Wrote this one a few weeks ago...let me know what you think.
Jacob walked down the road in silence, the sounds of roaring fires, panicked screams, and sirens filled his ears. His black leather duster dragged the ground behind him leaving a wispy impression in the ashes and covering his boot imprints. In his right hand he carried a 1911 pistol, on his left hip a sawed off shotgun. He wore a cowboy hat that covered most of his face, leaving only a hint of a strong jaw and a few days worth of stubble. He moved past a burning car, rotating slightly to the side to avoid the heat. Jacob’s eyes searched around him.
Down an alley a woman was being raped by no less then six men. He could see her struggling in their overpowering grip, he could see glimpses of her flesh in-between their legs, he heard her screams, but he couldn’t help her. That was a fight he would lose. Two people ran past him on the sidewalk, feet puffing up ash in heaps, he ignored them because they ignored him, just like the naked man running after them with a butcher knife in his hand. The naked man’s eyes were haunted, a kind of bloodlust roared behind them. Jacob turned the corner and saw a wall of people, all their backs were to him, so he backed up slowly and continued down the street the way he was going. After about a mile a Molotov cocktail flew past his face. It exploded on the front door of a house and the wood quickly caught. In the haze he saw a person run directly at him, waving their arms above their head, he lifted the 45 caliber pistol and fired one shot. It caught the figure in the head, the head rocked back with whiplash and the body collapsed on the ground sliding a little from the momentum. Jacob walked over to it to find that he had just shot a teenage girl. She was wearing a bra and cheerleading shorts. He looked at her body covered in cuts and bruises. A tear rolled down his cheek but he ignored it. He took one last look at the now engulfed house, then the girl, and continued walking.
A few hours later he stopped in front of an old library. Moving up the steps he made sure no one was around, then pried off a board that covered the door and crawled inside. As soon as he was in he turned around and replaced the board again, looking around one more time for any other people. When he stood up a woman next to him lowered a baseball bat. She had been standing over him the entire time he was crawling in. Jacob ignored her as he made his way across the empty library. Compared to the unrest outside the inside of the library was quite peaceful. Quiet, untouched, undisturbed. The woman made her way across the room and then behind an overturned desk where a little girl of about six stood up, red hair to the small of her back. They moved together toward Jacob, the little girl attached to her mother’s side. "Did you find any food?" Jacob placed the gun on a table next to him and began pulling out cans of food from his pockets and a few bottles of water. The woman immediately came over and began to inspect the cans nodding with approval at each one.
"Any news?" She asked.
"Yes, did you hear anything?"
"A lot, ya know, I just went to that bar up the road, had a pint and a Reuben sandwich. Talked to the bartender a bit, and watched CNN."
"You know what I mean."
"What did I hear? Screams."
She folded her hands across her chest and cocked her hip out to the side. The universal sign of a pissed off woman.
"Look Eve…how bout next time you go out. You can find all the news you want."
"Are the mobs still out?"
"I ran into one, it’s mainly individual outbursts now."
The little girl peeked out from around her mother and looked at him.
"How ya doing Pickle? You been reading?"
The little girl nodded, made to speak, stopped herself, then started again.
"Did you see any other kids?"
Jacob lowered his head and removed the cowboy hat. With a steady hand he smoothed the hair back from his face and looked at her.
"No Pickle, I didn’t see any other children. They are probably like you. Hiding with their mommy."
Something hit the wooden barricade in front of the door and things happened immediately. Jacob grabbed his gun off the counter and moved to the door in a sidestepping fashion. Pickle took off for her hiding place behind the overturned table, and Eve ran straight for the door, picking up the baseball bat as she went. Then, silence. No one moved, no one made a sound, they all waited. There is no telling how long they stood in the darkness before Jacob finally moved, bringing his gun down. As soon as he made that movement the tension in the room eased. Eve lowered her bat, Pickles picked her head up from behind the table.
"Are they gone?" Pickles rasped from across the room.
