Red Light (A DFTD Spin-Off Tale)

Posted: July 18, 2016 in Apocalypse, books, creative writing, drama, Free Online Novel, free zombie books, Horror, horror fiction, killing zombies, living dead, monsters, mystery, novels, serial novels, Survival, suspense, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
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***SPOILER ALERT***
This is just a reminder for anyone currently reading Don’t Feed The Dark that these spin-off stories branch off directly from the main story line and will jump around all over the place, revealing revelations out of normal sequence. I highly recommend skipping this read of Red Light until after reading the first 12 chapters.

~~~

The woman opened her eyes and stared at the red digital display on the clock. It was 3:10am. She continued to lie still in the darkness, listening for the sound of her husband’s light snores. The silent bedroom was suffocating.

She turned over as her eyes began to adjust to the moonlight from outside. The woman could not see the shadowy lump of her husband beside her. She reached for him and felt the cool sheets instead. The woman frowned. He still had not come home yet.

Maybe he fell asleep on the couch… again. The woman sighed deeply. She had to know for sure.

The woman sluggishly got up and put on her robe. She crept downstairs and discovered that the living room showed no signs of her husband’s usual emotional detachment; the sofa was as vacant as his side of their bed.

Now she was starting to worry. The woman retrieved her cell phone and called him. There was no answer as her call was transferred to his voicemail which meant his phone was either off or his battery was dead. She considered calling the police, but felt foolish for thinking it. Surely if he’d been in some kind of accident, someone would have contacted her by now. He’d come home late before… but never this late… unless what she feared had finally come to pass.

She tossed the phone on the kitchen counter.

“And just when did you become the jealous, insecure wife?” she asked herself, feeling guilty for jumping to conclusions. Just because he hadn’t come home one time, didn’t mean he’d found someone else… unless he finally did.

The woman shook her head. “Foolish, foolish thoughts. You’re just tired. One bad fight doesn’t mean the end of the damn world,” she reminded herself.

She couldn’t even remember what it was this time. It was always the littlest sparks that started the biggest blazes these days. They’d stopped talking over a year ago, and now, they both walked on egg shells around each other, choosing to play nice and keep their relationship as… routine… as possible.

He blames me, she thought. He’ll never admit it… but I see it in his eyes.

The woman couldn’t think about that anymore. She needed some air. Perhaps a drive would help get her head on straight.

She threw on some clothes, grabbed her phone and car keys, and started for the garage. She stopped. Maybe I should leave him a note in case he comes home before I get back?

The woman shook her head and said, “Forget it. Let him worry a little for a change.” She went out to her car and drove away. She didn’t care where she went; she had to move before her mind had a chance to take her back to that familiar dwelling place where all she wanted to do was drown in a deep pool of self-loathing.

Ten minutes later, the woman stopped at a red light. The four-way intersection felt abandoned as if she were the last driver on earth. She marveled at how different the world felt at night when most people with any sense were tucked in their beds sleeping. Nearby businesses were swallowed up in shadows, becoming dull, nameless grey structures void of purpose and life. The sounds of the busy day were replaced by an ancient and unfamiliar quiet as the old world temporarily reclaimed its place, reducing Mankind’s self-important, disjointed chorus of noises to audio hauntings lingering on the edges of yesterday’s memory. The only reminder that she was still in the same civilized world was that bright neon light that commanded her to obey the rules of the day.

The light stayed red for so long that she wondered if it would ever change. She looked to her left and right and then shook her head. “This is ridiculous. I’m the only one out here.”

With a wicked little smile, the woman took her foot off the brake and decided a little late-night rebellion was just what she needed right now. She applied just enough gas to creep across the intersection.

Feeling like a naughty girl, the woman laughed at the absurdity in finding so much joy in such a minor infraction. I miss these days. It’s been so long since I took a risk at anything. Her smile quickly faded as she finished, Sometimes I think my life is as barren as-

The truck came out of nowhere, striking the rear right corner of her car, sending the vehicle into a spin. The woman covered her face with her arms and screamed as she struck a telephone pole with the driver-side of her car. Her head slammed against the window, shattering the glass.

~~~

Sirens. Red and blue lights flashing. Frantic voices. The sound of a car door being ripped open by modern machinery.

The woman opens her eyes.

“Hey, over here!” a man yells. He is close enough to hear his labored breaths. “This one’s still alive!”

Somewhere farther off: the sound of gunfire.

“What the hell is that?” someone else yells.

“Stay focused, damn it! She looks bad.”

There are hands on her now. They are carefully removing her from the crushed vehicle.

“Get her on the stretcher… ASAP!”

She is being carried out of the vehicle.

Someone begins to scream.

“Holy fuck! He’s not dead!” a new voice yells.

