She was going to die anyway, so the death was not the hard part. The rest that was denied her, this is what drove Joey insane. His wife Serina had developed lung cancer after smoking to much one step meth. After surviving drug induced cancer in both lungs, she kept on floating the boat. Joey had made the shit in the early days, but for the last year and a half he had sworn off it and ran anybody coming on his property away at gun point. He still thought he could save her. The doctors at the ARH told them both rather bluntly the diagnosis, just another fiend getting what they deserved.
He had stuck with her though. When the doctors, the family, friends, everyone had deserted her, he had stayed. She had cheated on him many times, he knew she would blow anybody for a quarter bag. As few as six months ago when she had dropped to under 80 lbs and could barely walk he had caught her getting fucked in the bathroom by a local drug dealer. He left, but he always came back. She had nobody else.
So when she finally passed he was saddened, but also relieved. He felt as if a weight had been lifted and he felt guilty for weeping more out of joy than loss. So as he covered her in a sheet and walked out the door to call the authorities he was surprised to hear a loud thump from the bedroom of their small apartment. He left the key hanging and walked back to the bedroom slowly. "Serina? Baby?" His heart jumped, could she be alive? Could he have made a mistake? "Serina."
The door suddenly flew open making him jump back toward the Kitchen. Serina stepped out with more strength than she had in months. "Serina?" Her eyes had changed the capillaries had busted from the stroke that killed her, and she bore her teeth like a wild animal. She rushed Joey before he could make it to the door. They struggled as he plead with her quickly realizing that she was no long his girlfriend. He threw her small frame back into the bedroom bouncing her across the bed into the wall. He slammed the door dragging the dresser in front of it as quickly as he could. He began piling as much furniture as possible against and on top of it as Serina pounded and thrashed at the door. If she had been healthy before death Joey was convinced she would break threw. As it was he felt lucky she was only 75 lbs soaking wet. He swept his shoulder length oily brown hair out of his eyes and wiped the sweat from his brow as he finished his task. He had gotten small at one time but since quitting the crank he had gained not only weight but muscle. His nearly six foot frame was finally recovering from the ravages he had put it threw.
He could do nothing but think of her. He had loved her since the day they met 3 years ago. She was getting pimped out by a pill dealer to support his OC and cocaine habit. Joey was one of the dealers her old man fooled with. He traded her for an eight ball of crack. Joey had never really fucked a beautiful woman before and back then Serina was beautiful, to beautiful to just be some junky's trade goods. Her brown hair fell naturally framing a face whose simple yet elegant features just worked as icing on a cake. Her body was thick in the way a man loves, and Joey loved it more than anyone. She had a look of innocence to her, and alone, she had confided many wonderful, and horrible memory's. But that was a little later. For now Joey saw opportunity, any way to expand his business. It wasn't cheap buying product to sell, other to use, paying favors for anyone taking a risk. It all took two things, money, and dope. Serina had the ability, if properly managed, to bring in both, and be out on a little time, sweat, moans and groans, and half of those she faked anyway.
He knew what she was, and at first, he treated her as such. She didn't seam to mind. He set up the deal, she fucked or sucked for the dope or money and they got high. It was when speed hit the mountains, and Joey fell in love, that she really went to hell. Joey played it cool as long as he could but after awhile he flew into rages after she finished off with a john. This only served to make Serina hide her work. The first time he beat the shit out of her, he had caught his best friend, balls deep in Serina's ass. He had watched them threw a crack in the door, she loved it, she begged for it. He began to shake and finally burst into the room bashing his friend in the head with the butt of his pistol. He grabbed her and threw her into the shower screaming about her being a dirty whore. She tried to escape but he back handed her sending her flying back into the hot water , just a few degrees shy of being hot enough to blister the skin. He didn't let her out for an hour, even after the water had turned ice cold and she had begged him. She quit the "whorin" as she playfully had described her profession, for awhile after that. But as the speed really came on and the one step method made it possible for any idiot to make, she started her old ways again.
