Day One

Day One
by:
Enemyoffun


Charlie has decided to bring out his female side "Charlotte" after posing as her for nearly two years in secret. He chooses the Halloween dance at school to do and is in for a night of his life he'll never forget.


 
Author's Note:Here's my little Halloween Contest entry. I'm cutting it kind of close here but I think I made the deadline. This is a little different than my comfort zone and I kind of like it. As for not writing anymore as per my blog. I guess it was more geared toward DRU stories because after getting inspired to write this, I couldn't stop. Sadly its not edited but I hope to get that done later today. I hope you all enjoy :)
 


 
 
My hand shook as I held the lip balm, trembling with fear and excitement. I’m not sure why I was so afraid though, after all I’d done this a million times before. Of course, all those times had been in the sanctuary that is my bedroom. I was never brave enough to venture beyond my door, afraid what others might think. Afraid what my mother and sisters might think too. After all, it wasn’t every day that a seemingly well-adjusted and marginally well liked teenage boy walked out of his room dressed like a girl. Ok so maybe I wasn’t hat well liked but I did have my circle of friends and to them I was anything but all boy.

Sadly, to me that wasn’t the case.

I’m not really sure when it started. I suppose my older sister Riley was part of the cause. I guess I was a bit jealous. Who could not be with a sister like Riley Jensen? She was tall, gorgeous and super popular. She was the Captain of several high school sports teams and class president of all four years of high school. Even now that she was in her sophomore year at college, she was still Little Miss Popularity. Last year when I entered high school, everyone always stopped me in the hall to ask how my sister was doing. It was always “hey Riley’s Little Bro, how’s Riley hanging” or “hey it’s Riley’s Little Hang on”. My sister and I used to be close once but the jealousy put a wedge in all that.

I experimented with dressing last year. It was innocent at first. When Riley left for school, I moved out of my room and into hers. Mom was single parent who worked two jobs, one of which was to help pay for Riley’s education. So unfortunately for me, most of Riley’s furniture had to be left behind. It wasn’t all bad I suppose except for the pink color and the vanity. I did manage to swap out one of her dressers for mine. The rest of my furniture got left in my old room---the one I had to share with my five-year-old sister, Sophie. Strangely enough, she didn’t seem to mind then again she was five and nothing really mattered to her.

Anyway, it was when I was packing away my new things in my dresser when I found them. A pair of Riley’s cotton panties. She must have left them behind In her packing rush. I was a little surprised at first. It was unlike my sister to forget anything. She was a little OCD like that; she even alphabetized her clothing arrangements and things. She knew where everything was and never seemed to skip a beat. When I found those panties, I tried to ignore until a small part of my brain kept urging me to try them on. Ok so a stupid part of me thought that if maybe I tried them on then maybe some of her Rileyness might rub off on me.

Things escalated from there.

After the panties, I found myself going into the back of her---I mean my closet. Riley had left a couple of boxes there with old clothes that were no longer in style. I was suppose to drive them to the Salvation Army for her for donations but I had never gotten around to it. So there they sat, covering dust. It didn’t take long for me to get into them. I started small then kept adding things. It wasn’t before long that I was decked out fully like a girl. I would do this for a couple of hours each night which worked to my advantage because Mom worked until eight most nights. I took extra steps after that, like letting my hair grow out a bit and secretly shaving my entire body. Of course, I never really had much facial hair to begin with. Puberty wasn’t kind to the men in my family. Like my father I was on the short side, had slight features and a soft voice. I’m not saying I was overly feminine but I definitely wasn’t a manly man either. My father used to tell me it caused him a lot of problems, he was constantly getting into fights and things like that.

He could never embrace it like I did.

And embrace it I did. Every night for a couple of hours, Charlie Jensen disappeared and his “twin” Charlotte would make her appearance. It was strange how quickly things got out of hand too. First, it was simple dressing up then I found some of Riley’s makeup she left behind. Before I knew it, I was applying it like a pro. Things should have stopped there but I ended up getting over confident and starting taking pics of myself. From there I wanted to see how far it could go so I created a facebook under the false name “Charlotte Benoit”, a French Canadian girl living in Ontario. I should have left well enough alone but I stupidly wandered onto the page they set up for my local high school. One of the girls there saw my pics and thought I looked familiar. She mentioned Riley and how much I looked like her so in a moment of stupid I told her I was Riley’s cousin.

I knew the girl really well. Her name was Claire Parker; we had a couple of classes together. She was a cheerleader. She was one of the many girls who used to worship my sister. I on the other hand was invisible to her. Even with my hair the way it was---just like Charlotte’s---she still never recognized me once. I wish it would have ended there but Claire instantly attached herself to me. I suppose I could have ended it but it was kind of nice. Here she was the popular girl and it almost felt like I was popular by association being friends with her.

Things only got worse from there.

I couldn’t help but curse just thinking about it now. Three month is when things fell apart. Claire and I had become besties online over the past year. As such she was really bugging me to come down and meet her. Hell, we lived in New York after all; a trip from Ontario to my hometown would only take a few hours by car. I kept trying to put it off, avoiding the conversation but she was adamant. I finally folded when she mentioned the Halloween Dance. They held it every year. I knew all about it because Riley always took first place in the costume contest. Claire bugged me about it until I was forced to say yes. It worked well with her plans. Apparently, she and her cheerleading buddies had this theme this year, female villains. She listed off a few names---it surprised me that she was that well versed in comic books actually. Then she asked for my measurements so she could order me a costume.

I rattled off some bogus ones and forgot all about it.

I still talked to Claire online via Skype chat and what not but things had started to slip with us. She got a boyfriend and was starting to lose interest in our long distance friendship. That was fine by me anyways. Charlotte was beginning to become this monster I couldn’t control. She was seeping into my life in dangerous ways. I found myself sitting like a girl and sometimes talking like one. I picked up a lot of Riley’s mannerisms too without even noticing then there was that time I almost walked into the girl’s bathroom at school. It started to scare the hell out of me how quickly I let things get out of control. It also scared me how much I was enjoying it too. I started surfing the net, looking for answers. I found info on cross dressing and transgender issues. I try to convince myself that that wasn’t the case with me but the more I thought about it; the more I realized it might actually be true.

The truth scared me.

So I quit.

I shut done Charlotte’s page and disappeared. I packed away everything about her and made it like she never existed in the first place. It worked too. That is until one day last month. Thankfully, I was the only one home when the UPS guy showed up. When he had a large box, I was a bit confused because I couldn’t remember ordering anyway. It confused me even more when I saw my name on it. I took the box and signed for it. I quickly went up to my room and when I opened it, I nearly had a heart attack: inside was a sleek, sexy Catwoman costume straight from the most recent movie. I nearly freaked until I saw the note. It was from Claire, addressed to me of all people. I panicked, wondering if she figured out my secret until I read it: it was for me but it was really written to Charlotte. Apparently, “she” never gave Claire “her” address so Claire sent me the costume. She wanted me to get it my cousin and to remind her of her promise.

I went into full panic mode after all.