“What was that?” a confused paramedic asks, you can hear the fear in his cracked voice.

“I’m telling you… he’s moving!”

“Not the driver of the truck… he’s fucking dead! Get it together, man.”

“He’s attacking Hal! Bit him in the fucking neck!”

The paramedics carrying the woman place her gently on the ground.

One yells at the other, “Go help him! I’ll take care of her.”

“Fuck if I will,” the other says. “Just… just look at him! Something’s not right!”

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” someone else yells. “Get away from him!”

The two paramedics leave the woman.

People are running.

There is gunfire near the wrecked truck.

“Fuck! He’s on something! Son-of-a-bitch won’t stay down!” a police officer yells.

More gunfire.

More screams.

“Show’s fucking over!” the cop yells. “Everyone clear the area… NOW!”

Lots of running now, from all directions.

Sounds of panic.

Somehow the woman manages to get to her feet, although her head continues to bleed out.

“Miss,” a paramedic says, coming over, “Miss, are you okay? Charlie, I need some help over here!”

Charlie is long gone.

The woman stumbles toward the paramedic. Her left leg is broken, but she does not feel it. She sees the paramedic approaching and is compelled to move faster… faster… faster than she should be able to move.

He starts to reach for her, but stops. “Holy mother of God,” he whispers. He starts to back up.

The woman won’t allow it.

“Just stay the hell away from me!” the paramedic yells.

The woman opens her mouth. A sound escapes her throat; a strangled, terrifying sound that has only one meaning.

The paramedic trips.

The woman falls on top of him.

He screams.

