Cleo's House

I decided to take a nap after the sun rose in the morning. Anubis wasn’t on the bed like normal when I woke up. It was his breathing that helped me find him. In our laundry room there was a closet-like space that someone converted into shelves. Anubis was tucked in underneath the bottom shelf. He would whine, stop long enough to heave like he had a hairball, then whine some more. I couldn’t get him to move, so I brought him some dog food and what contents were left in his water dish. He ignored both.

Unsure what else to do for him, I went to the kitchen to take stock of what I had as far as supplies. There were plenty of canned food items in the pantry and for once I was thankful my parents tended to stock up. Their favorite saying was always “you never know when you need it.” I guess they were right. The next thing I checked was for water. There were two pitchers of water in the fridge. One was almost empty, the other was new. My mom hated drinking directly from the tap, preferring to have chilled water whenever possible. I tried the faucet, but it wasn’t running. For once, I was thankful for my mom’s idiosyncrasy.

It was while I was bent over the sink that Anubis started to howl. I jerked upright, my head hitting the corner of the cupboard. I automatically rubbed my head, wildly imagining zombies struggling through one of the windows. But that wasn’t why he howled. His body was stretched out and shivering like he was in pain. He fell silent, his body shuddering worse with the lack of sound. Suddenly, he stiffened, just like Mrs. Delany, and he shuddered one last time before his eyes widened. Then his eyes dulled, whatever made them light with eager happiness slid slowly from his body, invisible to my eyes.

I sat down against the wall next to the shelf, my fingers burying themselves into his silky fur. My nose started to run. I rubbed my irritated eyes. I didn’t react as a zombie started giving attention to the back door, only a few feet away. I simply sat there, watching Anubis’ still body. My mind was blissfully blank, all thoughts of what I was about to do vanishing under the weight of his departure. The faint thought, ‘what did I do to deserve this?’ slid through the background of my thoughts before fading into the silence.

I don’t know how long I sat there. I know that after a while the zombie gave up again. But I couldn’t bring myself to move. I didn’t want to leave Anubis, even after his body turned cold. After his body chilled, something inside of me told me to get it outside. I refused. If I did, that would mean I was completely alone. The voice that had at once been quiet slowly grew louder and more insistent. I tried to ignore it but it was as annoying as the sirens around town were.

Sometime later, my skin started tingling like it does in a limb before that limb falls asleep, only not so painful. At the same time, my heart sped up for a second before stuttering to a halt. Then all my organs shifted up, like if when I miss a step on stairs. I was on my feet and running before I had a chance to figure out what was going on with me.

I ran the few steps to the back door. I was sliding the chain from its catch when I heard a sound that turned my blood to ice. A growl was building behind me. At first, it sounded natural and so much like Anubis that I stopped trying to ignore all the firecrackers in my skin. There was something wrong with the growl though. It wasn’t just like Anubis, just very similar. I finally caught what sounded off, and the reason why I wasn’t turning around. It was more of a gurgling sound, like someone coughing up water, tinted with the edge of a pained whine.

I froze, trapping my breath in my chest. I slowly turned to face the creator of the sound. Even facing him full on, my mind couldn’t grasp what I was seeing. It was Anubis, looking like he always did. But at the same time, it was nothing like him. The dog in front of me could have been a stranger. His eyes were devoid of everything that made him Anubis. There was no recognition, no silent laughter, nothing but a blank look that tore at my heart.

A sudden unwilling flare of hope shot through me. In a moment, he would wag his tail, drop his lips and open his mouth in silent laughter. The vacant look would leave his eyes and… But I knew I was only kidding myself.

He stood in front of me, his dead eyes locked on mine. The tip of his tail brushed the floor and his hackles weren’t raised, but his fangs were bared and thick tendrils of drool hung from his lips. The strange growl stopped for a moment before starting again, rising in pitch. The sound started grating but I wouldn’t let myself cover my ears. Something told me that to do that would be very bad.

Out of the edges of my eyes, I searched for something that I could use to defend myself. Part of me balked at the thought of hitting my dog. Nothing was in easy reach. The broom and dustpan were leaning against the shelf, a little to the side and behind Anubis. There were a couple boxes stacked next to me, a remnant of the chores that I was supposed to do when I got home from school the day before.