To keep her from going around town Joey began dealing then making "shit" himself thereby eliminating the need for her to fuck for the dope. She fucked for fun then. Toward the end she even gave that up. She had been bed ridden for well over 3 months, and for the first time since they had met he knew she had been faithful. So had he. He hardly left her bedside in that entire time. Everything he could possibly need was within a mile of his apartment, and while cheap, old and un-refurbished, with hard wood floors worn smooth by decades of use and doors that where cheap and thin in the days when that meant two pieces of paneling, with cardboard rings in the center providing at least a small illusion of defense. He only left when he had to go buy food or other necessities. He had made the occasional new release rental, but as things got worse he even gave that up. She wasn't the Serina he had seen the worst from anymore, looking at her tiny frame barely visible under the thick blanket she insisted on, even on the hottest of days. That Serina, the one he so desperately wished to keep from being real, the one he blamed himself for partially creating, and certainly encouraging at first. He hated himself for all of it, and wracked is brain with ways to repent, or somehow make things even.
He had really understood her toward the end. She had problems, bad problems. Her childhood had been a mess, abuse and neglect, from the father and the mother. The father had simply left. She saw him around town, and she knew she had several half brothers and sisters scattered throughout the county. Some she talked to , it was no big secret who her dad was, but others would look threw her like she didn't exist. They didn't want to be associated with people like her. This simply served to damage her self esteem even more. She had associated sex with love at an early age, she had confided this in him. That was the the two sides of their relationship. She hurt him, he raged, but in the time they spent alone, together, she could make him melt and feel so terrible for his reaction to things she couldn't control. It made his head spin just to think about it and the entire relationship had felt like his blood pressure was elevated and a tension gripped him every waking hour with worry over the actions of someone that he had absolutely no control of that she didn't grant him. That was something he didn't realize till closing in on her last month. She didn't see fucking as cheating. No, to Serina it was simple business, you wore a rubber, you came on her not in her if you insisted on finishing up like that. You paid up front, and she only dealt with strangers if her "manager" could be in the room next door. She didn't love any of her clients, sure she had some she was more fond of, some because they would slip her extra dope or money, and all she did was talk a lil sweeter and act a little bit more enthusiastic when they where hunching with everything they had determined to show Serina their manhood and how they could still show a modicum of sexual prowess. She knew her job involved a lot more than just laying on a soft surface to act as a human pin cushion. Joey never could accept that everything , except her feelings for him, was just an act. It was all purely mechanical, and a means to an end in her view. Her fucking had nothing to do with loving Joey.
She even told him once that the only person she never "fucked" was Joey. He had been high back in those days, and only vaguely recognized it as a compliment. As he had looked in on her earlier, that forgotten moment had flooded back to him. Being clean and certainly feeling emotions with a all new renewed sensitivity and strength, her barely breathing frame was replaced by her sitting in her blue ADIDAS jump suit, saying it to him again. This time slightly different, and he suddenly realized the completely accurate version. "Don't you get it you asshole! You! Your the only one I never fucked you stupid sum bitch!" She had been sitting with her legs out but as she had tried to tell him how she truelly felt, but knowing she was talking to "Other Joey" and it was useless, she had crossed them and was now sitting Indian fashion. He wouldn't remember it tomorrow and if he did, he would fuck it up, or completely remember the entire thing differently and have this false memory, which he believed in whole heartedly. The look she had gave him said it all, now that he could remember it clearly, it was a look that said "Why do I try? Why do I care? I could work easier and maybe even make more. Why do I let him hold me back" it was a look of contempt, anger, and frustration, and then it slowly faded into a look he had only seen a handful of times from her. It was a look of pity, of love so strong, it hurts when you just can't make the other person see you would never hurt them, that all they needed to do was see your view of the business. Then, maybe they could see, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't convey exactly how she felt about him, and what she had felt come alive inside her, these last few months as she lay dying. But she couldn't, the last month, her voice box had completely given out, leaving her to use a small bell tied to a string she could flick with a slight movement of her wrist. Then Joey would have to struggle threw her gesturing, and trying to explain what she wants or needs.