The woman bites into his jugular vein. The warm fluid fills her mouth. She swallows again… and again…

~~~

Jacob quickly rushed his wife and one-month-old son to the SUV parked along the curb in front of their apartment building. His hands were full of whatever he could grab as he put the baby carrier down beside the rear door and searched through his pockets for the car keys.

“Please hurry,” Monica urged as she held little Tommy in her arms and continued to rock him. She looked over her shoulder and prayed that he didn’t wake up now… not while the maniacs were still running loose through their neighborhood.

“I’m doing the best I can,” Jacob said. He tried his best not to snap her head off. He was terrified. He could still hear the family from next door screaming through the paper-thin walls. He cannot shake the horrific memory. After a failed attempt to reach the police on the phone, they’d heard what sounded like several people running down the hall as something howled after them in pursuit. There had been more screams coming from outside.

“Found them,” he told her and quickly unlocked the doors. He started tossing their gear into the vehicle.

When he was finished, Monica climbed into the back seat and quickly put Tommy into the carrier that dubbed as a car seat. “Did you get everything?” she asked.

“I think so.”

She looked at him and said, “Think… Jacob. Did you grab it all or not? If it’s as bad as it sounds out here, we might not be able to stop for a while, especially after we hit the freeway.”

Jacob smacked himself on the forehead. “Fuck!”

“What?” Monica’s face changed. “Don’t tell me you forgot the formula? Damn it, Jacob! I put it right by the door! We need that!”

He nodded his head in frustration. “Don’t worry. I’ll rush back in and get it. Stay in the car and keep the doors locked.”

Monica looked afraid.

“I’ll be quick,” he reassured her. “Just stay put… I’ll be in and out.”

“Hurry,” she said.

He closed the door and waited for Monica to lock it. He gave her an unsure final glance and quickly rushed back toward their apartment.

Five long minutes later, Monica began to worry. He hadn’t come back yet.

Several people were running up and down the street now. Some were calling out for help, others were just looking for somewhere to hide.

Monica stayed quiet until each one had passed.

Where the hell are you, Jacob?

Baby Tommy began to stir in his seat. He was hungry.

“Oh, no,” Monica whispered, trying to keep Tommy calm. “Not now… please… not now.”

Something struck the rear of the SUV.

Monica jumped and let out a startled scream. She covered her mouth and shook her head. Too late, Tommy began to cry.

Someone came out from around the back of the vehicle, attracted by Tommy’s cries, as a shadow leaned up against the SUV for support and began to move toward the passenger door.

“Shh… be quiet, honey,” Monica whispered. She picked him up out of the car seat and began rocking him again as she moved toward the opposite side of the car. She watched the figure come into view. It appeared to be a woman who had been severely hurt, judging by the amount of blood on her face and the front of her blouse.

Oh, please, God… just let her go away… please!

Tommy let out a loud cry.

The bloody woman stopped before the rear door window and pressed her face to the glass.

“Just… just go away! I can’t help you… I’m sorry!” Monica shouted through tears.

There was something wrong with the bloody woman’s face; she seemed more animal than human. Monica screamed as the woman started banging her hands on the glass. The woman let loose a terrifying moan that made the hair on Monica’s arms stand up. “Just go away!”

Tommy reacted to her mother’s shouts and began to wail.

The bloody woman at the window stopped as she heard the infant’s cries.

For a moment, Monica swore she saw recognition in that savage woman’s face… perhaps even sadness or longing. She was clearly staring at her son. To Monica, the bloody woman might have been someone’s mother by the way her eyes lingered, as if the child had revived some sense of peace within her.

And then all recognition was gone as the bloody woman began to attack the window again with much more ferocity. Sadness and longing were replaced by mindless hunger as it pounded on the window so hard that it shattered.

Monica screamed as she tried to shield her baby with her body.

And then the bloody woman fell limp to the ground as someone struck it with a shovel from behind. The blow to the skull had penetrated the bloody woman’s brain.

Jacob peered through the broken window. “Oh, God… I’m so sorry. Are… are you okay? Is the baby alright?”

Monica was in tears. All she could do was nod as she tried to calm her son.

Jacob opened the door and placed the bag containing the formula on the vacant seat. He was sweating, out of breath and pale.

“What’s happened?” Monica asked.

Jacob gave her a terrified look. “The whole town’s gone insane. People are killing each other… all over. One of them almost got me inside.”

“Let’s… let’s just go, okay?” Monica pleaded.

Jacob nodded as he closed the rear door and ran around to the driver side. He got in and slapped his forehead again.

“What? What now?” Monica asked.

“My phone… I’ve lost my fucking phone! Must have dropped it when I ran. Do you have yours?”

Monica sadly shook her head. “It was still in he charger when everything went… crazy.”

Jacob’s face lit up. “Hold on. Be right back,” he said as he exited the vehicle.

“Don’t you dare leave us again!”

He went around the front of the vehicle and cautiously approached the corpse of the bloody woman. He covered his mouth to keep from vomiting as he quickly turned her over and searched the woman’s clothes. “Got it!”

“Got what? Damn it… get your ass in here!”

Jacob climbed back into the driver seat and held up the bloody woman’s cell phone. “We’re okay… she had one.”

“Is she… dead?” Monica asked.

Jacob’s silence was answer enough. He started the SUV, took a deep breath, and then slowly drove away.

Feeling better, now that the vehicle was moving, Monica placed Tommy back in his seat. The motion of the vehicle put him to sleep immediately. She climbed into the front passenger seat.

She looked into Jacob’s face and saw her own fear mirrored there.

“What’s happening, Jacob?”

He shook his head. “We need to… we need to get as far from here as possible.”

“Maybe we should just drive to the police station,” Monica suggested.

“Not far enough,” he quickly said. “I’m going to get to the Interstate and just keep going… for a little while.”

She had no objections.

He handed her the phone. “See if you can reach anyone.”

“I’ll call my mother.”

“That’s a good idea. Tell her we’re coming for a visit.”

Monica tried to call her mother in Pennsylvania. There was no answer. She was about to try again when she pulled up the bloody woman’s home page. There was a contacts icon. She had to know.

“What’s the matter?” Jacob asked, noticing his wife’s tears.

“There’s no answer.”

“Just keep trying.”

“Claudette Eddington.”

“What was that?” Jacob asked.

“That is… was her name… the woman who just died.”

Jacob frowned and nodded.

They sat silently for a few minutes as the world they knew quickly started falling apart around them. Distracted by so much uncertainty and fear, neither one of them noticed as Jacob blew through the first intersection, completely oblivious to the red light.

~~~

Author’s Note:

There are so many uncertainties in this strange new and savage world that our survivors were thrown into. Due to the nature of their survival and staying in motion to remain alive, there hasn’t been much opportunity to write about the fate of loved ones back home. This story afforded me an opportunity to show what happened to Stephen Eddington’s wife, Claudette, that first long night of hell and to show what might happen if someone died shortly before The Change occurred. And although we now know the fate of this poor woman, perhaps Stephen is better off not knowing.

For those that don’t remember, this spin-off takes place around the time Stephen Eddington is attacked at the school back in Chapter 3. After cheating on his wife with Marie “Nicole” Howard, Stephen chooses to spend the night in his classroom, believing it to be the end of his marriage and his career. Claudette’s story picks up on the other side of that long night.

Be sure to check out my third spin-off story: Hangar Six

________________________________________________
“Red Light” Copyright © 2015 Scott Scherr. A spin-off short story from the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark” Copyright © 2014 Scott Scherr.

No part of this short story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Comments
  1. I have enjoyed these little snippets. Are you getting more traffic because of them?

    Like

  2. nashmcgowan says:

    Is this a repost? I feel like I have read this before. Regardless, keep em coming (o: Can;t wait for the restart in August!

    Like

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