I step out of the den just in time to catch Charlotte Olsen storm out of the house.
"What's with her?" I ask my brother. He shrugs and runs up the stairs just as Stephanie enters the hall. She is pale and her arms are covered in small blisters.
"Jesus Christ, Steph." I let out, grabbing her arm and turning it every which way, checking out the tiny bumps that masks her skin.
"I don't feel so good, Anna" She lets out in a faint whisper. Her eyes are puffy, dark, caved in. I place my palm to her forehead. Fever.
"Go get the thermometer, I'll call Doctor Cohen" I try to stay calm, not to scare Stephanie. She is only ten years old. She dissapears into the kitchen and I make my way back to the den to call our doctor. I'm no more then two feet away from the family room when the skin on my arms begin to itch.
I scratch and scratch but the irritating feeling doesn't leave. I sweep my hair behind my ears and look down at my arm. Blisters. Small, everywhere. I frown. What is going on? I take the phone and call Doctor Cohen's office. It's late but there should still be someone there.
I put the phone back down and turn to leave. Stephanie is standing in the doorway, her skin now a shade of grey, pockmarked from busted blisters. Her dark hair hangs eerily in her face, partially covering her left eye. The other one...The right one. It's pussing a yellow ooze. My heart pounds against my ribcage. She starts.
Stephanie snaps and runs towards me. I can't move. I blink and then Stephanie is on me and i'm on my back. I'm struggling with her, scared by the strenght she has. She is only ten years old. Her mouth opens wide and she vomits blood all over me. I gag at the smell and the copper taste in my mouth.
I reach for the poker beside the fireplace, my fingers scratching against the carpet. It's just out of reach. That's when I feel the bite. My left arm, a solid chunk of my forearm is now dangling in Stephanie's mouth. I shriek and swear and my whole body shakes with fury. Tears begin to form and something deep inside me awakens.
I bring my knee up and kick Stephanie in the gut. She's lit with rage. As she fumbles to get to me I reach for the poker, roll over and wack her across the face. She falls to the floor. I get up quickly and with the bottom of my purple tee, I wipe the blood off my face. It only smears and penetrates deeper into my pores.
I linger, think about Felix. Look down at Stephanie. My little Steph. She is only ten years old.
I snap out of it and run up the stairs. Everything looks so different. My skin burns. When I reach the landing, I'm dizzy. I can't see straight.
I start to lose sight and pass out against the wall.
"Annabelle! Wake up!"
I open my eyes. Bright. It's so bright. "Where am I?"
"In the bathroom. What is going on? Stephanie...she attacked me, ran out the house. Your arm, your fucking arm is -"
"Don't speak too fast. Where am I?" My head pounds. I look down at my arms. The skin is grey, covered with tiny craters. Busted blisters.
"You have to go, Felix... something is not right." I start to cry. I'm afraid.
"What is happening to you? Anna...what is going on?" Even his voice is strained.
"It's spreading..." I manage to say. I feel hot. I don't feel so good. Like after you ride a rollercoaster too many times. Felix tries to comfort me and goes to touch my arm.
"DON'T TOUCH ME!" I cower into the corner, scaring Felix. "GO! I'M..." I can't speak no more. I fall on all fours, heaving. I see my the veins in my arms go black. I heave hard and then I vomit blood all over the white tile. I begin to lose thought. I want food. I want something now. I look at Felix. I want food...
I step out of the bathroom and close the door behind me. The silence that reigns over the house is distressing. I rest my back against the wood door and sigh. What did I just do? I had no other choice, I reason with myself. Annabelle was trying to kill me. Eat me?
Everything happened so fast. I walk towards the window and look out aimlessly. I see Stephanie on the neighbours lawn. Mrs. Olsen is talking to her from her veranda. What is happening? I look out at the Harris' house in front of me. The lights are on and something similar to what happened here is going on over there.
Somewhere in the distance, someone is screaming. Then I look down again and see Stephanie running wildly towards my elderly neighbour, Charlie's grand-mother. This isn't happening. I sprint down the stairs and run out through the open door.
Fear and pain pushes me forward, dares me to run as fast as I can; the cool September air embrasses me as I go. I make my way around the white picket fence, just in time to see Stephanie leap onto Jeanette Olsen's chest and plunging her teeth deep in the elderly woman's flesh. Blood gushes out like a fountain when Stephanie pulls back and where Mrs. Olsen's neck was, now a gaping hole replaces it. In a matter of seconds the blood begins to stop.
She's dying. It's spreading. They reanimate. Zombies?
I run back to the fence and pry one of the wooden pickets from the ground. When I turn I notice Jeanette is nowhere to be seen and Stephanie is running towards me, her arms flailing and her teeth barred. She looks crazed.
She doesn't stop. Shows no sign of comprehension. I hold onto the picket hard and when my sister is but as few feet in front of me I drive it forward, deep inside her eye. It shatters in my hands and a long piece remains stuck in my little sister's eye socket. She falls to the ground. Lifeless.
Strange noises echo out of the house. I can't do this anymore. The police will be here. Yes, someone must have called them by now. I hold onto the small piece of wood left in my hands and make my way inside the Olsen residence.
It's pitch black. Chairs are strewn about, picture frames dangling off the far end wall.
"Mrs. Olsen...? Charlie?"
There is no answer. I fear the worst. I lean back against the front door and think about what the fuck could have caused all this. How could shit go down so quickly? It must be the Nuclear reactors in the neighbouring city. They must have heated and melted, discharging it's massive energy. People are going a bit mad. It'll be better.
I wipe the sweat from my forehead and spot the door at the end of the hall creaking and stirring. I tip toe towards it, trying not to make a peep.
The silence is shattered when Jeanette Olsen crashes through the room at the end of the hall and starts running towards me, bobbing up and down. She isn't slowed down by her bad leg. Pure rage forces her forward. She leaps onto me and I hit the front door hard. I use the handle to stay up but I only manage to rip the door off it's hinges. My legs give out and I fall beneath my elderly neighbour.
Her eyes are just like Steph and Anna's were before I had to stop them. Murder them. They're hollow and whatever soul lived in there is not looking back at me. She tries to bite me, her jaw snapping wildly. The smell of decaying flesh is nauseating.
I manage to push Jeanette off me and quickly grab the cast iron skillet that is in the brass sink and turn to face the creature that stands before me.
"I'm so sorry..."
I bring the massive skillet down and hear something crack. She stumbles out of the door, misses the first step of the veranda and crashes down onto the stone walkway.
What the fuck did I just do?