Chapter 13: Self Defense
The sun is pestering the sky to the east in the quite suburban neighborhood when two men hear the garbage can tumble over outside the house they share. "Phillip did you hear that?" a blond haired man asks the man stirring in his arms. "What?" Phillip responds groggily "I didn't hear anything." At the base of the bed a tan Yorkshire terrier leaps into the bed and begins a chorus of "yips." This high pitched ultra annoying noise on a larger dog would be considered a bark. He sits up further rousing his mate Phillip by poking him in the chest. "What Michael what is it honey?" Phillip asks mildly perturbed. "Buster shut the hell up jeez." Phillip sits up swinging his feet over the edge of the bed. "Phillip do not yell at Buster it makes him nervous.” chides Michael. "Phillip I heard something out front sounded like the garbage can being flipped over. With the power out since yesterday who knows what type of roving bands of hooligans there are out and about." Phillip stands stretching to his full height before grabbing a flashlight off the nightstand on his side of the bed. Michael moves to the window peering down and out he sees a man at the end of their driveway. His back is to the house as he sways in place. "There's a man in the driveway he's dressed all in black. Phillip he's knocking over our garbage cans and just standing there." Michael kneads his hands together nervously as Phillip comes over pulling on a blue rob to stand behind him. "Phillip it's just like Lubbock all over again." Phillip listens to Michael whimper. He gently rubs Michael’s shoulders attempting to console him.
The truth is Phillip is still shaken himself by the time they spent living in Lubbock Texas. They had moved there for his job with United Global one of the largest Department of Defense contracts in the United States. Two dead dogs and a Molotov cocktail through the window later Michael and he had fled the small community. The pair had no illusions about Texas being a Utopian society where two gay men could come and go as they pleased free of harassment but they were not prepared for the hostilities they'd encountered either. "Michael look we will be ok. You stayed up last night searching the Internet for all these rampant zombie conspiracies now that the power is out didn't you?" Michael stared bashfully at the floor. "We are safe the door is locked let's try and phone the cops while I still have some battery left on my phone." Phillip moves back to the night stand grabbing his Smartphone only to find it is black and lifeless. He cocks a disapproving eyebrow in Michael's direction. "Sorry hon my battery died at like one am." Phillips sighs deeply clicking on the flashing "Let's go down stairs it will be daylight soon. Then we will see if mister funny man is willing to show his face in the light." He points to a baseball bat leaning by the door. "Grab that on the way down Michael." The two men make their way down stairs in the opulent house. Phillips flashlight beam guides them through their powerless home. Phillip walks barefooted into the kitchen taking two bottles of iced coffee from the refrigerator. Michael measures his footsteps carefully carrying Buster in his arms "Here it's warm but its coffee and who are we kidding that's all that really matters." The two men share a laugh as they sip at the bottled store brought coffee product. From outside another crash startles the pair and sets the dog to pseudo barking once more. Michael puts Buster down trying to sooth him. Phillip takes the bat from his hand setting his coffee down. He walks briskly through the house gritting his teeth. "Now Phillip honey your temper." Michael calls trotting behind his lover. Phillip boldly goes to the bay windows at the front of the house pulling the shade back leaning the bat against the wall. Michael peeks over his shoulder together they watch the man stumble to his feet having knocked down the remaining garbage can and topple their mail box. Buster stands on the window ledge among the house plants growling. Phillip feels anger seize up his breathing he'd been afraid of people like this like his older brother Donnie his whole life. He wouldn't cower to "bigots like this anymore" he thinks to himself. "Michael as long as he stays outside and we are safe leave him be. I don't know if we can reach the police or now with all the power down but that might make someone like him ...." Phillip breaks off pointing an accusing finger to the man at the end of the driveway. "... Feel empowered." Michael nods from over his shoulder.
Content to pay the man no mind the pair of men head for the kitchen once more. A symphony of noise erupts from outside. Buster scampers with righteous indignation back into the living room out into the hallway and out the unlocked pet door. “Buster.” Michael screams without fear or hesitation he runs after the dog. “Michael I told you to lock that damn door.” Phillip yells pursing Michael as he races out the door intent on rescuing Buster from the grimy man. Phillip stops going back to grabs the baseball bat. As he comes out on to the small stoop Phillips sees Buster yapping and snipping at the man’s leg. Michael thinks the man is drunk as he sways greasy matted black hair covering his face. He moves towards the dog in clumsy steps but Buster doesn’t back down. Michael is half way down the paved driveway pleading for Buster to come to him. “Michael get back her now!” Phillip shouts clutching the bat hesitating in the doorway. The man in filthy black garbage stained clothes lunges for Buster at the exact moment the dog jumps at him. The man pulls the struggling dog to his mouth and crunches down on Buster’s tiny mid section. The toy dog squeals in agony as its chest cavity is torn open. Michael propels himself crying aloud at the dog’s attacker yelling “Buster.” Michael throws a blow connecting with the man’s chin staggering him backwards. The disheveled man drops the twitching dog’s carcass turning his attention to Michael. “You bastard.” Michael continues to assault the man who shows no sign that the blows do any damage to him at all. Ignoring a solid right hook the man catches Michael by his robe pulling him forward sinking his blood covered teeth into Michael’s exposed pale shoulder.
In Chapter 13 of The Living Dark we find ourselves on a side mission of sorts. We drop in on two characters who aren't in out main story arch. On the morning of the first day after the power outage we find two guy unaware of the danger they face. Phillip and Michael are a couple who live some in the general vicinity of The James and St. George's Hospital. The men find themselves cast in a familiar light believing the man in their driveway is an intolerant bigot set on making their lives in their new home miserable. Unfortunately they couldn't be further from the truth and the price for their mistake may just be lethal.
Come back the week of November 18th to find out who The Living Dark claims next.
The Living Dark