Here is the second contestant vying for the coveted Contributor Position here at Don’t Get Bit. A fantastic short story by CJ. To vote simply hit the like button at the bottom of the post!
It started on Twitter and spread throughout the blogosphere as though a nest of cybernetic spiders had exploded. A creeping shadow that followed you everywhere, a phantom second skin. At first it was all just fanboi-ish rumors and unsubstantiated reports from journalists desperate to get out one last story as they scrambled away from their desks to go…where? That didn’t matter, anywhere as long as it was far away. But then the real news started to come in.
Of course, I watched them on television. I heard them on the radio. I even read about them
in the papers, the few that are still being printed that is, and like everyone else I knew about
the YouTube videos. But until yesterday I’d never seen them live…so to speak. It’s a day that
will live in something that goes so far beyond infamy that the attack on Pearl Harbour isn’t
even on the radar. I’ve tried to forget but I can’t bring myself to. It seems wrong. But I wish
I could. I’d give anything not to remember. Maybe writing it down will help in some small
way, if not me then whoever finds this.
It was my shift on the loading bay at the local Shop ‘n Save superstore. Crates and boxes
were stacked almost to the ceiling, there were times I wondered if I could actually get lost in
that rat maze of useless stuff that people didn’t really want to buy but did anyway out of some
sense of false purpose. A delivery truck was late (again) and I’d been staring at the clock for
so long that its numbers had started to engrave themselves in my eyes. I could hear customers
getting rowdy on the shop floor; some of the bargain priced vegetables were out of stock and
they just weren’t going to stand for that. Hell hath no fury like a shopper scorned. A shop
assistant ran to the toilets crying and holding her face in her hands, but she didn’t come back
out of the staff area. Saturday afternoons could be tough, it was no surprise that she’d decided
to sneak out the back entrance and go home. I wanted to do the same but I had to sit by the
warehouse door staring into torn up plastic sheets of rain, waiting.
It must have been around 5p.m, I know that because one of the managers stumbled through
the warehouse after yet another thankless twelve hour day, when the truck finally arrived. I
heard it chugging down the access road, the sound of its engine in the sodden gloom was like
heavy glugs from a wide-mouthed booze bottle. It wasn’t until I realised it wasn’t going to
stop before I opened the yard gates that I realised something was wrong. I managed to get
behind a pile of empty stock palettes but the impact came faster than I’d expected and the
truck smashed through, forcing the gates to twist back on their hinges like a surgeon cracking
a ribcage. In a blaze of sparks, evaporating puddles and melted rubber the truck came to
a stop lengthwise across the loading bay. The broken behemoth gave out one last wheeze
before the engine spluttered and died. I’m not sure what was worse, the tornado of everything
as the truck crashed or the comparatively deafening silence that followed it.
Coming out of my hiding place I didn’t have to ask if the driver was ok. The sickening red
smear on the windows gave that one away. But they weren’t broken, so he couldn’t have been
hurt that badly in the crash. That much was obvious as I made my way to the front of the
truck, dodging the back doors as they swung loose revealing heaps of obliterated cargo. Boss
would have my head for that no doubt, he liked having someone to blame even if there was
none to go round. The driver was still moving, banging against the door and fighting with his
seat belt. But not just that, against the skin hanging off his face like badly mixed concrete as
though he was trying to stop something from getting out…or to help it escape. As I made to
open the driver-side door the banging stopped, the last fragments of the low metallic thuds
scattered amongst the fast-forward hiss of the downpour. That ruined face turned towards
me and the moan that erupted from it lodged like an angle grinder in my bones and sent tiny
tremors through the truck. Skirting around the cab I figured that the best thing to do was call
for help, but after the noise the truck had made that should have already been on its way. In
fact it should have drawn a horde of gawking onlookers taking pictures for Facebook, but it
There were no sounds other than the rattling of tarpaulin, the clank of the trailer doors, the
hangover cure fizzle of the rain and that insufferable moaning. Sirens in the distance caught
themselves in my breath but they were moving too quickly in the wrong direction, not
towards the crash site as expected. They were just going to leave that “man” trapped in the
truck and so was I.
Back inside the warehouse I was greeted by the hum of the inventory computer. The
customers had all gone quiet, must have given up on their bargain hunting. Then I saw her.
The shop assistant from earlier. She was a Rodin frieze come to life, her body twisted from
the inside out, and her complexion pale except for the livid red wound on her cheek. She’d
been crying for a good reason: she’d been bitten. Her eyes blazed like cigarette tips in the
dark, as though all her secret malice and rage was forcing its way out through her face. She
didn’t moan, no, she screamed like she had just crawled through the entrails of hell.
I ran. I’m still running. And I will never stop.