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The worst are the voices.
Sneaking into your ears, winding the words in a sinuous trap. You forget you're up against the boarded up windows because you're afraid. Now you're flat against them, straining to catch a snippet of those words. Those voices.
It's your mother's voice. Your kid brother. Sweetly, they beseech you. Where are you? Why are you hiding from me?
Your hand drifts from the machete jammed into your belt. Your fingers loosen their tense lock on the trigger. The doorknob you were gripping with sharp white knuckles -- gripping so tightly that the bones jut out painfully in angles -- now twists in your loose grasp.
Why am I hiding?
Then you remember your kid brother is dead. Your daughter -- dead. Taken by them. That's when you hear the scrabbling of their stiff limbs pushing against the doors that keep them out. You're close enough to smell the rotting skin. But before the smell makes you gag, it's too late. Because by that time, their voices have taken on a siren-like quality again. Instead of making Ulysses crash his boat against the rocks, the voices endearingly lead you to the deadbolt that separates the two of you.
Why did you leave me outside? Why won't you let me in? I'm scared.
It's a bit hazy...a bit befuddling as to why there are planks boarded up over the door. You stare at the rifle in your hand as if it's a foreign object. You don't need that. You don't even know how to use that. It drops to the floor with a clatter.
Their voices can transform your whole perception. Turn their bleeding gums into a glittering, beguiling smile. Smooth out the rough chunks of skin that barely hold together a decaying body. Mask the white, dead eyes that can no longer see...their flaring nostrils that seem to be how they perceive human flesh.
In a matter of moments, you've delivered yourself to them while wrapped in a euphoric haze. It's not until they're on top of you, sinking their teeth into you, tearing you apart, that you realize what's happened. And by that point, it doesn't really matter whether you're aware of what's going on or not.
But like I said, the worst are the voices. We've all lost something...someone...in the past several years, ever since that freak gas explosion. We all wish for the past, or hope there's still a future. And somehow they prey on those expectations. They use our deepest fears and wishes. They can take on the voices of anyone they've killed, and then they turn it against those that are left. And there aren't that many of us.