“Over there,” Charlie said, in an urgent whisper. We all looked at Charlie. He had his gun pointing toward the right side of the room. “It moved. I’m sure of it. The one that looks like…like the lead singer of the Ramones. He moved his hand.”
“Which one’s that?” Topps asked, waving his gun in the general direction.
“The guy with the long hair...I swear, I swear he moved.”
“We believe you,” Topps said, and we did because there was no reason not to and every reason to.
We were all pointing our guns and flashlights now. Our beams met on the seemingly lifeless body of a tall, thin man with pruned flesh and three missing fingers. He was shirtless, in tight black jeans. His eyes were closed.
The room was still.
If he moved, we’d know it.
“What’s that sound? Do you hear it?” Seven asked.
We did. It was a wet noise—very quiet but coming from all around. Only holding your breath could you hear it. We eyed the bodies and aimed our guns.
“They’re dead. We checked them,” Seven said.
Leech was standing a couple feet away from Cooper and I. He leaned over one of the bodies, an older woman with a wide forehead and frizzy hair. He straightened up suddenly.
“It’s their teeth, folks. They’re coming out.”
Quick movement somewhere.
A horrible screech.
A shot was fired, and other shots rang out in succession.
My hearing dropped out, but I still had my sight, and I saw the hermits, toothy and mad, rising up off the ground in shifting beams of light. The ones that had no limbs made do, shuffling, hopping, jerking, lunging toward dinner.
Someone screamed. It might have been me.
A hermit appeared in front of me. Its whole body was vibrating. I shot.
I fired again and hit the hermit’s chest, catapulting the vampire into the wave of violence behind it. A hand wrapped around my arm, urging me forward. Cooper. He was yelling something.
We surged ahead, torn mangled bodies we had just inspected coming for us from all directions.
The little boy with the severed arm rushed at me, ducking and dodging. I emptied my gun, not able to get a mark.
I threw the gun.
It hit his head but did nothing to slow him. I pulled the stake from out of my back sheath and whacked him across the face twice. He rammed into me, making me drop my stake. I got a hold of his tiny ears and veered his gnashing teeth away from my stomach. I pressed my hands firmly against both sides of his head and yanked to the right. I felt a pop and let go.
The child hermit backed away from me, his head now lolling to the side. I retrieved my stake and heaved it into his chest.
Far away, shots fired. My arm flared with pain. I looked down at a small circle on my bicep seeping blood. I’d been shot.
An arm, more bone than the other stuff, slid around my neck. The hand at the end of that arm forced my head to the side, stretching my jugular. Breath that promised no tomorrow slid across my cheek.
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