I had been trying ever so hard to put all of that out of my mind. I’d been doing a fairly good job with it all too. So much so that I’d completely forgotten about the whole Halloween dance and the promise I made. I stuck the costume into my closet and spent that whole night pondering the whole damn thing. A small part of me wondered if I could actually pull it off while the rest of me wanted to run away to Mexico. It tormented me for three days until I ran into Claire one day in the hall. It was a cold September day, I was wearing a pair of my sister’s jeans---mine were all dirty and no one ever seemed to notice anyway---and a hoodie. I had the hood up and was heading out to my car. I was almost to the front door when I bumped into Claire.

With the jeans and the baggy hoodie, I was a bit androgynous.

All she saw was my face or rather Charlotte’s face. Suffice to say she freaked when she saw me. After some ecstatic hugs and some girl talk, I managed to do pretty well masking my voice behind a rather bogus French accent. I confessed to just visiting for the day and that I actually came to the school to look for her. She bought the lie and then forced me to let her drive me back to my cousin’s place. It was kind of stupid, especially when I had to take a bus back to the school later that night to pick up my car. It did prove one thing though; I could easily pass as Charlotte in public if I wanted.

That’s when I decided that I could definitely pull off the dance.

Or so I thought.

“Shit” I snapped, lowering the lip balm.

No matter how much I tried to concentrate, I couldn’t help my hand from shaking. I was a pro at this, having done it numerous times over the past year or so but I was so damn nervous. I was stupid too. Why did I ever think I could pull off something like this? Here I was a fifteen-year-old boy putting on his older sister’s makeup and pretending to be a girl. Sure I was a pretty convincing one as I had proved time and time again but still it was absolutely insane. Pictures online and anonymous chatting was one thing but a full night pretending to be someone I’m not, that scared the living hell out of me. Sure it was Halloween, the night of pretending to be someone you’re not but still there was no way I could pull this off for a few hours.

I dropped the lip balm. I couldn’t help but stare at half the girl in the mirror staring back at me. I say half of one because I’d only managed to put on some eye liner. I also did something to my lashes to make them look remotely feminine. Thankfully, my brows were already slightly thin to begin with so I only needed to do a little work with them. The rest of my face was too feminine to bother with. I could easily see how I’d been able to pass as a girl the last year or so. Makeup did help to sell the image though.

Thinking of that, I picked up the lip balm once more. I was almost to my lips when someone knocked gently on my door. I cursed, dropped it quickly and snapping around as the door opened, mom peeked her head inside.

“Charlie, honey do you have….” She said before stopping to give me a strange look. “Are you wearing eyeliner?”

Shit. “Halloween Mom” I said, coming up with a quick lie. “I was thinking about going as a rock star.”

She laughed. “With that hair, you could easily pull it off.”

My hair was down my back now. I managed to get away with blaming it on teenage rebellion not that Mom really cared; she did grow up in the seventies after all.

Mom continued to stare for a moment before she starting to talk again. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about actually. I got called in and I need someone to take your sister around.”

I groaned. Tonight of all nights.

“Why can’t Riley do it?”

Her college was only an hour away. She liked doing stuff with Sophie too. Not that I didn’t but it was hard to relate to my five-year-old sister because the two of us didn’t have anything in common. Riley was good with her too what with being a little five year old girl once.

“Riley has plans. Her sorority is having a big Halloween bash and she’s organizing it. She needs to be there all night.”

“I have plans too.”

“The school dance” said Mom, looking at her watch as she opened the door more, already dressed in her waitress uniform. “If I remember correctly, that doesn’t start until seven right?”

I looked at the clock on my wall. It was almost five now.

“Trick r’ treating starts in fifteen minutes. Take your sister out, take her around the block and be back before six. That gives you plenty of time to drop her off at the Millers and still get to your party. Does that work for you?”

I nodded. I love how Mom’s always had things all worked out.

The Millers were good people too. I went to school with Brad, we used to be friends until he discovered hockey and completely forgot about me. They also had a girl; I think she was Sophie’s age. They were in the same class at school or something. I sighed. I did I really not know anything at all about my little sister’s life. What kind of big brother was I anyway?

Mom continued to stand in the doorway for another minute or so still staring at me. “You know when you opened that door with that hair and the eyeliner for a split second I thought you were Riley.”

I laughed, she laughed right along with me.

A moment later, she was gone.

If I only, if only.

----- OOO-----

The squirt was sitting at the kitchen table when I came down the stairs. She was dressed in a frilly pink dress with a lot of sparkles, a pair of butterfly wings on her back.

“What are you supposed to be?”

She turned to me, the corners of her mouth smeared with chocolate.

“I’m a fairy princess,” she said happily.

Mom was in the other room. “Sophie Lynn, you better not be in that Halloween candy again?”

The bowl of snickers was in front of her, two empty wrappers quickly disappeared into her dirty little fingers.

Sophie had a major sweet tooth like most kids her age. She was a ninja when it came to sweets too. Halloween was like her best scoring time of the year though. Sure, she was pretty adept at taking candy canes off the tree at Christmas; it was on this night that she truly shined. It helped that she was so small and agile too. No one ever saw her coming. She was one of the smallest in her class which helped and the way she could hide, she was like a future Black Ops super spy in the making.

Mom came into the kitchen, with her purse in one hand and her car keys in the other.

“You be good for your big brother,” she said, kissing Sophie on the forehead.

Then she motioned me out the door. I followed her into the living room where the TV was on. It was the news and I only caught part of it. Something about the police telling people to be careful tonight, there was an increasing amount of pranksters out there. I half paid attention but it seemed to worry Mom a little. She kept looking at it and fidgeting.

“I want you to be extra careful tonight and not take your eyes off your sister for a moment.”

I sighed and nodded. “I have done this before you know Mom.”

Ok maybe not the whole taking Sophie around before but I was a kid once too. I knew the whole drill backwards and forwards.

“Just be super extra careful tonight and call if anything goes wrong.”

I groaned. “Everything will be fine Mom. I promise nothing will happen to Sophie.”

She touched my cheek and smiled. “You’re a good kid Charlie” She kissed me on the forehead too before she turned and left the house.

I grabbed the remote off the back of the couch, pausing before shutting the TV off. The same News report was so going, talking about the pranksters still. Apparently, they were randomly biting people. How fucked up was that? Fucking Halloween. I shut off the TV before going back into the kitchen to find two more empty wrappers and a child trying to look innocent. I sighed, ushering her over to the sink. Sophie hopped down from the table and followed. I picked her up and sat her on the corner while I ran a dishcloth through the luke warm water.

“You have eye stuff on,” she said as I washed off her hands.

“I know”

“You look pretty,” she said.

“Sure thanks”

I wiped off her face. When I was done, she touched my hair. “Are you my sister now too?”

I froze at that. I’m sure she meant nothing by it but it was still a bit of a shock. A good shock though. I felt a little warmth inside thinking about it.

It’s Halloween,” I said as I lifted her off the counter and put her on the floor. “Only for tonight.”

She smiled at that as I took her hand.

I led her out the door a minute or two after that. Our neighborhood wasn’t that big which was a good thing because after a block she was already complaining. I tried my best to cheer her up but to tell you the truth I was kind of complaining a bit inside as well. I was starting to get a bit apprehensive too. It was getting closer and closer to the dance. Sure, I’d been preparing it for about a month now but I was still really scared. What if I made a mistake tonight, what if they figured me out? I tried not to think about it but the more I did, the more it worried the hell out me.

I was ready for this though.

I made sure of that.

After I decided to go through with it, I tackled preparing myself. The first thing I did was take the costume out of the box. It was a really nice one too, high end in fact. It probably cost Claire a fortune too. Whomever she had make it went all out as well. It was made of leather, real leather and when I first tried it on, I nearly died of a heart attack. It fit me like a glove, which was really scary. Ok so it was definitely loose in the chest but I set out to fix that. So I have a small confession to make. For the last year or so I’d been popping Riley’s birth control pills. I know it’s stupid but I couldn’t stop myself. When the first packet arrived by mail I thought it was a mistake. Surely she would have them sent to her dorm room. After the next shipment I realized that it was no mistake. She was deliberating having them sent here and not caring. Which meant she either forgot or didn’t want them. That last bit scared me a bit. No guy wants to think of his sister in that way.

When I took the first pill, it was a joke. I just wanted to see what would happen. Of course nothing did. I began to pop them regularly after that. All in my drive to be more like my sister I guess. I started to notice some strange things too, like sore nipples and a lack of arousal around girls my own age. It was doing something to my you know what too, almost as if it was smaller now. I didn’t get aroused anymore either. When the breasts started to form was when I stopped. It scared the hell out of me. Off of them my life was going back to normal but my butt was still a little more shapelier than I wanted. It was the only adverse affect. Thankfully, the boob growth was gone; I’m not sure how I would have explained that.

So long story short, I had a girl’s butt. One that looked good in my sister’s jeans and in even better in that leather cat suit. I should know, I wore it ever night now just to get used to it. It took a while but I could actually move around pretty good in it now even with the boots that came with it. Sure I would be able to run very well in the four inch stiletto heels but at least I could walk now without falling on my face.

As for the chest area well I have that handled as well. I ordered a few things off the internet, including a realistic pair of breast forms to glue on and something that made my crotch all nice and flat. With the whole suit together, I could easily pass as a real woman in public now.

However tonight was going to be the real test.

Sophie tugging on my arm broke me out of my thoughts. I looked down at her, seeing a look of fear on her face. She was pointing too. I followed her finger and saw a man a few feet away. He was walking in a stumble, his clothes a bit disheveled. I cursed. He was clearly drunk, lumbering around like that. I took Sophie’s hand and steered her away. The last thing I needed was some Wino to puke all over my little sister.

“He’s scary”

“Don’t mind him,” I said as I dragged her away.

After that I kind of picked up pace. Daylight started to dwindle to dark as we made the last few houses. It was a little past six by the time we finished. Sophie’s bag was overflowing with treats. I picked her up the rest of the way as she started to drag her feet. We made it to the Millers a few minutes later. I groaned when I saw Brad’s Camaro in the driveway. All I needed was for him to see me in eyeliner. Of course, it didn’t help that I was dressed the same way when I accidentally met Claire at the school that one time. I put my hood down as I approached the house. When I got to the door, I heard some raised voices. Which was strange because the Millers weren’t the kind of people to shout at one another?

What was even stranger still was that the door was partly open. I set Sophie down, preparing to knock. I didn’t get a chance because Sophie barged right in. I cursed and quickly followed, blundering right into the commotion. There were two arguments going on at once it seemed, both involving Mrs. Miller. Brad was standing there in his hockey gear, splattered in fake blood. He and his mother were arguing about the dance.

“I don’t want you to go out tonight”

“Mom, I’m fine”

“Your father isn’t.”

I looked over at Brad’s Dad. Mr. Miller was a pretty cool guy. He ran the car dealership in town. After Dad passed away when I was in middle school, he went out of his way to help us around the house when needed. He was a good guy, one of the bests. Tonight he didn’t look so good. Well neither would I if I were in his situation. He was sitting at the kitchen table, his arm wrapped in a wash dishcloth. A blood soaked dishcloth no less. I quickly realized why Mrs. Miller was freaking out so much.

I looked around and saw Sophie and Susie---Brad’s little sister making their way up the stairs with their bags of candy in hand. I watched them go before I turned my attention back to the arguing scene downstairs.

“I’m fine,” said Mr. Miller, applying pressure. “It was a small bite.”

Bite, something bit him.

“You’re not fine, you’re bleeding all over the place…” she waved her arms in the air and turned to see me standing there.

I felt like an idiot now.

“Ummm sorry” I said sheepishly. “The door was open and Sophie kind of let herself in…”

Mrs. Miller seemed to lose her anger and calmed herself. “Oh Charlie dear I completely forgot. I was just about to call your mother…”

“She got called into work early; I had to take the squirt out tonight.”

Mrs. Miller looked on the verge of tears. “I have to take Dave to the hospital.”

“I’m fine,” he said, raising his voice again.

“See dad’s fine, I don’t need to watch anyone!”

“Your father is not fine!”

Boy did I really step into it now.

While I was started there, my phone beeped, telling me I had a text. I pulled out my phone and checked it, it was a text from Claire: Hey Char, where are you? I cursed; I completely forgot I was supposed to meet her and the girls before the dance. I cursed again and quickly sent back a reply: Had to take little cuz out trick treating. Will see you at dance. When I sent it, I saw Brad looking at oddly. It was then that I realized my phone. I had recently bought a new one in lieu of this whole night. Forgetting myself when I left my room, I grabbed it instead of my normal one. It in all its sparkly pink sequin glory.

Oh god.

Thankfully, only Brad saw it.

“Its Riley’s phone” I said as explanation. “She left it at our house earlier. She wants me to drop it by to her later.”

Brad seemed to accept the explanation but he was still staring. It was then that I realized he must of seen the eyeliner. Without explanation, I threw up my hood and turned my head away. I found myself looking at the bickering Millers again. Mr. Miller was in the middle of turning up the TV, the News on here as well. The newscaster was still on the same story from earlier and it looked like the pranks were getting worse.

“Local hospitals are overrun,” she was saying.

“See no hospitals,” said Mr. Miller “I’m fine. The girls are fine. Let the boys go to their dance. Everything is all right here.”

Mrs. Miller still looked pretty worried but she relaxed some. I looked at her husband and though he looked pale, the bleeding appeared to have stopped. I couldn’t help but think about the pranks. It was all pretty fucked up. Who in the hell thought it was funny to run around, biting people? I stared at them for a few before looking at the clock on the wall, seeing it was almost twenty after six now. If I didn’t get going soon I’d never get ready in time.

“If you want me too I can take the squirt home?”

Please say no.

Mrs. Miller shook her head. “Its ok honey. You go have fun at the dance. Your sister will be ok with us. I’ll call in an hour just to be on the safe side ok?”

I nodded at that. I said my good byes and thanked them for looking Sophie. Brad followed me outside but said nothing. Instead, he went right for his car, peeling out of the driveway pretty damn fast. I watched him go before I made my way back home at a rather brisk pace.

----- OOO-----

“Holy Shit!”

