Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Summary

What happens when a world, so over exposed to the idea of zombies through countless books, games and films, finds itself in the mist of an undead rising which science can't explain? Follow Max Barker and his new and unusual friend as he escapes the horrors of Moss Hill Secondary School, only to find that the entire country is now playing by another set of rules.

Summary

What happens when a world, so over exposed to the idea of zombies through countless books, games and films, finds itself in the mist of an undead rising which science can't explain?

Follow Max Barker and his new and unusual friend as he escapes the horrors of Moss Hill Secondary School, only to find that the entire country is now playing by another set of rules.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Bright Eyes

Author Chapter Note

What happens when a world, so over exposed to the idea of zombies through countless books, games and films, finds itself in the mist of an undead rising which science can't explain? Follow Max Barker and his new and unusual friend as he escapes the horrors of Moss Hill Secondary School, only to find that the entire country is now playing by another set of rules.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 15, 2014

Reads: 423

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 15, 2014

A A A

A A A

Chapter One

The mouthful of dry chicken and wholemeal bread stuck to the roof of Max’s mouth, causing his face to redden slightly as he looked around the room. However, he was alone in the cramped and neglected staff kitchen and he quickly removed the offending mixture and spat it into the bin by the door.

This morning’s rush had left him with the choice of either making a decent lunch or having a mug of coffee, and after staying up until the early hours binge-watching one of his favourite shows, the caffeine took priority. He scratched his cheek, pausing over the fresh shaving cut that all but two of students and colleagues he spoke to today had made a joke or comment about.

He took his lunch, which was little more than two slices of bread either side of a handful of processed chicken chunks accompanied by a questionable apple, and carried it over to the fridge. The dim light flickered on as an array of strong smells crept up his nostrils. He noticed for the second week running that the same Tupperware box, filled with a vegetable curry covered in an ever-growing layer of mould, was still occupying the top shelf, the only item in there with personal space.

He grabbed one of the many jars of mayonnaise and added a sizable blob to the centre of his sandwich, making a mental note to add an extra half an hour to his workout that evening. Max put away the jar and sat at the stained and chipped table, smiling once again at the “I wish my wife was as dirty as this kitchen” written onto the edge of the tabletop.

He wiped the last of the crumbs from his shirt and lifted up the apple, contemplating throwing it away and attacking the vending machine in the hallway. Before he could come to a decision, the entire kitchen plunged into darkness. He sat motionless for a second, slightly embarrassed of his elevated heart rate, before throwing himself under the table and clutching both hands to his ears.

A shriek, or a thousand shrieks, or a million shrieks all screaming as one tore through the air. It was so loud that Max couldn’t help but let out his own cry as he clenched his eyes closed and tried to make himself as small of a pitiful ball of human as he possible could.

The door, which was the only door in and out of this small, windowless room, rattled as great gusts of wind battered it from the outside hallway. The heavy fire door shuck as if possessed and  the narrow glass window that ran the length of it shattered, peppering Max’s back with tiny shards.

As suddenly as the inhuman wailing had begun, it ceased, leaving Max lying on the cold and greasy floor, ears ringing and too frightened to open his eyes.  The silence stretched on into the darkness, and he found himself thanking whoever was listening for sparing him.

He began to relax, if only because his arms and legs were cramping, and was just about to open his eyes when the lights burst back on, the dazzling aluminous bulbs forcing him to keep them closed. A heartbeat later, he was on his feet, the table knocked on its side and a freshly grazed arm for the trouble.

He squinted through the light, heart pounding in his chest and back up against the wall as a new orchestra of screams echoed throughout the school. These were different though. These were the screams of terrified students accompanied by the scraping and crashing of half the building’s furniture being rearranged all at once.

“Gunman.”  The word flashed through Max’s mind like a bullet, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his smartphone with shaking hands.

There’d been seminars and training and meetings until the entire staff was so over exposed to the horrors of armed gunmen attacking a school that it had become the butt of a whole manner of jokes. When security guards were first employed and the assemblies were held; when the news reports of the attacks at other schools across the nation were still an everyday occurrence, everybody was at red alert.

However, that was nearly two years ago, and security was let go due to budget restrictions and the idea of an attack at Moss Hill Secondary School became less and less like a possibility as the news reporters found their new and exciting tragedy.

