The following story is a prequel to my first published novel, The Z Word. If you enjoy the prequel check out the other prequels available on my blog, like it on Facebook or order the book.
“C’mon kiddo, we’d better get back or your mother will kill us both,” Joey’s dad said to him from across the baseball field.
“Just a few more throws!” Joey yelled, and his dad just laughed and loosened his tie a bit.
“Fine, a few more,” he said. He’d really started to cherish the few minutes they played catch between the time he got home from the office and dinner. Five minutes later they were walking down the street toward home.
A man was walking behind them slowly and moaned. Joey turned and looked but his dad pulled his arm.
“What’s wrong with him dad?”
“Don’t know, don’t care. Let’s just get home.”
Joey peered over his shoulder at the man and saw the blood running down his chin and an odd look in his eyes as if he were far away.
Another tug forced Joey to look ahead of them and their house came up on the right. Joey ran ahead.
“Bet I can beat you!” His dad laughed and played along to the front door where Joey was standing bent over, panting.
“You beat me, you win.”
“What do I win?”
“You get to run right upstairs and wash your face and hands. You’re covered in dirt from the baseball field. If your mother sees you like this she’ll kill me.”
As his father opened the door Joey started to go in when he saw Marie across the yard waving from a window. She looked a bit upset, but a large hand grabbed him and pulled him into the front door.
“Let’s go! Get washed up! Honey, we’re home!”
As Joey ran up the stairs two at a time his father went into the kitchen to see what was for dinner. A quick sniff made Joey wonder if anything was being cooked in the house.
A change of clothes and a minute in the bathroom had Joey looking like new so he ran back down the stairs, jumping the last four and then looking back at them, impressed with himself. That’s when he heard a whimpering combined with a crunching sound.
“Mom? Dad?” he called as he ran around the bend into the kitchen and stopped with a squeak of his sneakers on the linoleum.
His dad was sitting on the floor as his mom seemed to be eating his neck.
His dad suddenly opened his eyes and pointed at the door. “Joey! RUN!”
Joey noticed the blood dribbling down her chin and that same weird look in her eyes as that strange man on the street and knew something was wrong. She stood from his father, the man’s body limply falling to the ground, and started in Joey’s direction.
“Mom?” he whispered.
She growled and he turned and ran for the front door. Outside he noticed a few people wandering around and they all stopped as soon as he let the screen door slam behind him. They all had that same look, and Joey knew he was in trouble. He thought about places to hide, somewhere they would never find him, and his mind went back to the game of hide and seek he’d won, beating all of his cousins, even the older ones. He knew just where to go.
Come back tomorrow for the story of Marie, and who knows, maybe even a continuation of Joey’s story…where will he hide? Will Marie survive too? Find out tomorrow!