I couldn’t help but gasp at the pretty girl in the mirror before me. Sure, I’d seen myself dressed before; hell I had several pictures of myself online now of “her”. Seeing myself now though was a whole new experience entirely. The girl in the mirror was unlike anything I’d ever done before. Sure, the fake breasts glued to my chest and the outfit I was wearing helped a lot of that but still I was amazed at how well I turned out. I took a step back to get a better look. The suit hugged my body, bringing out everything I had tried to hide over the past year and a half. I could see my wider hips, my slim waist, the slender swell of my fake breasts. My hair was currently hidden up the cat cowl piece I was wearing and as I pulled the yellow goggles over my eyes, I smiled as I completed the look.

Catwoman in the flesh now.

I took a few steps, showing off the sway I’d been practicing for the last month. Walking in the heeled boots was like second nature to me now. I sauntered from one end to the room to the other. I found myself back at the mirror where I leaned forward to blow myself a kiss and show off my boobs. Damn they looked so fucking real. I straightened, took a step back again and ran my black gloved hands up and down my body, purring as I did so. So ok maybe I was getting into this a little too much but I couldn’t help it.

I stared at myself for a few more minutes before I saw the clock. It was quarter to seven. I cursed as I grabbed my bag and rushed out of the room. My bag contained a change of clothes for later. After the dance, we were supposed to go out somewhere to hang. I wanted to make sure I had some less form fitting clothes for that. When I went outside, I went straight to the SUV. It was Mom’s car but she didn’t like to take it to the diner so I usually let her use my car at night. The SUV was bought with Dad’s life insurance. There was enough there to pay off the mortgage on the house, buy the SUV and the first year of Riley’s college. The rest of the money now was made by Mom’s two jobs at the bank as a teller and the diner. I was only fifteen, not old enough to work in the state of New York. Riley had a job too, pulling in money as a bartender to help with her school expenses.

It was all a well oiled machine with us now. You wouldn’t have thought that a few years ago after cancer took Dad. We were a total wreck then for good reason. It was hard to imagine that our family was able to ever spring back after that but we did and now we’re stronger than ever.

It was a little strange driving in heels but I managed well enough. I did have a few problems on the road though. There were a few cars on the side of the road, seemingly abandoned. Those made it a bit hard to get around. There was one just stopped at the light, its door wide open, engine still running. I looked inside to see if there was someone in trouble but I saw no one so continued on. It was like that all the way to the school. Ok no more cars with doors open but a lot more cars on the street than usual, only a few with people in them.

When I got to the corner with Mom’s diner on it, I couldn’t help but look in its direction. It looked pretty dead tonight actually. There were only a few cars in the lot, one of them my Prius. I could see a few people in there through the glass, up and about. They were shuffling to the music, which wasn’t all that strange. The strange thing was that I couldn’t see Mom. I guess she was in the back; she did that sometimes when it wasn’t so busy. I thought about stopping in but realized how I was dressed. There was no way in hell I could explain it to her.

I arrived at the school with time to spare.

I found an empty spot, which was kind of rare for a dance. Not that I’ve been to many but the ones I have been too are always pretty packed. I made sure to take my time getting out of the truck. Hey, it was still a little hard to move in this leather. I left the bag there though, not needing it inside. It was strange walking through the lot alone though. Even stranger when I got to the building itself because there was no one lingering outside. When I opened the door and got inside, I found a rather bored looking Ballerina sitting at the ticket table.

When she saw me, she perked up a bit.

“Thank God” she said, sighing. “I thought for sure there was no one else coming?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, putting on my slight French accent.

“This place is dead tonight,” she said with a sigh. “You’re like maybe the tenth person total.”

“Seriously?” I let the accent slip but she didn’t seem to notice.

She shrugged. “Just one of those nights I guess. Oh great costume by the way, you here with Claire’s crowd?”
I nodded. “Are they here yet?”

“Claire Johnson not being the first one to a school function? Yeah like that ever happen.”

I smiled and nodded. I left her to man her table though she looked a little sad when I left. I meandered through the halls, making my way to the Gym without too much of a problem. I stopped when I got to the double doors though, taking a deep breath. Here it goes, moment of truth. I would either walk in there and get laughed at because everyone recognized me or I would walk in there and no one would see anything wrong. I prayed for the latter when I finally opened the doors and stepped inside. The music was blaring and there was a fog machine going but there was no laughing so that was a good sign. The Ballerina had exaggerated a bit too. There were more than ten people here but not much, I’d say less than fifty.

Which was surprising for a school dance.

I looked around, wondering if Claire had forgotten about me after all. I had a knot in my stomach the entire time until I spotted her and her cliché. There were quite a few of them and they seemed to take the whole superhero theme just like she said. What she didn’t mention though was how the theme seem to pair everyone up. I saw Claire dressed as a sexy old school Harley Quinn in a red and white jumpsuit paired off with her boyfriend Parker who was dressed like Joker. Sandra was Batgirl with her boyfriend dressed like Robin. Supergirl was with Superman and Wonder Woman was paired off with Green Lantern of all people. The only lone figure I noticed was Batman and that sent chills down my back.

Shit, she didn’t.

I thought about turning and bailing but Claire caught sight of me. Her face lit up and she shouted my name. Too late to run now.

I waved back, making my way slowly over. When I got to her, she wrapped me in a hug, greeting me in French as she did so.

“Bonjour” I said to the others.

Thankfully I knew French, spoke it fluently actually. It helped that I’d been learning it since fifth grade and that I actually didn’t make up the French Canadian cousin thing, just Charlotte in general. My mother’s maiden name was Benoit actually. She was from Quebec originally. She came to the US to go to college. She met Dad there, got her green card and stayed to marry him. Her sister---Aunt Clarisse---lived in Ontario with her husband and my cousins. No girls, all boys. So a lie wrapped in a half-truth.

“Guys this Charlotte,” she said, beaming. “My awesome friend from Canada, Riley’s cousin.”

As soon as Riley was mentioned, the group seemed to spring to life. They introduced themselves but I already technically knew them all. The only one who didn’t say anything was Batman but I had a pretty good idea who he was and it made my skin crawl. If Joker was Parker, Claire’s boyfriend then Batman had to be Dan Phelps. I knew Dan too but not in a good way. He was the asshole who went out of his way to make guys like me cry. Sure, he didn’t go after me in general but I’d had a few run ins with him. I wanted to run out of the room screaming now. Especially considering the way he was leering at me or more specifically my breasts. Hell, if he wanted them that much I suppose I could glue them on him tomorrow.

Or tell him where I bought them.

Ok joking aside, I was pretty freaked out.

After that, there was an awkward moment of silence between all of us. Then Claire suggested we all dance. They paired off and of course, Batman Dan was waiting for me to go with him. Shit, how was I suppose to get out of this? I looked around, wondering if I could make a break for the exit. I suddenly realized this was the biggest mistake in the world. I had been so confident that I could pull this thing off that I never even considered the idea of boys. No I did not have a thing for guys but because of all those pills, I didn’t really have one for girls either. I was like a Goddamn Eunuch or something now. No more arousal just me and the opposite sex. Strangely enough, the opposite sex at the moment happened to standing in front of me.