As if cued by the bad situation, a zombie chose that moment to start attacking the back door again. The crash caused me to jump and provoked Anubis into a lunge. I leapt to the side, grabbing the boxes in the same movement. Anubis hit the bottom of the door. His teeth snapped together. Right where I was standing a moment before. The boxes tumbled over, one landing upside down over his head. There was a confused silence. Anubis’ growls were forgotten on the air. Then he started backing up in an effort to get the box off. I leapt over the mess, which included Anubis, and ran through the kitchen, aiming for the front door.

I could hear Anubis working his way through the pile of boxes as I struggled with the locks. The clatter of his claws on the kitchen floor sent panic sparking through my body. I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn’t. I needed to get outside and it wouldn’t happen if I closed my eyes. My suddenly numb fingers slipped from the knob before I could turn it. Anubis was right behind me when the bolt finally turned. I jerked the door open and moaned.

Female zombie stood on the porch, her hand lifted as if she was going to start knocking on the door. She didn’t react to my sudden appearance, only stared blankly at me for the space between heartbeats before she started to move.

In the split second I hesitated, the world seemed to slow almost to the point of being frozen. I could hear Anubis getting closer. The woman in front of me tilted her head up and sniffed audibly. I could see the congealing blood still oozing like slime from the side of her face and up close, could see her teeth in the missing chunk of her cheek.

The world jerked back to full speed and blinding color. I had a second to choose. I flung myself into the turtle tank. Several things happened at once. I felt Anubis brush the sole of my foot as he barreled past me. The corner of the tank tore into my abdomen, through the fabric of my sweater and shirt. There were two distinctive cracking sounds, one was the tank, and the other was inside me. Then I heard the impact of Anubis diving into the zombie on the front porch. A wave of pain and nausea rolled around in my side. I wanted a minute to catch my breath, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have time.

Rolling off the tank, I tried to get my feet beneath me so I could get to the door. Only my legs weren’t working right. I managed to get one foot up under me, but I couldn’t lift myself up. My breath was trapped and I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn’t seem to get my body to work. I couldn’t catch my breath. I tried to edge forward toward the door, but it felt like I was moving too slowly. A sharp pain built in my lower chest, making it hard to breathe. The shriek of the zombie on the porch motivated me to move faster. I shoved the thoughts of pain aside and launched myself at the door. I heard the click that told me it closed and slid down to sit on the floor, my back braced against it. I could hear the battling figures of woman and dog through the door.

Darkness clouded my vision as I wrestled to twist the lock on the doorknob. Another wave of nauseating pain stormed through me forcing me to throw up. I couldn’t suck in any air and my body kept rejecting the contents of my stomach. The world faded into ebony blackness.


I could barely move. My legs and arms were numb and chilled. I was still braced against the front door, my cheek resting on the cracked glass of the turtle tank. My side felt as though it was a massive bruise. It took a zombie launching itself at the front door for me to remember what woke me up. A flare of agony burst in my side. Again, I wasn’t able to catch my breath. I tried to keep myself from wondering which zombie was striking at the door. I didn’t want to know. I carefully pushed myself onto my weak legs and twist the bolt home. The crack in the doorframe was already wider.

I was barely able to stay upright as I staggered to the bathroom. The reflection in the mirror looked worse than I felt. My eyes were the only dash of color in my face. My mom called the color sea-foam, though my eyes would reflect my mood by changing to green or blue. They were exotic looking with the rare long lashes girls usually complained guys had. My nose was a long narrow line, neither pert nor button-like. High cheekbones made my eyes seem close together. My hair matched my mom’s dark brown and cut in a style that made my slim face appear fuller. My naturally light-bronze skin looked sickly pale.

A thin trail of dried blood ran from my hairline to about the middle of my forehead. Probably a mark of the battle I had with the corner of the cupboard when Anubis… I cut the thought off and gathered a small wad of toilet paper. It took more spit than I was capable of producing without pain to clean the blood off my forehead.