As Eve moved toward her Jacob moved away, grabbing a candle off a counter and lighting it. He moved deftly through the bookshelves to a section he wanted and grabbed a book then sat down on the floor right where he was at and using the candlelight began to read. He wasn’t worried about anyone seeing the light.
As soon as the riots started he had gone to the library immediately. It had only two entrances and high windows. When he got there the first thing he did was barricade the windows, tight, no one could see out and no one could see in. Then he had begun work on the barricade for the door. He used a few tools from the garage to cut a hole in the front door that he could crawl through, and made the trap door in the barricade to give him easy access in. When he thought about this later he realized he probably should have done this at the back door, easier to not be spotted, but he liked his handiwork anyways. He knew when the riots were starting that it wasn’t going to be your normal riots.
For one, they were happening all over the world. Not just one city…thousands. Another reason he knew they would be different was because they weren’t stopping, most riots die down in a matter of hours, these riots had been going on for three days before he even moved to the library.
He chose the library because, as a child, it had been his favorite place to go. To get away from his drunk of a mother, and his prick of a father. He lost himself in books, books that could take him to other places, other times, where he could become other people. Turned out to be a smart decision for another reason as well, with no power, there was nothing to do to entertain yourself, but read. Why had the riots started? Jacob thought he knew the answer but he wasn’t sure.
The papers and TV news stations blared the news of a new plague. A disease that made the bubonic plague look like a pussy. Millions had already died before the riots. It had started wiping out mass chunks of China. The news were reporting outbreaks in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom when suddenly there were reports in Los Angeles, Houston, and New York City. That’s when they started. The blood rage he had seen in the fat naked man with the knife was the first stage of the virus. Think rabies, that’s the first stage, the second stage features mass lesions and boils, the third your insides literally cook. They government had no idea where it came from, no idea how to stop it. When the people lose faith in those that are supposed to govern them its only natural for anarchy to assume control. The riots had been going on for a month now. Jacob couldn’t even remember the last time he saw a fireman, a police officer, or anyone in the military. The structure had collapsed. The plus side was they seemed to be dying down.
Originally the masses gathered. The first one’s were thousands strong, by day three they were in the millions. He had no idea how many people had died, he did remember the seven he’d killed since the start though. The girl on the street had been his first woman, his first non-adult as well. He knew she had the plague, how else could you explain the state she was in. A dark corner of his mind wondered if he would get it, but he typically pushed those thoughts out of his head and just worried about surviving. He had met Eve and Pickles a day after he had moved into the library. He was out scavenging for food when they ran into the house he was in followed closely by two men. The men weren’t infected, but they had the look of rage of their face, not the rage caused by mass hysteria, the rage of someone who just had impure intentions. He killed them both, and the girls followed him home. Eve, he found out, was a schoolteacher. A kindergarten teacher to be exact. She had been doing her job for going on three years. The little one, Pickles, was the product of a "sperm donor" who knocked her up then left her. She had been a single mother since before her birth.
Jacob fell asleep reading Little Dorrit. He awoke to find someone standing over him. He smiled at first, thinking it was Pickles or Eve, the smile quickly faded when he realized it was someone else. He grabbed for his shotgun when something hard hit him in the head. He woke up again to find the library alight from a mass of candles spread throughout. He was suspended on a wall facing the front doors, a good fifteen feet off the floor. There were at least ten men. Three of them were taking turns raping Eve in between two bookcases to the left of him, he could see her face, she was staring at him, but her eyes were glossed over, there was no one home. Immediately his eyes searched for Pickles. She was in the back right corner of the library. She had her back to him. Another man was with her, rubbing the front of his pants as he slowly lifted her dress.
Every muscle in Jacobs body pulled at the ropes around him and he screamed. He screamed hard enough for the chords to stick out on his neck. Hard enough for a vein to pop out on his forehead. Hard enough for his voice to crack.
"Get the fuck away from her!"
All eyes went to him. From the three men raping Eve, the man lifting Pickles dress, to the other men scattered around the library.