This was a really big mistake.

“You coming or not?” asked Dan, looking angry.

“I think not.”

“You bitch!” he snapped, grabbing my arm. “I came here looking for a good time. A good time with a French chick. French chicks are supposed to be easy lays. I was promised an easy lay.”

Fucking Dan.

Fucking Claire.

Fucking night.

How could this get any better?

“Hey” said a familiar voice. “I think she wants you to leave her alone.”

Brad appeared out of nowhere. My Hockey Player in his Splattered Blood Armor as it were. He looked pretty menacing though, especially because he had his hockey stick with him. Dan gave him a quick once over but with Brad in his gear, there was no way Dan could take him. Dan quickly backed off, disappeared into the fake fog. I found myself with Brad now, trying not to look him in the eye.

“Thanks” I mumbled.

He touched my shoulder. “No problem” then he leaned in closer. “You look really good tonight, Charlie.”

Oh, Shit.

“What did you say?”

He removed his hand from my shoulder. “You almost had me fooled until I remembered seeing you tonight, it’s your face. You’re very convincing by the way, are those boobs yours?”

I shook my head, too stunned to speak.

“Shame” he said, looking a bit bashful. “So you wanna dance?”

I didn’t say anything. I just let him take my hand and lead me toward the others. I’m not sure what happened next. I kind of lost myself in the dance. I let him lead of course. Even with the heels on, he was still a whole head taller than me. It was kind of nice though, his hands around my waist like that. I shouldn’t have liked it but I did. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the dance. Sure the thing with Dan had been pretty frightening but being right here in this moment with Brad, it kind of made the night worth it altogether. I could lose myself in this night, this one special night.

Story done, time for that extra special happy ending…

I so wish…

The scream ruined the moment. Sure on most Halloween nights that scream wouldn’t have been nothing. It was a scream after all. It did stop us from dancing though. It made us all stop actually because the scream was louder than the music. I opened my eyes and looked at Brad. He let go of me for a second, wandering over to where he left his hockey stick. A few of the others stopped dancing as well. Someone even went over to the DJ area to shut off the music. We all mingled about wondering what the hell was going on.

A moment later, the Ballerina girl came stumbling into the room. She staggered a few feet, grasping her neck then dropped to the floor. Everyone had stopped dancing now. We all stared at the girl for a moment. No one seem to move, including her as she laid on the floor.
Dan was the first one to react.

“Well done,” he said, coming over clapping. “Very well done.”

All of us stared at him as he walked past.

“What” he said, bending down so he was right in front of her? “It’s a joke; she’s from the drama club. I banged her over the summer. Nice going Kelly.”

He gave the girl’s shoulder a nudge, laughing as he did so.

She sprang up a moment later but not for a laugh. She lunged at Dan, grabbing a hold of him. The look on his face was nothing compared to the one on hers. It was feral, her eyes blood shot, her teeth snarling. She sunk those snarling teeth into Dan’s neck, tearing through the flimsy fabric of his costume, taking a huge chunk out of his neck. This time Dan was screaming. He pulled up, the girl latched herself onto him as he flayed about, trying to shake her off. The girl snarling, holding firm as Dan thrashed and screamed.

The room was shocked into stun silence but only for a moment.

Then everyone started to panic.

I found myself knocked to the floor as a throng of people rushed past me for the nearest exit. Brad was knocked away too. I caught a glimpse of Claire and a few of her friends. As I pushed myself to my feet. A second snarl filled the room. I turned just in time to see Dan rush at me; his face had the same feral look as Kelly. He came lunging toward me and would have succeeded if not for the hockey stick to the face that sent him flying. Brad was there a second later, pulling me the rest of the way to my feet.

“You brought the SUV right?”

I nodded. “It’s in the lot.”

“Get your keys; we’re getting out of here.”

I had stuck them between my fake breasts and just pulled them out as he grabbed my wrist. He pulled me toward an exit but not the one everyone else was rushing for. It was too much of a mess to go that way as people tried to push over one another to get out. We made a break for the other side of the gym, Brad kicking at the closest door as we approached it. I handed him my keys as we ran. Or I tried to run, stupid fucking heels.

“Those were zombies,” I said hysterically. “Real fucking zombies!”

“Keep moving, think later.”

I found myself strangely comforted being with him.

“We have to go to your house,” I said, thinking even though he told me not too.

My sister. I had to get Sophie. The wheels in my head were going in overdrive now. It all made sense, how could I have not seen it. I’ve seen hundreds of fucking zombie movies. It all started the same way, random people being bitten. The government never took it seriously until it was too late. Then things got out of hand and spread like wild fire. I always thought nothing like it could ever really happen, I mean the military had a shit load of fire power after all. In the movies, they were always quickly overrun but I was confident in real life that nothing like that could ever happen.

“I know,” he said, thinking what I was thinking.

His Dad had been bit. It didn’t take a genius to figure that out.

“One thing at a time right now” he said, trying to keep his cool. “First we got out of here then we get our families.”

I couldn’t agree more.

We stopped at the end of the hall. Brad put himself in front of me as he took a look around the corner. He turned back and nodded, taking my hand as he did so. I let him; I was too scared to argue. It felt kind of nice too. We crept slowly down the hall, trying to stay as quiet as possible. It didn’t help when a stray scream or snarl could be heard in the distance. I couldn’t help but think about Sophie and Mom, hell even Riley for that matter. How could I have been so self centered and stupid not to see the signs. First, it was the shambling drunk earlier who wasn’t really drunk at all then it was Mr. Miller. Add to that the empty abandoned cars, the people “dancing” in the diner and the lack of people at the dance.

This fucking thing had been going on all day.

I was just too stupid to notice.

No not stupid. I’d been so damn absorbed into pulling off the perfect “Charlotte” tonight that I just didn’t want to see. If I ever got out of this alive, I promise I’ll never let “her” get in the way of important things ever again.

Brad stopped suddenly. “You hear that?”

“Hear what?”

I stopped and listened. At first, I heard nothing then there it was. It was faint at first but the more I listened the more I realized I heard crying. I looked around, my attention drawn to the bathroom. Specifically the girl’s bathroom. Whoever was crying, they were in there. I nudged Brad, pointing to it. He nodded, understanding.

“You go” he whispered, “I’ll cover you.”

Sure make me go into the girl’s bathroom just because I’m currently the one with boobs.

What a chauvinist.

----- OOO-----

I took a step toward the door, pushing it open slightly. The light was on and I couldn’t help but pause for a moment as I took a look around. Holy shit, it’s totally nicer in here than in ours. I am so filing a complaint. I took a moment to realize my own thought and cursed. I took a step further into the room, looking to see if I could find whoever it was. I looked under one stall to the next; I found two pairs of feet in the back.

“Hey” I said, not bothering with the accent anymore. “Anyone here?”

A moment later, the door opened and I found the one crying. It was Claire. Her stall’s co-occupant was Batgirl, I mean Sandra.

“You guys ok?”

They both nodded.

Sandra spoke first. “Fucking Greg and Parker left us. They told us to hide and they’d be right back. That was like ten minutes ago.”

