Cowardice be damned. I had to go look. When I arrived I immediately noticed Flaky had disappeared. The man bled out from hundreds of bites when I saw him last, but somehow he managed to pull himself up and amble off.
My first thought regarding Flaky’s disappearance was someone must have carried his gnawed-up carcass off the street. After a second look I realized that wasn’t possible because because there were only two sets of footprints – one coming toward the body (mine) and two sets leading away (mine and, well, probably belonging to Flaky). No one else could have taken my friend away.
I suppose I should follow the other set of footprints. After all, it’s better I give myself something to do before my brain has time to process everything that has happened. I can’t allow myself to do that. I am afraid if I do I might just lose it –
Against all intelligence and discretion I followed Flaky’s footprints. I had to. Knowing that someone else was alive was about the only thing keeping me from folding in on myself.
Flaky’s tracks seemed to have had no purpose, they just meandered about the street as if he had partied a bit too much before the end came. And judging from the placement of his feet he’s hurt worse than he was. I have to wonder though, what exactly is “hurt worse than death”? At least I thought he was dead. Damn –
I tried to follow his tracks, step for step, and I nearly fell over more times than I care to admit. Flaky was seriously fucked up. The tracks paused at the body of a dead female who’s stomach had been ripped open and it’s contents spilled all over the street. I never realized just how much the human body contained. Bits, pieces, and liquids where splattered and spattered from one side of the street to the other. I nearly slipped on a piece of what looked like brain matter.
But why would Flaky pause here? Was she a friend? Was he just trying to help the lady out? Or was he stopping to check to make sure she wasn’t still alive? From the looks of the bloody footprints leaving the site of the horror, Flaky must have stopped to help the woman. Hell, he must have dug his hands and feet deep within the muck and mire of her gore and then walked away when he realized she was too far gone.
No time for bad feelings, prayers, or sympathy for the unsealed woman. “Sorry lady, but I have a friend to catch up with.”
The blood-spatter trail left by Flaky made it fairly easy to follow his tracks – for a while at least. The blood ceased flowing after a block. By that point I was having to keep my eyes glued to the ground. The ash was falling faster, it seemed, so the tracks were disappearing quickly. If i didn’t catch up with Flaky I’d lose him for good this time. I have to pick up my pace. Fuck. Didn’t I mention I was not a runner?
Flaky’s tracks took a sharp right. What the hell? I found him. He’s – well – he was standing in the center of the street slowly swaying back and forth, like he was dancing to some unheard music. If this whole situation wasn’t already a nightmare I would turn around and run for my life. Unfortunately, turning tail didn’t guarantee my safety. If this were a horror film what I was witnessing would be the calm before the serial killer storm.
I waved my arms at the swaying man. He had to have seen me, but he gave no reaction, nothing. I couldn’t seem to pull him out of his prom-night flash back. I had to get up close and personal with this stranger.
“Hello.” The man continued swaying and moaning.
As soon as I was within arms reach of the man his sickly gray fingers wrapped around my arm and then the son of a bitch bit me. He grabbed me by the head, pulled me to his gaping, rotten maw, and clamped his blackened teeth on the flesh of my cheek. He didn’t say a word, he just moaned like a cow lowing for its mate. His breath was putrid, like he’d been – I don’t know, eating the dead.
At first I thought he was going to kiss me, rejoice in the sight of another living being. I assumed he’d be elated to see another human. I was wrong, very wrong.
I didn’t hang around to chat. The mother fucker probably would have decided to make dessert of my neck. Besides, I thought it best to pick up something to disinfect the gaping hole from which blood was profusely pouring from. As I ran, the chunk of cheek danging from my face threatened to tear off at any moment. The wound was burning like it was on fire. I’ve been badly cut before, but I’ve never felt an injury burn like this. It feels like someone took a torch to my face.
I made my way to the nearest car to try to catch a glimpse of what the bastard had done to my cheek. The mirror was covered with ash and my hand were too shaky to get it clean. I tried to bend down enough to sneak a glance anyway, but a bullet of pain shot down my neck forcing me to give up the pursuit of vanity.
I needed to get this bite cleaned out before some nasty infection took over. I need a shot of vodka with a side of anti-bacterial soap.