"The fuck you doing boy? You want to get a mob on us?"
He looked down to see a man underneath him. Probably in his fifties who was dressed like a priest.
"Are any of you even human anymore? Look at yourselves."
The men looked around at each other and laughed. They did however, congregate into the center of the library underneath him, even those who had been raping Eve. He could see Eve slowly rolling over, grabbing her clothes, as he also could see Pickles staring right at him, a look on her face that cried help me.
"Are you boy?" the Priest said, he appeared to be the leader of this group.
"Of course I am."
"Really? You had a woman here you didn’t even touch. From the look of the sleeping arrangements you even slept on the other side of this fucking library. What? You jerk off to her at night, didn’t want her to hear the flapping?"
The men around him laughed.
"It’s called respect…"
"Respect? Boy you gotta look around you. What respect is there, ain’t nobody respect you your entire life."
"Why don’t you just kill me then?"
"We need men boy. You’ll come around."
"What are we without emotion? Without respect? Dignity? Compassion?"
"We are animals son…all we ever been…all we will be."
Jacob watched as Eve, now dressed, picked up a gun and started walking toward the group of men. She was behind them so they couldn’t see her. She walked right up to the first man that raped her, put the gun to the back of his head, and pulled the trigger. The bullet caught the man in front of him in the head as well. She swung the gun quickly, shooting the next man to rape her, only this time it was right in his face. She left a crater where his nose had been . She went to shoot the third man when a barrage of bullets ripped her apart. Jacob watched in slow motion as every impact rippled her flesh. He watched the bullets rip up her torso shredding the pants suit she was wearing. He watched as a chunk of her head disappeared. Her auburn hair flying away like she was scalped. He wanted to look away but he couldn’t. Her body dropped lifelessly to the ground.
"Fuck…shot Bobby right in the goddamn face. Crazy bitch."
Pickles started screaming. Not a scream of terror. Just a pure, childlike scream. One that can’t be mimicked, one that can’t be faked. Authentic…heartbreaking. One gunshot and the scream stopped. Jacob had his eyes closed, he couldn’t watch that. As the gunshot went off the person he was died inside. He was no longer Jacob. He was now filled with a pure rage, a rage that could only be washed in blood.
"We gotta get outta here," the Priest said, "cut him down, tie him up, gotta move before the mob comes."
Jacob thrashed as the men pulled him down, then a hit to the back of his head sent him back to the world of sleep.
He awoke to find himself in the woods near a campfire. The men were all sitting around it, not really speaking. Some of them were having side conversations, most were just staring into the fire. Jacob’s head hurt bad. Being knocked out brutally twice in one day was never a good day. However, he bit through the pain, his eyes, if he could have seen them, looked like phase one of the infection. He squirmed around on the ground the best he could manage using his hands he felt around until he came across a chunk of broken glass. He started to cut the ropes at his wrist, slicing his hands apart as well, the glass going through his skin as it was going through the ropes. He didn’t make a sound, he didn’t even grimace. When he had cut through them he didn’t move he just sat there, pretending to still be unconscious, as one by one they fell asleep.
He stood up about an hour after the last one went to sleep and shook his legs awake. He scavenged through some bags until he found a straight razor, a pistol, and some extra ammo. He moved around the group until he found two people. The third man who raped Eve, and the big man who was going to molest Pickles. He slit there throats quickly, both times the men opened their eyes to look at him, and he held them down still alive but unable to scream as he carved the females names into their chests. When he was done he went through some other bags until he found his duster and his cowboy hat, he put them on and slinked into the darkness.
