The creature that was once human opens its mouth and emits a gargled bark at me. Blood oozes from sores in its gums where sharp, calciferous teeth have grown in like stalactites and stalagmites. A few maggots cling to the bloody drool dripping from its lips.
It barks at me again, and then it pulls itself the rest of the way into the corridor and lumbers forward. The torn fabric of its spacesuit hangs off its broad shoulders and muscular arms. Congealed blood scabs over a large bite wound on its leg.
"Shit, shit," I curse.
Once it gets past the door, it picks its pace up to a run.
"Fuck!" I leap a step back, putting the door to the galley between myself and the monster. A grubby, gnarled hand reaches around the door, but right before it can grab me, I shove the door to the galley open the rest of the way. With a thunk, it clocks the zombie in the head right between the eyes.
The undead growls and staggers back a few steps, and I dart into the galley.
I grab the handle to swing the door shut behind me, but the zombie reaches around it, latching on to the side. I yank back, and with a bone-snapping crunch, I slam its fingers in the frame.
"Fuck off!" I scream.
Its fingers continue to claw at the door. I push it open a few inches before slamming it on the bloody, broken fingers again.
Its hand squirms in the frame as the monster releases a guttural bark. Another set of fingers claw their way into the gap, pulling and prying to get it open. The zombie's face stares at me with blind, empty eyes through the widening crack between the door and its frame. It mashes its teeth up and down like it is trying to bite through the air. In its gums, between the gaps of its pointy, shell-like teeth, the parasites writhe, producing a bloody pink foam.
I yank on the door and lean my entire weight back, but even with its fingers crushed, the zombie is too strong. The gap widens, and it shoves its head through, snapping its jaw at my arm.
Screaming, I release the handle and leap away, narrowly avoiding its teeth as they close on empty air. The zombie falls back as the door flies open, but before I can move to pull it shut, the monster pushes itself to its feet and charges at me.
I scamper three steps back and turn on my heels. In six more strides, I reach the back of the small galley. The soles of my boots screech as I skid around the island countertop. We were supposed to set up habitation tents on the surface, including a kitchen, so the galley on the starship is hardly big enough for one person to cook a meal in, let alone big enough for a girl with a sprained ankle to escape a raging zombie.
Once I've put the island counter between myself and the monster, I turn to face it. It charges directly at me, leaping onto the stainless steel-coated counter and landing on its hands and knees. Before it can reach out to grab me, the entire ship quakes as the monster outside slams into it again. The zombie falls forward, its face smacking the metal countertop.
I brace myself against the counter behind me, gritting my teeth. Pain flares through my ankle as the clattering of falling pots and pans within the cabinets fills the galley.
Before I can make a move to get away, the monster regains its balance. It bares its teeth at me and snaps its jaw. I press myself as far back against the counter behind me as I can, holding my breath as its teeth clink against the glass of my helmet. My fingers find the handle on one of the counter draws. Without looking, I slide it open and grab the first utensil I touch.
"Die!" I scream at the zombie as I swing the fork at its face. I was hoping for a knife, but this will do. I connect with its left eye. A release of pressure like popping a water balloon follows as the tines break the surface.
YOU ARE READING
Down UnderScience Fiction
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