Living Dead

Read Living Dead for Free Online

Book: Read Living Dead for Free Online
Authors: J.W. Schnarr
Tags: Zombies
before going in.
    “What if he…?” She seems unable to finish the thought.
    “We’re almost done,” Cooper says. “Hold on a sec.”
    Bretta nods and puts her ear to the door, listening for anything and hearing nothing.
    Cooper and Denise get to the top of the stairs, and Denise starts to put the body down.
    “Wait a sec,” Cooper says. “Just a bit more. Down the hall.” They lay her beside Allen under the window.
    “You think we should leave them like that?” Denise eyes the bodies together. “After what he did?”
    “It doesn’t matter now because they’re dead.”
    Denise flinches when he says it, like the statement has a bee’s stinger in it and Cooper just flicked it at her. They go downstairs and Bretta is still listening, but she turns to them when Cooper asks if she hears anything.
    “Not a thing,” Bretta says. “I’m going to go in alone, but if you can just stand by the door and watch. You know. In case anything happens.”
    “We know,” Cooper says.
    Bretta opens the door to the room. Sunlight is streaming in through the cracks between the boards covering the windows, and Scott is standing in front of it again. There’s no glass for him this time, just in case he figured on finishing the job. He’s got his back to Bretta so she can’t see his face. She sees the back of his head. His hair is a tangle of brown that Bretta calls bedhead because that’s what her parents called it when she was little. Now they all have it except for Cooper, who makes Denise shave his head.
    Bretta calls to Scott and he doesn’t respond. She takes a few steps into the room, about halfway to the bed and says it again. Again, he doesn’t respond.
    She turns and looks at Cooper and Denise.
    “Scott,” Cooper says, with force. Like how men talk to each other when they aren’t in the mood for any shit.
    Scott ignores him. He’s staring out the boarded window, and his fingers feeling the sunbeam, like it’s a thing you can pet. A yellow cat, maybe, all angles and dusty warmth. Bretta takes another step toward him.
    “Maybe you should hang back,” Cooper says.
    Bretta ignores him too, and now she’s nearly close enough to touch Scott. Or close enough for him to reach around and dig her eyes out if he feels the urge.
    “Please be careful,” Denise says.
    Cooper steps into the room and takes another step, and Denise follows behind, wringing her hands. Bretta reaches out and puts her hand on Scott’s shoulder. It’s warm from the sun and she feels the muscles in his shoulder under his shirt, like a block of wood wrapped in neoprene. Scott stops watching the window and looks down at the hand on his shoulder.
    They can see the side of Scott’s face now, bloody and slack, his eye dark and unblinking, his lower lip drooped open like he’s had a stroke. He reaches up and takes her hand, and then he shuffles around, turning from the window to face her.
    “Are you alright?” Bretta asks, her voice soft.
    Scott is staring at the hand he’s holding, his head forward like it’s too heavy to lift. There’s no movement in his eyes. There’s stubble on his face and blood sticking to the black hair.
    Bretta asks again if he’s okay, and then she pulls her hand away because something important occurs to her.
    Scott hasn’t taken a breath yet.
    He looks up, his eyes unfocused, not looking at Bretta, but not away. His mouth is open. The flesh in his mouth is pink, but his tongue is white, and the gums around his teeth are red in spots.
    “Bretta,” Cooper says. “I think you should get over here.”
    “No, I—” Bretta says, watching Scott’s face for a sign of movement, a sign of life. Even a single breath. Anything that will tell them he isn’t what he looks like. Something to tell them he didn’t go away and isn’t coming back.
    Scott looks into Bretta’s face. His lips pull back, showing teeth. Showing gum.
    Denise calls Bretta’s name but now it’s too late, because Scott’s arms are up

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