There was no warning. Becky moved fast, faster than he could move and she slammed into him. She wasn’t a big woman but the force of it drove Jim down to the floor. Her jaws snapped his face and the flashlight went spinning away. He could see her in snarling strobes and he had his arm between them.
She almost bit his nose, teeth coming together hard enough that Jim was sure that some broke. She clawed at him and he pushed hard, throwing her off of him. He scrambled back on his elbows, loosing traction in the blood. He didn’t remember drawing his gun but he lined up the site as Becky came for him again.
He pulled the trigger until the slide locked. Becky’s chest was ruin of red and she dropped onto his legs. He could hear his pulse pounding in his ears. His hands trembled. He dropped the clip from the gun and fumbled for another. He slid it in and listened. Tried to calm his breathing. He grabbed for the flashlight.
He pushed Becky off of him, her body flopping bonelessly on the floor. He shined the light at Cassie but Bud was gone. He whipped the flashlight around, searching. The kitchen was empty except for Jim and the dead.
Jim couldn’t stop his hands from shaking. He felt like he was going to pass out, but he forced himself to move. He stood up and looked for Bud, saw the trail of blood leading into the darkness.
He knelt by Cassie, and looked down at her. He pinched the flashlight between his cheek and shoulder, felt for a pulse. She was already cold and clammy. He thought he felt a flutter of a pulse, but he couldn’t believe that anyone could take that much damage and survive.
He tried the phone. Nothing. Fuck. He wondered if the ambulance was down at the bottom of the lane. He wondered if Em or anyone else was coming and he realized that he wasn’t thinking straight. He needed to find where the fuck Bud Pritchard was and he needed to get the fuck out of here.
The first person resolved itself as Bud came out of the dark, suddenly, leaping. Jim fired two shots but Bud was there and Jim swung the heavy flashlight hard, right into the side of Bud’s pale face. He wasn’t sure if he hit or not. Bud grabbed both of Jim’s wrists, his grip crushing. Jim dropped the gun and Bud kept pushing.
They slammed into the refridgerator. Bud pushed closer, his lips peeling back over teeth that looked too long. His eyes reflected red in the light. He lunged forward and bit.
Jim jerked his hand free and swung the flashlight down hard. There was a sick crunch and Bud’s head jerked to the side and down. Jim brought his knee up hard into Bud’s face, felt the bones in his cheeks collapse.
But Bud wouldn’t let go.