The shed’s double doors are wide open, exposing me to wetness and cold. The truck is parked a few metres away. I stand in the entrance, trying to extract a sentiment. Turning away from the body in denial fails to pardon me from atrocities committed inside.
With no peers to punish my wrong doings I decide to perform the ultimate punishment on myself. For every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction.
I feel no guilt. It’s a useless emotion given the context of our existence. I might have denied Kristine life, but truly living was no longer attainable anyway. With nothing to look forward to other than the slow expansion of a Parasite’s army, we’d only have lived an uncertain lifespan of fear and misery anyway. She’s better off dead.
I hope she didn't suffer.
Might as well get my own death over with. I’m perfectly positioned mentally to do it. No sudden last minute hopes or changes of mind can mess with this determination. The weather is remarkably dreary. The setting, aptly depressing.
Where’s my gun?
I hadn’t seen it in the office. The freezing rain is hardly noticed when it needles my skin. I am soaked while searching the truck’s cab for a weapon.
I do find a three-quarter full bottle of rum. A fitting partner for this final journey. A swig clears sinuses of Flu’s precursors. The virus won’t be using this body much longer. The burning liquid clears cobwebs. My brain is oiled.
I re-enter the shed and consider the chainsaw. A messy, awkward way to off ones-self my headache tells me, ruling out melodramatics. I agree. It’s unlikely my self-decapitated body will ever be discovered by a sympathetic or impressible human.
Overdosing remains the preferred option.
I force myself to stand over Kristine to pay my last respects.
That’s curious. Why is she wearing someone else’s pants?
Oh. Wait. That's not Kristine. It’s the boy I shot at the loading dock.
Recognition causes an emotion to surface.
Suicide is postponed.
But Kristine’s wellbeing isn’t a foregone conclusion just because this isn’t her body, is it?
The valiant attempt to reacquire the doomed, dark place in my head fails. An encouraging picture eerily floats over a logjam of other short term memories. Images of me leaving her safely passed out on a bed are incontrovertible.
Enlightenment banishes the protection of depressions total, blanking disconnection. Sudden stabbing cold is acknowledged and skin shivers uncontrollably. Cold mist blows around my legs. My bare feet are blocks of ice.
I recap our situation for the benefit of brain cells who have slept in.
We’re in trouble here boys. I’m outside, with no armour, no guns, no shoes and I’m almost sober. Sort it out.
I take a long drink from the bottle. That’s one wrong I don't need any help righting. The brain drags up answers to other questions while I drink and gain control.
Let’s see. Close these fucking doors for a start.
Now, explain why I am in a shed with an eviscerated body.
I dragged it here with the truck. Rope on ankles. Truck outside.
And why is his chest gaping WIDE open?
I have performed an autopsy with a chainsaw and garden tools.
Why is a long wooden stake solidly embedded where his stomach used to abide?
Umm. Stumped myself on that one.
I edge closer. It’s darker with the doors closed. I pick up a dimly glowing torch on the way over. The dull orange beam looks as exhausted as I feel. Shining the feeble beam across the organs lying around the body and into the empty chest shows, not a frenzied disembowelling, but a careful dissection.
I’d been looking for something.
The torch light travels down the stake to its skewering point. No fantastically imagined Vampires heart lies here.
It’s something much worse
The stabbed monster has spilled a hundred tiny young. They are no threat. Each is curled up in death, around the body of their mother. I kick a can of fly spray lying at my feet. It clanks emptily.
A queasy disposition chooses to rid my own stomach of its contents. I rush to a corner to discreetly throw up, taking advantage of the walls to hold myself upright.
Two Parasites in one body. A mating pair? Is this how they create a ‘Popper’?
I upend a barrel of rags over the body and douse it in diesel and oil from stacked drums. Ignition is slow but the flames will not go out in a hurry. The billowing black smoke and stench of burning flesh drives me from the pleasant warmth.
I get into the truck and start the motor.
The troubling aspect of explaining my current appearance and previous absence to Kristine dwindles with the contents of the rum bottle.