Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the babysitter

So as you regular readers may know, I'm a pretty big fan of the zombie genre and its close relative the infected peoples genre.

I've been dabbling in some horror short story writing and thought I'd take a stab (haha get it? stab? like what they do in horror movies?) at writing a zombie short story. This is a pretty big departure of my usual blog posts about pretty dresses and cupcakes or even sketch comedy, but I've been feeling pretty uninspired with comedy lately so I thought I'd try something new.

Let me emphasize again that this is my first attempt at the zombie genre so I hope I don't infuriate any hardcore fans. So don't read this if you don't like new stuff!

Also, don't read this if you don't like gory, graphic stuff.

Okay, hope you enjoy it. And don't say I didn't warn you...

The Babysitter, a shorty story

Anna first noticed something was wrong when Walt, the doorman, wasn't at his station. As the main sentinel of this soaring, Chelsea apartment building--the kind that was rapidly built in only a few months and the floor to ceiling windows now shake at the mere hint of wind as a result--Walt was usually behind the desk watching Jeopardy or surreptitiously sipping a bottle of whiskey, cradled in his crinkly, weathered hand. His was the only warm, albeit slightly alcoholic, presence in that stark building.

Walt had greeted Anna every Friday night for the past six months before she made her way up to the 20th floor to babysit for Denise and Adam Chadwick and their four year old son, Brendan. Maybe old Walt was walking the chihuahuas for Marcus Fitch, the artist famous for his sculpture of Jackie O defecating on a donut.

Anna headed inside the elevator and pressed 20. "Another night, another dolla," she said deflatedly. 

The Chadwicks were 35. Only 5 years older than Anna but in a completely different socio-economic stratosphere with their 1.5 million dollar apartment and weekend home in the Berkshires. Anna was a receptionist at a law firm in Midtown but told everyone she moonlighted as an Etsy crafter so as to seem bohemian.

Babysitting for the Chadwicks was easy money but hard on her ego. She always told herself this weekend would be the last weekend but she always ended up coming back. That $150 a night gig funded a whole weekend of drinking. How could she say no to that?

The elevator opened up to the Chadwick's expansive apartment. Anna immediately shielded her nose with her hand. A rotten stench enveloped the empty, modern space. Atypical for a clean freak family like the Chadwicks. 

"Hello?" Anna called out. 

No answer.

Their bedroom door was closed but she could see a light underneath. Ugh. It wasn't unusual for Anna to walk into the apartment without anyone to greet her. When she used to babysit for them during the day, the Chadwicks were fond of engaging in what Manhattan married couples liked to call a "nooner". She prayed to god they weren't getting it on now. She was running out of different ways to pretend she didn't hear anything.

What was odd was that Brendan wasn't sitting at his usual spot on the couch watching TV.

She looked down the hall to her left and could see Brendan's door was closed. Maybe he was sleeping already. It was 8:00 and Brendan had been feeling sick all week. She was kinda relieved that she didn't have to deal with the rigorous task of forcing a 4 year old to go to bed. 

Anna was about to plop herself on the couch and text her boyfriend when she heard growling sounds coming from the Chadwicks' bedroom. She froze. She could hear fingernails scratching behind it. Either this was some seriously effed up sexual shit or some thing or some one was seriously hurt.

"Denise? Is everything okay?"

The moaning heightened. Anna has never heard anything like this before. It didn't sound human or even like an animal. A voice tells her to race out of the apartment and get the hell out of there. But what if the Chadwicks are hurt? What about little Brendan? 

Okay, I'll go downstairs and find Walt. He'll know what to do. Someone will know what to do.

And just then, the door opens. 

Mr. Chadwick's suit is torn, revealing a bloody wound in his stomach. His head is cocked to the side, his usually slicked back hair was now mottled as if someone tore tufts out of it.  And as he begins to lift his head, his moans become louder, more furious. Anna can feel her scream locked in her throat. 

His face, or at least half what remains of it, is gray, caked with dried, purple blood, and his eyes are vacant yet fixated on Anna. He lunges at her and Anna runs down the hall into the kitchen. She tries to close and lock the door behind her but this ostensibly simple task, this mundane act she has done countless times every single day for almost her whole life, is impossible. Her sweaty hands slipping. around the knob. 

C'mon! Damnit! 

She wipes her hands down her side and locks the door.

Anna's eyes dart around the kitchen, looking for something to either barricade the door or something sharp to defend her. 

"Somebody help me!!! Somebody please fucking help me!!!!" 

She hears him pounding on the door. It now sounds like two people are pounding and growling. Maybe three. 

Anna eyes the counter tops. No knives. No pans. Mrs. Chadwick never cooked. She hardly ever ate. She liked to spray PAM on a cherry tomato and call it dinner. Anna resented her empty kitchen whenever she searched for food and tonight was no exception. 

Think, Anna. THINK. 

She looked at the kitchen counter. She looked at the fridge. If she were stronger and had more time she could move the steel behemoth in front of the door. But Mr. Chadwick's hand already pounded through and she probably only had a minute. Maybe less. Why was she wasting time calculating time right now?

She jumped on top of the island counter when they broke the door down. She barely recognized Mrs. Chadwick. She was wearing her uniform of a tight black dress and sky high stilletoes. She would wear those stillettos everywhere, even in the middle of the blizzard. Leave it to Mrs. Chadwick to still be wearing her stilletos while transformed into a rabid, raging beast.

They circled her. Grabbing at her ankles with their hands. When Mr. Chadwick's mouth headed for Anna's ankle, Anna kicked him in the head with her steel toe boots, causing him to fall back. Anna turned and kicked Mrs. Chadwick in the head. 

Mrs. Chadwick always made fun of these boots. Saying they were for lesbians.

Anna jumped off the counter but had nowhere to go. There were floor to ceiling windows along the perimeter of the kitchen. There was nowhere she could escape. She could try to run past the Chadwicks but they were already up and moving towards her. 

As soon as Mr. Chadwick lunged for her, Anna rolled underneath a table, and Mr. Chadwick crashed through the window, falling 20 stories to the ground. 

Anna was never more relieved to see faulty Manhattan building codes at play. 

But she still had Mrs. Chadwick to deal with.

The defiant beast hissed and moaned and headed for Anna only to trip over the sheet of shattered glass. Shouldn't have worn those stillettos. But the resilient thing picked herself back up, snarling, and chomping her teeth. Anna had never seen Mrs. Chadwick so hungry before. 

When Mrs. Chadwick raced towards her, Anna picked up a metal chair and slammed the back across Mrs. Chadwick's face. For an anorexic woman she was still very ferocious. Anna must have tried this slamming move twenty more times before Mrs. Chadwick finally fell down. 

Anna sobbed.

Her clothes drenched in sweat, marred with blood. Every muscle ached. She looked over Mrs. Chadwick's body. What just happened? What was going on? As if someone was going to answer these questions. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Anna kept repeating. But when she felt a bony hand grab her ankle, Anna picked up the chair and used the metal leg to pound through Mrs. Chadwick's skull. 

She had to get out of there. Were the other apartments like this? Was it safe to ride the elevator? She walked past Brendan's bedroom and convinced herself she was only imagining the growling sounds emanating behind his door. 

She pressed the down button on the elevator. Before this day she was never that religious, but she made a small prayer as she braced heself for what she would see next when the doors opened.


eruditemess said...

Brilliant! Loved it, in all its gory, gruesome, snarling detail. Oh. Loved the image, too...

jiji said...

NOM NOM NOM. love joo, zombie style.

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