Ok so they were either dicks or…well let’s just say they’re dicks and put that other thought away for now.

“I’m sure they just got scared.”

“Pussied out is more like it” said Sandra as he got up, pulling the crying Claire with her.

Claire rushed over to me and hugged me, wrapping her arms tightly around my neck.

“You guys are ok though, right?”

“We were so scared. Someone grabbed Amber and tried to eat her.”

Amber…that was Supergirl.

Shit.

Brad tapped the door with his stick, most likely trying to get us to move it. I helped both of them toward the door, not like they needed it of course. When we got out in the hall, Brad seemed to take charge. I held both girls hands as the four of us moved down the hall together. It was slow going as none of us felt it smart to run. We were following Brad’s lead too. It was kind of strange how quickly I fell into the innocent scared girl role. I was a guy too after all but it just felt safer somehow letting Brad take charge like he was. Besides, I didn’t feel much like a guy at the moment.

Brad stopped us again at the end of the hall, taking a moment to assess the next step no less.

“Ok moment of truth” he said just above a whisper. “There’s an exit right up ahead. Now chances are whatever is on the other side of that door is going to be very nasty. I need to know that you girls are up for it?”

“I’m up for anything that gets me the fuck out of here,” said Sandra.

“Me too” I added quickly.

Claire looked at me strangely. “What happened to your accent?”

“What?”

Claire’s eyes popped open. “Holy shit you’re like totally a big fraud.”

Sandra sighed. “Now isn’t the time for that, is it?”

“She lied to us.”

“Can we discuss this later?” I hissed.

“Fine” said Claire, crossing her arms. “But I am so defriending you on facebook.”

I rolled my eyes. I kind of suspected that Sandra did as well.

“Ok” said Brad, breaking up our little girl bonding moment. “I’m pushing open the door, be prepared.”

HE handed me the hockey stick as he slowly opened the door.

I’m not sure what I expected. I guess I was expecting a whole horde of the undead rushing at us. What I wasn’t expecting was absolutely nothing.

“Coast is clear,” he said, ushering us outside.

I was the first one out after him, Sandra and Claire followed. I handed the hockey stick back to Brad, he took it happily. It was wise to let him have it, what with his arms being like they were and mine being pipe cleaners. That didn’t stop me from looking for a weapon though. Sure, I might feel innocent but I sure as hell wasn’t. I wanted something heavy to swing around too. As we walked, closely together, I took a look at our surroundings. WE were in the back of the school now, the parking lot was on the other side of the building just up ahead. Before we got to that however was the Auto Shop. I knew because I was actually taking a class. Hey I may have liked to wear dresses but I was still a guy too.

“Come with me real quick” I said, making a beeline for the Auto Shop.

“What, we don’t have time,” said Brad, following.

“We need to arm ourselves,” I said, taking the keys from him.

My car keys weren’t the only thing on that loop. I rifled through the various ones until I found the one I was looking for: the key for the Auto Shop side door. Mr. Bennings let me work in the Shop after school some times; he even paid me a few bucks to clean up the place. It was all on the down low of course what with it being against the rules. However do to that little priority he made sure I had a key to lock the place up when I was done. The key not only unlocked the door either, it also allowed me access to the tools lock up.

I used the key to open the door.

“You’re in Auto Shop at our school!” gasped Claire” are you a dyke too?”

I wanted to smack her.

“Claire shut the fuck up!”

I wanted to kiss Sandra right now. Why couldn’t I have friended her on facebook instead?

I opened the door and let us all in, making my quickly to the supply closet. I knew exactly what I wanted in there as I unlocked the door. I found my weapon of choice---a nice three pound sledge. It was Bennings just in case tool. It was something that I knew I could easily swing. I turned and tossed the keys at Brad.

“Get some wrenches from that cabinet over there, the two inch ones. There’s some cross pein hammers in there too”

Sandra came up beside me. “You’re so a dude aren’t you?”

I shrugged. “It’s Halloween.”

She grabbed my butt and gave it a soft squeeze. “That is so fucking hot.”

Brad came over a second later, handing a hammer to Sandra. He gave one of the two wrenches he was holding to Claire then handed the other to me. I guess they would do for now that is until we got real weapons. I had a feeling that we were going to need whatever we could get because tonight was definitely going to be a long one.

I found an old shop sack in one of the cabinets, we began to fill it with as many blunt tools as we could find. If zombie rules were still in play here then a smash to the head ought to still do it. Brad shouldered the bag when we were done. I grabbed a couple of flashlights too, passing on to Sandra. She took in without question then a welding mask and a pair of heavy duty gloves. I liked what she was thinking. With ourselves newly armed, we slipped back out into the night. This time I took up the rear, ready to strike at a moment’s notice if need be.

We double timed it toward the parking lot. My nerves were a mess. I think everyone’s were at this point. I know I was sweating like crazy. Apparently whoever made this suit didn’t have long time use in mind when they designed it. That and I kinda had to pee right about now. I tried not to think about those things as we made our way toward the Parking Lot of Doom. The description served its purpose nicely as soon as it came into view. The first thing I was surprised to see was how many cars were still there. I was scared at the implication of that which was made abundantly clear by the amount of zombies I saw.

Most if not all were wearing Halloween costumes and quite a few of them were costumes I recognized from the dance. One of them---Supergirl---I tried not to look at.

“That’s Amber,” Claire gasped, noticing what I tried not to.

I turned her to face me. “That’s not her anymore do you understand?” She nodded but I don’t think it really sunk in. “Amber is gone. So is anyone else you see that way, ok?”

She nodded again.

“How do we do this?” asked Brad, raising his stick.

“Slow and as fast as we can. No sudden movements. If need be, aim for their heads. Only run when we tell you too,” I said, hoping I sounded confident.

“And if they grab us?”

Neither Brad nor I said a thing. I didn’t have an answer for that actually. Brad apparently didn’t either. I think Claire understood because she didn’t press the issue.

I made a silent prayer. I think I heard Sandra mumble something under her breath too. I found myself absently holding her hand. Brad made sure he was close to Claire then we started our moveable feast. It was slow going and didn’t get real scary until we passed our first zombie. Shit, never in a million years did I think I was going to use that word outside of talking about a movie. It was strange to think and even stranger to watch. I saw this person---this sexy cat---that used to be my classmate and I tried not to stare but I couldn’t help myself. I think I recognized her but I couldn’t remember her name. All I knew was that she was in my French class and that only a few short hours ago she’d been a living breathing human.

Now there was a huge chunk missing from her arm and an even bigger one missing from her neck.

I couldn’t help but imagine how much pain she had been in, how scared she was as it was happening.

I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Not so much for her but for myself too. I didn’t want to die like that; I didn’t want to come back as one of those either.

Sandra squeeze my hand. It looked like she was thinking of the same thing too.

“Almost there” I said softly, pointing toward Mom’s SUV.

Almost there Sophie.

