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Authors: Tim Curran

Resurrection (3 page)

BOOK: Resurrection
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MIGGS!” Heller shouted. “MIGGS! MIGGS!
MIGGS!”

But there was nothing but his own voice echoing out, empty and morose.

Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus Christ.

That wasn’t a little girl,
a voice shrieked in his head.
That was a dead thing, a living corpse…

Heller’s mind just went blank and he stumbled through the flooded streets, splashing and falling, his eyes drawn into narrow slits against the rain which hit him in sheets of needles. He kept moving, things bumping into him, his throat constricted down to a pinhole so that he could not even cry out. Then there was a building in front of him. A tall building that had been a hotel. He pulled himself up the steps and through the door and it was just black inside, black but dry.

Breathing hard, he pressed himself against the wall, trying to get his bearings.

Okay, okay, he had to find a door, find a room to hide in. It was the best he could hope for.

He still had his flashlight and that was something. He held it in his hand, ready to thumb the button…but he didn’t. He wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t dare. But then he knew. The light. Part of him was afraid that the light would be seen. And not just by that awful little girl, but others like her.

For there was no getting around one thing: the dead were in the streets of Witcham now. And some of them weren’t lying still.

Heller stood there, soaking wet and shivering. He had the flashlight in one hand and his 9mm Beretta in the other. He knew he had to find a place, a place he could hide. Though his mind was certainly not firing on all cylinders, his instinct was nearly electric. It told him that he must find a little hidey-hole, a corner he could push himself in. One that was defensible. There he would wait until first light. For surely the living dead had to crawl back in their graves when the sun came up.

Christ, the hotel was so unbearably dark.

It was like being shut in a closet. He had to take a chance. He thumbed the switch on his flashlight. He saw a few doors set in a corridor winding off to his left. Okay. That was a start. He clicked the light back off. He moved down there, opened the first door. Inside, mops and pails, boxes and shelves of cleaner. No, that wouldn’t do. Barely enough room to stand. He tried the next door. Shoving his 9mm into its holster, he gripped the knob and opened it. He put his thumb on the flashlight switch…and paused.

He heard a sound in the lobby. The sound of someone…or something…brushing against the walls blindly as if they were looking for him.

No time.

He stepped inside the room and—

The floor fell away beneath him and he was tumbling, slamming into steps and cracking his elbow and then his head, galaxies born in his brain in great nebular explosions. And then water. Sinking into it, plunging down into midnight depths, his face brushing a muddy bottom.

He came up like a rocket, gasping and clawing and sending waves rolling in every direction.

Stupid goddamn idiot…you’re down in the cellar.

It was so incredibly dark. Just one rolling shadow and you couldn’t see where the water stopped and the air began. Just that darkness that was thick and creamy and
oddly suffocating. The water
was up to his chest, his nostrils filled with its rank odor. Trying to make sense of it all, Heller made for the wall, figuring he could guide himself back to the stairs, extricate himself from this nightmare.

He had his gun, but the flashlight was gone.

This was not good. He’d made a lot of racket in his descent. Whoever had been in the lobby must have heard him. Knowing this, Heller just froze up and listened. He could hear nothing up there. Nothing at all. But behind him, there was a splashing sound. He wheeled around with his gun. God, the darkness. Like trying to see through a tarp. Another splash off to his left. He absolutely panicked this time, smelling dead things around him. He jerked the trigger on the 9mm, shooting blindly. In the muzzle flash, he saw that the stairs were quite a distance away.

Okay, make for them.

Heller moved through the water, pushing aside a couple floating boxes. No more splashing save his own, just that cutting silence. The noise he made struggling through the water was like thunder. It unnerved him so much that he stopped. And the splashing stopped just after he did. And that meant, that meant…

Somebody was following him.

Somebody was standing right behind him, dogging him in the water. He swung around, bringing his gun up and an odor like spoiled meat blew into his face, warm and sickening. Hands touched his face, his gunhand…hands that were soft and terribly moist.

He pulled the trigger, catching some hulking thing standing there in the muzzle flashes. Something reaching out with gnarled hands, ribbons of flesh hanging from them. He screamed and lost the gun and those hands were on him. Half out of his mind, Heller fought back. Clawing with his fingers, going almost instinctively for their eyes. His fingers hooked into empty eye sockets that slopped with something like mud and tore into mucid flesh that had the consistency of raw pork fat.

Then he was in the water, half-swimming and half-stumbling. Something bumped into him and he realized it was his flashlight. He came up with it, clicking it on and the light showed him a man standing a few feet away. His eyeless, ruined face was grayish-white, swollen, set with numerous holes from which water trickled. A couple black beetles emerged from his eye sockets and ran down his face. He grinned at Heller with blackened teeth.

And it wasn’t just him.
A dozen other heads came up out of the water now, strands of hair hanging in cadaverous faces. Grinning faces.
“Jesus Christ,” Heller heard his own voice say.

Then a woman vaulted up out of the water right in front of him, spraying him with stagnant slime. She was dressed in rotting cerements, her face little more than a skull grown with fine green moss. She reached out and took hold of him, pulling him in close and then her mouth opened in a contorted oval like that of a lamprey and she vomited a stream of black silt into his face, blinding him, making his skin burn like it was rubbed down with lye.

