Day 17

By the time Dani’s cart had clattered onto the asphalt her forearms were aching from having avoided the cart spilling down the grass and dirt embankment. She rolled the cart forward and bit and pried her hands from the handle. A rush of blood began to circulate in her now slack arms and she nearly yelped from the sudden pain.

“Damn it.”

Edgar was idling nearby, having turned the car around. He rolled down the driver’s side window and leaned out. “You two start going. We’ll ride behind you and give you some cover.”

Dani glanced at Jimmy. He had already begun to push the cart down the street, which rattled terribly. The siren was long gone, so the loudest things around were the shopping carts and the Cadillac.

Dani grimaced and pushed her cart forward, with enough speed to catch up to Jimmy. He began to pick up the pace, not quite a jog, but close enough. Dani picked up her pace too. Edgar pulled the car out of park and it began to roll forward, slowly.

Dani glanced behind her, just past the Cadillac, towards Esplanade. Sure enough, dozens of ghouls had begun to converge on their position, their hellish moans carrying on rotting, stinking wind. She nearly gagged at the smell.

They had cleared about half of the block when the ghouls had caught up to the Cadillac. The car bought Edgar and the women protection, but greasy, shredded fingertips would slap and break on contact with the body. 

Dani and Jimmy were pushing as quickly as they could, but the ghouls were surprisingly fast now, as though the stimulation whipped them into a frenzy.

Edgar glanced into the rearview mirror, past the exhausted Mary and her daughter out to the street behind him. The bulk of the ghouls were far enough behind it wouldn’t be a problem. The ghouls that had cut across the parking lot, however, had managed to stumble onto a shortcut. By Edgar’s count, he had about four ghouls right on top of his car. They couldn’t get in, and the windows were rolled up. They were fine – but until he could lose them he didn’t want to risk them coming close to the shopping carts.

Edgar dug around with a free hand at the back of his pants and drew the Glock he had hidden on him. He hadn’t separated from it since he and Jimmy had joined the group at the storage yard. He wouldn’t give up his gun for anything.

He placed the Glock on the passenger seat and glanced back. The girl – Alicia, was it? – she hadn’t noticed, warily eying the rear passenger window. She flinched when an oozing palm slapped at the glass.

He would need to pick them off, somehow, but he couldn’t drive and shoot. He looked through the rearview mirror and watched two of the ghouls fall to the ground. Now there were three.

He laughed a bit and turned his attention back to Dani and Jimmy ahead of him. Out of impulse, he scanned the area, a habit from driving back when the world had traffic.

Dani and Jimmy had passed an access road. A narrow lane between a building and a mobile home park with cracked asphalt full of potholes. Edgar glanced down the lane and saw a pair of ghouls stumble out – Dani and Jimmy hadn’t seen them. The ghouls took lurching steps toward the Cadillac.

“God damn it,” Edgar muttered.

The Dead Life is a Haunted MTL original fiction series.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

View Articles