Hungry (chapter 7)

The last of the Haley meat has just run out. The rest of her has been starting to decompose so we had to move our little campfire to the other end of the room.
We have made it a point to keep the fire going as long as possible so we don’t have to use all the matches unnecessarily. We have been watching it in shifts. Tony has cut up more of the pews, the axe hardly leaving his side. He has taken to sleeping with it tucked under his arm.
The priest has locked himself in the room for the past few days and refuses to answer the door. Only talking through the key hole if at all. I haven’t rang the bell in I don’t know how long. Emily has gone quiet only eating enough to stop her from starving.
Sarah has been keeping her company. Ben as been walking around the perimeter. He has stopped hammering, stopped peering out the window. Now he just walks, like a sentry soldier.
I have been fluctuating between sleep and restlessness. I know that in few hours the hunger will creep back into our stomaches.
Sarah says, “I’m worried about the priest. He must be almost dead.”
Tony shrugs, “Well if that’s the case then we eat again.”
“Do you have to be so goddamn callous?”
“He’s the one who refuses to eat. If he goes then it’s the sacrifice he was talking about. He gets to be a martyr. We get to live a little longer. Everyone is happy.”
Tony gets up and walks over to the bathroom. Sarah looks at me. Looks at Ben. Looks at Emily. Looks back at me.
“Does everyone agree we have to do something about him?” she whispers.
Ben nods. Emily nods. I nod.
Like what ? I ask.
“Like get that axe from him for a start. I have a feeling that he is going to do something to the priest. Something terrible.”
In the room right now, the air is thick. Heavy. Outside I’m pretty sure it is night time. We have been lucky so far. No breaches of our defences.
I thought he was planning an escape, I say.
Ben gets up and says, “I’m going to go check on the priest, make sure he is still with us.” He then walks off towards the stairs just as Tony comes out of the bathroom.
To everyone he says, “I wouldn’t go in there for a while if I was you,” then chuckles. “So I worked out a plan on getting us out of here but we are going to have to figure out where we go. My plan is, we create a diversion and when the masses go to that end of the church we head out the other end and take out as many as we need to and clear a path. We can make some weapons out of the wood, Ben has the hammer and of course I have the axe. We will have to move soon as we have run out of food. Unless of course the priest croaks,” and he laughs.
“That’s not funny,” says Emily.
“And another thing,” says Sarah, “What is with you and that axe?”
“Yeah how come you are the only one who gets to use it?”
The girls are on the attack now and Tony looks at me for support. I look back and shrug my shoulders.
“What? You ‘ladies’ want to do the rough work? Chopping wood! You won’t have the strength to use it as a weapon so what’s the fucking problem? HUH?” on the word ladies, he uses the finger quotation gesture. His voice gradually rises as he completes the sentence and he stands up.
Sarah is looking at him, leaning back. Emily has begun to cringe.
He is cut off by a crack and his head snaps forward. Eyes bugging out. Mouth gaping. He drops the axe and it bumps to the floor. His right hand comes up to the back of his head and his left is held out trying to steady himself. He is stumbling forward head first. Behind him is Ben, hammer in hand. Tony tries to speak but his words are nothing. A collection of consonants.
Emily screams. Sarah jumps up and moves away as though Tony were a leper.
Ben moves again. He brings the hammer down on Tony in a flurry of blows sending him to the ground. Then Ben is on top of him. The sound of the hammer, smashing Tony’s skull, his face, his teeth. Then, the wet, soft sound.
Ben, I think he is dead now, I say. I reach out, slow, and touch his shoulder. It’s okay.
Ben is staring at the mess he has made. He gets up and says, “I thought he was going to kill you guys.”
Emily runs off and vomits, then gagging, dry retching.
Sarah says, “Ben, hand me the axe.”
I look at her and she says, “He’s still breathing.”
Sure enough, his chest is still rising and falling. Shallow though it may be. And now that its quiet you can hear the gurgling, gasping coming from his throat.
Ben grabs him by the ankles and drags him off up towards where Haley’s carcass is and says as he goes, “I’ll do this one,” and he scoops up the axe, dropping his hammer.

Hungry (chapter 7)


Brisbane, Australia

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