Friday, October 7, 2011

The Body Farm; Part Four

Content Advisory: Contains scenes of zombie horror. This series started on 22nd August.

The Body Farm
Part Four

As though the flat, white worms sensed the approaching dead, they squirmed, twisted and flipped—unraveling from the body on the slab. They slipped away from the still jerking flesh, across the table, dropping on the floor.

“Oh, shit,” swore Robert, dancing away from the worms as they slithered like a swarm of tiny snakes toward the door.

“If you’ve got any open wounds,” said Eleanor stepping away from one heading in her direction. “For God’s sake, don’t let them get near you. I’m guessing they can’t infect the living, but best we don’t take any chances.”

“Damn right,” said Jimmy, skipping out of the way of a squirming length, surprisingly fast for a man of his age.
Robert growled in disgust and brought his heel down on one of the worms. The creature crushed beneath his sole, leaving a white gooey smear.
The screams and shrieks of the dead grew closer and each of the room’s inhabitants glanced uneasily at the door.

“It’s locked, right?” Kyle asked. “They can’t get in?”

Robert grimaced, “Yeah the door’s locked, but if Lenny is with them, they might be able to open it.”

“What the hell are we standing around for then?” said Jimmy.

With her still gloved hands, Eleanor went to push the corpse off the slab. The cold body jerked beneath her palms and she instinctively pulled back. She’d touched plenty of cadavers in her career, but never ones that had continued to move long after dissection. Swallowing her revulsion, she placed on hand against its shoulder and another on its hip and gave the body a shove. It slid from the table and hit the floor with a sickening thud. Even on the floor, the body continued in its strange uncoordinated spasms, its arms and legs twitching. More worms unraveled from the body as jerked on the floor.

“Help me move this,” she said, gripping the edge of the table.

The men each took a corner and, dodging the worms still squirming around their feet, they pushed the table beneath the metal grilled vent in the ceiling.

The dead rounded the corner like a swarm of rats in a sewer tunnel. A recently deceased, bloated man led the hoard. His eyes were glassy, his stomach distended like a seven months pregnant woman. With outstretch arms and fingers hooked into claws, his purpose took no guessing. Another flanked him—a woman—her hair flapping around the sides of her sunken face in coils of dirty rope. Close behind, another corpse followed, this one undistinguishable in sex. Dried skin hung from its face in flaps, white bone peeking through the decomposed flesh.

“Go! Go! Go,” Robert shouted, pushing Eleanor up on the table.

Eleanor reached up but her fingertips barely scraped the vent. “I can’t reach it!”

Robert scrambled up beside her. He placed his palms flat against the vent and shoved. The metal grill didn’t budge.

“Hurry up, Robert,” yelled Jimmy. “They’re at the door.”

Eleanor swung her head around to see at least twenty faces of the dead pressed up against the glass. Their hands clawed and battered at the door and windows, leaving smears of rotten flesh and pus across the glass. Their shrieks of fury, though muffled, filled the room.

“Find something to bash it in with,” yelled Robert.

Eleanor searched the make-up of the grill for something that might allow them access. Screws held down the cover.

She motioned with her hand to the tray of instruments she’d used to dissect the body. “Quick, pass me the scalpel.”

Kyle grabbed the instrument and handed it up to her.

The added length of the handle meant she could now reach. She fitted the blade into one of the screws and turned. The screw resisted for a moment and then gave way, winding undone.

“Find me one,” demanded Robert.

Beyond the glass, the hoards of dead things piled upon one another, crushing into the narrow space of the corridor, several bodies deep.

With Robert working as well, the screws popped from their threads, pinging to the ground, and the grate became loose in its casting.

With a high-pitched creak, the glass of the door began to split.

Robert shoved the grate out of the way. “Come on,” he motioned to Eleanor. “I’ll push you up.”

“No, you need to go first. You can pull the rest of us up. If you’re down here by yourself, we’ll never be able to pull you up.”

It was true. At six-foot-two, he outweighed Kyle by at least fifty pounds, and Jimmy was too old to pull Robert up. Eleanor would never have the upper body strength.

“Shit,” he swore, but there wasn’t time to argue. He hooked his fingers over the edge of the shaft and allowed both Eleanor and Kyle to boost him up. As soon as he was up, he leaned back down the hole and grabbed Eleanor, pulling her up with him.

The glass creaked once again.

“Hurry!” Jimmy called.

With the awkward motion of a man whose joints had seen better days, Jimmy climbed on the table.

“They’re coming!” Kyle screamed, his eyes bulging in fear.

The gap in the ceiling was only big enough for one person to reach down, so Eleanor had to sit back, allowing Robert to lean through. He grabbed Jimmy’s wiry wrist just as the glass of the door burst inward, the windows quickly following. Glass tinkled like fallen shards of ice.

Kyle shrieked, clambering at the table. Robert pulled, lifting Jimmy off the table, Jimmy’s legs dangling in mid-air. The dead swarmed in, barging past each other in their eagerness to get to them.

“Help!” screamed Kyle. “Fucking help me!”

The younger man grabbed hold of Jimmy’s leg, trying to drag him away, to clear the space.

“Hey!” Robert yelled as Jimmy was yanked back down, pulling on Robert’s arms as though he were deep sea fishing and had hooked something big. “Get the fuck off him!”

But Kyle’s terror had him in its grip and he was too far gone to pay any attention. The dead swarmed over him like ants on a candy bar.

The young man’s shrieks of panic turned to screams of pain.

Jimmy kicked and yelled even as Robert tried to pull him up, but the older man’s weight had doubled.

“One of them has got me!” the older man yelled. “Oh, shit…”

Eleanor grabbed the top of Robert’s arm and helped him pull. Together they yanked while Jimmy thrashed and yelled in their grip.

“For fuck’s sake, hold still!” Robert shouted.

“One of them has got me! One of them has fucking got me”

Eleanor pulled, trying not to hear Kyle’s horrified screams. There was nothing they could do for the boy now. The room was filled with the living dead.

Jimmy’s weight suddenly lightened and they pulled him up, all falling backward in the confines of the chute.

“Kyle!” Jimmy cried, clambering to his hands and knees and peering back down. But the boy was gone. Below them, a sea of dead arms and legs flailed, teeth gnashing. The enraged shrieks of the dead drowned out the boy’s screams—if he were even still alive to make such a sound.

They sat back. The dead things would never be able to climb up to the vent. For the moment, at least, they were safe.


The Body Farm concludes tomorrow!

Like what you've read? Marissa Farrar's short story collection, Where the Dead Live, is available to buy from Amazon for only $0.99.

If you would like to catch up on any of our posts or get a preview of the rest of this month's stories, you can purchase the eBook, Digital Digest, Volume 1, from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $0.99!

Marissa Farrar
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Copyright © 2011 Marissa Farrar. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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