I. Am. Alive.
Author: Raven Productions

Chapter 14
Costly Freedom


No one noticed the dead boy slowly rising or the blanket falling off of his slack face. The darkness prevented them of becoming aware of the fact that all of their lives were in jeopardy. Silence surrounded them all and the soundless undead body was in a cot, searching for its first prey. Amelia was the only one that knew that they had been spending their time in the bedroom with a corpse, but even she couldn’t have predicted what happened next.


A piercing scream broke the silence and was the beginning of the chaos that followed. Children crying; running around in the darkness; not knowing where the threat was located. Amelia, trying to keep her head clear remained on her cot. After realizing that the first scream had come from the other side of the room, she called all of the children to her bed. Barely hearing her over the noise of fear, one by one, children found their way to where Amelia waited. Hushing them, she tried to listen and understand what had and still was happening. She could hear a quiet gnawing at the back of the room and silently made her way there. She found herself by the dead boys’ cot and after checking it, found it to be empty. A moment later, the sound stopped and was replaced by shuffling and before Amelia could realize what had happened, something heavy was upon her. She struggled against the weight and once she realized what it was, she pushed him off.


She could hear the dead boys’ jaws snapping at empty air like the ticking of the grandfather clock in the kitchen. Quickly, she stood up and grabbed the boy by his hair, dragging him under one of the cots. The cots were very low, close to the ground, so she had to struggle to get him where she wanted. Amelia could hear the boy banging his limbs against the hard wood of the bottom of the cot and knew that he won’t find his way out. She rushed to the scene of the incident and found of the younger girls lying motionlessly on the floor. As she swept her hands over her body, she could feel thick blood oozing through wounds in her neck and stomach. The girl was dead and Chloe knew that nothing can be done for her.


The lights came on in the cool room, just as the dead girl rose to a sitting position and made for Amelia’s arm. The girl noticed it just in time to push the girl backwards and kick her under one of the other cots. Still blinded by the sudden brightness, Amelia crawled her way to the rest of the children. The door burst open and the Mother ran in holding a bedside lamp. Amelia watched her observing the bloody scene with her mouth open. Her dead friends were still trying to fight their way out of under the cots and managed to make a lot of noise in doing so.


Still in the state of shock, she asked the children to head for the kitchen and wait for her there. Ten minutes later, she reappeared, still holding the bedside lamp. It was covered in dark red substance and had a coppery smell to it. The Mother looked furious, yet tired as if she had run a marathon, not killed a couple of defenceless zombies. She was breathing deeply and still managed to give every single one of them a deadly look as if they were to blame for the strange occurrences. Amelia noted that the Mother didn’t seem as surprised about finding the dead kids still kicking as the children. She realized that the Mother already had known that it could’ve happened which might have accounted for her nervous state a couple of hours earlier.


The rest of the children were trying their best to hide their quiet sobs, but Amelia started at the Mother with a deadly look of her own. She should’ve been grateful, because the Mother had saved her life by turning on the light allowing her to notice the dead girl reaching for her arm. But all she felt was hatred, pure, untainted anger for the cruel woman standing before her. She couldn’t help but imagine herself snapping the woman’s neck which brought an involuntary smile to her face. This made the Mother furious and she was about to rise her arm and smack the young defenceless girl. But just before she could bring the arm down upon the girl with burning fury, she heard a terrible crash coming from the back of the house.


As the Mother ran to check the source of the disturbance, Amelia rose to her feet. Quickly, she made her way to the kitchen counter and grabbed the largest knife there. She sped back to the rest of the children, at the same time concealing the knife under her shirt. Just as she took her place, the Mother reappeared with a look of horror on her old face. Amelia could here muffled banging coming from the back of the house and decided that it must be coming from the little room that connected the door leading to the garden from the rest of the house.


Mother produced a large rope from one of the cupboards and ordered them all to stand in a line according to their height. Amelia was the tallest and found herself to be tied up first and watched the Mother tying the rest of them, in a line to each other. Amelia found the Mother’s behaviour curious but suspected that nothing good would come of it. When she was done, she took hold of one part of the rope and dragged them all behind her. Amelia didn’t realize that they were heading for the door before it was too late. The children found themselves being dragged through the front yard and were terrified to hear screams after screams coming from the street. Before long, they came to the fence that separated them from the outside world and they quietly observed a few people running in every direction whilst being pursued by a dozen of remarkably bloody and wounded predators. Amelia noticed how they all resembled the two undead children from the bedroom and put two plus two together. The dead had risen to punish the living.


Suddenly, the gate sprung open, and the Mother started pushing them out, one by one. It was the first time Amelia or any of the others had been outside the fence, but that had not been how Amelia had imagined it would be like. The children screamed, trying to get back inside the comfort of their prison which gained much attention from the zombified savages. One by one, they turned their ugly bloody faces towards them and before long, they were all heading in their direction. The Mother forced herself between the children and held the rope from both ends, creating her own protective layer, made solely out of living human beings. She tried pushing herself along with the children towards her car, but her human shield was slowing her down. Even so, she relentlessly continued moving forward, her face a mask of determination.


           Amelia knew that it was then or never. Carefully, she slipped the sharp knife out from underneath her shirt. As it was sliding past her skin, it left a red mark on the grey cloth. Amelia didn’t feel the cut, her own face set in deep concentration and her mind filled with determination. But before she could act, the first zombie had already reached them. In matter of seconds, it was upon one of the children furthest away from Amelia and she could hear the girl scream out in pain. That was what sealed the Mother’s fate. There already had been too many deaths because of the woman and Amelia wanted to put an end to her reign of terror.


        Painfully gripping the knife, she raised it over her head and swiftly brought it down and through the Mother’s exposed neck. That had done the trick and in seconds, the woman collapsed and was beat by the children’s little feet. Thinking quickly, she started cutting the rope, setting herself free. Then she started working on the other children. She had realised 3 of them, when 7 zombies appeared out of nowhere and swarmed the rest of the tied children. They didn’t stand a chance against the angry horde and soon enough they stopped screaming for Amelia and became motionless. For the whole struggle, Amelia had tried to set them free but it had been futile. The children were dead and were about raise and she had to get the rest of them as far away from the madness as possible. With one last look at the dead Mother, she took the children by their hands and led them further in the darkness and cold.

 

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