Chapter Two: The Devil’s Laughing
The sound of the Heli carriers howled in the wind as they carried large plates of wall. Alec watched helplessly from his bedroom window as he watched them cast shadows over their town, blocking away the sun from the sky. How this legal, how was any of this legal?
People didn’t even like to lock their pets up and yet here he was staring up at the sky as if he could see god’s hands coming down from the heavens. Had he finally given up on them? Decided to lock them in a cage and toss the key. Probably not…no this was something straight out of hell and when the ground shook as the walls were moved in formation it was as if the Alec could feel the devil laughing from deep below. They would be joining him soon…it was only a matter of time.
“Alec stop sitting on your ass and let’s go. The scent of the blood is going to have this place crawling with freaks in no time. Grab some shit and move your ass, and none of that stupid stuff neither.”
“Books aren’t stupid Rome, they keep me calm.” Alec said, but followed his brother’s instructions. Rome was right, the scent of the woman’s metallic blood was sure to bring in more infected people and Alec and Rome definitely didn’t want to be here when that happened.
Picking up his duffel bag, which was nearly splitting at the seams with how packed it was, Alec swung it over his shoulder and walked back into the room where the woman’s corpse was. Her blood on the floor made the bottom of his shoes feel sticky, and Alec tried not to cringe at the squishing sound it made across the floorboards.
Behind her broken neck was the nightstand which contained Alec’s prize in it. Pulling open the drawer as quietly as possible Alec reached inside and pulled out a weathered composition note book and a pencil which was jagged around the pointed tip, sharpened by a pocket knife instead of a pencil sharpener. Screw Rome, Alec needed this.
If Alec on day got out of this hell hole he’d publish it, maybe it would get turned into a documentary or something else stupid on the televisions on the outside walls of the Mad Towns and if not, well maybe someone would find it…or maybe it could be something for Rome to remember him by…after he slit his neck open.
“Alec! Let’s go already, the suns coming down and we can’t travel in the dark okay. I checked our map and it looks like there might be another place five blocks from here that could be safe but we need to hurry okay?”
“Yea, sorry I just needed to grab something, let’s get the hell out of here.” Alec said, taking on last look at the women before following his brother out of the apartment. There was no reason to look back anymore, after all this wasn’t a home.
When they had first been locked inside, Rome had been eerily calm. He had told his brother it didn’t matter, that he would always protect him no matter what. It had put an ease to Alec but he knew his brother wasn’t confident about their current situation. They had never been well off, the death of their parents causing them to learn how to survive on their own. It was always Alec and Rome, never anyone else. They didn’t have outside family members, their mother being disowned when she married their father who was an average truck driver. They made due though and had raised a good family and they left it to Rome in case anything ever happened to them.
“What will we do now?” Alec had asked his brother, his gaze focused on Rome’s sweaty muscle shirt covered in oil from working at his job at the automobile repair center. Alec had felt his whole world take a shift but when Rome placed his hand on his shoulder he felt grounded.
“We’ll do what we always do, survive.”
“Rome you have got to be shitting me, the butcher shop? Do…do you want to die because if we go in there that’s what’s going to happen.”
“Oh don’t be such a pussy lil bro, this place is only two blocks away from the drop in. We need to get there first so we don’t die. I’m helping us.”
“But the butchers market? You said we would be safe, not cut up into a thousand different pieces. This is a bad idea Rome, we need to find somewhere else, literally anywhere else.”
“No can do, it has to be here and we don’t have time to argue okay? We need to make sure no one else is in here so get your head straight, nothing is going to happen to us.” Rome said before taking the lead.
He figured if his brother heard him mutter, “That’s what people say before something bad happens.” then Rome must have decided to ignore him because he just gripped his crowbar tighter and moved towards the back entrance of the deli shop which doubled as a butcher shop.
Before, this family run shop was revered as having the best tasting meat in town because everything was freshly cut there. The burgers they used to make from the meat there was just so juicy and earthy that it would double as their dessert when they ate it.
They however, stopped buying their priced meats when the virus was first being discovered and they found out the owner began to butcher people instead of cattle and pigs. Alec and Rome thankfully hadn’t had a bite from there because they couldn’t afford it so it was safe to say they were cannibal free, or that’s what Rome had told him so that his little brother would stop vomiting into the porcelain toilet.
“Alec watch my back okay?” Rome said, before gently turning the knob to the back door. The fact that it gave way so easily made Alec swallow hard, they probably weren’t alone here.
Please no scary butcher…please no scary butcher….
The smell was the first thing that hit their noses and Rome and Alec tried their hardest not to cough at the utter foul stench of it all. The subtle drip, drip echoed off the walls and made Alec shiver. He knew better than to be optimistic about their situation to think that was just a leaky faucet. Something…someone was bleeding. Hopefully they were already dead and whatever killed them would be long gone.
“Okay, let’s go room for room. This shop has an apartment up top so we should be able to rest up there before the drop in okay?”
“Whatever you say…”
They looked around as much as they could in the dark. The rule was no flash lights, because they always let someone who hid better than them notice where they were. They had been trained in the dark after these few months but they weren’t super human at all, just a couple of average guys who were maybe a bit smarter than the rest of them.
As they moved forward Alec noticed how slow Rome’s movements were. His brother was usually like this but Alec could tell it was from being tired and hungry. Hopefully Rome was right because he was withering away right in front of Alec’s eyes.
Once they got past the back room they were lead into the space where the meat used to be cut, metal hooks and chains hanging from the ceiling like wind chimes, waiting to be moved by the gentlest push f air. One light bulb swung gently from the center of the ceiling, illuminating the room to show its true horror. Instead of pigs, torsos hung from the metal, some still bleeding onto the floor beneath them.
“Well then…I guess someone’s still home.”
“Not okay Rome…” Alec said, but followed his brother’s cautious feet steps.
Rome passed by the hooks and mangled bodies. Alec kept his eyes shifting around, both of them covering each other’s blind spots. As Alec passed by a body, which looked more person than corpse, he felt a solid weight hit his shoulder. He yelped in surprise and looked to see a cleanly cut stub slide off his jacket.
“Heeellppp meee….” They gurgled, blood pooling from their mouth. Alec backed up until he turned to see a masked face looking down at him.
“Rome?” was all Alec got out before a sharp pain hit in at the side of his head. Yea, the devil must be laughing now.