“He's still movin'”
We stood a few feet away from Geoff's body, the slug from my .45 had drilled a hole through his forehead, probably gone straight through and into the ground too.
“He's dead.” I told him, matter of factly. “Now pour the petrol an' burn him before the damn thing comes out.”
“He ain't dead,” Said Paul, his voice rising in panic. “Look... LOOK... He's still movin'!”
Geoff's stomach was twitching slightly, small movements, tiny squiggles under the skin.
As we watched, the movements began to increase in intensity, and to slowly edge upwards towards his chest.
I put two more slugs into him, both directly into the twitchy bit, the body danced slightly with the impacts but the movements continued upwards, the ribcage started to thrum, as though a silent jackhammer was being used on the inside.
Paul stared, bulge-eyed with fear and horror.
“Paul... PAUL... Use the goddam petrol, for crissakes will ya?”
He just stood, rooted, useless in his terror.
I made a start to grab the fuel can from his hand when a slight crackling sound came from Geoff's mouth...
I felt the freezing tendrils of paralysing terror crawl up my spine, I turned my head in Geoff's direction...
Geoff's throat was a writhing distended lump. A translucent, ghastly pale, inch-thick head appeared from his mouth, small antenna flickered around as if tasting the air...
Paul snapped, he started screaming... he just stood... and stared... and screamed...
I watched with absolute horror as more of the creature slithered out, like a ghostly segmented viper. The eyeless head turned in Paul's direction, attracted by the sweet sound of his screams...
The hellish creature slowly drew itself back, away from us, then, almost faster than the eye could follow, whiplashed its body through the air, I spun around just in time to see the last few inches of it slither rapidly into Paul's open mouth.
I backed off several yards whilst Paul was gagging and coughing, eventually he seemed to recover, and straightened up, his eyes glazed with something that wasn't there a few moments ago.
We stood and looked at each other, both of us knowing what I would have to do.
Me and Paul had known each other since we were kids, best buddies all the way, it was hard to believe it would end like this.
I walked forward raising the gun, tears blurring my vision as I pressed the barrel to his forehead...
“Do it!” he said, his voice calm, steady.
“Goodbye my friend.” I said, then squeezed the trigger.
Paul's body flew back, landing spread-eagled in the dust, almost immediately the writhing began beneath the skin on his stomach. His unwanted house-guest already packing to leave, these creatures needed live flesh to feed off.
I grabbed the fuel can, flipping the top open and began to pour, liberally dousing his head, filling his mouth until it overflowed, then along the length of his body. Salt water dripping from my cheeks and mixing with the petrol.
I stood back a few paces, struck the match and threw it onto Paul just as his throat started to bloat...
Within seconds the head appeared from the flame-filled mouth...
The creature thrashed around as it tried to escape the flames, writhing, burning, screeching... dying.
As I watched while the worm slumped, and blackened, I pondered my next move.
This had certainly turned out to be some day, I had just wasted two more members of a rapidly dwindling population.
Could we actually win this war? Or even survive it?
Well, whatever happened, I would go down fighting.
A short distance away the road forked left and right, which way to go?
I was unlikely to find good news whichever direction I chose. Good news was extremely hard to come by these days.
The goddam worms were everywhere, every town and city were infested with them.
I fished a coin from my pocket...
©2011 Stephen. J. Green.