Cold Light of Morning

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Flash Fiction, Horror

    Hank saw the first one around sundown, but they didn’t really start to fill up the streets until the moon came out.  When that sick spotted mirror came out from under the gray cobweb clouds there were dozens of them. By  the time Hank killed his first one there were a hundred or more of them shuffling past the empty cars and houses like they owned the whole damn town.  Killing that first one was the hardest, but it went easier than he had thought. He used the broken half of some post hole diggers, blade wicked sharp from cutting roots.  Almost pissing his pants, completely silent except for the sudden, sobbing breath he didn’t know he was holding, Hank crept up behind the hunchbacked thing and shoved the rusted metal into its back, between the ribs and out the far side of its chest.

    They went quicker after that. Each one was an act of vengeance.  For Jane.  For Tex.  For Bethany and Deke and Molly.  He could still see them, clothes torn and bloody, arms and legs all crazy, bent the wrong way, ragged chunks missing. They had killed them and eaten them.  Now they would pay.  Hank swore he would wipe out as many of the rat bastard things as he could.  At least, until they finally caught him and tore him apart.  It was the only self-respecting thing to do for a man who had lost everything.  Anything less would be a betrayal.

    He had a gun now, a good one.  God bless you, Remington Mossberg, you made all this possible.  Without you, I’m dead.  Without you, they win.  Hank offered up his silent prayer as he closed in on his twentieth kill.  Or was it thirtieth? There were so damn many of them.  Twisted things with coarse hair and curving claws, patchy skin and dull, unseeing eyes.  Worse, each one seemed to bring more and more of its kind.  Each friend and neighbor they visited, another monster was brought into the world. Hank didn’t know what to call them and he didn’t care.  They didn’t deserve names.  The only names he could remember were the names of the ones he lost. Jane.  Tex.  Bethany.  Deke.  Molly.  So many names.  Tears made it hard to see what he was doing.  Fumbling more shells from his pocket, Hank reloaded.

    Morning found Hank back on his own front porch, tears in eyes again.  The mirror of the moon had gone away.  The mirror in his bathroom had revealed the real monster.  Jane and all the rest were still in the living room where he left them.  Living room.  Hank shook his head.  God only knew how many were scattered across town. Hank could still taste their flesh in his mouth.  The barrel of the shotgun tasted better.

    When the sunrise came it filled his head to bursting.  

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