Their bodies were writhing over each other. Rotting skin and dislocated limbs made up a pile of groaning, starving killers, all hunting the same prey. They surrounded the tree on the grass, reaching their arms out toward the top branches. “Fuck,” I whispered to myself, crouching and pointing the barrel of the gun toward the flesh dolls. My heart pumped at an inhuman speed. I’d never been so close to so many. Mikey had always made us play safe.
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” I heard the voice call out again. On one of the higher branches of the tree, I could make out a darkened silhouette. I could tell it was a man, but the orange, autumn leaves covered up the rest of his features, making him barely visible to me. The dolls were getting closer, piling up the trunk. It was now or never.
“Wait,” I heard a voice hiss from behind me. A tense arm grabbed my shoulder.
“Mikey, let go of me,” I commanded, keeping my voice as quiet as I possibly could.
“You don’t need to do this, you’re outnumbered.”
“I know I don’t,” I told him. I pushed his hand off my shoulder with a hint of aggression. I wasn’t sure what it was, but something inside me burned with a desire to rescue the helpless survivor. I hadn’t even considered turning back. “I have to do this.” I jumped to my feet, placing my finger on the trigger and watching as my anger and hatred ripped out of the gun and plunged itself into the skull of the doll at the top. The rest of them turned toward me, their eyes burning through me.
“What the fuck did you just do?” Mikey whimpered. I didn’t know how to answer him. I acted on impulse, firing another shot into the one closest to me. It fell to the floor, screaming, dislocating its jaw in the process. Mikey cried out in distress, tearing my urge to protect into a fifty fifty split.
“Go upstairs!” I commanded him, “Now!” I heard his footsteps scurry away from the door. I took a step forward, my gun at the ready. My hands were trembling. My eyes were burning. I could feel the figure in the tree staring at me. The dolls were advancing; I had made myself an easier prey. They left the tree, their twisted limbs scraped across the concrete as they slowly approached. They were only a few meters away. I didn’t stand a chance.
I could taste their stench now, it made me sick to my stomach. My gaze averted to the tree, where I could see the figure drop from the branch. The dolls were distracted, distracted by me. My heart dropped as a realization sunk in. He wasn’t going to save me. He ran, his feet pounding against the ground. He didn't even look back. I had just forfeited my own life for a stranger. “FUCK YOU!” I yelled my throat raw from the dryness of the stale air. I shot another flesh doll, then another. They were closing in. My head was ready to explode. My knees were going weak. The image of them ripping me to pieces spun in my head. I pulled the trigger, another fell, but it wasn’t enough. I squeezed the trigger again, I was out of ammo. It was sinking in. This was the moment I was going to die. “HELP!” I screamed in desperation. With any luck Mikey would hear me. I went light headed, my body was no longer able to physically stand and I collapsed into the floor. One of the dolls was on me, sinking its teeth into the bottom of my leg. I cried out in agony, pain shot through my nerves. It spread through the rest of my body, waking me up enough to gather the energy to kick it off me. I saw bright lights, maybe this was the end. Maybe I was turning; turning into one of them.
The sound of a loud engine tore through the air. The dolls all turned to witness what I couldn’t even believe myself. A huge, double decker bus shone its headlights onto me. It revved its engine, growling like a lion ready to pounce. Without warning, it sped up, coming straight toward me. I screamed picking myself up, fighting through the pain in my right leg and throwing myself to the left as the vehicle crashed into the right side of my house, crushing half of the flesh dolls along with it. The rest were startled. They slowly dragged themselves backward, away from the lights of the bus.
The door of the vehicle opened and I watched in astonishment as a body fell out. It was the figure from the tree. I just knew it. He tried to pick himself up with his arms, but they were too weak and he fell back down into his face. He was losing a substantial amount of blood from his head. “Oh shit,” I whispered, sprinting over to his weakened body. I rolled him over and lifted his head with my hand. I stared at his face, it was stained with blood and dirt, but I could still see his porcelain skin. He blinked a couple of times before opening his eyes and looking up at me. They were a deep chestnut brown, similar to his hair, which was longer on one side. Dark smudges surrounded his eyes and a rounded chunk of metal pierced his bottom lip. I couldn't speak. I didn't know what to say.
“T-they’ll come back,” he stuttered. “Thank you for f-for,” his eyes closed slowly and I watched as the consciousness faded from him.
“No, no, no,” I sobbed, my eyes stinging with the threat of tears. I placed my hand on his chest, it was warm and I could feel a heart beating underneath his ribcage. He was still alive. I picked him up, cradling him as a mother would her child. I couldn't control the smile that spread across my face as I looked down at him. He saved my life, and I saved his. I carried him through the door and kicked it shut behind me.