Carolyn, part 11, Final, – Armageddon and Aftermath – Horror rated R

Well, this is it…part 11, the last of the Carolyn story parts.  I still haven’t decided whether to lengthen it, try for a book, or leave it alone and try for publishing as it is.  Suggestions appreciated.  Also, any comments or whatever you might want to say.  I am proud of this story.  That doesn’t mean it’s any good; others have told me it is and I believe them; however, I am proud of it because it is the longest story I have ever done (13,000+ words) and it held together nicely.  I said before, it turned out to be more of a character study than a full-fledged horror tale, but I think it is better for it.

Oh, by the way, I apologize for not reading too many posts the last couple of weeks.  I could give you the excuses, but I just want to say sorry and let you all know how much I appreciate you following and reading my posts.  I will get some more read soon.  I promise.

source: Google – reuse allowed.

Keeping Watch – Part 11

By Scott L Vannatter

Down, to only four night crawlers, Carolyn, for the first time, held hope they might handle this attack without human casualties, until she realized the group could not shoot at the rest of the onslaught because Carolyn was in the line of fire.  She struggled trying to decide what to do.  She was running on automatic and killed two more trying to get through the doorway.  She watched as Sheila knocked one down with the butt of her gun and, surprisingly, the three smaller girls riddled it with pitchforks.

Her thoughts kept drifting to how much the girls had been hoping for some sweets this time in her search through the town.  She had stayed out about an hour longer to ransack a few extra homes for candy and now she had not been there when…whatever it was had come about.  She thought of Jenny, her favorite, the girl who hung on her every word.  Looking up, she snapped back to reality.  A crawler had Jenny pushed to the wall.

Carolyn pushed the dead night crawler out of the way and ran to Jenny’s aid as the last of the creatures brought his teeth down toward her throat, forcing Carolyn to act on instinct as a mother and protector.  She brought her knife up for the kill strike, but had to get the thing’s teeth away from Jenny so there were no scratches, bites, or other marks which drew blood and could turn the young girl into a night crawler.  She knew she was not going to make it in time and stay safe so she did what she knew had to be done and grabbed the horrid thing by the jaw putting her own hand in its mouth and feeling the teeth sink into her fingers.

Plunging the hunting knife deep into the skull of the creature, Carolyn had to ignore the pain and the blood on her hands as she searched the crying girl’s skin for puncture marks and found none.

Jenny saw the blood and bites on Carolyn’s hand and started screaming, causing Carolyn to calm the girl down and make absolutely certain the teen did not misunderstand; she had to make her know she was not to blame for what was to come.

She looked around at the death and the filth now lying all about the six of them.  Jenny was still crying, but softer and the others, including Sheila seemed to be in a bit of shock.  Carolyn did not blame them; she was simply too used to it all to be in shock.  She put her hand, painfully, into a light glove.  There was no sense in wrapping it; she knew that it would not matter in about two hours.

Carolyn and the others sat, looking at the corpses of night crawlers lying around.  Sheila checked the girls to see if they had scratches.  Carolyn did not have to be checked.  One finger nearly severed and two bite marks came from saving Jenny.

Jenny started crying harder again and screaming, “No! No! No!” at everyone around her.  Carolyn finally got her to stop.  She took her good hand and placed it on her shoulder, looked the sobbing girl in the eyes, and talked to her like an adult; like Jenny wanted people to talk to her.

“It wasn’t your fault, dear.  I did what had to be done.  Now, I have to do what has to be done.”  The last statement started Jenny crying again.  Carolyn leaned in close and nearly whispered to her.

“Jenny, you know you are my favorite here, right?”  The numb girl did a sob and snort combination and nodded.  “Now, I need you to listen to me very carefully.”  Carolyn pushed her own tears back.  She knew this was what the girl had to hear.  “You are grown up now, especially in this situation.  You have been through a lot.  Now, I need you more than ever.”  Jenny was all intent now.  “I think you know what has to happen next.”  Hugging her she shushed her.  “I need you to be strong for the little ones.  You will have to be that second adult who helps Sheila.  You will need to be strong for all of them.  You will need to take my place.  Do you think you can do that?”

Jenny sniffed, wiping her nose on her sleeve.  She teetered between crying and thinking.  The thinking mostly won out in the end.  She looked up at Carolyn.  Carolyn knew she had to see how close her own tears were; it seemed to make her even braver.

“Yes, I understand.  Don’t you worry.  I … I will do what has to be done.”  The hug was fierce this time, almost so tight it hurt, but Carolyn did not mind; she understood.

Sheila took Jenny to be with the rest of the girls; returning, she looked at Carolyn.

“So, no other way around it?”  She was tearing up, but holding on for the sake of the girls…and Carolyn.

The others were in shock.  Carolyn simply shook her head.  She turned to the four.

“You all were brave.  Now, I need you to be brave one more time.”  She picked up her Beretta and checked the ammo.  She got up and walked outside.

The air was clear and crisp.  She preferred green grass, flowers, and sunshine to the cold, but the crawlers did not seem to be able to handle this weather and, if so, then this had just become her favorite.  She walked about ten yards behind the building.  They had been going to plant a garden here and had dug the ground down about a foot.  It was still reasonably loose.

“It’ll have to do, I guess.”  She sighed and sat down at the foot of an oak next to the worked soil.  She thought about the entire adventure and had to admit, this was not quite the ending she had for it all, but it could have been worse.  She thought of her daughter, Jordan, and Billy.  She smiled as she brought the Beretta up to her mouth.

“See ya soon.”  The shot was the only sound in the town for a few minutes, then crying could be heard.

It had been three months.  Spring had come in with a huge roar and had now quieted to peace and calm.  The birds had returned.  No one forgot though.  There were fewer night crawlers than before.  The cold had done a lot of them in; however, some had survived the nasty weather and a few new ones showed up.  Apparently, the virus was not quite done mutating.  The government had sent out relief packages and warnings.  The sheets stated that, in cold weather, some of the diseased had hibernated, going still, and were now returning to their movements.  There was a vaccine now for the virus, but it would take a few months to get it to everyone.  In the meantime, organized chaos was in charge.

Jenny turned the metal pole once more, welding the blade to the three foot rod.  She removed the welding glasses after turning the unit off.  She was glad they had managed to get into the high school and the shop department.  The equipment ran off of tank gas, so it was usable.

She admired the spear; it was sharp, pointed, and solid.  It would help her when they came back.  Her vendetta was strong.  She was not going to waiver.  Sheila had tried talking to her, but it had done no good other than strengthening her resolve.  She knew what she had to do.

The young teen put the spear next to the other seven and started on another one after placing her hand on the Beretta and hunting knife she now called her own.  Later, Jenny went to the back of the elementary home they all still shared.  She sat by the hand-dug grave a long time.




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  • jmmcdowell  On March 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    It was quite an adventure for Carolyn, wasn’t it? It’ll be interesting to see what you decide to do next with this!


    • kindredspirit23  On March 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Yes, I haven’t fully decided. I will let a few read it and let me know about mistakes and such first.


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