Breaking open a human skull with tools you find in an average household was no easy task. Bill thought he had sufficient practice by now, but it was still a challenge. Eventually, he retrieved the gray matter.
Using a kitchen knife, he cut off a smaller part for Kathy, his daughter. The larger one was meant for his wife, Sarah. Bill knew she would hate him for this.
The stench hit him as always when he entered the basement room with the two cages. The floor was littered with gnawed-off bones showing remnants of rotten flesh on them. He would never get used to it. Any attempt to ventilate the room was a risk because the neighbors should not hear the rumbling and growling noises of the two creatures he hid here. The small cellar window remained closed most of the time.
Both beings leaped up, pressed their bodies against the bars, and groped blindly with their claw-like hands. Even in this form as mindless, flesh craving monsters, Bill could only think of them as his wife and daughter.
They opened their mouths, bared their teeth, and tried to reach him. But he knew better than to come near them.
Using a long-handled broom, he pushed the plate with Sarah’s portion towards her. Greedily, she grabbed the gray mass, squeezed it through her fingers and shoved it into her wide-open mouth.
The change was almost instantaneous. The zombie-like creature transformed back into Sarah, the woman Bill loved and had married.
Her eyes, previously without emotion, now showed a deep sadness with a hint of anger. “You’ve done it again. Did we not agree that this would stop?”
“No excuses. Last time you promised to inform the authorities.”
“I can’t do that. They will kill you. That’s the law.”
“We are already dead, darling. The Z-virus got us.”
“No!” Bill’s voice broke. “You are conscious, arguing with me. If this isn’t life, then what?”
“It’s only temporary, caused by the brain you fed me. As you’ve done several times now. But this is pointless.”
“We could extend the time in between. One day, they will find a cure.”
“And in the meantime, how many more people are you going to kill, Bill?”
Raising his shoulders, he turned his palms forward. “What the hell can I do? You’re my family!” Handing his daughter Kathy her part of the brain, he ended the discussion.
Avoiding eye-contact with Sarah, Bill put a cheerfulness in his voice that he did not feel.
“How about you girls take a shower while I clean up your room?”
He unlocked the cages, opened the small window, then looked for his shovel and broom.
A blow to the head knocked him out.
When Bill came to, his head hurt and he needed a moment to realize he was lying on the floor in one of the cages together with Sarah and Kathy.
He saw Sarah lock the door and throw the key out of reach.
Bill tried to stand up, but still was too dizzy.
Kathy hugged him. “Mom hit you with the shovel. Are you okay?”
He smiled so as not to frighten his daughter. “I’m fine, sweetheart.”
Panic rose in him. When the effect of the brain subsided… When someone later heard the creatures through the open window… This was the end. They were all about to die and there was nothing he could do.
There was nothing he could do!
Bill relaxed and his smile became more genuine. It had always been up to Sarah to make the tough decisions in their relationship.
Still holding his daughter in a one-armed embrace, Bill reached for Sarah’s hand and squeezed it tenderly.
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