Out of the Frying Pan
Stan climbed out onto the window ledge and then reached inside to help Gloria.
“I can’t do it, Stan. I can’t.” She pulled her hand away and looked down towards the ground. Those things that used to be her neighbors hadn’t looked up, but if she fell they would be on her like white on rice. She shivered at that analogy and tried not to think of herself as food. Lord knew those zombies did.
Zombies! That’s what they were, weren’t they? Stan could call them crazy assed people all he wanted, but that’s what it was. She’d known it would happen one of these days… even joked about how she was prepared, but hell… who could honestly prepare for something like this? She was just a single mother with a teenage daughter. She didn’t even own a gun, even though she kept talking about getting one.
“Come on, Gloria,” Stan hissed, holding out his hand. If the fire doesn’t get you, then those things will find their way up here.”
Downstairs she could hear the zombies stumbling around. He was right, they hadn’t learned to use the steps yet, but once they figured it out, they would. Listening she thought she heard the bottom step creak. It was the one that woke her when Rayne had tried to sneak out of the house to meet that boy. Her eyes widened and she grabbed Stan’s hand.
“Slow down just a bit, sweetheart,” he laughed, though the fear in his voice told her it was more nervous laughter than anything.
“Shit, slow down. Those things are trying out the steps now.”
“Okay, but if we fall off the ledge they still get us… only we break our bones and don’t stand a chance.” Steadying her on the ledge, Stan looked up and pointed. “I can reach the edge of the roof and pull myself up. Then I’ll reach down and pull you.”
“You’re joking, right? Stan, you can’t even do chin ups, how are you going to get up there and pull me up? Wouldn’t it be safer… and easier to climb down the trellis?”
“Sure, Gloria. If you want to get eaten.”
Gloria glanced down and then wished she hadn’t. Leaning against the side of the house she hung on, trying to forget that there was nothing between her and the ground except for air. “Well,” she said through her teeth, “They haven’t seen us yet. Maybe if we are real quiet, we can get down there and run before they see us.”
“Run where? If they are all over our block, then they could be all over town.”
“To the school. I need to get Rayne.”
“That’s three miles away! Look, if we go up onto the roof we can jump from there to the garage. Climb in through the window, get the car and we’re good to go.”
“There’s just one problem with your theory. My keys are inside the house.”
“What the hell did you leave your keys inside for,” Stan hissed through clenched teeth.
“Well I didn’t exactly think I had time to run to the kitchen and grab my purse. There was a zombie coming in through the window.”
“Maybe I can hotwire it. Don’t,” he said, shooting her an angry glare before she could ask how he knew how to hotwire a car. “Let’s just say I haven’t always been the great guy you know me to be now.”
“You don’t say.”
There was a crash in the bedroom and Gloria risked a peak through the window.
“They in there?” Stan asked.
“Uh huh. And staring right at me. Come on, Stanley, get a move on it!”
Stan gripped the edge of the roof and pulled. He thought for sure he would have adrenaline on his side. He’d seen documentaries about people that had done amazing things when spurred on by adrenaline, like lifting cars off of people. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t lift himself high enough to get a leg over the roof. Then he felt his fingers beginning to slip.
“Stanley!” Gloria tried to move to the other side of the window, but Stanley was still there, in her way. The creature that she recognized as her neighbors nineteen year old son lurched towards the window, at first with a few uncertain steps, but then a bit more steady and now he was rushing towards her like she was an all you can eat buffet.
A side of liver and a nice juicy kidney coming right up, Gloria thought. Then from behind the zombie, Rayne ran into the room. Gloria’s heart sank, realizing her daughter must have joined the dead. But if she were a zombie, she wasn’t acting very zombie like. In her hand she held a tire iron and she lifted it, splattering the creature’s brains across her special order bed spread.
Rayne ran to the window and reached out, helping her mother back into the room.
Gloria hugged her daughter and then saw someone else stumble into the room. He had dark hair and eyes that seemed to be alive, but he was covered with blood.
“Behind you,” Gloria shouted.
Rayne turned, raising the tire iron and then stopped, laughing with relief. “This is Saul, mom. He’s a friend.”
Gloria couldn’t help but notice the sour expression on his face when Rayne introduced him as a friend. She wondered if there was something the boy felt that Rayne didn’t.
The voice came from outside the window and Gloria realized that she’d left Stan hanging… literally. “Oh my God, Stan!”
Stanley tried to hang on but he felt his hold loosening. It was a losing battle. Below him he heard the crazy cannibals groaning and could feel their beady eyes on him. His fingers, finally losing the battle, let go of the side and he began to fall backwards. He hoped it would be a painless death. But then arms closed around his waist and he felt himself being pulled inside.
“Oh Stanley, I am so sorry!” Gloria launched herself at him as soon as he was in the window, covering his face with kisses.