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Story of Horror - The Living Dead
Bernie woke up but quickly regretted it. He was in such pain that even the slightest movement took his breath away.
“Lie still,” said a gentle voice.
“Who…who are you?” Bernie stared at a blurry figure that hovered over him.
“A survivor, like you,” the woman placed a damp cloth on his forehead.
“It crashed in the mountain,” she said. “The pilot was killed on the scene, and you are lucky to be alive,” she dripped a few drops of water onto his dry lips.
Slowly, his vision cleared. He found himself in a cave. A small bonfire was lit not far from where he lay. A pot like container sat over the flame. Tongues of fire thrived around the edge, making a sizzling sound.
"How long was I out?" Bernie asked weakly.
"You have been unconscious for almost a week. Sorry, we don't have anything to cure the pain."
"Thanks anyway for saving me."
“Just a few more minutes, my love,” the woman turned her face, and spoke tenderly. Bernie realized belatedly that they were not alone.
A man leaned against the cave wall. His face was pale as a ghost. It’s difficult to tell his age. Most of his hair had fallen out. The remaining few were in the color of dirty gray. His dull and wrinkled skin wrapped around the bony frame like an over-sized coat barely hanging. With an effort, he rendered a faint smile. The woman crawled to his side and kissed him on the brow.
"Hang in there, my love. It's almost done."
His mouth moved, but could hardly produce any sound.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be alright,” she reassured him. “We have hope now. Stay with me.”
“Is he your husband?” asked Bernie curiously.
She nodded. The woman appeared to be in her late thirties or earlier forties, average features, not as skinny though, with a radiant glow in her eyes.
“How long have you been here?”
“Too long,” she answered without looking at him.
“What are you making? It smells good,” Bernie complimented, fending off the awkwardness..
“Later, you will find out later,” she glanced at her husband and grinned.
Bernie shivered as a cold draft blew into the cave. Despite of the terrible pain, he would be quite content with a few bites of warm meal and a bowl of hot soup on the side. “Are they able to find us?” he tried to take his mind off the food matter.
“Not until snow melts away, perhaps in two weeks,” she said.
“Two weeks…" he sighed. "I’m not sure if I have the strength to wait that long.”
“God has its mysterious ways," she returned thoughtfully. "We used to think our end is near, but now you are here. You have brought us hope.”
“Hope…me?” Bernie beheld her face in puzzlement.
“Yes, you are very important to us, the answer to our prayer,” she smiled enigmatically. “While we are waiting, do you want to hear a story?”
“A story, go ahead,” he consented tacitly. “I can’t move, and am hungry and in pain. As long as it kills time before supper, I can care less.”
And so she began her tale. “A small plane crashes into the snow covered mountainside. There are only seven survivors out of 29 people on-board: an injured kid, a priest, an athlete, the co-pilot, a businessman and a married couple. They have little food and a pistol, which is not much of use since no bird can fly that altitude, and no animal walks about the ice covered mountain cliff. They send the athlete and the co-pilot down the mountain to find help, with food that lasts only three days. A week passes. No one comes to the rescue. With nothing to eat, the husband and wife take the pistol and out into the cold, hoping to catch something or anything that can ease their hunger. By the time they return, exhausted and fruitless they discover that the kid is missing and the priest is dead. They search high and low. Finally, in the deep end of a cave they uncover the remains of the missing boy, half-eaten, and a man, who still clenches to a piece of human flesh. He begs for mercy, citing that the child is going to die anyway and he offers the couple a diamond ring in exchange for their silence. The husband fires a bullet into the man’s head. As the father of two small children, his conscience does not allow him to accept a murderer's plea. They bury the victims in the snow. However, the sinner deserves a different kind of punishment,” her eyes flickered as she went on. “The couple consumes the flesh of the killer. At first, they are disgusted by the sight, the smell, and the taste of it. But then, as the hunger sets in, as the urge of wanting to see their children gets stronger and stronger, nothing seems to bother them anymore. All they can think of, all they want is to stay alive and go back to the loved ones. Two months pass ever so slowly. The husband worries again as the food supply runs low. The snow hasn’t melt, and the rescue team is nowhere in sight. He eats less and less, just enough to stay alive. If one of them must survive, the children need their mother the most, he decides, and secretively he prepares himself for the ultimate sacrifice…” she paused, looking adoringly at her man.
“So what happens next?”
“I think dinner is ready to serve.” she stirred the content.
Bernie lifted his head, glancing into the pot. However, only caught a glimpse of what appeared to a human foot.
“What is that?” he shouted nervously.
"Our dinner," she replied calmly.
"Di...dinner," out of the corner of his eyes, Bernie spotted one of his boots lying on the cold ground, covered in blood. He shuddered involuntarily.
"My husband hasn't eaten a thing for the past three days. He loves me too much," she said adoringly.
“What are you going to serve him? Wh...what’s in the pot?” he stuttered, shivering all over.
“I said you are very important to us,” the woman grinned. “Thanks for providing us with the meal. I don’t believe you have the appetite to join us.”
"What's wrong with my leg?" he stared at his lower body in shock.
"It's broken. To prevent infection, I have to remove it," she smiled wickedly.
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