The worse she got, and the more angry and frustrated she got from being unable to convey to him what she meant. There was no longer a "fear of death" for her, no , now she had nothing to look forward to except an ever hardening "struggle with life" This was supposed to be her peace, and in many ways his too. She would no longer seek a love that nobody could give. This was going to be the end for them both, they would be together forever, or at least that was the plan. Joey was going to go out in style, turn on the gas light a candle and block off all the door. It would make the papers. They would be famous, and it would be fast, a part he feared and sought to make as quick and painless as possible for himself. He thought of his own being scared , petrified that he may feel like he's dying for a few seconds. While poor Serina had felt herself dying for far to long, and still her tiny body had fought for ever last second of lucidity. He felt so ashamed, so weak when compared with her, so guilty for all the things he had said and did, when he realized the power of the words and his stupidity for not realizing just the true nature of their life together. She was at peace, his work was over, and there was nothing left. It was time to clock out. To make the world remember Serina, and make it face up to the angel cast down to this hell on earth.
At least that had been the plan. He had covered all the windows with double layered plastic. Not completely air tight but certainly an effective barrier. Yesterday, sensing her time was close, he had duct taped a layer over the closet door and had hung but not secured around the frame, a layer over the bathroom door. He had a natural gas stove, laundry dryer, and small open faced gas heater, another visible indicator of the apartments age, and the apparent "greasable palms" nature of the local health ad safety inspector. The heater worked just fine, and as long as someone was sure footed and not accident prone, or expect small toddling children, you would probably never have an issue with one. But a slight stumble could lead to horrible burns and scars from even the slightest of touches to the heated glowing face of the steel and chrome blast from the past. One of the ceramic bricks, which heated to a comforting, inviting glow when the gas was running was gone, probably first cracked , then removed to help in easy lighting, since the procedure for these type of old heaters was to hold a flame over the burner, turn the gas valve with your other hand, and at the same time try to lean as far backwards with your face and head as possible. It made a WHOOSH! sound as the small cloud of gas caught, and shot a ball of blue flame clearly over the metal rim on top and further than the two little steel bars which served to warn someone who would obviously be way to close to the flames if the heater was working anyway, and leveled down to its even predictable, dependable wall of flames across the heater. "Fuck!" he says , more to reassure himself that he was not dead or asleep and in hell. He cleared the distance between the still thrashing Serina in the bedroom and the heater with speed and purpose. He turned it off grazing , and slightly burning his forearm. He hadly even registered it though, as the initial panic and adrenaline was ebbing away, he didn't even notice the minutes passing, as he stared at the door. Watching it shake, and bulge amazed at what 75 lbs thrown with reckless disregard for bodily injury could do.
Now he didn't know what to do. His mind, accustomed to drug deals, and dangerous situations, he had even sensed and prevented a couple different double cross robberies over drugs and labs. When in danger, he had always prided himself on acting quick, smart, and with a situation solving level of violence. Seemingly dialed perfectly in. If need be he could handle a deadly threat with deadly force, Joey was a dead eye, and never left home without his pistol back then, or beating several members of a particularly nasty Mexican gang which tried to run the city of Hazard, the next county over. Even he admitted that one was pure luck, and if they had sent a more seasoned, experienced crew in to begin with, he would never have made it out alive. As they where though, all young men who had seen a fair amount of violence, but had never gotten much dirt on themselves. Their flinch, was enough to kill one and put another into a motorized wheelchair for life. After that display of willingness to kill the majority of the punks ran as far and as fast as they could, one struggled to unjam a old Italian pistol, so poorly stamped out of inferior metal that joey doubted if the damn thing had ever worked even new. He had taken it as a trophy, a lot of people thought it was to prove how bad Joey could be, and how tough he was. Joey never corrected them, but in truth when he looked at it he never thought about a glorious battle, he thought about Serina, who was hid in the other room, armed with a pistol and warned that if she heard shots to stay hid and try to wait for them to leave, and to only shoot, if Joey was dead, and she was next. Joey had played the deal calm , never letting on the bits of Spanish he had learned spending time in jails in Northern Indiana, and working with different people's and being shown the differences between the regional dialects at different places in between stints here or there across the state. So as the two cocky young men bragged back and fourth to one another , commenting on how smart they where, and which one would indeed do the job after he got