Screaming, he fell back in the water.
And she went with him.
They all did.

Ten minutes later, just silence and dripping in the cellar. That and a few ripples. Heller’s flashlight floated around in a lazy circle, the light gradually dimming.

 

5

Amongst the wreckage floating along Angel Street, there were dozens of white, nameless things that until quite recently had slept away the ages in jars of serum and formaldehyde. What was in the rain and in the water saturated them, filled them, overflowed them. The things—unpleasant and grotesque to the extreme—bobbed in the waters, puckered and pickled and bleached of color. And then the most extraordinary thing happened: in those dead, dreaming husks, there was
activity.
Eyes like peeled grapes opened and malformed faces grinned, fingers like scratching sticks reached towards the sky along with other things that were not fingers at all. There was motion and movement and a dread awareness.

And in that shadowy organic soup that flooded River Town, things were born and lived that were never intended to see the light of day.

 

6

In the thick, listening darkness, Meg waited.

Waited there in the empty house, something unwinding inside her. She felt loose and rubbery, held together by sheer force of will. She was trying to remain calm. Trying to keep herself steady, trying not to panic. But with what she had been through, that was like standing ground zero in a blazing building and trying not to singe your fingers. Her heart was pounding and her nerves were frazzled and there was a curious rushing sound in her head that she figured were her nerves, fully aware and fully electrified like they had never before been in her life.

Alan was gone.

Yes, Alan was gone and she was hiding upstairs in their bedroom with a gas lantern burning on the nightstand. Maybe the light would attract attention, the wrong kind of attention, but she could not bear to be without it. Bear to be alone in the darkness in the great empty house, listening to the rain fall and the
water lapping against the walls.

She was petrified.

Just drawn deep into herself now that Alan was gone. Now that Alan had opened the door…and some malefic long-armed shadow had pulled him into the night.

She kept trying to breathe like they’d taught her in birth classes. The baby wasn’t coming yet…thank God…but there were other breathing exercises they’d taught her to stay calm. And she needed to stay calm. She needed to stay calm for baby. Because if she got herself too overwrought, it would effect baby. They were one now and she had to remember that. She had to stay calm, she had to—

Oh dear God, what’s happening here? What’s this all about? What happened to Alan? What was that that grabbed him? What dragged my husband out into the night?

Easy.

She had to take it easy.

She was thinking many bad things now. Not so much thinking them, but
feeling
them, knowing them to be true. Knowing that there were things out in the water. Awful things. Faceless, hungry nightmares like that crazy shit she read about in those horror paperbacks she could never seem to get enough of.

Meg tensed.

Tensed again.

Downstairs. A noise. No, not just a noise. Not a board creaking or something rattling in the wind. Something far beyond that. This was the sound of invasion: somebody was in the house. Somebody had come in from out there. Somebody that was now standing at the bottom of the stairs, just breathing. But not breathing like they were out of breath, but breathing with a congested sound like an old man with pneumonia. Yes, a clotted, wet breathing.

Meg tried to calm herself.

But it wasn’t working. She tried to tell herself that this individual might have been somebody that had come to rescue her, but she didn’t believe that for a minute. Because whoever had entered her house in the dark of night was not a person, but a thing. Something dirty and dripping and evil.

Oh please, God, make them go away, please make them go away.

But they were not going. They were standing down there. She could hear the water dripping from them. It sounded like blood dripping from a slit artery. Yes, they were standing down there, knowing she was here, just not where exactly. So they were perhaps smelling for her, casting about like a dog for scent.

And now they had it.

They were coming up the stairs. Yes, very slowly and maybe even painfully, dragging their feet from one step up to the next. When they pressed those feet down they made a squishing sound and water ran from them.

Oh yes, closer…and closer still.

Yes, they knew where she was and the trod of those feet was quicker now. Meg could smell her uninvited guest. He or she or
it
smelled of night and rank earth, rotting things pressed in oblong boxes, cocooned in black soil and rancid silk. Something that had lain in a pool of drainage from a
backed-up pipe.

Meg knew she could not scream.

But neither could she move or do anything else. She could only wait as everything inside her withered away and tears rolled silently from her eyes and she held her swollen belly in her hands, praying and praying.

The door began to open.

In the lantern light, she saw a hand grip the edge of the door, spidery fingers slip around it. Gray water ran from them. The hand was white and puffy, the flesh almost transparent and set with a tracery of livid purple veins.

Then a voice, waterlogged and full of slime: “Looks like I got a live one.”

Meg started to scream and she could not seem to stop. At least until that grim form towered over her, dripping foul water, and a terribly moist and flabby hand was pressed over her mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLOATERS

 

 

 

1

The rain was falling and the dead were rising.

At least, that’s what the crazy bastard on the radio was saying. The guy was calling himself Brother John and inviting everyone to make “offerings of flesh and blood to the Holy Father”…though never saying exactly
who
that was. Maybe God and maybe the Devil and maybe Dr. Suess for all anyone really knew. People were complaining about old Brother John, but he was broadcasting on a pirate station at odd hours and the FCC were having trouble tracking him. Particularly since his station seemed to be a mobile one.

But what the hell? The city was losing its mind and Brother John was just another symptom.

Sighing, Mitch reached over and parted the shade, got a good look at the streets of Witcham.

BOOK: Resurrection
12.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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