Congratulations, reader! You have reached the end of Night Aggressions. This is the last chapter, and we're so excited for you to finish the journey. Please, we ask you to take a moment after reading to leave your comments in the comments below and head over to the Night Aggressions page -- where you can rate and review the story for future readers.
It's hard to believe we've been on this journey since October, but here we go. And it's also hard to believe that I'm writing this post under a stay-at-home order, because of a pandemic. Needless to say, had I known the COVID-19 stuff was going to go down, I would have picked a different story to post. But here we are...
If you enjoyed reading our free story, Night Aggressions, please consider purchasing one of other books on the website. We have Fatal Flaws and Gun out now, and more coming in the future -- like Sweet Sixteen Killer.
And don't forget to stick with the blog, as I'm sure we may drop another story for your reading pleasure come October again. 😉
Shoutout to my collaborator on this, Trent Becker, and Jake Cesarone for editing all these chapters as they came. It was a group effort.
Chapter 26: Your own personal Jesus
Chapter 25: The colors of a ghost
Chapter 24: Right place, wrong time
Chapter 23: Wounded, but convicted
Chapter 22: And hell followed with her
Chapter 21: The same material
Chapter 20: Keep on rocking until the night is gone
Chapter 19: Uninvited
The temperature had dropped since Elderton and Martha had arrived at Taco House. A fog had arisen in through parts of the town. The air was moist. A rain was coming from beyond the mountains. Most of the storms Tipton received developed out over the Pacific and came in from the beach. They would be heading directly into whatever was coming their way. But perhaps the rain, fog and more would aid them in their escape. And the way Elderton saw it, they would need all the help they could get to make it out alive.
The four hurried out of the building. They gathered behind the trash bin which was conveniently under a tall tree. They knelt and checked their surroundings. There was lots of noise through the city. Screaming, gunfire, growling. It was hard to tell where any of the noise was coming from, it sounded like it was all around them. She was in front, leading their squad of survivors. Mandy and Maggie were in the middle behind her, Martha was in the back. Mandy and Maggie were each entrusted with handguns and as many clips as their jackets could hold. Their pant pockets were laughably feminine and could only hold one clip per back pocket, half of the clip sticking out the top of each.
“Screw the patriarchy,” Mandy had scoffed while trying to find space in her pockets.
Elderton motioned for them to move with her and they all ran in a straight line. They crossed the street and made for the Aldi. They lined up against the side of the building where a light had been blown out for several years. They used the darkness to edge down to the back of the store. They could hear a great deal of commotion coming from behind the store as they approached. When they got to the back, Elderton motioned for them to stop.
She peeked around the corner and saw a small group of soldiers tangling with several of the townsfolk. Her instinct was to run in and help her neighbors, but then she noticed the familiar traits. One was covered in blood from previous feasts, growling and drooling for another bite. A soldier caught him upside the head with the butt of his rifle, the man fell to the pavement. He hissed at the soldier who put two bullets in his head. The other townsfolk were in similar states. One was her next-door neighbor, a staunch Catholic and busybody named Maude. She had once called the police on her, because she saw a black man knocking on her door. It was Elderton’s cousin paying a visit. Maude was still in her nightgown and robe, but the gown had been torn to shreds and for the first time she was seeing her old, saggy breasts flapping in the wind. It was a sight she’d take a lifetime trying to forget, assuming she lived through the night.
She assessed the situation and liked the odds. It was an even match between the soldiers and Aggressors, a name they had all agreed to call the infected. She turned back to the group behind her and explained the situation. They would cut across the back of the lot, through a patch of trees, and into Mrs. Hinkley’s award-winning garden. If they were quick and quiet enough, they could avoid detection by both parties and continue their journey for the church—their halfway point.
They ran for the back of Mrs. Hinkley’s yard, Martha keeping an eye behind them to make sure they went undetected. It was looking good until Maude looked up from gnawing on a soldier’s neck. She sniffed about and spotted them. She growled and started to sprint after them.