The pace was slow but we were making good ground. None of Them seemed to notice us. It was hard not to think of them as human anymore especially considering how close we were to being that way too. I guess it was an easy defense mechanism though. They were Not Us anymore They were Them. They were zombies, the living dead. We were prey to their predator now. They were a nasty predator too. Not the lumbering Romero kind, the fucked up fast all hell Boyle/Snyder kind. The nasty bastards that had been plaguing the new age zombie movies of the past ten years. I’d seen them all and I couldn’t help but think what might have caused all this. Sure, it wasn’t the smartest thing to think of as you were moving your way ever so slowly through them but it helped me keep my mind off of other things, namely my mother and sisters. It was my job to keep them safe after all; I had promised Dad that I’d look after them. I wasn’t going to break a promise to my father, not now, not ever.

“Get the keys ready, Brad,” I said as we got closer, the SUV no less than twenty feet away.

Home free very soon.

We moved slowly closer.

Ten feet now.

Five.

Four

Three.

And…

“Parker” said Claire, a little louder than any of us would have liked. “Parker Spencer.”

I snapped around and looked. I saw him just as easily as Claire did. There he was dressed in his purple tux, his dyed green hair standing out vibrantly from the rest. I’m not sure if Claire noticed but I sure as hell did. In his run to be the big brave man it looks like Parker had a run in of his own and not of the good kind. He was shambling amongst another group no less than thirty feet away. A group that would have completely ignored us if not for the fact that his stupid girlfriend couldn’t keep her big mouth shut.

Parker turned and there it was: the red eyes, the feral look. Whoever he was before was long gone now.

Claire didn’t seem to notice or maybe she did and decided to ignore it.

She started toward him.

I reached for her but missed.

“Claire what the fuck are you doing!”

“Its Parker, he’s hurt.”

“He’s not hurt, he’s fucking dead you idiot!” snapped Sandra.

“He’s not dead,” said a delusional Claire. “He’s walking about.”

She got within feet from him now. “Parker honey, are you ok?”

Shit.

I quickly made my way toward her, hoping to reach her before he did something stupid. I was only half successful. Claire reached out and touched his arm. It was the stupid thing to do. As soon as she touched him, he let out a high pitched snarl, alerting every single fucking zombie in the area to our presence. I panicked, Claire screamed. I ran forward swinging the hammer. Parker grabbed Claire’s arm and would have sunk his teeth into it if not for the sledge to the head. I heard the sickening crunch as the hammer smashed his head open, black blood spewing everywhere. I turned to make sure none of it got on me. Then spun, bringing the hammer down on his arm in hopes of freeing Claire from his grasp.

It worked. I heard his arm crack, he let her go and I grabbed her, pulling her away as fast as I could.

We ran. The zombies were on to us though.

Brad was there a second later, swinging his hockey stick. He caught one in the face, another in the chest. Both fell back. Another lunged toward me again, Claire got it in the face with her wrench. At least whatever it was that made her stupid before was gone now. They rushed in faster though. WE made it to the SUV, Brad swung his stick in a low arch, clipping several of them in the knees and taking them down. He used that moment get in the SUV to start her up. I swung the sledge as quick and as fast as I could. I felt something grab my arm then a moment later teeth sink into it. They didn’t break the skin though. It was the leather, the leather was stopping them.

Now I wanted to kiss Claire.

I brought my hammer down on the bastard and pushed Claire toward the waiting vehicle. Sandra grabbed her and pulled her inside.

I lost the sledge on the next blow I made. It slipped out of my hands as it sunk into an unfortunate dead head. I let it go. It had served its purpose.

“Char come on,” shouted a voice, causing to run but not before throwing my wrench at another one of them.

I got into the SUV just in time, climbing into the passenger seat. Brad peeled away even before I could get the door shut.

The zombies tried to give chase but they weren’t fast enough to catch a car.

We were safe for the moment. Now I just hoped Sophie was the same.

I had a quick thought. “Sandra, give me my bag back there?”

A moment later, my bag was passed over the seat. I zipped it open and got my cell. I checked for a signal but of course, there was none. Then I checked my messages. There were two actually. One of them was from Mrs. Miller: Girls Safe. I sighed in relief at that one. The other one was from Mom, three simple words: I Love You.

I couldn’t help but cry at that.

----- OOO-----

We got to the Millers about ten minutes later. I looked at my watch, it was nearly eight now. Had it really been that short of time? Here I was thinking hours had passed and it had only been a little time. It felt like I’d left for the dance hours ago and yet it was only an hour. It scared me how much time had passed and how much had happened. What scared me even more was the fact that both the Millers cars were still there. I was hoping that maybe when they said Girls Safe in the text that they had actually gotten them to some place safe. Like an military base or an off shore oil tanker. Hey wishful thinking I know but I still felt guilty.

I should have never left Sophie tonight.

“Their cars are still here,” said Brad as we stopped the SUV in front of house.

I looked up the house; the lights were all off too. Then again, none of the houses on the block seemed to have lights. It was strange how peaceful the neighborhood looked though. Here we were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and it looked like an ordinary Thursday night. It was weird to think that only a few hours ago, Sophie and I were walking these streets trick r treating.

“Your Dad” I said, trying not to finish the thought.

“I know”

We both had a pretty good idea what we might find in there. I was prepared to do what was necessary but I couldn’t help but wonder if Brad was. Sure it was his Dad but we’d gone through it before. These weren’t people anymore, they weren’t our loved ones. They were zombies now and as such we had to kill them before they killed us. It was horrible to think about but it was the truth. We all might have to face that truth tonight. It was scary to think about but it was something that everyone was going to have to think about now.

“So how do we do this?”

“If my parents are you know…let me take care of it.”

I nodded. I wanted to say the same about Sophie but I just couldn’t bring the words to my lips.

“You guys want us to come along?”

I shook my head. “You guys stay in the car. If anything bad comes your way, beep the horn for us. We’ll come running and we’ll all get the fuck out of here.”

“And if you guys don’t come out?”

Brad tossed Sandra the keys. “Then get the fuck out of here.”

She nodded, climbing over the front seat.

I handed her my cell. “If it comes back you know and I don’t make it, call my sister Riley and tell her what happened.”

“Your sister” said Sandra then her eyes got big. She spoke next in a whisper. “You’re Charlie Jensen!”

I nodded, squeezing her hand.

“Good luck Charlie” she said, kissing me on the cheek.

I climbed out of the SUV after that, brandishing Sandra’s hammer. I followed Brad toward the house, walking so much better now that I managed to change into my sneakers. Thankfully, I had put them in the bag with my extra clothes. My feet felt a lot better now. I could also run a lot better now too.
“Go in the back” said Brad, opening the gate.

I followed him through. We made our way around the side of the house toward the back of it. The Millers didn’t have a basement anymore. Instead, they had a converted family room with a sliding glass door. It led out onto a deck with an in ground pool. Brad and I used to spend many a summer on this deck and in that pool. It seemed surreal returning there now. I couldn’t even remember how the two of us stopped being friends or what caused it. I just know that one summer we were and then the next we weren’t.

Brad stopped when we got to the door.

“I have to ask dude,” he said, giving me the once over. “Why a chick?”

I sighed. “It’s complicated”

He shrugged. “Fair enough.”

“Hey thanks for earlier by the way” I said and meant it.