done weighing out several ounces, and kilo's of product. Making sure, to keep a handful of product in hand at all times. The one thing they where smart enough to know, is if they fucked up the product, and therefore the money, that only blood ties and sworn oaths could save them from such situations. The penalty for failure by reason of stupidity and or carelessness was easy to remember, death,the means of which are always chosen by the leader(s), to be as humiliating, long, and painful as possible. As Joey had got to his last half pound of decent grade meth, he made his move. As he sliced the bag open he swung his arm out in an arc sending a plume of harsh tasting, eye burning powdered meth into the air. In the same motion he reached the wall which had what apeared to be a piece of top rail to chain link fence construction. It was long, almost too long butJoeys luck held true. It turned out almost perfect, knocking men down, making others dodge and stumble and still more simply get out of the room. As he cleared the numbers in the old county storage building away, he began to grant himself the privilege of worry. He worried that the ones who had ran out, may just be waiting on the other side of the door ready to gun him down. His whole display had been out of desperation, that, and fear. Not fear for himself, while anyone would be an idiot to not have a healthy level of fear, without that keeping you careful, you never last as long as he had. No he feared for Serina, he knew how they would have handled it, they would have searched every room, killing all they found, then burnt the place to the ground. After she almost shot him from shear terror, having reached a point of frenzy from hearing the fight Joey had won in the next room. It had been so loud, and violent that she just knew there was no way he had survived. Lucky for him she looked before shooting, and ran crying into his arms.
Suddenly, Joey came to himself, his last mental image was of holding her, and her pleading with him to just go down the fire escape, to get away. "I can't baby, this isn't the type of shit you leave unfinished." She thought he was doing it out of pride, and revenge for them simply turning on him. She didn't believe him when he told her the truth anyway, so he let her and everyone else believe whatever they wanted. He only told her that story one time, and her refusal to believe sealed the truth away in his brain, that he killed and dumped 5 Mexicans, not for fear of his own demise, but fear of hers. And the pain of living threw her loss. That was why he had originally planned on suicide, as time went on however he saw that as being the only reason to be pretty fucking shallow and not any kind of memorial to her, not by itself anyway. That's when he planned to blow the place up.
But a calm washed over him as acceptance of her condition clicked and his brain began to process it as best any human could. He had seen enough b movies, he knew what she was and he knew he had to dispose of her. Even if she wasn't a zombie she was obviously mad, and would be killed by the cops if he called them. No, he had to do it himself. The thought of her brains splattering against the plain sheet rock wall flashed in his mind like the visions one has of stabbing their own mother mother in the kitchen. You don't know why you think it, it was just a flash, like a single frame of film. You shake it off, but you thought it all the same.
He could hear the sound of her small frame thrashing against the door, not ramming but almost an acceptance of the door and her inability to get threw it. The sound coming from her throat was little more than a harsh rasp her vocal cords being mostly eaten away by the cancer. "Please Joey, please I'm better now let me out.... "
"Serina? Whats going on I don't understand. " He had heard her voice, not the raspy whisper he had heard in the months before her death, but the strong husky voice that had whispered in his ear the many nights they lay together in bed. He stood up from the table his head shaking and twitching uncontrollably. "Baby, is that really you....? " He began to inch toward the bedroom door.
"Yes, you got me threw it I'm all better now. We need to leave I want to go somewhere and start over. Lets go the two of us like Bonnie and Clyde." Joey, tears in his eyes found he was removing the chairs and dresser away from the door. He didn't hear her now, no sound of movement. He put his ear to the door and heard nothing.
He slowly began to turn the nob , "Serina, baby it ..." The door flew wide throwing him backwards stumbling over the chairs he had used earlier to bar the room. Serina was on him in an instant her jagged meth ridden teeth biting at his arm as he tried to defend himself from her gnashing jaws. Spittle flew as she tried in vain to get a good hold into his flesh. He got his knees under her and pushed as hard as he could flinging her tiny frame against the wall. She was up almost as quick as him, but he was able to grab one of the wooden chairs and slam it into her has she she charged.
The gun! He had to get his gun. As she recovered he dashed for the refrigerator. She was quick on his tail so he flung the fridge door wide slamming her back and buying him the precious few seconds he need to grab the Honey Comb box from it's top. He never even pulled his hand from the box firing with the gun still inside. The box exploded and so did Serinas left shoulder. If it caused her pain it never showed but it did slow her down, and the next shot hit home as her skull exploded and she crumpled to the ground.