They all ran into Mrs. Hinkley’s sunflowers. They dropped down to the garden floor to take cover. Martha grabbed Elderton by the shoulder. “Maude spotted us, she’s coming.”
Elderton could see the silhouette of Maude running haphazardly towards them in her slippers. “I got this. Stay down, stay quiet,” Elderton said. She slid her shotgun around her back with the strap. She pulled out a pistol with a muzzle on it. She waited for the opportune moment.
She stood up and took one shot in the dark.
A flash from the gun lit up the area just long enough for everyone to see that her single shot entered between the eyes of Maude. Elderton was back down in the sunflowers before Maude had even hit the pavement. They all waited to see if she got up.
They waited to see if anyone else from the group noticed the shot.
After a moment of stressed silence, Mandy leaned in to Elderton, “Damn girl,” she whispered.
The clouds opened and a mist began to spray them and the lot behind them. The ground let up steam, still warm from the day. Between the fog and the steam, the air was thick as a shower curtain. They continued walking underfoot Mrs. Hinkley’s garden. Around the house, through a rusted gate, and into the front yard. They rested beneath an old oak tree her great-great-grandfather had planted so many years ago. She bragged about it to anyone who dared pass her house while she was on the porch. People eventually learned to cross the street to pass her house. But sometimes that wasn’t enough, sometimes she’d just yell at a person not knowing if they’d hear a word she said or not. But assuming they did. Assuming they gave two shits and a nickel.
It was two blocks from Mrs. Hinkley’s house to the church. They could see it on the corner, well-lit by streetlights. A group of townsfolk came running down the street, screaming. They appeared to be uninfected. But just as they were crossing the intersection in a frenzy, a military Hummer came plowing through at a fast pace. It ran over half the people and screeched to a halt. A soldier popped out the top and used a 50-caliber mounted gunner to take down the rest. Limbs and blood flew everywhere. A head exploded. And then there was silence. The soldier surveyed the carnage.
One person was trying to crawl away without his lower half.
Not satisfied, the soldier pulled out a pistol and shot the man three times. Dead. He tapped the top of the Hummer and it drove off.
They paused for a moment, leaned against the sturdy oak.
Elderton knew what they were all thinking about. That could be them in a matter of moments. And even if they made it fine, they’d have to walk right over them to get to the church. Nobody wanted to move from that oak. The rain began to pick up, their body core temperatures were dropping. But nobody moved.
Chapter 18: Sting of the rose
The door slowly opened, and Mandy was relieved it was only their local sheriff. She had to hold back the feeling of diving into a hug until she knew it was safe to come out of the safety of their metal walls. Elderton seemed ok. Martha came up and looked in over Elderton’s shoulder in at Mandy and Maggie.
“How long have ya’ll been in there?” Martha asked.
“Not long,” Mandy said. “Lucas had just turned.” She stepped out holding Maggie’s shaking hand. “What is going on?”
“Not real certain,” Elderton started, “But something in the water at least is affecting people, turning them into rabid-like creatures. The government is here, Homeland Security, Army, and something else. They aren’t talking much. Kept us under guard until we escaped.” Elderton paused for a moment, looked at Martha for approval or disapproval before she continued. Martha simply nodded to her. Elderton continued, “And, there’s some alien creature and egg or pod thing. We don’t know how it all comes together, but we need help. Real help. Because the ones that are here are not helping. They’re just trying to cover it up.”
“Wait, did you say water?” Maggie asked.
“Yeah, why?” Elderton said.
Both Mandy and Maggie looked at each other and said, “Dylan.”
Maggie broke away from Mandy’s grasp and ran to the back of the store, where they’d found Dylan hiding before. She found him in the corner with a broom in hand, he was shaking. She slapped him across the face. He yelped.
“You’re a real piece of work, ya know that?” Maggie yelled at him.
Mandy and the others came running up behind. Mandy pulled her back and stepped between the two.
