I had pressed my hands into his sweaty cheeks as he couldn’t stop darting his eyes. William screamed how he wanted to scratch his skin off. He licked his lips, urinated on himself and exhaled hard through his nose—there was something about him. He had hit me in my face, shoving me off of the bed. I had shuffled to the nearest corner. William did nothing but scratch fiercely up and down his arms.
“Goddammit, don’t touch me! I’m burning,” he hollered as I moved toward him to somehow help.
I had gotten to my feet and tried to reason with the man raging before me.
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you acting so crazy?” I had pleaded, cupping the searing pain he had caused on my face.
William pointed at me, his arms seeping a foamy blood through gnarled skin.
“Don’t you fucking talk back to me! I’ll fucking beat you. Fuck you, and beat you again!”
He charged at me, bumping the table and shattering my wine glass.
“Yes, that’s it,” he hissed. “I’ll feel better if I fuck you. If I can cum inside of you and release some of this… this energy and rage.”
Pushing me onto the bed, I knew my night t-shirt and panties weren’t going to be enough to prevent him from doing exactly as he planned with ease. William yanked down my panties enough so he could thrust his finger into my pussy. There was no ease, no caress, no William. This was not the man I knew. This was a man becoming a monster as he finger fucked me against my will. His eyes dilated more as he continued to force his finger, and then a second, and then a third inside of me. His aggressive attack was stretching me too far, and I worried that if he didn’t stop soon, he would tear me.
“William, you’re hurting me. It’s too much.”
Did he hear me? Did he care?
As if he were in some sort of horrific trance, he continued to pump his digits in and out of my hole as his body convulsed on top of me.
“Talk to me again and I’ll end y—”
He closed his eyes, clutched his chest tight, and collapsed backwards on the bed. I fumbled with pulling up my panties as I then wedged two fingers on his neck. I felt only a faint pulse. Keeping my hand there, I dialed the police.
I needed help. I needed help now. William… my William.
In a split second, William bore down his weight on me and wrapped his hands around my neck. The phone slipped out of my hand, and William crushed my neck so hard I couldn’t speak or breathe. I struggled, kicking and silently screaming, pounding my arms on the mattress. I stared into his half-crazed eyes, and knew I would die that night unless I did something.
The man, damn near choking the life out of me, was not my fiancé.
I didn’t want to do it.
I really didn’t want to do it.
But I had no choice.
I grabbed a broken shard of glass and stabbed William’s neck. He slumped on top of me. I pulled his death-grip from my neck. As soon as I turned away, I heard noises from my window. I walked toward it wordless as a panic-stricken glow of sweat drenched my face.
A throng of people swarmed the streets, blood frothing out of their open wounds from scratching. Children were snatched from cars, and women were mowed down by diseased mobs. An explosion blast in the distance, followed by screams. Glass windows shattered and strewn all over the streets. I knew in that moment, it was the beginning of the end.
Lettie and I cautiously walked the littered street. I had never been to this part of the city, but my new friend, Lettie, had a plan.
We had found each other by accident. Lettie was pinned down by a knife-wielding “scratcher”. I coldcocked it in the jaw and broke its neck, adding it to my list of kills.
“So, what exactly is this place—The Church—you’ve been talking about?” I asked.
“We’ll be there soon enough,” Lettie replied. “I can feel it. We’ve checked everywhere, and I’m almost positive it’s in the middle of the city. Only fools would go there, so it’s the perfect hiding spot.”
It struck a chord with me sometimes, Lettie’s secrecy, because I didn’t like to be in the dark. Back at the start, before we had met, I had been a homeless drifter tramping from one derelict building to the next overgrown freeway underpass. I knew any day I walked the earth alive, as opposed to a raging infected, was a good day to say the least. In this new world, hopes had to be small. Everything from finding water and to finding a hole to hide in was a miracle. I rejoiced if I slept more than three hours at a time, before I convulsed in a panic. I had been told of this place that could help put us out of our misery and go to a better place. A mythical place that would help us find salvation. Where we would not be in forever damnation. We would not become a scratcher for all eternity. Yes, I had heard of the place to which we were headed. Lettie called it The Church.