Roan and the Sheriff raced through the front lobby and up the grand staircase.
“I never thought I would be the one running up the stairs in this situation,” Roan said.
“It is an oddly natural response. All this time I thought the movies were just being lazy with their characters,” Sheriff Dunn said between shallow breaths.
Behind them the sounds of the shambling corpses of what were once the town’s council gave chase. The groans were growing more distant, and the council had fallen out of sight, but the slow moving terrors were not taken lightly by their prey.
Roan stopped at the stair well’s landing where visitors were faced with the choice of left or right to reach the second story. A portrait of the ever smiling mayor hanged on the wall in the middle of the landing.
“Which way is the kitchen? We need to get Flint and Celia before they try to go downstairs,” Roan asked.
“Head up and to the left,” The Sheriff said as she took a place at his side, “there’s a hallway that seems like it will never end. It ends with a kitchette. There’s a broken vending machine in there if you want to do a little more gambling today.”
Roan charged up the stairs, two steps at a time and went left. The Sheriff was not joking about the hallway. It had more doors than most neighborhood blocks.
As he drew nearer the kitchen, the sound of a running tap filled his ears.
“Flint? Celia? You guys there?” Roan shouted into the room.
When no response came, a lump formed in Roan’s throat.
“Guys?” he questioned entering the room.
Standing facing the sink and the running water was a short woman in a long floral dress.
“Who are you?” Roan asked. His voice trembled.
The short woman turned around. Her wrinkles and wispy gray hair were quite familiar to Roan.
“I, I know you. You were at the bar when Bernard punched me,” Roan said.
“You have a memory of the night then? Good,” the woman replied.
“Ruth? Right? Your name is Ruth? Are you hiding here? Have you seen two teenagers running about?” Roan asked.
The Sheriff entered the room and raised her weapon at the new figure.
“Is that a zombie too?” The Sheriff asked.
“Be nice, Sheriff,” Ruth scolded.
The Sheriff looked over the room. At once her weapon and heart sank. Beneath a table to the far side of the kitchen were two sets of feet, resting next to each other and completely motionless.
“Oh no,” the Sheriff whispered.
“What? What is it?” Roan asked. He followed the Sheriff’s gaze.
He was not sure if he should cry or scream when he saw the still bodies of his cousins against the floor of a break room.
He turned to Ruth with the very core of his being engulfed in rage. “Did you do this?”
Ruth smiled, “Of course, dear. They hindered what needs to be done.”
Roan shook from head to toe.
The Sheriff raised her sidearm once more, taking aim at Ruth.
“Now, Sheriff, remember we all have our roles to play in this. I did my job. Now do,” Ruth’s voice came to a sudden stop.
The Sheriff squeezed the trigger and Ruth fell to the floor.
Roan was not sure if he heard the shot, but was thankful for the vengeance.
“I thought you were out?” Roan asked of the Sheriff.
“I was keeping that one for,” The Sheriff paused, “for plan B.”
“Is there another way to the judge’s chamber? Any route to avoid the council?” Roan returned to the matter at hand. He would mourn when the demon was stopped.
“There is a stair well next to the bathroom. We can take that,” The Sheriff holstered her empty firearm.
They left the room and made way for the secondary stairs. Roan thought on Ruth’s words, ‘we have our roles.’ We. The old lady was the one who told him to seek his grandfather. He knew the whole town was concerned with the Eastman and Fletcher family feud and the curse that accompanied their truce. The old lady with wrinkles sitting at the bar on a weekend evening now rested on the floor of the kitchen because she was part of the grand conspiracy to stop the demon Comesh.
Roan looked at the Sheriff, who had been instrumental to his survival thus far who had time and time again put herself in harm’s way to keep him safe. He looked at her as they took a back stairwell down to the Judge’s chambers and wondered if she could be trusted.
Thanks for reading!
Find out why they had to go with Plan B by reading the rest of the story at these links: