All Hell broke loose the minute that black wooden door fell open. Viktor could barely see anything, his eyes terribly blurred up due to the salty droplets refusing to surrender to gravity, curling up and getting comfortable in his lids. The hallway that was so familiar to him as a kid was now dark and distorted, the blame falling either to the twenty one year old’s sudden fever, or the fact that he was probably losing his mind. Or maybe the heat flashes and cold sweats which were mercilessly assaulting his body were the murderers of his sanity? He shook his head almost violently as he stood up, looking around in the dark, the only light source being the moonlight filtering in through the windows.
The moaning coming from the second floor was muffled by a gentle ringing in Viktor’s ears, along with the rasping of his own breath and thumping of his pulse. As the pale young man swayed from side to side, he gripped the cold iron railing of the red carpeted, black wooden stairs in an attempt to stabilise himself. He ran his other hand through his sweat soaked black hair, trying to make himself feel at least a bit more awake by yanking at it. The moaning grew closer and closer, but Viktor tried to ignore it by focusing on forcing the world to stop spinning. His breathing was rapid and shallow, and his heart was pounding faster than the speed at which a teenager would run from a serial killer in a crappy slasher film.
As he limped towards the front door of the three storey mansion, the terrible sound of gasping and groaning crawling past the cold, scarred, dead lips of his mother seemed to almost die completely… Until the walking corpse tumbled down the long stairs. She did not seem to even notice her fall as she turned left and right on the floor, but then she slowly began to sniff the scent of her son. She — was that even the correct pronoun? His mother was dead. All that was left was a flesh-hungry reincarnation. Perhaps It was more appropriate. Yes, It. It turned onto its stomach and started crawling, slowly, towards the six-foot-tall man, but It was too late. When he reached the front door, he wrenched it open and quickly yet silently pulled it shut. Then he threw up all over the grass.
Tears filled his eyes once more as all the food he had in his system refused to be digested. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stood upright, gasping for the fresh, woodsy air. Unfortunately, however, it was much too cold. The entirety of the field was encased in a heavy sheet of fog. The threat of rain was almost eminent. With this kind of weather, it was very unlikely that he would be able to get anywhere.
His family’s house was situated in the middle of nowhere, in a forest on the outskirts of town. Maybe that was a good thing, as it disconnected him from all the chaos, but he wasn’t really sure. He wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
But wait, what about that door? Ah, yes. It was the one that led to his mother’s room. The thing is, she was a sick woman. Viktor had refused to ever see her again once he left the house. You might be tempted to imagine that he was eighteen and well on his way to becoming a man. In fact, he was only fourteen years old when he stepped into the huge airport of Moscow; the Domodedovo Airport. He had just graduated from Business School and was heading to the wondrous United Kingdom, where he was set to carry on the legacy of his father; the family’s company. Yes, he was a prodigy, a genius, a creature of strangely superior intellect — whatever you would like to call it. As if his physical health had made a bargain with his brain for such a gift, Viktor Lozovskiy was almost always sick in one way or another. That made him avoid the outdoors most of the time, which in turn kept his skin of a gorgeous deathly pallor. His ghostly pale blue eyes were lined by dark, long eyelashes, making them very hard to ignore. His aquiline nose, pale ruby lips and high cheekbones certainly proved that his genius did not sacrifice his aesthetically pleasing appearance. Nevertheless, Viktor did not have any romantic relations with either sex. He was too preoccupied by his multitude of interests to really care about other human beings. Science and ancient, brilliant literature dominated those passions, which made him quite the amusing conversationist — if one cared enough to look past his vampire-like appearance.
Either way, he was not much of a talker. He was very introverted and his silence was only surpassed by the dead themselves.
As he walked past the queue of travellers to the first class entryway to the airplane waiting for him to go to the land of his own freedom, the vice-president of his father’s company took his bags from him and helped him shove them into the compartment above his seat. Viktor nodded a thanks to the frail, old man with a balding head; where a few wisps of white hair, much like clouds or cotton candy remained attached. The way his Italian-tailored black suit was barely filled in with his bony, long limbs was evidence as to how thin the wealthy senior really was. It was slightly off-putting, but Viktor did not think much of it. In fact, he liked the kind, elderly human, whose eyes contained a warmth that lingered deep beneath the deceivingly cold surfaces of his eyes. He really was a gentle soul, but his awkward, crooked smile made it a tad hard to think so.
“Your father would be proud, Viktor,” said Alec Rasputin, who used to be a very close companion of the ex-president of the Lozovskiy company, Viktor’s father, Amaranduke. Now that he was dead and Viktor graduated from college, it was time for the son to become the president. He was probably one of the youngest company owners in history.
Viktor simply nodded to the old man, too lost in his own thoughts to even offer a smile.
The airplane’s pilot announced a few things, one of them being that they were about to takeoff. Viktor was very excited, but he was really quite terrible at showing it with any kind of facial expression. The only thing that even slightly hinted at his enthusiasm was the fact that his foot was shaking… And the fact that he had a mild cold. Another trade-off? Strong emotions could easily affect the young man. Grief over his father almost took him to the grave as well, but luckily, he was saved.
In Amaranduke’s will was the wish that Viktor would be taken away to the mountains, alone, to spend some time in the family’s cottage. His dad knew very well that his only son would not be able to take it if he stayed around people — especially around the poison of his mother. So he arranged for very good care for his son, even after his passing. He was just that good of a parent.
Mrs. Lozovskiy? Not so much. She was a terrible narcissist. Not the fun kind of narcissist that most of the population is, but the sick kind; the kind that was intentionally childish, selfish, and easily upset if things did not go their way. She hated her son but loved his intellect.
Why? Because to her, it made her look good.
Of course, being her son did not mean she could take the glory of his genius, yet that was how she saw it. She saw her child as an extension of herself, so if he was extremely intelligent, she was, too. That was inherently disgusting in so many ways, which was why Viktor was so happy to get away from her. Not long after he started to get better; to recover from the influences of his sorrow, she showed the true face of her being. The psychic vampire, the leech, the neglectful, unreasonably selfish minor in the body of an adult. Twice Viktor fell dangerously ill, all because she ignored his needs, forgot to feed him, or simply sucked his positive energy until his knees gave out and he stumbled to the cold, hard floor of the house’s library, where he spent most of his time.
Fortunately, his family was wealthy enough to afford a butler. He was a middle-aged man of well-breeding and great patience. After Amaranduke kicked the bucket, Simon took care of the fragile Viktor.
And now he was getting away, with a whispered promise never to return to the home-turned-Hellhole he grew up in while seeing his life flash before his eyes way more often than a regular youngster should. Once he was in the sky, all he could think of was the mere idea of the marvellous invention that carried him in the air, bringing him much closer to the rest of the universe and farther away from the surface of the planet he and seven billion other people called home.
Clouds raced by outside, and an amusing view of a far-away black cloud and lightning strikes brought a tiny smile to his soft lips. He felt like Zeus, in a sense, staring down at the tiny world of homo sapiens. They were so proud and so serious, despite how insignificant and nonsensical everything all really was. Everyone takes life for granted — what life? The actual, physical life that enables creatures to breathe, eat, even excrete. The reality that people could think, could inhale tiny atoms and waves — or strings — of combined elements and exhale completely different ones always blew his mind away. And if they stopped doing it for a sufficient interval? They would die. As simple as that.
That thought always managed to amaze him beyond belief. But what shocked him even more? The way in which so many humans thought of it as such a normal act that they constantly forgot how baffling the universe really was. And that did not come from a religious mind. Viktor was an atheist, and that made the world all the much more beautiful to him. The manner in which things existed was intensely more mystifying once you scrapped the ancient explanation of a god having created everything. And that was all it was to him — a mere outdated explanation formed by humans who did not really understand what they were seeing. Why was that so hard for others to understand?
Viktor went in all kinds of different directions with his thoughts as the trip passed. He did not remember falling asleep when he opened his eyes during landing. Alec assisted the black-clad, scrawny teenager off the plane and into a company-owned limousine as they exited the airport of Glasgow, Scotland.
Refreshed from his nap, the young Viktor looked around the new city with awe. The beauty — and the liberty he felt, like pleasantly cold air slowly expanding in his chest — brought him to tears. His powerful emotions won, and the only thing he could do was stare out the window as huge teardrops trickled down his cheeks. The sky was beautifully coated in dark ashen clouds, making the sunlight dim and relaxing to the eyes. A light fog hung in the streets, and there were but few people around. It was almost spooky, as if the entire town was actually abandoned. The sleek black car snaked its way around the snow-capped, gothic buildings, heading for the Lozovskiy company’s building.
Viktor finally released a soft, deep sigh in time with his body as it shuddered once; much akin to a baby finally reaching its limits and halting its pained wailing to rest. He leaned his head against the cool glass of the limousine’s window and closed his eyes, smiling to himself. He was at last released from the claw of the very embodiment of poison; the wolf in sheep’s skin, his mother. The thing that disguised itself as human but was nothing but a void; a black hole sucking everything into itself — well, everything it wanted. Viktor’s health, creativity, inspiration, strength… She tried to take it all.
He fought back, but it took a huge amount of energy. His spirit was broken. At last, it was time for him to heal.
“Viktor, Sir, we are here,” reported Alec respectfully, his voice quiet and very relaxing, the Russian obscure from the Scottish chauffeur. Viktor slowly opened his maddeningly light blue eyes and lazily lifted his forehead off the window. The chauffeur opened the door for him and he stepped out, pulling his long black coat shut as the cold of the ancient city threatened to seep into his bones. He was relatively used to below-zero temperatures, but sometimes it just caught him off guard. He gazed upon the monolith construction of his father’s joy and pride, the skyscraper housing all the offices of the Lozovskiy Company with total ease. He was slightly overwhelmed, but his face remained blank, refusing to show anyone that he was in any way intimidated. He knew he could do this. He can take this organisation to the bloody stars.
As he walked past the open automatic glass doors, his breath was snatched from him by the artistic architectural glory of the insides of the towering building. The floors were a sleek black, the walls, all around, made of glass. The lift was nearly dizzying with its space-like ceiling; a black canvas with tiny lights that changed colour every once in a while. Its walls were screens that only showed real-life recordings from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. And the floor had a Pre-Raphaelite styled painting of the sun, with white-winged naked angel infants surrounding it.
The highest floor had an amazing view of the foggy city and only one gigantic office — the president’s, of course. The office itself was just as glorious. A whole wall was an aquarium for one shark and some fish. It was decorated to resemble actual ocean floors. The office’s floors were made entirely out of glass, and they were the only source of artificial light in the room; the whole thing seemed to glow. It was easily controlled by some sort of dimmer set in the wall.
But really, all of that was nothing, compared to the antique mahogany desk sitting in the middle of the room. Viktor approached it slowly, carefully, as if something were going to leap right out at him — maybe Amaranduke’s ghost? Of course that was impossible, but everything was all just so… Surreal. His father’s belongings were still where he left them. A box of cigars sat near the corner of the desk along with his old Zippo lighter, and his two favourite books were placed beside an old, marble desk organiser. A rare copy of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and a facsimile of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” stared up at him, all worn out from being read time and time again by Amaranduke. Viktor released a long sigh as he slowly ran his hand along the desk and everything on it, his piercing blue sapphires warming up with memories. He missed his father. But he was not going to let grief drive him to disappointing him. He could do this.
Years passed, and exactly as he promised himself, Viktor Lozovskiy made the family company one of the best and wealthiest in the world. What exactly did he even do, anyway? Well, he was the leading firm in funding the best space exploration programmes. Of course, he only gave the money when he was permitted to work with a team of astrophysicists and other kinds of scientists-simply because he helped with his own ideas. And with that, NASA and Russia made leaps and bounds in exploring the universe.
He brought science that much closer to a TOE (Theory of Everything) by proving smaller theories. Everything was going so well… Until he got a call from The Serbsky State Central Hospital in Moscow, asking him to come to Russia, as soon as was possible for him. He was now twenty one years old, and his physical health was better than ever. His mental health? Well, he was okay, but things were starting to get kind of strange. He hallucinated here and there. Started to feel a tad paranoid about things. Surely enough, he inquired as to what the emergency was about. The only thing he got out of the psychiatrist was that his mother was dying, and that there were some things he needed to know. Utterly exasperated by the shadiness of the doctor, he finally agreed to go see what was going on for himself.
The next day, he was on a plane to Moscow. He had sworn he would never, ever return to that place, but his mother was dying and he knew none of his family on either side, which meant he would have no blood relations. Moreover, he apparently was mentioned in her will, and he was about to become an adult orphan. He did not much care about any of that anymore, but as a Russian national, he had to go through some paperwork, maybe inherent some things — he honestly did not know. All he thought about was the urgent tone of the doctor.
“What is it, Dr. Artem?” Inquired Viktor as he took a seat on the chair opposite the therapist’s desk. Vitali Artem became Mrs. Lozovskiy’s therapist not long after her son left to Glasgow. His mother’s family was known for its history of anxiety problems, and at first, from what Dr. Artem could see, she used that piece of information simply because she wanted the attention. Then her anxiety became real, and her health worsened over time. Now she was almost mental, but she refused to leave her home. Then she asked for her son. Vitali patiently explained the details to Viktor, and then he finally produced a large file from a file cabinet behind him.
He set it on the desk and opened it, revealing photos of some of the Lozovskiy family members — his father’s side. Apparently, schizophrenia was relatively common among them. The ancestors pictured in the photos were mostly in hospital rooms, some of them were in straitwaistcoats. Viktor inched back from the weird doctor and gazed at him with slightly confused yet doubt-filled eyes. What was he trying to get at?
“Mr. Lozovskiy, what I am trying to tell you is that…” Vitali’s voice faded off for a brief moment.
“You are one of the very few people in your father’s family line who were… Shall we say, gifted enough, to handle their inexplicably superior intelligence without going mad. However, I’m afraid you could snap when you least expect it. Viktor… Your father’s main cause of death was not really general frailty. He had a psychotic episode and hurt himself beyond repair. He was rushed to the hospital, but after a brief coma, he flatlined. I am very sorry, Viktor. But you are old enough now to know the truth. I am just trying to help. I want you to be able to talk to me if something — anything — happens to you. Please, Viktor? Mr. Lozovskiy… I was your father’s psychiatrist. He told me to do this.”
Viktor remained quiet. The final sentence Vitali spoke was the one part he cared about. His father knew. Or maybe he simply took this as a precaution. So, it took his mother stepping ever closer to death for this to happen? Somehow, she was always a negative effect on his life. She brought bad news and misery wherever she even fucking breathed.
Viktor sighed and finally looked up at the worried doctor. He slowly stood up before he spoke.
“Dr. Vitali, I thank you for telling me the truth. I will make sure to return to you if I need anything. I’m going to go see Mrs. Lozovskiy before she takes her final breath and get the paperwork out of the way. Thank you, again.”
Viktor bleakly gazed upon the worn face of his childhood home. In the middle of the forest on the outskirts of town, he actually enjoyed the distance he used to have from the noisy streets of Moscow. The garden was surprisingly pristine — oh, wait, Simon was most likely still around. At the thought of the butler, he mustered up the courage to walk up to the door and knock. A few seconds later, the aged face of the man who raised him in place of his mother was standing before him. Simon completely froze, looking rather taken aback.
“Mister… Mr. Viktor, Sir? Is this really you?” Simon asked as his pale hazel eyes scanned the man before him. The then scrawny teenager now had some muscle tone, and he was quite tall. His skin was pale as always, his pin-straight black hair hanging below his ears and framing his face in a way that really drew one’s attention to his prominent cheekbones. The one thing that ascertained Simon of the man’s identity was his eyes. Those ghostly, piercing crystals belonged only to Viktor Lozovskiy.
“Yes, Simon, it is me,” replied Viktor, his deep voice nothing short of melodic. It was truly a privilege to listen to his pretty voice.
Simon stepped aside, letting him in. Without a spoken word and a mere exchange of glances between the pair, the still-baffled butler led the man he practically raised to his mother’s room.
There stood the black wooden door, ominous, hiding death and standing as evidence for Viktor’s horrid memories.
He knocked lightly before opening the door. On the bed lay the small figure of his mother, now an old woman. Her wrinkled skin was flushed with the signs of a serious fever, the bed sheets were soaked in sweat, her long grey hair damp from the perspiration. She was sickly thin and could barely move.
The young man slowly made his way towards the bed, not in any sort of rush. Simon was surprised to see his mistress this way and hurried to her side, his eyes wide with worry, as if her state had taken a turn for the worse while he was gone.
“Mrs. Lozovskiy? What is the matter?” he whispered to the aged woman, who was about to respond — but then she saw Viktor. Her sunken optics widened with bafflement, her dry lips parting. Viktor made a face at the sight, stopping at the foot of the bed. He waved his hand once in hello, simply gazing at the sick, elderly female. She looked at Simon, her hands trembling slightly.
“Simon, is he real? Are you seeing this?”
“Yes, Mrs. Lozovskiy. Viktor is real.”
“Hello, Viktor…” muttered Katya Lozovskiy, her voice barely audible, her face dripping with sweat.
“What is wrong with you?” He asked, his tone harsher than he intended it to be. He strongly pressed his lips together for a second to remind himself he was in the present, to keep the bitterness he felt from his memories at bay.
“Oh, son…” she reached out, but he took a big step back. She seemed to hear the message loud and clear: I’m not here for a peace offering.
She pulled her hand back and the ugly look of anger he knew so well distorted her senile features. He faintly raised a mocking brow at her and a small, amused smile played with his lips. She no longer scared him. She was basically dead to him.
“If you must know, some crazy idiot bit me. I think he had some sort of disease, because now I’m sick,” she basically spat out, despite her infirmity. She failed to get Viktor’s attention and pity, so now she was bitter about it, jumping to the offence. What a child. This was so messed up. Even on her deathbed, she was endlessly pathetic.
“… What? Do you have any idea how insane that sounds?” Viktor half-asked, but his voice was caught in his throat as Simon carefully pulled the sleeve of her hospital gown down her shoulder, when he noticed the crimson. A portion of her flesh in her arm right below her shoulder was eaten out, and blood was trickling down her forearm and onto the bed. At least, that was visible once Simon moved the covers away from her. Viktor’s pale, beautiful convenance crunched up into a perplexed, disgusted expression, and he slowly backed away from the bed. How did that happen? Did she do it to herself? Is that how sick she now was?
Simon hurried out of the room and went to make a phone call. Obviously enough, he was going to get Dr. Vitali Artem. With the butler out of the room, mother and son stared at each other without muttering a letter. The silence hung in the air of the bedroom like oppressive smoke, leaving a hint of something much like ringing in their ears. It was as if death were whispering nonsense in the corners of the cold yet humid chamber.
Viktor jumped at the abrupt, booming sound of someone knocking on the front door. He looked at Katya with an eyebrow raised, tired from speaking so much already.
“That would be my friend’s daughter. She’s here to take care of me, like a nurse. You know, like you never did. Could you please get the door?”
Viktor completely ignored her ridiculous attempts at making him feel any trace of guilt for leaving and silently went downstairs. The lump of skin and bones on the damp mattress was nothing to him but a corpse. Her poison had expired.
As he opened the door, a pair of breathtaking, enchantingly large, deep green eyes stared up at him. Long red hair framed a heart-shaped pale face, and a long, slim nose hung above cherry red lips. The girl before him was petite, and the turquoise shirt and black jeans she wore showed that perfectly. He blinked a few times more than necessary as he saw beauty in another human being for the first time in his life.
“Hello,” she said, very quietly, in a voice as musical as an elf’s.
“I’m Leliath Karmin, here for Katya…?”
Viktor stood there for a moment, before blinking a few times, shaking his head to bring his concentration back to reality.
“Viktor Lozovskiy, Katya’s son,” he introduced himself, but, being the germaphobe he was, did not extend his arm for a handshake.
“Oh, my Hell, h-hi… May I come in?”
Viktor moved out of the way, before they both walked up to Mrs. Lozovskiy’s bedroom, who made sure to make a huge deal out of Leliath coming to take care of her. Simon returned as Katya was describing some of her memories of Viktor before he left, to Leliath. She subtly hinted at Viktor being somehow ‘bad’ to her, while coating the whole thing in fictitious sweetness. He could not help but roll his eyes at her — and then, completely unexpectedly, Katya attacked Leliath, jumping at her with a gaping mouth.
She bit her forearm as the ethereal, fairylike redhead was trying to wipe some sweat off his mother’s face with a small towel. Leliath screamed in pain and jerked back from her, terrified and completely confused. Blood dripped down her arm and onto the floor, leaving a small, sticky spot on the black wooden panels. The butler tried to calm her down, but the poor lass was completely shook up. Viktor stared at the diseased woman in terror, and everything seemed to move in slow motion as she began to get violent, and before he knew it, his fist collided with her head.
She fell to the bed, and Leliath scurried out of the room. Suddenly everything seemed to be in rapid motion as the old butler followed the terrified Leliath, but the front door slammed shut before he could convince her to stay, denying him permission to look at her wound.
Viktor stared at the limp body of his mother. Did he kill her? Why did she attack Leliath? What in the shitting Hell was happening?
The butler and the son sat in the living room, which was situated on the right side of the staircase, several feet ahead. A doorless archway led to it, which faced the wall where a black marble fireplace resided. On the wall to the left side of the archway were the windows, and on the right was a large flat screen. In the middle of the room was a gothic table and two black leather couches, where Viktor and Simon sat facing each other.
Viktor was lost in his own inner world, his thoughts going ninety million miles per second, searching for every single possibility. The explanation that kept jumping at him seemed so far-fetched he was tempted to call it impossible, but in all actuality, it was only highly improbable. It was also the rationalisation that disturbed him the most.
“Viktor, Sir, could you perhaps go down to the hospital and see whatever the matter is?” Asked Simon.
“I cannot seem to get hold of Dr. Vitali and I must remain here to care for your mother.”
Sighing in defeat, Viktor simply nodded his compliance and went out to his rental Lamborghini — something he decided to spoil himself with — and drove to the hospital, which actually was not that far, as it was somewhat on the outskirts as well. But upon his arrival, he found everything to be so strange.
The streets were entirely vacant, resembling a ghost town. The muted patter of the weak rain hitting his car explained the black clouds in the sky, the occasional strike of lightning seeming all too angry. Oddly enough, some of the cars parked outside the hospital were damaged beyond repair. Viktor instantly started to get a bad feeling about the place and he started to feel physically sick, but he pulled himself together, as he really just wanted to get his mother’s funeral over with, and Dr. Vitali wanted to help him. He had a torrent of questions for him, and he thought getting answers from him was more help than he could hope for.
With how unsafe and on edge he felt, the twenty-one-year-old walked as quietly as was humanly possible to the entrance, his eyes darting in all directions. He stopped right there, completely stupefied by all the blood splashed across the glass gates, his jaw dropping open. Slowly, the automatic glass doors parted, unable to slide completely into the wall due to the almost dry, sticky crimson substance stuck on them. His worst fears were proving to be the actual state of reality, but he remained in denial. Viktor bit on his bottom lip lightly as he tiptoed around the hospital’s lobby, approaching the stairs. He fixed his eyes upon the white cement, unable to go any further, because… All he saw was oceans of blood and insides spread all along the steps. As he stood there, a tiny noise made him feel as if a huge bucket of icy water had just been poured right down his back. He swallowed hard and remained silent as he listened for the moans that seemed to be mocking him, as if assuring him that what he thought was improbable, was not so, in any way.
Surely enough, those moans were the hollow moans of the dead.
Or maybe the undead.
Viktor quickly turned around, and his hands trembled, his mouth becoming as dry as the Saharan desert, his expression twisting up into utter horror.
From the far off corridor, leading to the staff offices, limped out a female nurse, covered in blood, hissing and groaning, almost as if in pain. A large chunk of her leg was missing, and blood kept pouring of of the gruesome wound. His heart began to pound, and he almost fled, but instead he decided to sneak out, so it does not chase after him. As he did so, it almost noticed him, but fortunately, he managed to sprint right back to his car before it could go after him. He cursed in both Russian and English as sweat and rain trickled down his back.
Zombies? For real? A fucking zombie apocalypse? And in Russia? He was going to die here? He was supposed to have escape forever. Why did he ever agree to coming back?
He started to think about his sanity and what the doctor said. The photos flashed in his mind, but he quickly pushed the notion aside. He would not need them, not if he was going to die anyway.
Holy Hell, Leliath, that enthralling temptress… She was going to become an undead? A bleedin’ Walker, all because his stupid mother attacked her? She took everything away from him, even while dead.
He shook his head. That was giving her too much power. He did not care. This did not mean anything. He was still Viktor. Zombie apocalypse or not, he was Viktor Lozovskiy, the legacy of his father, Amaranduke Lozovskiy, a prodigy; a highly mentally superior intellectual.
“Fuck!” Viktor hit the steering wheel before heading back to the blasted house. What if she got to Simon?
The cold, tattered, hopeless lad entered his old home. Instead of calling out for the butler, he looked around the mansion. Again he opened the black wooden door of death. And there, an undead Katya lay in bed, and Simon stood by the window. Viktor’s heart was beating so fast, almost trying to burst past his ribcage, even if it meant disintegrating into tiny pieces, just to pass his sternum and run to safety. It hurt. He felt sick.
As if on cue, a cough shook his whole being.
The sharp cough caught the attention of the wrinkly re-animated corpse… And the undead butler! Simon hurried towards Viktor, and Katya slowly tried to get off the bed. Viktor’s eyes widened in shock and fear as he toppled back against the exit. He ducked down past the reincarnated Simon and quickly managed to shut the door to his mother’s bedroom, but that did not prevent the butler from following him out. He tried attacking Viktor, but he rushed to his old room and shut the door behind him, quickly locking it. He began tearing up as his lungs burned and his heart felt weak and arrhythmic, his entire existence quaking to its very core. He was wheezing, his throat burning hot as lava. His bones rattled with fear. As he looked around his room, memories rushed at him at the speed and impact of an angry riptide. He dropped to the floor to his knees as he saw his younger self fall to the floor multiple times, looking death right in the face here and there. His mother’s abuse wrenched the strings of his heart like a knife attacking a violin, and his head began to ache.
‘Нет, нет, пожалуйста. я не хочу умирать.’ (No, no, please. I do not want to die,) thought Viktor as his most basic instincts kicked into overdrive. He needed to survive.
The undead butler started banging on Viktor’s door as he walked right into it. After his little breakdown passed, he stood up and frantically searched the room for anything that could be used to kill the zombie. If it was that, at least, he knew where to hit it.
He found nothing. Fuck.
So he sat down and began devising a plan, centring on the most obvious question: How would he kill them both without getting bitten?
The last living Lozovskiy slowly stood up and set his cold hand on the handle of his door.
It was time to do his plan.
Slowly turning the door-handle, he flung the door open to reveal a pale, almost blue Simon. He kicked him as hard as he could in the stomach and flew past him towards the stairs, moving faster than he had to any other time in his life. He zipped down the long staircase, jumping down the last five steps and hurrying to the kitchen, swiftly grabbing a knife and waiting for the zombie butler. He heard the sound of something heavy hitting the floor, and then the Walker slowly managed to get up.
It began approaching Viktor, who was ready with his knife. With his breathing rapid and shallow and his heart rapping faster than ever, he stabbed the largest knife he could find right through Simon’s forehead. Blood rushed out of the wound, threatening to hit Viktor in the face, while a pool oozed down to the ground. Slowly, the motionless body hit the hard wooden floorboards with a thud, and Viktor jumped back and away from the once-again-dead-undead.
The terrified twenty-one-year-old shook from head to toe, but he was glad. He was extremely delighted, because he killed the first threat. That fleeting happiness was rudely and instantly extinguished by the memory of his mother’s reanimated corpse walking into the only barrier between them, making a dull thumping noise each time she hit it, as her dead brain failed to register the futility of her actions. She was trying to get out but had no idea how. Now he had to take her un-life next.
The young Lozovskiy picked up a meat cleaver and headed upstairs. On the way to her bedroom, he fell to the floor, his vision going black. He had worn himself thin, and his body was at its limits. He cursed everything he could think of, and then curled up into himself and tried to calm down. He almost gave in to the powerful, relaxing enthralment of sleep, but then he quickly sat up as he thought of how effortlessly any blasted Walker could just come right in and devour him whole. Struggling with his weak physique and the pain that consumed his entire being, he went about the house, however sluggishly, locking doors and windows, shutting curtains and turning off lights. He almost went into panic mode as he gradually came out of his denial. This was so terribly real, and he had no guns, no weapons, no friends.
