The Fletcher Family Problem
The stairwell to the basement went unchecked, unnoticed when the group entered Grandpa’s home. In all his years, Roan had never seen the door opened. For over a decade, Grandpa kept a table in front of the door. The passage became nothing more than decoration.
Flint and Celia recoiled and the Sheriff took aim at the door. Roan approached the door to the objections of his fellows.
“Roan, step away,” the Sheriff ordered.
“Come on, man, let’s get out of here,” Celia whispered.
Lumbering footsteps climbed slowly up the stairs, each step landing with a booming thud that rattled the house.
“We know what we need to do,” Flint started, “let’s just go.”
Roan heeded none of the words being thrown at him. After the day’s long journey, he wanted a fight. He reached grabbed one of Grandpa’s canes resting against the wall and extended his other arm for the basement door’s handle. He trembled, his hands shook and his fingers were numb, but he refused to be stopped by fear now.
A gray fist slammed through the wooden door. Splinters shot in all directions and grazed Roan’s face, cutting deep into his cheek. Roan retreated to the safety of the other three.
Sheriff Dunn fired at the door as a second arm reached through. Her rounds shattered the door further exposing the face of the monster that pursued them. Black, empty eyes stared back at the student’s and their champion. Flesh fell from its exposed skeleton as the revolver’s rounds tore through it. What skin remained was gray and spotted.
“Holy moly a zombie!” Flint shouted.
“You shouldn’t be excited about that, Flint!” Celia scolded.
“Everyone out!” The Sheriff pushed the students out of the house.
They walked out in a confused dash, stumbling over each other and all exiting through the tiny entrance at the same time. The Sheriff reloaded and continued her barrage.
The door collapsed under the beating of the decaying beast and it shambled through the hallway in pursuit of the students. It never lost speed, never stopped staring at its targets.
Roan could not look away from the monster. Its face looked familiar. The thick brow, the jutting chin, even the one dangling ear had a shape found on almost every face in the Fletcher family line. Roan recognized the tattered rags from the dream he had just a night before. The robes were the same black, the same awkwardly stitched hood draped down the monster’s neck.
“He was there! He started this whole thing!” Roan shouted as he hopped off the stoop and ran for the sheriff’s car.
“What are you talking about?” Flint asked.
“The zombie was a Fletcher from the ritual I dreamed of; the robes, the face, he was in my dream,” Roan said.
“And now he’s come back from his grave underneath Grandpa’s home and wants to eat our faces,” Celia added.
The Sheriff let out one last volley and entered the car. The zombie Fletcher sped up, slamming into the passenger window that shielded Roan from the monster’s jaws as they gnashed against the glass.
“Drive already!” Flint and Celia demanded in unison.
The sheriff, unappreciative of their tone, shot a condemning glare at the two kids in the back seat of a patrol car.
“Please. Ma’am. Thank you,” the two attempted to atone for their rudeness.
Tires spun as they tried to grip the driveway’s gravel. The zombie continued to smash its fists against the car windows before the vehicle finally sped away.
The group let lose a collective sigh of relief as the monster became little more than a dot in the rear view mirror.
“I like those things so much more in the movies,” Flint said.
“They don’t smell so bad on TV,” the Sheriff joked.
The Sheriff made way for Route 4. They had flowers to find and a house to visit before making their way to the center of town to City Hall’s judge chambers.
They looked upon the city’s sky line. There were more smoke plumes than before they arrived at Grandpa’s house. The rain had stopped, but the red sky was full of clouds rolling over themselves and churning for another storm outbreak.
“You know, surviving a zombie attack is really good for the ol’ confidence. I think we just may survive this,” Roan said.
“Now let’s just hope it goes away after you slay that demon,” Flint said.
“One step at a time, Flint,” Roan said.
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