Treehouse

The following story was written for Zombie Run 2013. Pop on over and check out the details and read the other stories. Feel free to join in on the fun and add your own story as well.


Treehouse

Abby stood on her treehouse’s balcony and peered down over the wooden railing. The ravenous monsters below hadn’t figured out how to get at her, but she was certain they would if given enough time. They scratched and clawed at the trunk of the tree, but hadn’t been able to figure out the ladder- yet. The creatures were numerous, but didn’t appear very intelligent.

She looked across the yard at her house. The sliding glass door had been broken. The sound is what prompted her to step out onto her tiny balcony in the first place. She’d been having a tea party with Dolly when the sound of shattering grass snapped her back to reality. She’d watched them pour inside and heard her mother’s terrified screams, but couldn’t see what was happening. Buster’s barking quickly turned into pained yelps then faded away entirely. She didn’t know exactly what had happened inside the house, but she knew it wasn’t good.

Through the shattered door she could see her mother’s leg sprawled across the mocha colored ceramic tile of the kitchen floor after the creatures had scattered. The leg of the woman she called Mommy was barely visible, but the expanding pool of blood underscored the graveness of the situation. When she first saw the lifeless limb she cried- big tears that could each have filled its own bucket paired with harsh sobs only a child with a broken heart is capable of producing. Before then the horrid things  hadn’t even noticed she was up the tree. Once they spotted her, they became incapable of noticing anything else. The world around them ceased to exist. Their sole purpose became finding a way to get to the young girl above.

She tallied at least thirty of the bloody, people shaped monsters before she lost count. She wiped the tears from her cheeks with a few swipes of the back of her hand and went back inside to pretend the terrible things weren’t actually there. She looked back out a few minutes later, certain they’d be gone. She hoped they were just a product of her imagination and her mother would be calling her for dinner. Angry moans erupted when she poked her head out the small window on the side of the treehouse. With a sigh she pulled her head back inside.

Her young mind struggled with the meaning behind the monsters as she paced back and forth across the short distance of the structure. Three steps one way then back the other, over and over again.  She didn’t know what they were or what they wanted, but she knew they were bad news, as her father would have said. She also knew her mother wasn’t going to help her.

Her stomach grumbled- a sign she’d missed dinner and likely wouldn’t be getting any that night- and she stepped out onto the balcony again. Her mother and Buster stood on the weathered deck. At first Abby smiled with relief. Quickly and with great sadness, the dawning realization that something was terribly wrong with them sank in. Both the woman and the dog were covered in blood and slightly disfigured. Angry and hungry, they made their way to join the growing crowd of at least fifty that surrounded the base of the tree.

She cried, both for her mother and for her dog. She didn’t know what the things at the base of the tree were, but she knew they weren’t the woman she loved nor pet she adored. She could see it in their glazed over eyes. They looked like the rest of the monsters down there- like the ones in the scary movies her father liked to watch when he came home on weekends. He let her watch one once, despite her mother’s protests. Abby begged for weeks before he finally broke down and agreed. When it was over, she wished he had continued denying her request. Two full weeks of nightmares followed her first and last horror film. She never asked to watch another. The moaning people things at the bottom of the tree were like the things from the movie. Even the ones that looked a bit like people she knew.

At least half of them vaguely resembled people she saw on a daily basis. The one that frightened her most was the one that looked like a boy she knew from school. She thought his name was either Joey or Jimmy, but couldn’t quite remember. She didn’t talk to the boys much at school so she didn’t know most of their names. One of his eyes dangled from its socket and the skin on the left side of his face was missing. Some muscle remained, but mostly it was just jawbone and teeth that she saw there.

She looked for her mother’s leg inside the door again, certain the thing in the yard wasn’t the woman she loved so much, but she could no longer see it. Only the pool of drying, red blood remained.

From behind her came a sound unlike anything she’d ever heard in all of her seven years. The distorted chirping scared her even more than the boy missing part of his face. She didn’t want to look, but she turned around anyway. On the railing sat a squirrel with blood soaked, matted fur. Its eyes resembled those of the amassed creatures below.

The ugly little thing let out a shrill hiss and jumped across the balcony. Its teeth sank deep into the pale white skin of her arm. Warm red liquid oozed from the wound and she staggered backward. The girl, with the squirrel still clamped onto her arm, tumbled over the railing and plummeted toward the hungry monsters below. The landing was gentler than she imagined it would be as the creatures crumbled beneath her, but she learned quickly that there are worse things than falling out of a treehouse as the rest of them descended upon her with gnashing teeth- far worse.

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