Max cursed himself for his part in letting them go. It was probably his damn budget report that encouraged to board that the students’ safety was less important that their bottom line.

He also cursed the piece of shit phone that his white knuckles were wrapped around so hard that an audible crack could be heard. He had attempted to phone the emergency services three times, and three times, he received the same busy recording and apology for the inconvenience. The fourth time he tried, he didn’t even get a recording, it was like he couldn’t dial out, as if making a call from his office phone without pressing the nine key. After the fifth time, to the same result, the phone bounced off the opposite wall in a shower of expensive pieces.

Max stared dead ahead, unable to think with the continuous and blood curdling screams seemingly coming from every direction. As he took a step towards the door, glass crunching underfoot, he froze with the uncomforting realization that if the screams were in fact coming from every direction, then the gunmen must have attacked at multiple points all over the school.

As these speculations ran through his head, and he forced himself to take another step, the lack of gunshots sounding over the screams and running tugged at his thought and once again made him pause. Maybe they were not gunmen; maybe the attackers had knives and blades instead. He turned and walked towards the counter, pulling a kitchen knife out of a draw before he could think about what he was doing.

Within seconds, he thought of how ridiculous it was that he even thought about putting himself in danger by attempting to fight these men. Then the guilt of not protecting the students puffed him up with a mixture of determination and blind panic as he once again reached into his pocket for his phone before remembering that no one was coming to help him.

Not unless he got to another phone.

He convinced himself that the first step they were taught, to “Contact the authorities and provide as much information as you can” was probably the best plan of action. He attempted to bury the shame and guilt of the true cowardly reasoning behind this decision as he hurriedly made his way to the door and opened it before he could change his mind.

Stepping out into the hall, the screams seemed to amplify and he ran past the closed doors to the stock room and the bathrooms towards his office. He shared one, large desk with six over staff members, with computer monitors back to back and just enough personal space to only smell your immediate neighbour. The hallway carried on for the length of the office before turning off to the right, which led to both the medical room and the head master’s office before opening to the rest of the school.

The building was primarily a large, two story square and due to some architects fantastic opinion that only children need natural light, all of the administrative offices are in the centre of the second floor, surrounded on all sides by classrooms and the occasional bathroom.

Max paused outside the office door, one hand stretched out towards the handle before a noise stopped him once again in his tracks. The frosted glass window that made up the top half of the white door was cracked and papers littered the floor, indicating that his co-workers had fled the office in a hurry. Then why, Max thought, was there someone still inside making a whole manner of god-awful sounds.

His fingers tightened on the knife handle, he’d completely forgot he still had it, but the idea of not being completely unarmed gave him the nudge to step forward and push open the door. For the split second that the door swung back to reveal the room, he thought of how stupid he felt for being too scared to enter his own office.

His jaw dropped open and he stumbled back into the hallway, the knife pointed towards the room as his back slammed against the wall, knocking the wind out of his lungs. He opened his mouth to speak, but he could only wheeze pathetically as he stared into his office, unable to move or look away.

Louis, the youngest member of their cramped little office club, practically still a kid who had the crush on Priya, the caramel skinned beauty who’s car and clothes cost more than she made in a year. The source of her extra income had been the topic of much amusement to the rest of us whenever she left the room after showing off her newest purchase. The speculations ranged from rich family members back in India to the more amusing theories delving into the world of escort services and gifts to win the exotic beaut’s heart.

The poor kid never joined in, probably still clinging to the idea that she was a princess and that someday his clumsy but good-natured advances would one-day result in a passionate union upon this very desk. In a way, he got his wish.

Louis’ head rocked as it hung from the edge of the desk, his wide eyes staring at Max, all the life drained but still expressing absolute heartbreak and confusion.  Long stands of black hair, matted with blood and chunks of flesh drooped over Louis’ chest, which had been torn open and the contents spilled across the desk.

Priya was straddling him, head bobbing into the mess of innards as she tore bits of organ and muscle out with her teeth. She sat up, dribbling pieces of office junior down her front, ruining what was once a very expensive, and very revealing, blouse, chewing zealously and not waiting to finish her mouthful before ducking back down for more.

