He knew he needed to get home. His wife was home alone with the twins. If there were any of these things in their small gated community…
He ran for his truck ignoring the growing commotion around him; screaming, yelling, the sounds of breaking glass. He turned the key and the large 5.0L V-8 turbo diesel roared to life. He slammed his foot down on the accelerator and the truck responded launching itself towards home. With one eye on the road he desperately tried calling home, again and again. Each time no answer. He did his best to avoid the growing number of bloody corpses littering the roadway. He tried to block out the savage attacks growing in number and ferocity that he saw in his periphery. He was on a mission. Get home. His wife would be safe. She’d have seen something on the news. She would remember what they practiced. She would have grabbed the kids and headed to the basement. Rachel and Ryan would be in there playing Chutes and Ladders waiting for daddy to get home. They’d be waiting to “go for a ride” like they practiced each weekend. Only he knew this time when they bugged out they wouldn’t be returning home to play games afterwards. She knew what to do. They practiced. She knew what to do. He swerved in time to avoid a full on collision with a morbidly obese man stumbling down the center of the street, blood pouring from it’s open mouth. He didn’t swerve enough to completely miss him though. The body slammed into the driver’s side fender bouncing off of it and taking the side view mirror with it. He saw in the rearview that the thing’s left arms was gone. He ignored the wet thump against the passenger side. The truck would go through just about anything. He had planned for that.
He could see the carefully laid decorative wall that stood in front of the cul-de-sac. He didn’t bother to stop for Mike to open the gate, it was already open, and there was no sign of the cordial Mike. He could see his home. A picturesque 2-story American Dream, attached 2-car garage with a perfectly manicured and maintained lawn. His pulse quickened as he saw the front plate glass storm door shattered and the heavy oak inner door standing open to the living room. The truck came to a screeching halt as the big construction worker ran inside. His beautiful innocent children were not there squealing and laughing waiting to greet daddy at the door. He screamed for his wife. No answer.
A quick glance was all he needed. He saw it all. Shattered glass. Puddles of blood. Footprints of something darker. He followed the trail down the hall. He saw the thing slumped against the closed bedroom door, head smashed in. He kicked the monstrosity to the side and tried the door handle. Locked. “Linda? Honey? It’s me open the door.” The sounds from the other side gave him hope, something moved, they were safe. “Honey open the door.” The reply from the other side made his stomach sink. She must be hurt. He threw his shoulder into the door easily tearing it free from the jamb. “Linda?” He was frozen in place. There was his loving wife arms elbow deep in the gut of little Ryan. Rachel’s mouth wrapped around his arm, gurgling noises emanating form her mouth as she feasted on her brother’s flesh.
He woke up shivering. Teeth chattering. His skin was cold. Tacky. Something red covering his hands and splattered all over his naked upper body. Where was he? How did he get here? Noises of feet scraping in the hard dirt of the forest drew his attention.
Next to his hand lay a large hammer. His fingers instinctively wrapped around the gore coated handle. It felt somehow familiar in his hand.
"O, woe be the day the enemy descends, mourn we will, for the sake of all that's holy in this universe....
... 'cause the Alley Viper Corps is gonna fuck it ALL up!" - NFC
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