“Dan is a douche or was one actually.”

His unfortunate death was the only one I wasn’t going to cry about when I finally got some sleep tonight.

Brad took out his key and unlocked the sliding glass door. He went in first, still wielding the hockey stick like a pro. Gone now were the bulking pads and helmet. They were a little cumbersome after all. We crept through the dark room, both of us on edge. Any where we could run into a zombie, not just his parents either. No house was safe anymore. Any number of things could have happened while we were gone and we had to be prepared for it. It was a way to keep ourselves on our toes. As we passed through the family room, I shone my light around just to be safe. It fell upon the small bar area and the rifle case.

“You have a key for that?”

He shook his head. “It’s in my Dad’s office, in the top drawer of his desk.”

“Can you shoot?”

“Hell ya”

Good to know.

We made our way to the stairs, slowly moving up them. It seemed weird to be coming back here after tonight. Hours ago, things were normal and now everything was hell. I looked quickly around the living room then shone my light over into the kitchen. Something definitely happened there. The small kitchen TV was lying on the floor, there was some blood there too. My only thoughts were of Sophie.

“Mom” Brad whispered then added a moment later. “Ummm, Dad?”

No answer.

It wasn’t looking good. We checked the kitchen all the same. We found a few bullet holes in the wall and the spent casings to go with them. Not good at all. Brad put on the speed after that. He didn’t bother to check his father’s office downstairs. Instead, he went right for the stairs. I followed quickly been. We did it quick. We went from room to room. First the bathroom, no one. Then his room, no one still. The last two rooms belonged to his sister and his parents.

We were about to go to his sister’s room when I shone my light on the floor near his parents’ room. That’s when we saw the blood on the floor and the bloody handprint on the door. Brad rushed toward the room without even thinking, I quickly followed. Brad pushed himself inside then collapsed a moment later. I followed on his heels and saw what made him crumble. His mother was on the floor, a gun in one hand, her cell in the other. The blood that pooled around her was still fairly fresh and from the looks of things, she shot herself. I stepped around Brad, trying to be as respectful as possible as I made my way over to his mother.

I bent down slowly, hoping she wasn’t going to zombie out on me. Especially because I could clearly see the bite mark on her arm. It looked pretty wicked up close, a wound with a green festering look and the veins all turning black around it. I could only imagine what must have happened. Mr. Miller turned then bite her. She must have gotten upstairs and hid the girls, texted me then shot herself. It was a horrible thing to think about but it was brave too. I shone my light onto the phone and saw she was trying to send another text, it didn’t go through though because it was still there, one word: Closet. I shone the light about but the closet in here was wide open. There was only one room left now, Susie’s. Before I stood up though, I spotted a few more shell casings. I looked about and saw the bedroom window broken. Standing up, I stepped toward it and peered outside.

Mr. Miller was sprawled on the lawn, unmoving.

I could only imagine how much that took.

I turned to Brad. “Brad, you ok?”

“Yes” he said, shaking his head.

He was clearly crying but I didn’t hold that against him. I bent down again, taking the gun and the phone. There had to be a few rounds left in there and I couldn’t waste that. The phone was dead though so I salvaged the sim then tossed it. Maybe there was something else there, a message. Hey, it’s what my Mom would have done. I then did something I didn’t want to do; I slowly helped Brad to his feet and pulled him out of the room.

“Our sisters are in Susie’s room, your Mom was trying to text us about it before…well before”

He nodded then saw the gun in my hand. “Any more rounds there?”

I shrugged. He took it from me and checked the clip. “A few”

“Any more bullets for it?”

“In the office”

I shut the door as we made our way toward his sister’s room. Brad raised the gun as I opened the door. Hey we had to be prepared for anything even if we didn’t want to think it. Thankfully no little zombies came at us. Brad sighed as he lowered the gun. I did the same then followed him with the light as we went inside. The room looked like a fairly normal little girl’s room, much like Sophie’s actually. The only thing really out of place was the dresser in front of the closet door, the edges of it smeared with blood. Mrs. M had done a lot before the end, good for her.

Brad handed me the gun as he pushed the dresser out of the way.

I nodded to Brad as I raised the gun and he opened the closet door. The first thing I noticed was the smell urine. I guess I couldn’t blame them. The second thing was Hank come barreling out, barking like a mad man. I nearly shot him as he went for us but seemed to stop when he saw who he was going at. Brad grabbed the golden retriever, holding his collar. He licked Brad furiously on the face.

“Sophie” I said, fearing the worse.

A moment later a small head popped out of the clothes inside, followed a few minutes later by another. Both girls and both very much alive. I could see their tear stained cheeks and the blood that covered them. Not theirs, Mrs. M’s no doubt. Susie came out first, rushing her brother as she did so. She burst into tears as she wrapped around him. Brad held her tight, lifting her into his arms as he did so. Sophie stepped out a moment later, giving me a strange look.

I let out a huge sigh.

“I was so worried about you squirt” I said, crying.

She started to tear up too and ran toward me. I dropped to my knee, hugging her tight. I never wanted to let go again.

When I finally did she pulled away and looked at me oddly. “You have boobies now?”

I laughed. “Its Halloween remember.”

She smiled. “I got a sister for Halloween?”

“Yes you did.”

----- OOO-----

“So what are our options now” I asked as Brad checked the shotgun he was holding.

“There are quite a few” he said, placing the gun back on the kitchen table with the others.

We were all there now. After saving our sisters, we went out to the car to get the girls. Sandra practically threw herself at me. We brought them inside. I kept watch with the hand gun as Brad made a run for the rest of his father’s stock. We know had two hunting rifles and shotgun plus the handgun. It was definitely a lot more than we had a few hours ago. Brad was proficient in each weapon, having gone hunting with his Dad numerous times. Sandra was convinced she could handle one too if need be. I kind of found that a bit hot.

Hey so maybe my libido wasn’t gone after all.

We were all safe for now but that could change in a second. The right thing to do would be to make it to some secure location and try to get some real help. We thought about the police station but were pretty certain it was probably overrun by now. The same thing for most of the emergency shelters. In the early stages in always happened like that. The only other options were to make a stand somewhere or make a break for the Air Force base. It was about thirty miles down the road but it would be remotely safe. They’d probably have transport out of here too. I’m just not sure how much more we could all take tonight. The little girls were scared shitless and I was pretty beat too.

“I say we hole up somewhere for the night, someplace secure without any windows.”

“You have a suggestion?”

I nodded. “MY basement. At least for the night.”

Brad nodded. “We can barricade ourselves down there until morning then get in the car, drive as far as we can.”

“I want to try looking for Mom and Riley too.”

I looked at Sandra, wondering if she wanted to get her folks as well.

She shook her head. “I live with my dad in the trailer park. I could give a shit less if he’s a zombie or not.”

“My folks are in Europe.”

I’d forgotten that Claire was super rich.

“So my basement it is then.”

I grabbed Sophie, lifting her into my arms. “Are we safe?”

“For now” I said, smiling.

“What about tomorrow?”

Damned if I knew but of course I wasn’t going to say that. Instead I said simply:

“Tomorrow is another day.”

And indeed it was.

Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF



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