“He just ran and hid,” Maggie said, “While we had to fend for ourselves against Lucas. Ran and hid!” She yelled the last words at him.
“Alright,” Elderton said. “Let’s all calm down. We need each other alive. Come on, let’s sit down and talk.”
Hurts so good...
After they had shared everything they knew with each other, they sat motionless in the booth they had occupied for twenty minutes. Dylan had remained quiet for most of the time. Mandy kept checking him, afraid he was going to turn on them. He had drunk a lot of water and she just wasn’t sure he was all there upstairs.
“So what should we do?” Mandy asked.
“I think we need to get as many of us out as possible,” Elderton said. “But that’s not going to be easy. They’ll no doubt have the roads in and out blocked. And as you know, there’s only the North and South roads between the mountains. So we’ll have to escape on foot. But we can’t make it over the mountain pass.”
Martha chimed in, “When we were kids, my mom would take us into Canada along the beach. The North beach wraps around the mountainside and if you stay on it you can cross into Canada unnoticed. We did it all the time when we were kids, because there was a little ice cream shop in the border town.”
“I didn’t know that,” Maggie said.
“I’d heard of that, but never tried it,” Elderton said. “I like it. It’s a lot of area to cover between here and the woods, and then the woods are almost all uphill. It ain’t gonna be easy. Let’s try to cut the distance in half. Why don’t we make it to the church first, and then head over to the woods from there? That way if we get separated, we know where to go next. Sound good?”
Mandy and Maggie agreed. But Dylan got up and moved to the window.
“There’s something going on out there,” Dylan said. He peeled back a sliver of cardboard and what he saw was a gathering group of survivors and military in the Aldi parking lot across the street. “Hey, the military is gathering up some townies at Aldi. Looks like they’re trying to help us.”
The rest moved to the windows and peeked out as well.
“I don’t know, Dylan,” Elderton said. “I don’t trust them. You didn’t see what we saw.”
Dylan shook his head. “Screw it.” He opened the door and looked back at Mandy, “You coming with?”
Mandy couldn’t believe that he had the audacity to act like he was her savior after everything that had happened. She wanted to slap him just as Maggie had, but chose the more diplomatic route instead. “Dylan, Elderton and Martha know about these guys, you don’t. You better listen.”
Dylan shook his head. “It’s our military. They’re on our side.”
Elderton chimed in, “It’s not even debatable. They are not helping us. We stick to the plan and save ourselves.”
Dylan bit his lip, and then ran out of the door. Mandy grabbed the door, so it wouldn’t slam shut. They watched from behind the cardboard as Dylan crossed the street and entered the parking lot. The soldiers were startled and raised their weapons. Dylan stopped and raised his hands. A lot of shouting was going on between Dylan and the soldiers, but they couldn’t hear what was being said from inside. They watched as they welcomed him over. They added him to the group of townsfolk. They looked around for any other survivors. The commanding officer gave an order, and the soldiers had the townsfolk get into a single line. After the last soldier had stepped away from them, the soldiers opened fire and gunned them all down like a firing squad.
The gunshots rang out through the night, the soldiers scampered into a military jeep. They peeled out of the parking lot before a group of infected showed up and began eating on the corpses. The jeep full of soldiers came back and began to do donuts around the feasting. Soldiers were hanging out the side of the jeep spraying bullets into the crowd of chaos. They didn’t stop until the last one had dropped. They tore out of the parking lot and headed down the street and out of sight.
All they had left behind was a pile of corpses and blood. Dylan was at the bottom somewhere.
Mandy was in shock. She couldn’t believe what she had just witnessed. It had all happened so fast. One second they were alive, the next they were dead. And the soldiers didn’t even hesitate from following the heinous order. They really were on their own.
Elderton stepped in front of Maggie and Mandy. “As you can see, we have to save ourselves. We head to the church, and then the beach, and then out of Tipton for good.” Everyone silently nodded in agreement with Elderton. “Now, do you girls know your way around a gun?”
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