The Dead Babies were everywhere.
At first I thought they were baby dolls. Bathers. Little mannequins in the shape of babies. But they were real. As demons can be real. As crawling, naked, unborn foetuses with the teeth of piranhas and the eyes of sharks can be real.
At first, when we passed the doorway,
it just looked like another floor in a giant mall. And maybe it was. Only :
filthy, squammous, soiled. An eerie mix between a swamp, a contaminated area,
a dump full of garbage disposal, a warzone and a portion of hell.
The ground was covered in mud, old newspapers - I tried to read the date, but it didn't seem to follow the Gregorian calendar - , and fast-food junk. I almost had the felling, for a moment, that the hamburgers would scream if I stepped on them, but that of course was a figment of my imagination : it never had been meat in the first place.
Sharon didn't hide anymore what she had held under her jacket, and now was grisping firmly a mini-uzi sub-machine gun ; Simon had in his hand a machette of sort, with a curved blade, longer than his arm, that couldn't possibly have been hidden anywhere on his person and that I didn't see him withdraw. Both were proceeding slowly, cautiously, on each side. And I was following, in the middle and about three meters behind, with my own weapon in hand : a bottle of bourbon, from which I more or less frequently withdrew what it took to allow me another step.
That is when we heard them wailing.
The Babies. And in mere seconds, they were swarming all over the place. Coming
out of the grocery stores, the pharmacies that sold the condoms that could have
prevented their unbirth, the wedding shops where the beautiful white wedding
dresses of their possible mothers-to-be were beginning to be stained in blood,
shit and entrails.
Some of them had their guts pouring out of their open abdomen ; others were still dragging their umbilical cord behind them, others had their placenta between their teeth ; others, still, had the stench and the characteristic colour of a too long sojourn in formol. All of them, though, had one thing in common : they were undead, and with a vengeance. They wanted to taste our blood, and had no freudian interrogation on why or how or should they obtain it. They crawled our way, faster than I ever could have imagined.
We couldn't run away, as they were standing between us and the rest of the floor, so we had to run through them. Sharon shot, Simon cut, and I drank.
We were really not so much running as jumping, trying to avoid as much contact with the floor - hell, with their tiny flesh which nearly covered the floor - as possible ; my shoes were ranger's, Sharon wore Doc Marteen's, and Simon had leather boots ; still, we felt the sharp, pointy little teeth piercing the flesh of our feet and our calves. Small, numerous punctures began to punctuate our flesh with their reddish marks. The pain soon became unbearable. Still, we ran.
Some of them made lucky blows. They tore in our flesh more deeply than the others. They took a part of us in their mouths and chew it enthusiastically before swallowing it in stomachs that could no longer do their part, and that sometimes were open wide so that our flesh fell back on the ground, only to be swallowed by other hungry babies.
Once, I almost fell. One of them had bitten deep into my leg, and as I was unbalanced while squashing a tender skull under my sole and splitting it open in the process, another one held tight to my jeans with his tiny arms and his very, very long fingernails. So I fell and saw other toothy faces waiting to greet my face, and make it part of their own body, if temporarily.
I was dead.
I never saw Simon coming, or never understood how such a small man could lift me so high in his leap, and with such strength. But that day, as many others, he saved my life. Only much later could I be able to repay him in kind.
We ran, and killed, and got bitten, and killed, and ran. And we arrived at a kind of resting place : a jewelry store, with open doors and an iron curtain that we were able to pull back behind us. There was no light inside, so we made makeshift torches with the legs of a wooden chair and some tissue, and so we stood among the riches of a world gone-by, glowing from the light of the torch, with the sound of the alarm - please don't ask why it worked while the lights didn't - barely covering the screaming of the poor starving babies outside who were robbed of their dinner.
Finally, I dared ask :
" So, what do we do now ? "
NEXT... NO EXIT.