The next day he watched as the camp of men, now only five strong discovered the bodies and the fact that he was missing. They did a crude attempt at trying to find him, never even going the hundred yards out to where he was sitting in a tree before packing up their things, leaving the bodies, and taking off. They managed to stay off the streets for the most part, hiking through woods, keeping away from civilization. During the course of the day the group came across another group about the same size, they parted without speaking to each other. They came across a house later that day, as they went in to scavenge a woman ran out, she was shot in the back of the head before she managed to get fifteen feet from the house…still in her pajamas. They left her where she died and continued on. They came across a small cabin in the woods close to dusk and entered it. There was the brief sound of a struggle, then a gunshot. As he sat in the woods waiting for the cover of darkness he heard the sounds of rape. The tell-tale grunts of a man, the screams, whimpers, the silence of a woman. He heard two distinctive women cry out at the same time. When it turned to silence there was the sound of two more gunshots. He waited until he noticed the fire had gone down and walked up to the cabin.
Through a side window he could see inside, the men were spread out sleeping in various parts, in the corner of the living room were three bodies. A man in his forties, fat, well dressed, and two younger women, identical twins. Jacob guessed a father and his daughters. He made his way to the front of the cabin, taking his shoes off so the heavy boots wouldn’t rattle on the wood, and slinked inside. He came across the first man in the living room with the bodies, he was laying next to one of the dead twins, a hand on her breast. He slit his throat, then began carving into his chest: Eve, Pickles, then the number four…for the four he had watched get killed that day. That took the men down to four, he walked into a bedroom to find one of the men jerking off. Apparently this wasn’t one of the men who did the raping, but it disgusted him none the less. He walked up behind the man and slit his throat then quickly brought the blade down and severed his penis from his body. The man hit the ground in a thud, not knowing what to grab, his throat or his crotch. He settled for his throat and tried a vain attempt at defending himself as Jacob began carving. When he was done, he retreated from the cabin and returned to the woods.
Jacob was startled awake to the yell and then he smiled. They had found his present. He looked at the cabin to see the Priest and the last two remaining men standing on the front porch, guns in their hands.
"Come out boy! Come out, come out, wherever you are."
They packed their shit and took off again, once again leaving the bodies. He followed, not quite as close as he had the day before, but he kept them within site. When one of them branched off around midday he followed him. The man walked straight to a house, like he knew where he was going even in the woods, he went inside and Jacob went to a window. Inside were at least thirty men. Jacob’s mind reeled.
"Pack your shit, boss wants ya to meet up with him. We’re going hunting."
The group let out a holler and started running around inside the house, gathering their gear. Jacob raced to a tool shed around the back of the house and kicked the door open. He found a large container of gasoline, a few cans of kerosene, and some lighter fluid. He grabbed the kerosene and gasoline and ran back to the house. The way the house was built it was level at the back with the ground, being on the side of a hill, he ran there. He climbed onto the top of the house and dumped out the entire container of gasoline. Then he jumped down and opened both cans of kerosene and started pouring them around the outside of the house. When he got back to the front door it opened.
"Who the fuck are you?"
He dropped the cans and pulled out his gun in one swift movement, shooting the man in the center of the chest. He grabbed one of the cans, tossed it in the open door, and put a lighter to the ground. Flames erupted around the outside of the house and quickly spread to the inside. He ran around to the back of the house and puddled the remaining can of kerosene at the back door when the flames caught it the entire door went up. The first thing he heard was yelling, the sounds of panicked men, then glass breaking. He made his way around the outside of the house. Every time a man jumped out, he shot them. Several tried to return fire from inside the house but the flames kept him from being seen clearly. When the flames hit the roof the house became a literal inferno. When the gas pipe blew the concussion sent Jacob flying. He landed about thirty feet away from the house, feeling like he had just been punched in the gut by someone three times bigger then him. He sat there for a minute, catching his breath and reloading his gun, when out of the corner of his eye he saw the Priest and the last man standing at the ridgeline to the house.
He raised his weapon and fired, killing the man next to the Priest. Then the two remaining men looked at each other.
"You going to kill me now boy?"
Jacob didn’t speak, he only stared at him. Then using the fire as cover he backed up and disappeared into the woods. He waited to see if the Priest would follow him and sure enough he did. Jacob was hoping, he knew the man would likely rather be a hunter then the hunted. He knew this like he knew the man didn’t want to shoot him, he wanted it to be close, and personal. So he started hiking, he walked well into the afternoon before he started to hear the sounds he wanted to hear. Screams…fires…yells…the sounds of the riots.
