Chapter Two Part Three - Preschool Cannibal

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The upper level of the house was simply laid out. At the top of a reasonably steep flight of stairs was a landing with four doors. Two were directly ahead and one to either side. One of those ahead of her, Jackie could quite easily tell was the bathroom as the door was open just a crack.

"Looks like as good a place to start as any," she muttered. Grasping the tyre iron in her right hand she gently pushed the door open with her left. The pungent stench of stagnant toilet water hit her with its full force. Thankfully that was all that did so, the room was otherwise clear.

She did note, however, that there was a brand new roll of toilet paper upon the cistern so holding her breath, she reached forwards and grabbed it. There were some things that one really could not put a price upon.

Jackie exited the bathroom and closed the door quietly behind her, then opted to check what she assumed to be a bedroom to her left.

She opened the door with as much caution as she previously had. The room was completely bare without even so much as a pair of curtains. She checked the walls to ensure there was no built in furniture and saw nothing.

Having a sudden thought she headed back into the bathroom and opened the cabinet above the sink. There was not a great deal in there; half a packet of ibuprofen, some mouth wash and a pair of nail clippers. Waste not want not, she pocketed the lot and left the bathroom for a second time.

Next she tried the door on the same wall as the bathroom, and was surprised to find that it had been locked from the inside. She tapped gently upon it with the tyre iron and put her ear to the wood, listening for even the faintest sound from within that might allude to Zeds being present.

Nothing. Not a sound.

Leaving the locked room until last, Jackie went to the door of the only room she was yet to try. Tyre iron in hand she gently nudged the door open. This room was most definitely a bedroom. It had a bed, a vanity and a couple of decent sized wardrobes. Glancing at the bed Jackie could see it had been slept on though she could see no blood. At least that meant it was possible no one had died upon it.

The wardrobes proved incredibly fruitful. Clothes, most likely left by the previous owners of the property, were contained therein hung neatly upon hangers. There were even a couple of pairs of trainers in the bottom of one, though upon checking she discovered that they were unfortunately far too big for her.

"Damn." She longed to get her feet into something more comfortable than the black slip ons she had been wearing for months. They had started off feeling rather nice, sure, but now most of the padding had worn away.

The vanity contained a few beauty items but Jackie ignored those. Given the current times and environment, mascara really was the last thing on anyone's mind. One of the drawers did contain a few items of underwear though. Jackie pocketed those. A lady really could not have too much underwear.

She stepped back out onto the landing and gently whistled down the stairs. Moments later James appeared, treading as lightly as he could as he made his way up to her.

"Anything?"

"No," he replied. "Well, not unless you count a few comedy DVDs. You?"

"Odds and sods, there's a lot of clothes in the wardrobes in there," she said, nodding towards the room she had just left. "But this door is locked from the inside. I can't hear movement from within but I figure it'd be best to play it safe."

"You want me to kick the door in, don't you?" James asked with a chuckle.

"Oh go on then, do your man thing."

With a wink, James took a step back and planted his left foot to steady himself, then lunged at the door just beneath the handle with his right foot. It opened with a crack and splintering of wood as something ferociously leapt from within the room, screaming incoherently.

Whatever it was knocked James off his feet and it was upon him, clawing at his face and torso. Jackie was about to hit it over the head with her tyre iron when something made her stop. Instead she took the ferocious creature by the shoulder and flung it away where it slouched, crouching in a huddle ball against the wall, eyeing James and Jackie warily.

"It's a girl, like that makes me feel any better," James grunted as he got to his feet.

"She can't be any older than four or five," said Jackie, quietly. "She must have been here since the beginning. We should..."

"Jackie, wait..." James touched her arm gently. "Her fingers..."

The woman looked and saw straight away that something was not right.

"Oh God, some of them are down to the knuckles," she said, raising her own hand to her mouth in an effort not to throw up. "She's been... cannibalising herself."

"We should leave."

"We can't just leave her here," Jackie protested, still fighting the urge to vomit.

"Well we certainly can't take her back with us, and I don't want to either."

"That means we're going to have to..."

"I can't, Jackie... She's only a little girl."

"Well I won't. I killed my best friend because I had no other choice. It was that or she was going to eat me." She paused and looked to the girl still huddled against the wall. There was hardly an ounce of flesh on her, and her skin hung from her bones whilst her eyes were sunk incredibly deeply into her skull.

"I have an idea, but we have to go."

"OK," Jackie replied and turned, wanting to put as much distance between herself and the self-cannibalising toddler as she possibly could. When she reached the bottom of the stairs she turned to see James backing down towards her, holding his hands out in front of him.

"Stay," he said, quietly. "It's all right, we're going. We'll leave you in peace."

"What's your idea?"

"Get the jerry can out of the boot," he replied, and as he spoke it dawned on Jackie that he intended to set the house ablaze and burn the cannibalistic toddler along with it.

Jackie did as James asked and quickly made her way outside, first ensuring that the coast was clear. The last thing she wanted to do was to run into a roaming Zed or worse, a herd of them. That said the adrenaline was really pumping and as she popped the boot she entertained the thought that she could take out hundreds upon hundreds of the walking dead.

Sure enough the jerry can was tucked to the right hand side behind the near-side tyre and she grabbed it, gently closing the boot before she made her way back inside.

"She hasn't moved, thankfully," said James as she entered the kitchen. Jackie nodded and proceeded to pour the petrol from the can liberally around the room. She doubted it would be long before the house was completely destroyed.

"That's it," she said, heading for the door with the jerry can in hand. Still the girl had not made any move to make her way downstairs. James made his way to the door and paused to strike a match. With a final glance to the top of the stairs he saw that the little cannibal girl had crawled across the landing and was looking at him, hungrily. With a shudder he threw the match to the counter top where he could see a little petrol pooling and left, quickly shutting the door behind him.


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