Annie and the End of the World 5

Annie was surprised. How could someone as big as this kid? Adult? Sneak up on her? Why wasn’t Arthur watching her back as she kicked the door? She shot a look at Arthur who just shrugged. Annie looked closer; there was something off about this kid. He had not even looked at them. He just stood there, shoulders drooping, looking at the floor.

“Who are you?” Annie asked.

That brought him to life. He looked at Annie and she could see that he had some type of disability; he had that moon face of someone with Down syndrome. He also had a huge grin and started to talk.

“I am Kevin. I work here. I clean the floors. I take the trash out. I am a good worker. And we have Sam. He has Terrorists so sometimes he talks bad words and there is Sandy. She is little and there is more want to see?”

“HI Kevin. I would love to see all your friends” Annie was quite frankly amazed. It seemed that perhaps this was a group of special needs kids who had survived on their own. That was pretty amazing, actually. Full capacity human beings, some of who Annie had travelled with, managed to get shot.  These kids were alive and well at least according to Kevin.

Annie and Arthur followed Kevin down the hall back to the lunchroom.  Ok maybe he is delusional.  Annie and Arthur had checked the lunchroom already.

Much to their surprise, Kevin said “Hello. Come out meet friends. “

From a hatch in the floor came some children, more came out of the drop ceiling tiles and some came from the cabinets.

One of the r kids who had obvious tics, said “You’re not supposed to tell where we are.  We hide from grownups. Remember the mother-shit grownups that hurt Lilly? What is wrong with  shit Kevin?”

“Hey watch your language!” Arthur admonished.
“ I shit am! “ came the reply.

Kevin came to the rescue explaining that Sam has Terrorists and couldn’t help himself. It took Annie a bit to realize that he meant Tourette’s. Indeed, Sam could not help himself.  With all the introductions made, there were eight kids, four with special needs, three who seemed to be the shy, nerdy types and one little girl named Sandy who was about 5.  Sam seemed to be in charge, so Annie turned to him

“What is in the office that is so bad?”

One of the shy types stood up and said, “Cannibals. They were going to eat us. We tricked them into the office then we put super-duper glue into the lock so they can get out.  They used to make lots of noise. Not much anymore.”

Kevin interrupted with a “Bad BAD Bad”

“Very bad mother shit they are”. Sam interjected. “We use Sandy to trick them.  Shit They chased her to office  We closed the door and glued it. They can’t   shit , shit, get out.”

“But how did Sandy get out?” Arthur asked.

The kids started to laugh.

Sandy giggled and then said, “There is  an air hole. I go in there and they too big,but they thought they could get me“

Annie raised her eyebrows. Smart kids. Send the little one she gets through the ducting. It seemed these kids did not need saving. They booby trapped the place and took care of some E.  They had food, place to stay. Seemed they were all right.

“Well you kids are doing ok. I guess we will leave.”  Annie said.

“No” Arthur shook his head.

“Again with the No.”

“We need to check on those in the office.”

“No we don’t”  Annie looked at Arthur pretty sure he lost his mind

“Yes we do. If they manage to get out then these kids are in real danger. We need to make sure it is quiet because they are you know, “He looked at kids and then whispered “dead”

The kids heard him no problem and Sam said “oh they shit shit shit  dead they  are. “

“ got to check” Annie rolled her eyes. “Ok we need some acetone to melt the glue.  I saw a beauty salon a couple of doors down. They will have it.”
One of the kids that Annie had already forgotten his name volunteered to go get it.  He went into the janitors closet and pressed on the back wall.  A door opened and  the kid disappeared through it.  One of the geeky kids ( Steven?) explained that all the stores have been built one next to the other and that thee shared walls.  The kids had built a system to get from one store to the other on this side of the street.  They were working on a tunnel to get to the other side of the street.  Annie was impressed and told the kids. As she sat down to wait, the kids told her all the things they have done. They had no defenses until the Eaters came. Then they built the wall and put mouse traps and knives throughout it.  She was glad she missed the knives when she came over.  Little Sandy came and sat on her lap.  Only Kevin sat by Arthur.  Both were silent but Annie got the feeling that much was being said anyway.  The kid came back with,not the bottles of nail polish remover Annie had expected, but an entire can. He had gone to the gas station instead.

Annie went to the employee lounge, grabbed some towels and went to the office door. She got on her knees to look.  It was indeed full of glue. Meticulously, and oh so slowly, she dabbed the acetone into the keyhole, melting the glue. It’s taking forever Annie thought when the last little bit of glue dissolved. She tried to look through the keyhole but couldn’t see much.  Again Kevin startled her by handed her the key.  This kid was creepily silent.  She hadn’t even thought of a key. She took it, and looked Arthur. The Indian pushed the kids back behind him and drew his bow. He notched an arrow and then nodded at Annie. She got up and slowly put the key into the lock, being as quiet as she could.  She turned the tumblers and swung the door open.   A wave of decay assaulted her. .

Annie looked inside, what she saw made her gag.  There were bodies everywhere in various forms of putrefaction.. Parts were missing from all of them. Legs, arms, and buttocks were missing. One of the cadavers had a tourniquet above his knee, the leg below was missing. It lifted its head and  mouthed help me. Annie followed his gaze. Sitting up against the wall surrounded by a pile of bones  was a creature that might have been a man once. He was taking bites from a rotting leg. With each bite he closed his eye as if savoring a quality cut of meat. He suddenly looked straight at Annie and grinned. He got up faster then she would imagine and came at her wielding the leg like a weapon. Suddenly an arrow appeared in between the monsters eyes. He looked slightly surprised and then collapsed at Annie’s feet. She kicked him away.

Arthur whispered into her ear. “You are not going to scream again are you? “

Annie gave him a look and holding her nose went to the man laying among the corpses.    He looked bad. What was left of his leg looked worse.  Ii was gangrenous and black to the hip. There was no way he was going to live. She reached down to comfort him and he weakly grabbed her hand. He tried to pull it to his mouth to take a bite. Annie pulled her hand back. She looked at the man a moment, then drew her knife and slit his throat.  As he slipped away, she got up and turned towards the door. Arthur and the kids were looking at her. They made a path for her as she walked out of the office.

She stopped turned, looked at Arthur and said “I need a bath.”



Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 6.

Chapter 7:

Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Chapter 10: