"Is it safe?" Lacy asked. Her voice had lost its quiver of fear. Now she just sounded tired and weak.
Darrin shook his head, peeking downstairs from the upstairs hallway. He could see figures moving, shambling through the kitchen and living room, their eyes dull and lifeless. But they were alive, alive and violent. And they'd taken over the first floor of the house.
"They're still there," he said, moving back from the stairwell and into the bedroom.
She nodded, looking down at the floor. Light filtered in through the edges of curtains blocking the windows. She looked emaciated.
Six days of being stuck, prisoners in their own house, starving.
He sat on the bed, looking at the wall. His stomach gnawed at him from the inside.
She put a hand on his back. "It's okay. They'll leave. They will."
He stood up and searched the room, much as he had done before. But there wasn't anything that could be called a weapon. No guns or knives or baseball bats. He shook his head, thinking of the old movies that played before everything went to shit. The heroes had always had access to some kind of weapon. But he didn't have any guns and the only knives they owned were in the kitchen. And who kept a baseball bat lying around if you don't have any kids?
"You can't go down there," she said.
"I have to. We're starving."
"You don't have a weapon." She stood up. "They'll tear you apart."
He opened the closet door, still searching. "I'll create a distraction and sneak into the kitchen. These things aren't smart, they don't think." They just kill, he thought but didn't say.
She turned away.
He left the bedroom and went into the bathroom. A haggard face stared at him from the mirror, scraggly beard, messy hair and weary eyes. He ignored it and looked around. Toilet brush, electric shaver, bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Nothing useful.
He went back into the bedroom.
She held a knife in her hands. It had a short sharp blade and a black handle. There were tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry..." she whispered, offering the handle towards him. "I had it in my purse, from when I walked home alone at night in the city. I found it a few days ago."
He took it, inspecting it. It felt strong and easy to use. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want you to go downstairs." She stepped forward. "Don't go. Just let them leave. Then we can go downstairs and-"
"They aren't leaving," he said, turning away. "And we're starving." He went to the stairwell and listened. He heard shuffling steps and low moans.
He crept down, step by step, thankful they had carpeted stairs. He skipped a step that always groaned and reached the bottom.
The stairwell opened into a narrow hallway that had doorways into the kitchen, living room and a wash room.
He took slow breaths. There was nobody in the hallway but the sounds of feet and groans were louder.
He went to the kitchen, peeking in. He gulped.
Two of them shuffled around the island, staring into nothing. Their clothes were ripped and bloody. Though they moved slow now, that could change in a moment if they saw food. They were worse than animals.
One stepped past the doorway. He walked up behind it and stabbed it in the back of the skull. The man went down, gurgling.
The other, a pale woman, turned, eyes widening and mouth opening.
Darrin couldn't get the knife out of the skull.
The woman moaned and scrambled right over the granite countertop. She slammed into Darrin, carrying them both to the floor.
Darrin slammed his forearm into her throat, keeping her gnashing teeth away.
Her saliva dripped onto his face. She raked her nails against his neck.
He shoved, trying to push her off but she held on to his arms, straining and biting the air. His arm grew tired, her face inching closer. He swore in an agonized whisper, over and over. He was going to die. He saw her tongue out, reaching for him, inches away.
This was it. This was death.
He almost felt relief. It would be over, the hunger, the pain, the depression. Just...gone.
Lacy stepped forward and plunged a large kitchen knife into the pale woman's temple.
The woman's head dropped, lifeless.
Darrin's strength gave out and he let the corpse fall on top him. He gasped for breath, looking at the wall. Did he feel regret?
Lacy pulled rolled the body off and helped him up. Her hands shook and her eyes were wide. "I killed her," she said.
Darrin shrugged, feeling nothing. He wondered if he was in shock. "We have to get the food," he said, struggling to feel like anything mattered. He wiped blood from his face.
A growl came from the doorway behind him, which led to the entryway. A short man snarled, seeing them.
Darrin moved without thinking. "Back up the stairs!" He said, shoving Lacy into the hallway.
The man charged.
Darrin grabbed the countertop of the island and kicked out, catching the guy in the chin and laying him out.
"Darrin!" Lacy called out.
Darrin went into the hallway and saw Lacy pushing the door to the living room shut, but hands and arms stuck through the jam, blocking it.
"Leave it," He shouted.
Something slammed into him from behind, tackling him into the stairs.
"Not now," Darrin said. The time to die had passed. Now he had to live. He slammed his elbow back again and again, until he heard a sharp crack and the thing on top of him slumped to the floor. There was blood on his arm. The short guy lay face up, face mangled.
She left the door and ran to the stairs.
Darrin hurried her up and followed, seeing at least three more people rushing through the open door.
They sprinted up and into the bedroom.
Darrin slammed the door shut and locked it. He could hear growls and yelps.
Something slammed into door, making it shake.
"The dresser," Lacy said.
Darrin nodded. It was a heavy wooden thing, polished and beautiful, an antique.
They got to the side and shoved it in front of the door, before collapsing onto the ground, gasping for breath.
Darrin's body shook, muscles tensing and relaxing. He gasped for breath. He tried to get up but he couldn't. The door shook but didn't move.
Lacy lay next to him.
He managed to put an arm around her and pull her close. That was all he could do. They were too hungry, too tired.
And they were stuck back in the bedroom without food.
Tomorrow would be the seventh day.