Akim had been morbidly generous with the simple yet plentiful rations: canned hams, spam, canned veggies, bottled water, chips, candy, and assorted dry goods. It was like they had been to the Insanely Generous Despot Thug food bank. Perhaps he was even more wise to the desperate severity than even Ward or Dexi.
Ward had given Dexi the okay when she asked if she could leave some of the rations by the wailing room down the hall. As she made her way with a small box of goods, she could feel her groin tingling again. She had felt guilty for it, but Dexi’s sex drive continued to maintain in the red. There was no privacy whatsoever to masturbate, to try and get it out of her system. She could give herself a quick rub here and there, but she needed to feel something, someone, inside her. She was craving romantic, human physical contact. She was so tired of the silent lonely nights.
Chas was always hounding her for “action”, as he called it. She had had an indiscretion with him several years ago. The end result? Dissatisfaction, a sore ass and a herpes scare. Been there, done that; not worth repeating, she thought to herself.
There of course, was Raymondo. He was a bit younger, and deathly shy, especially around Dexi. She would often catch his long looks, at which point she loved pulling her innocent act. She would go so far as to wear very short plaid skirts, with no panties, and strategically drop things right in front of him. She thought it was really cute how he would blush, looking away while trying not to look away. While she just went about her business, playing coy. Upon further rumination on the issue, she began to wonder why they had never dated.
Thoughts of punk boys and sex drives ended quickly, however, as she reached the apartment. She listened close and silent, and thought that she could hear a faint sniveling.
She knocked. No response.
She waited, knocked again. Then, in her “retail cashier” voice said “Hello? This is your neighbor Dexi from down the hall. We had some good fortune today and figured you might need some supplies.”
There was no response in the seemingly forced silence.
Putting the box down she said “I’m just going to leave them by the door here.”
About half way back to her apartment she heard a roaring male maniacally screaming accented gibberish, followed by more yelling from a young child.
Drawing her large hunting knife from her thigh she turned and ran towards the room. She tried frantically to open the door but it had been locked.
The screaming behind the door was growing more chaotic by the second.
Like a mother summoning the physical strength to pull her trapped child out from beneath a burning car, fueled by adrenaline, Dexi kicked at the door with her heavy-booted foot repeatedly. On the third blow, the cheap wooden door successfully gave, leaving her enough room to wiggle her skinny body into the room.
First thing: Two girls, roughly ten and fourteen, locked in a large dog cage in the center of the room.
Second thing: The younger girl is cradling the head of the older girl. The younger one has a look between confusion and shock contorting her face.
Third thing: The older girl appears to be dead.
The stench of the room was enough to make Dexi almost hurl. She held back the gag, swallowing back a warm and tart mouthful of bile.
Walking fully into the room she saw the gibberish man. He was clad in nothing but “Father Of The Year” boxer shorts and a blood and brown filth-stained wife beater. He paced around the room spastically, emitting loud sounds of agony and unintelligible grunts. He was scraping at his face, his eyes, digging fingers literally tearing open the skin.
A body lay on the floor before him. Female, her skirt hiked up, exposing her dead ass. It looked like large pieces of flesh had been carved out of the backs of her legs.
The man, still ripping at his skull, bent down to the body, whimpering. Then he tried approaching the cage.
“STAY AWAY FROM THE KIDS!” Dexi warned, a protective maternal instinct projecting out from her like hot knives. It sent the man back to the corpse. The little girl in the cage was screaming hysterically.
The man fell silent, dropping to his knees next to the body. His mouth still quivered and moved, trying in vain to form words. His face, ghostly white and layered in torn skin from his mad clawing, gave the thousand yard stare through Dexi and toward the cage. His gaze then slowly shifted up, looking Dexi psycho-eye to eye.
She couldn’t look away, her perpetual fascination with morbid madness momentarily taking hold.
A thick and chunky, dark grey-brown goo began to drizzle out of his nose, then his ears. His blood-vessel orbs began to dislodge themselves from their sockets, more goo sluicing out from behind, all accompanied by a wet farting sound. His brain was rotten, and this was the N.E.C.R.O.
Dexi had only read and heard about the final stage ravages of the fungal virus, but had never seen them up close. This was beyond her worst nightmare, what she was witnessing. She hoped silently to God this would never happen to her.
The body collapsed in a wheezed exhale on top of the other corpse on the floor.
Opening the cage, the frightened girl practically jumped out and clung onto Dexi, holding on for dear life. The girl's shrieking died down into a deep soundless cry, heaving gut sobs of release and relief.
Dexi covered the dead girl with a blanket from the floor upon checking her pulse and realizing she was, in fact, dead.
Inside the cage she had noticed a large plate. Flies were buzzing, halo like around this plate. Beneath the small halo of flies, in the center of the plate, was a rotting, large, thick slice of beige colored meat. It was slowly moving across the plate, leaving a snail-trail of dark slippage behind it. This piece of festering meat was carved from the back of the dead woman-on-the-floor’s legs. It had probably been sitting, untouched, inside the cage for at least a week, and was most likely meant to be consumed by the two girls. Now it was wasted flesh, infested with worms. Not maggots. Worms. Dexi eyed their trail to the sink. These were the worms from the sewer, and that was not good.
Dexi thought. She couldn’t imagine.
She took the small child to Ward’s.