A large ring of dark red marred my pale pink sweater. I started to lift it and nearly gagged when the fabric clung to my side. Each time I started to pull on it, it would feel like someone was pulling my intestines out. I finally had to brace myself, bite my lip, and drag the shirt free. Pain dulled my senses and I fought to stop from passing out again.

When I could finally see and think, I stared slack jawed at the cut in my side. Blood ringed the wound in a matching pattern that had bled through my clothing. Fresh blood seeped out of the cut to pool at the edge of my jeans. The bruise covered most of my torso and part of my back. I detested the sight and smell of blood normally. This time the smell wasn’t getting to me, but the sight was making me ill.

The cut dug into the skin that covered my ribcage and I had a sinking feeling that one of my ribs was broken. It hurt bad enough to cause an intense flare of pain every time I took a breath of air. Unsure if I would be able to tell whether a rib was broken or not by touch, but I tried anyway. I barely touched the skin below the wound and almost fainted from the flash of pain. I needed to find out how bad it was, but nothing would get me to do that again.

I needed a doctor or a nurse. Like my mom. The thought made me sniffle hard enough to spark another flash of torture from my side.

I tried to gather my courage, watching a fresh flood of blood seep from the wound in my side, before bending down to get the emergency kit. It took me more time than it should have to get the kit out. As I worked to free it from the mess under the sink, my vision edged toward shadows and I was forced to stop and catch my breath. It took several attempts before I dislodged it from the mass of electronic cords and spare bottles of shampoo. By the time I put the box on the sink, blood seeped through my sweater expanding the swath of dark red until it was almost twice the size it was before. My jeans were also sporting a large red stain.

I took the sweater and shirt off and threw them into the tub. Even if water came back on, they would be stained beyond repair. It was even harder to clean the blood from my side enough that I could bandage it up. I ended up resorting to using my sweater to slow the blood flow enough to apply band-aids, gauze, and medical tape. The gauze is already red, as I write, and blood is seeping out already. I have to change it again when I am done.

I know I need to leave the house soon. I need a doctor. The problem is that the only doctors I know would be at the hospital and I am not stupid enough to go there. I have no doubt that the place will be swarming with zombies. I will also need water soon. What I have isn’t going to be enough for more than a couple days, even if I stretch it out. The river on the other side of town may not be the best water ever, but at least it’s not polluted. I might take a chance on the grocery or convenience stores first.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier, but the convenience store a couple blocks away carries guns and ammo. That should probably be my first stop.

Go Back to Day 1 – or – Go to Day 4

  1. cb says:

    What is a “turtle tank”?

    • A tank for turtles or other small creatures. You can fill it with water and put fish in it, or fill it about two 1/4’s of a way and put turtles in it, or fill it halfway with water and put fish and turtles in it. You can also leave it with no water and put rodent shavings in it and have a hamster or mouse or something like that in it. You could even put a snake in it, a small one, though.

      • cb says:

        Well I thought as much, but that doesn’t seem to explain all of the rib damage of our heroine. So I thought perhaps it was a slang term for a much larger structure.

      • She probably hit the corner really hard, that’s my guess, at least.

      • Cat Reyes says:

        Blaze is right. A while back, my dad landed on the corner and side of the tank. It cut pretty deep and broke two ribs. And he just fell on it. My thought is that she was throwing herself and she didn’t really have time to think, so she landed much harder on the corner than my dad did when he fell. The fact that it cracked by the force of her landing should have been a signal of how hard she threw herself.

        The capping on the glass is this old stuff that is as hard as rock. I ran my finger along it once and sliced my finger on the edge. Remember, this is a really old tank. I have no clue how old, but the glass is almost a half-inch thick by itself and it weighs around 300 pounds empty.

        I am not sure how to make it clearer in the post without detracting from the action of the moment. Do you think there is a way that I could make it clearer?

      • I don’t think there is a way to make it clearer without losing the reader in the details. If they read the comments, they should understand.
        You could put it in brackets I guess, or say that she landed hard on the corner of the turtle tank.

    • Cat Reyes says:

      A turtle habitat using a fish tank. Normally a rather large tank. We have two turtles and use an old 55 gallon tank. 🙂

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