Max was mesmerised, the taste of mayonnaise and chicken crawled up the back of his throat as his stomach tied itself into a dozen knots.  Although the rhythmic lulling of Louis’ head and the gore splatted cleavage was hypnotizing in a collection of horrifying ways, he could not look away from her eyes.

They were glowing. Not the poetic radiance from one of Louis’ drunken texts but a literal and terrifying green illumination, which absorbed both of her eyes like a badly coloured in children’s drawing. Emerald spheres of fire that flickered and trailed with her jerky movements.

It felt like hours had passed whilst Max watched, unable to get the message to his legs to move, to flee from this waking nightmare, to go crawl back under the kitchen table and hide. He didn’t know how long he would have been trapped there, frozen by both horror and gruesome curiosity, but Priya seemingly got tired of having an audience.

Mid-chew, she cocked her head to one side, pointed them ungodly spotlights straight through the doorway, and burrowed them into Max. He held his breath, but could feel his heart beating so fast he was sure his tie was vibrating. Priya lifted one blood soaked hand and began to crawl forward, dragging Louis’ corpse along for the ride. By the time it had crumpled to the floor with a sickening crack, and Priya had fallen next to it, slowly gathering herself and attempting to stand up, Max had slammed the door closed and was currently sprinting around the bend in the corridor.

As he turned the corner, the foot of the small staircase that led to the rest of the school came into view. It was only five steps high, and the floor above was visible from the corridor. It was usually a sight occupied by the ankles and footwear of students rushing to their next class, but now, several bodies were lay upon the tiled floor with their school uniforms soaked red and numerous classmates on their hands and knees, tearing into them.

He skidded to a stop, his impractical dull black shoes already cutting into his feet. The pair of trainers he swapped into at the end of the day were in the bottom draw of his desk. They may as well be at the bottom of the ocean. The squeak of his soles echoed in the empty hallway and he cursed under his breath. Behind him, the sound of cracking glass crept into his head and sudden realization turned his innards to water. He was surrounded by bright-eyed cannibals.

To his left was the medical room, and to his right, the head master’s office. With thoughts of more sharp things as potential weapons, he grabbed the handle to his left. The door rattled on its lock. He contemplated smashing the misty glass that showed the black room beyond, but the noise of shattered glass raining onto the floor around the corner reminded him that he didn’t have time for that.

He spun and threw himself towards the other door. Letting himself enjoy the tiny victory of it not being locked. Max closed the door behind him and rested on it, breathing deeply into the darkened room. The distorted light through the door cast his shadow with several blurred outlines against the far wall, making it appear as if there were two of him in the room.

For the hundredth time, his blood froze. He scanned the room, squinting at all the shapes and shadows of the office, waiting for one to move. With a shaky hand, he flicked on the light switch and truly expected another smoking hot Indian cannibal to lunge at him. The room was empty. It was about the same size as his office, only with nine less workstations, pretty paintings on the walls and a small black sofa tucked in one corner.

There was a deadlock above the door handle, and Max locked it, feeling like the tiny metal bar would do little to stop an eager puppy, never mind a full-grown person. He also closed the blind that covered the glass in the door, anything to put between him and Priya. He took a step back, looking at his handiwork. It practically laughed at him.

He moved over to the large, dark desk and placed his knife upon it, freeing up his hands to grab the edges and dragged it towards the door. The thick legs seemed to claw at the floor as they inched across the floor, groaning with every pull. Max swore as he rounded the desk and threw his weight at it, pushing with all his strength, moving from corner to corner to stop the whole thing spinning away from the doorway.

By the time he had collapsed against it, breathing heavily and with sweat sticking the shirt to his back, he was sure that everybody in the entire school had heard him wrestle with the beast. Nevertheless, the wooden over-compensation was backed up to the door, and it was not moving any time soon.

A wet thud against the windowed door snapped him upright and he edged backwards, tripping onto the sofa. Although he couldn’t see, he could hear the offending creature slide itself across the glass, the squeal of sodden flesh against the smooth surface sent a shiver up Max’s spine. As he sat, watching the unmoving barricade, a bud of hope slowly began to grow, before the giant boot of poor planning stamped on it and smeared it into the dirt.

“Well done…” Max said to himself, looking around at the windowless office he had very efficiently trapped himself within and stabbed the knife blade into the sofa cushion. “Well fucking done.”


© Copyright 2017 Myke Withay. All rights reserved.

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