Was this the end of him?
The sun was setting outside, and Viktor’s endurance was near ending as well. When he was done turning the mansion into a fortress, he dropped to his knees in the living room, meat cleaver in hand, and curled up in the corner. His exhaustion overcame his anxiety, the touch of it whispering against his long dark lashes, almost silently commanding him to rest. His shoulders lumped as he surrendered to slumber, and the world went black.
When Viktor awakened, his body was icy cold with a foreboding sense of impending doom. He went into a panic attack and fiercely bit down on his own hand as he tried to calm down, shrieking once the liquid of life swam along his tongue, as if its taste brought him out of his severe mental disorientation. He pressed his hands against the sides of his head, blood soaking into his scalp, while he growled under his breath. His world had been turned into a barren wasteland, stripped to the bones of everything it previously owned. He could hear Katya’s moaning upstairs. Simon’s body was beginning to really reek of death. The house was so, so dark…
Gasping in bouts of air, he finally slowed his heart down. He struggled to stand up as he grabbed his meat cleaver. It was time to end it all.
The half-mad young man made it up the stairs with the heaviness of a dead body. He carefully approached the gloomy, black blockade separating them, and suddenly, everything was silent. Viktor set his hand on the doorknob and slowly turned it, then flung the door wide open — chomp.
Katya’s reincarnated corpse munched a rather huge mouthful right into her son’s shoulder. Viktor screamed, and screamed, and screamed. He pushed her off him and right back into the room, shutting the door on her face. He began to crumble into pieces, but the unbearable pain of his torn shoulder kept him in his terrifying reality. He cursed, yelled, then cackled like a maniac. The hysterical laughter did not last for long as fear slowly spread through his chest like venom from a Cobra’s bite. Or maybe it was actual poison from the Walker’s saliva, coursing through his veins. He did not know.
All he knew was, he needed to sit down. He got to the bottom of the stairs–taking much longer than was necessary–and then sat down beside them, on his knees. He dropped the meat cleaver and placed his hands on the floor as breathing gradually turned into a difficult task. Tears hit the dark wooden floor, before his nearly hypothermic body fell to it with a soft thud. The world was blurry now. For some reason, he just could not calm down. His eyes welled up with more tears and his body shook like a bass speaker. And then… He simply waited.
The fever came. The sweat came. His mother’s undead corpse broke the door down. It stumbled down the staircase. He threw up on the grass outside. And then he made his decision.
He ran right back inside and hurried past It and into the kitchen. He grabbed all the alcohol bottles he could find and a box of matches, then he went around the house, pouring it everywhere and on everything, even on his beloved books. Then he slowly sat down at the top of the stairs, his eyes finally drying up. This was it.
Lighting up the big matchstick in his hand, he took one last breath. And then he tossed it down the staircase.
Fire caught intensely rapidly, galloping across the walls, curtains, floors and windows to get to the other places soaked with alcohol. Glass shattered from the heat. The ceilings began to cave in.
Viktor sat in his place, simply waiting to burn down with the rest of the house. The blazing inferno bolted right down the side of the stairs opposite to where Viktor was sitting, and then finally reached Katya’s body. It made angry noises as it turned to embers, the flames devouring it anxiously, hungry for more things to demolish. Viktor rested his head against the railing and simply watched his world burn with tired eyes.
He finally decided to look down at his lap, where he kept one last bottle of liquor between his feet. It was some really old red wine, a favourite of his dad. With a delicate, simple sigh, Viktor took a large gulp of the drink and tried to enjoy every last drop he swallowed of the beverage. And then, he soaked himself with what remained of it.
Viktor Lozovskiy slowly lay down on the floor, spreading his arms open and closing his eyes. The flames briskly marched straight up to him, and as time took on the illusion of slowing down, all he could see was his father’s smiling face behind his lids. The crackles of the raging firestorm were slowly drowned out in his ears, replaced by Amaranduke’s hearty laughter. The last Lozovskiy smiled as his sweet memories played across his shut eyelids, until fire consumed every last inch of him.
All that was left of the house, of the family’s existence, of their legacy, was nothing but ash. And soon enough, so would be the state of the rest of the planet.