“I don’t have it in me…”
No matter how much I stared down at him, I just couldn’t do it. Through the rotten stench of decaying flesh, the swarming of flies around exposed bone and limbs, and the never-ending leakage of bodily fluids, I just couldn’t do it.
I felt the cold trickling of tears streaking across my humanly warm cheeks, but it stung down its slow path. My hands couldn’t control the trembling that my body was enduring, my aim barely keeping steady. He called to me in ghoulish gasps, more screaming than actually saying any words.
“I… I-I can’t! You’re still alive. I’m sure there’s something we can do to fix all this. There has to be.”
I’m sure I must have been in denial, those words naturally coming out of me. My eyes were glued to the sight of our now horrific reality, but my mind wouldn’t let go of make-believe fantasy. The human body could only endure so much pain before it naturally gives in and gives up. But Rodriguez wasn’t just a normal human.
At least, not anymore. And the true resolution to all of this was in my shaking hands.
Rodriguez tried to speak again, but nothing but a chain of cloudy, red coughs came out of his mouth. I could see the exposed lung in his chest cavity struggling to inflate; there were black lumps crusting it, something obviously not taught in any kind of medical text book. He struggled to catch his breath for a moment, but he managed to muster up enough strength to talk again, liquid gargling in this throat as he spoke.
“Listen to me. You need… to go. The door won’t hold.”
Reluctantly, I changed my attention from Rodriguez to the barricaded door just down the hallway.
The door was taking a constantly trashing, the piece of old wood between the handles of the double doors barely holding in one piece—it was the first thing I could find. The crowd of deathly groaning echoed in the hallway, a sign of an approaching wave only one of us would escape. The sagging skin on the faces of the walking dead were smashed against the tiny windows of the door, staining the lined glass with red and dark green streaks. Even at a distance the dying and decrepit features were easily in sight. As the groaning grew louder it seemed they were starting to ram the doors instead of just trying to push them open. The wood started to crack and splinter.
“They’re learning,” Rodriguez blurted out, coughing more afterwards. He screamed and held what was left of his midsection.