The shed’s double doors are wide open, exposing my shirtless chest to the wetness and cold blowing in. The truck is parked several metres away. I remain staring at Kristine’s body, trying to extract a sentiment until I can’t stand the sight any more. Turning away fails to pardon me from the atrocities committed inside.
With no peers or authorities to punish my madness I’ll decide to apply the ultimate penalty to myself.
Surprisingly little guilt assaults me. It’s a useless emotion given the context of our existence. Sure I may have denied Kristine a few extra years of life, but we weren’t truly living anyway, we were existing. We had nothing to look forward to other than the slow encroachment of a Parasite’s army and eventual death at their hands. She’s better off dead.
I hope she didn't suffer.
Might as well get my own death over with. My current metal position in perfectly positioned. There’ll be no sudden, last minute changes of mind this time.
The weather is suitably dreary; the setting, aptly depressing.
Where’s my gun?
I hadn’t seen it in the office. The truck! Freezing rain is hardly noticed when I step into the needles machine-gunning my bare skin. I lean in to search the cab for a weapon and find nothing useful. No. That’s not true. I do find a three-quarter full bottle of rum. A fitting partner for this final journey.
A swig clears sinuses of the Flu’s precursors. A virus that won’t ever be passed on. The burning liquid clears cobwebs and oils my brain as I re-enter the shed and consider the merits of a chainsaw death. A noisy, messy, awkward way to off ones-self. My headache tells me not to be so melodramatic and I agree with it.
Overdosing remains the preferred option.
I force myself to stand over Kristine to pay my last respects before going leaving. Wait a minute. That’s curious. Why is she wearing someone else’s pants? That's not Kristine! It’s the Host-boy I shot at the loading dock!
This moment of recognition cause emotions to surface. Most of it is disappointment that my suicide is on hold again. I make a valiant attempt to reacquire the doomed, dark place in my head by insisting Kristine’s wellbeing is not proven. I may have killed her yet! However, images of me leaving her safely passed out on her bed are insistent. This unfortunate enlightenment banishes the protective shell depression was able to form over my nerves and I suddenly feel the stabbing cold. My skin shivers uncontrollably in the swirling mist that blows around my wet legs. I look down and see ice-block bare feet that are almost blue due to lack of circulation.
Recapping our situation for the benefit of any brain cells that have slept in I let them all know we’re in in trouble. We’re outside, with no armour, no guns, no shirt, no shoes and no memories of last night. And I’m almost sober. Sort it out.
I lead by example and take a long drink from the bottle. My brain to drags up answers to those other questions and I follow its advice woodenly.
Let’s see. Let’s close these fucking doors for a start. Now. Explanation time. Why I am in a shed with an eviscerated body? Obviously I’ve dragged it here with the truck. Rope is still wrapped around his ankles and the truck is outside. Why is his chest gaping wide open? Why have I performed an autopsy with a chainsaw and garden tools. Why is a long wooden stake solidly embedded where his stomach used to reside?
I edge closer to the corpse. It’s darker with the doors closed so I pick up a nearby dimly glowing torch. The dull orange beam looks as exhausted as I feel. Shining the feeble beam across the organs laid out around the body, and then 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 Vampire’s 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 stomach of its meagre contents. I rush to a corner to discreetly throw up, taking advantage of the wall to hold myself upright.
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 pleasing warmth.
I get into the beat-up truck and start the motor.
Explaining my current appearance and previous absence to Kristine is a troubling prospect. I sit and drink while the shed goes up in flames. My level of care dwindles along with the rum bottle’s contents.