From woods to city streets seemed to happen in mere moments. From relative peace and tranquility to utter chaos. All around him people were running. The riots must have just gotten to this little oasis even a month later. Most of the people on the streets hadn’t even boarded up windows. There were only a few things on fire. This town must have thought it would never reach their idyllic place. This one was just starting…perfect. While most of the people in the town were running away from the screams he started towards them, making sure the Priest was following. Some of the towns people were actually leaving in cars, the poor fools, if they only knew that made them a bigger target. Some stared at him as they ran, not recognizing this person, this cloaked figure. The priest got even more stares, especially in his dirty bloody clothes, hunting knife in hand. He moved to a back alley and then using a fire escape went for the roof. He wanted to see how big the riot was. He instantly became happy. In front of him, moving down the street about a mile away, was a crowd of about a thousand. Not the largest he’d seen, not by a long shot, but perfect for what he needed. He jumped to the next building and started down the fire escape just as the Priest was getting on the roof of the first building. He started to run and noticed the Priest was doing the same thing. The crowd was building, he could feel the throng, he could feel the energy.
The infected came first, flipping cars, smashing head first through glass windows. Some of them would always kill themselves first. The uninfected let them go first, let them start the panic, feed off the energy. They would come with fire. They would come with the looting and pillaging. He passed by a few of the infected without them so much as looking at him, they did however look at the Priest and he had to fight several of them off before he could continue. As he stood there waiting two more infected ran past him and to the Priest. He was a kindred spirit so it seemed. Then he moved to the main street and waited in the middle of the road, he could see them coming, they were only about a hundred yards away now. The Priest stepped into the road, already winded, and looked at him.
"We going to finish this boy?"
He stared at the Priest, a hard look, one that actually made the other man take a step back.
Some of the mob moved around them, the main force not to them yet. They glared at the man in the Priests clothes. Jacob reached into his pocket and pulled out the straight razor. He opened it up slowly, showing the still polished and sharp blade despite its recent endeavors a slight glint coming off of it from the growing fires. Then the throng hit. Jacob was surrounded by people yelling, people screaming, people pushing and shoving. He struggled to keep his footing and managed to push himself backwards against a building. Over the throng he listened for the voice.
"Get the fuck off me!"
He listened, savoring it.
"Fuck off! Ya piece of shit!"
Then he waited for the crowd to pass. He had known they would do their job. Surprising to him was that he wasn’t involved in a single skirmish, he didn’t even get hit once. Looking down the street after the main crowd passed was like looking at a war zone where a nuclear bomb went off. The buildings, hollow and gutted looked like a ghost town, the fires gave the whole scene an eerie glow. He made his way across the street, while his luck had been good he didn’t want to push it when the lurkers came out. People who will kill him before walking past him. He moved quickly, following the side of the road where most bystanders end up dead and found him sitting against a wall bleeding profusely, several dead bodies around him.
"Fuck you ya little shit."
He spit it out with venom, blood coming with it.
"Sucks when you’re on the other end doesn’t it?" Jacob practically growled it.
"You’re no better then me."
Jacob moved toward him with the straight razor. He began to cut his ears off first, then, when the screaming got to him he cut his tongue out. He was dead from choking on his own blood before Jacob finished working on him. Then he grabbed the Priests hair and cut his head off. The knife wouldn’t go through the bone so when it came to that he snapped the spine with his bare hands. He folded the blade back up and put it back in his pocket then grabbed the head and ran after the mob. When he caught up to them he held it in front of him and the crowd parted. He reached the front to find the small police force of the town having set up a barricade in front of him. The crowd halted, as they always do, he threw the head as hard as he could, letting it hit the ground right in front of the officers. When they realized what it was they immediately started backing up. The crowd surged around him towards the barricade. The riot continued and Jacob ran with them.