His heart was beating faster than it ever had even when he was tweaking. So much for romance, so much for a grand exit, he shoved the barrel into his mouth as tears streamed down his face. Fuck it all. Serina was gone. He bit down on the barrel and shook uncontrollably as he began to press the trigger with his finger. He looked over at her tiny frame threw the glare of tears, "I'll be seeing you soon baby."
Suddenly the whole building shook and a loud explosion brought him to his senses. He dropped his hand slowly. "Why? If your there God, why? " Slowly he rose, backing against the counter and regaining his composure. Shakily he shuffled to the door. Looking threw the peephole, he didn't see anyone in the hall so he eased the door open peering down the cramped filthy corridor in both direction. Threw the window at the end of the hall he could see black acrid smoke rising into the air. He stumbled mindlessly to the window and peered down seeing blue Ford Ranger crashed cab deep into the side of the building. The driver was half way threw the windshield obviously dead, the passenger, a young girl covered in blood began to move and try to open the crumpled door. As she struggled the body on the hood began to stir. Soon it was thrashing and trying to pull its way on out of the truck.
The girl began to kick at the door trying desperately to get it open before the thing could get loose of its glass prison. His thrashing intensified as he noticed the fresh meat trapped near his legs.
Joey began to come out of the daze he had been in since killing Serina and he noticed the gun still in his hand. "Hey asshole!" He yelled drawing the gaze of the beast and locking eyes before he loosed the 40 caliber in his hand. The first shot struck him in the chest blowing a nice sized hole but not stopping him. He shot twice more finally hitting the top of its head and splattering blood wide across the hood. The girl was finally able to get the door open and was screaming openly in the street.
It was only then that Joey began to notice the outside world, people were running, fires burnt in a few building including the Mission Church a few buildings down. Thankfully most of Hindman was hand cut stone, fashioned from large bricks which helped keep the fires from spreading, and also granting those stupid enough to hide, a false notion of safety. Because while the walls certainly where strong, the large windows made for displays back when there where still stores to display stuff in Hindman. Now all they did was display what was next on the menu for the first horror that spotted the crouching huddled survivors. A 90's cavalier nearly hit the young woman as it sped down the street, its back window and trunk covered in what had to be blood. People hurried to their cars carrying little if anything. Joey's eyes were drawn to a young man maybe 75 yards away, as he struggled to process the scene, the young man no older than 16 or 17 was trying desperately to open the door to his van as a large man stumbled from a nearby alley and began to run with surprising speed for a man so big. The younger fellow barely made it into the car before the mountain of a man slammed into it at a full run. The drivers window exploded and he was dragged from his car screaming while being eaten alive.
"If you wanna live get your ass up here! " he yelled to the girl, still obviously in shock. He thought of firing a shot to snap her outta it, but she began to stumble toward the door as the large man gave her notice. He was almost on top of her when Joey fired. His bullet missed its mark but did shatter the kneecap of the man-mountain sending him face first onto the pavement. His teeth clattered across the black top as his nose was ripped clean from his face. She was in the building though and that's all that mattered, maybe she would have a better idea than Joey of just what the fuck was going on.
He met her in the hall way and hurried her into the room, she gasped as she saw Serina's shattered body laying in a heap. "I had too, you saw whats happening out there."
"Yeah its bad, really bad man. " She was checking the locks on the door.
"Its strong, trust me. I made it so it would take at least a few licks from that damn thing cops use to break down doors." She was beginning to catch her breathe and instinctively trying to straighten her hair and clothes out. She was a pretty girl she wore too much makeup, he could tell she would look better without it. What was he thinking. He had just killed his girlfriend.
"Uhmm whats your name? " He said as he fumbled in the refrigerator for a bottle of water to off the girl. "Here just calm down, whats goin on out there? Who are you for starters. " He lead her to a chair he quickly grabbed and set upright.
"My name is Penny. "
I hope you guys enjoyed Chapter 2. Please leave comments below, and spread the word if you enjoyed.