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A story by Michael W. Garza

Marty felt strange as he leveled his sights on a person’s head. He took aim on the woman as she lumbered slowly toward him across his grandfather’s field. One of her eyes hung out of the socket, bouncing of her cheek with every step. Marty lined up the end of his rifle on her forehead and pulled the trigger.

The sound of the shot echoed across the field like a canon blast. The round tore through her forehead and blew the remainder of her brains directly out the back. Marty stood up from his kneeling position and approached her. He couldn’t see her face but he was sure it was Ethel Johnson. He’d paid her for his groceries a few days ago in town.

It all started two days before. The dead began to rise and seek out the flesh of the living. No one on the television could explain it. Marty felt it was his duty to do what he could and it didn’t hurt that his duty got him out of the house and away from his nagging wife Audrey.

Finished with his hunt, he carried Ms. Johnson’s body back to his truck and tossed it in the bed. The mound of bodies towered over the truck’s cab like one massive pile of flesh. Marty jumped in behind the wheel then pulled off heading for home.

From the moment the old, dilapidated farm house was in sight, Marty knew something was wrong. The screen door was lying on the porch and the front door was open. He pulled up to the house and shut off the engine. With his rifle in hand, Marty approached the porch steps.

The house was as silent as a tomb and showed signs of an obvious struggle. A sound echoed down the stairs from somewhere on the second floor. As he took each step the sound intensified until Marty recognized a deep, unsettling moan. He reached the top stair and drew his attention on the bedroom door at the end of the hall.

The moan intensified as a lavishly grotesque crunching joined in. The bedroom door was slightly ajar. Marty pushed it open with his foot and took in the view. He recognized his wife by the pale green housecoat and he identified his mother-in-law’s face attached to the decapitated head lying on the ground.

His wife’s face was the color of cigarette ash mixed with the violet stains of dried blood on her cheeks and chin. She lunged at him and he sent a boot to her face without hesitation. Audrey let out an animalistic growl as she tumbled back over the bed and on to the floor.

Marty cocked his rifle and brought it up to his face. He smiled despite himself as he took aim.
“Audrey,” he said. “I think it’s time we go our separate ways.”

www.mwgarza.com

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