OH MY GOD! NERDGASM!
OH MY GOD! NERDGASM!
The undead muttered that word over and over. They stretched their arms out in front of them, trudging forward ever so slowly.
“Get behind me, my dear!” Doc said to Annabelle. She didn’t waist any time stepping behind the good doctor as if he were a human shield.
“Could this be the end?” Doc asked. “Doctor Elias T. Faraday of Boston, Massachusetts…”
“Oh Jesus,” Gunther said. “Not that again.”
“…but no relation to the Chestnut Hill Faradays, those lousy pickpockets…cut down in his prime before he was able to make his mark on history?”
Blake, Townsend, and the Reverend joined Sarah in hiding under the pews.
The creature with the eyeball hanging out of its socket lunged at Gunther. The old man braced himself. That big disgusting mouth opened wide and…a knife was pushed through it.
The blade was drenched in blood but Gunther recognized it. It was his. It was pulled back. The body fell to the floor, revealing Slade.
The ex-marshal made quick work of the other two creatures, stabbing each through the forehead, letting their bodies collapse in a heap.
Slade handed the knife to Gunther, handle first. The old man took it, wiped off the blood and guts with a handkerchief, then returned it to the sheath on his belt.
“Blake,” Gunther said.
The group’s resident troublemaker popped his head up. He sneered as soon as he saw Slade had returned.
“I hate to say I told you so,” Gunther said.
“Took him long enough!” Blake complained before ducking back under his pew.
Gunther looked out the window. He was dismayed to see that Slade was alone.
“Miss Bonnie?” the old man asked.
Slade lowered his head, then shook it from side to side.
Gunther took off his hat and held it over his heart. “Aw hell.”
Slade found Sarah. He helped her up and sat down with her.
“You’re not the marshal anymore,” Sarah said.
“I know,” Slade said.
“You can’t save everyone,” Sarah said.
“I know,” Slade repeated.
“Why would you risk your life for someone you hardly know?” Sarah asked.
“I…” Slade didn’t want to lie but didn’t think this would be the best time to come clean either. “I don’t know.”
“So what now?” Gunther asked.
“We should go,” Slade said.
“I’ve been saying that all night!” Blake hollered from under his pew.
“Stow it,” Gunther said, and then to Slade, “Can you believe this shit?”
“No,” Slade said. “But there’s over a hundred of them out there. Pulling people out of their houses and eating them alive.”
“Mother of God,” Gunther said. The old man pulled out his knife and stood watch by the window, ready to strike any more attackers.
Slade left Sarah with Annabelle and joined his ex-deputy.
“What do you think?” Slade asked.
“I don’t know,” Gunther said. “The Injuns?”
“What?” Slade scoffed. “The curse? That was just mumbo jumbo, wasn’t it?”
“Maybe,” Gunther said. “But I’ve heard tales of Injuns having mysterious powers.”
Slade winced and rubbed his head. “The telegram.”
“What?” Gunther asked.
“Uxley,” Slade said. “The marshal from Colorado. This was what he was trying to warn everyone about.”
“Shit,” Gunther said.
“And those soldiers,” Slade continued. “They shot a man in the head after he died. They knew to do that…”
Gunther finished Slade’s sentence for him. “…because they’d seen the dead rise up before.”
The two men kept staring out the window.
“The government lied to us,” Slade said.
“Nothing new there,” Gunther replied.
“Why would they tell us to stay put when they knew this was happening all over the country?” Slade asked.
“To save their oily hides without causing an eastward exodus,” Gunther said.
“You wanted to go,” Slade said. “I should have listened to you.”
“You should have,” Gunther said. “But don’t second guess yourself now, son. Who could have predicted this shit?”
“I still can’t believe it,” Slade said.
“Me neither,” Gunther replied. “And I’ve been alive so long I thought I’d seen everything there is to see twice.”
A floorboard creaked behind the duo. Unbeknownst to Gunther and Slade, Blake had found enough courage to come out from under his pew. He’d been standing behind them and listening in on their conversation for awhile.