Shey Leigh

Meg knew it was coming. She'd known it for days now. But the knowing hadn't made it easier. It hadn't made the choice before her less heartbreaking. They were at the end of the line. And the three choices she had left to choose from really weren't choices at all. She felt her heart constrict even more. Breathing was impossible now.

She wasn't sure how long they had left until the three paths before her would demand she choose among them.

Ultimatums suck.

She looked over at her son. He was a few feet from her. Shaking in the near dark. His small hands were covered in grime. His once baby soft hair was oiled and sticking up in every direction from lack of bathing. His clothes were covered in stains and torn. But his eyes were the part that made her own water. They weren't the eyes of a five-year-old anymore. They were the eyes of the old, the world worn, the lost, the lonely. They were the eyes that had seen war and were unsure if there ever really had been anything of beauty to see in the world around them to begin with.

Maybe I should choose the path now. Make it come to me instead.
But she wasn't sure she could choose that path. She wasn't sure she could live with herself, for however long she had, if she chose it now, and not in the moment of no return.

Life no longer held shades of grey. True hell, true torment, was strictly black and white. There were no buffers left to cushion anyone anymore.

The screaming and banging at the basement door grew louder, impeding on her thoughts. Her son shook violently, having noticed it too. They had heard this happening down the street the day before. The screaming, banging, and eventually wood splintering, metal screeching... And then those that were screaming would change. And the tone of screams were markedly different. The previous being those that sought their prey, the latter being the prey themselves.

And then it would stop. All sound. All suffering. All of it gone. The silence was terrifying in its own right.

A few hours later the racket would begin again. The build-up, the climax, the utter lack of anything.

Her next door neighbor had put up a hell of a fight from the sounds of it. To the point that she'd grown hopeful even. His shotgun had startled her, and yet it was a sound that tasted of freedom. Then the shots had stopped. She had heard him cry out and rage, and then even he had gone quiet. But his death wasn't what had made her lose hope. It was when his kids had finally stopped screaming soon after.

She had almost made a run for it then. Better to die trying to escape than to sit in a corner waiting for death to find you. And she would have... if it weren't for her son. It was one thing to keep him here, in the darkness, on the edges of starvation, then to make him run, knowing his little legs wouldn't make it to the street before he was taken down like a gazelle by a pack of lions.

At least here the lie was a little less terrifying than the truth knocking down her neighbor’s doors.
The sound of the basement door cracking brought her head up.

Not much time left now Meg. It's almost time to choose.

She slid the revolver in her hand to the cement floor by her hip. "Come here Alex," she said to her son. She held out a shaky hand to him. He looked at her, and then flinched as the door cracked again. "Come here baby, it's going to be okay."

He looked at her like an abused dog would. Unsure of its owner’s intent.

She swallowed the sob rising in her throat. "Come here. Mommy needs a hug, baby."

Slowly, oh so slowly, he unfolded himself and crawled over to her and onto her lap. She gently picked him up and spun him to face him away from the door. She kissed the side of his head, his cheek. Ran her fingers through the oily dregs of his hair. Pulled him tight into her chest, ignoring the smells that emanated off of him.

I hate you God. I hate you for making me choose this. I hate you for breaking him of his innocence. I hate that he will never laugh, never smile, never show a moment of curiosity in the world again. I hate that this is how it ends.

Not wanting to let go of him, she kissed him some more. And finally the sob that she had trapped in her chest escaped. Tears flooded her eyes. With one arm she pulled her son into her chest, with the other she reached down and shakily picked up the revolver. The metallic scrape of it against the cement sheared her to her soul.

Only one bullet left. You can try to take out the first thing through the door, knowing that more would flood over its falling body. You can try to line it up to both of your heads, unsure if the bullet would take out you both, or only disable one of you. Or you can end his misery right here, right now. Hell, you could even end your own if you want to be completely selfish. Choose Meg, choose. Before you don't have time to.

"Sing with me baby, sing with mommy."

Alex shivered, but never lifted his head away from her chest.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

Oh God she couldn't do this. Not to her baby.

"you make me happy, when skies are grey..."

Tears poured from her eyes, ran from her chin, and into Alex's hair. His little hand reached up and grabbed her arm that held him. His little voice was cracked and wobbly as he joined the song. The beating and screaming at the door tried to overpower their voices, but they continued on.

"You'll never know dear, how much I love you..."

I love you Alex. I love you so very much baby. And I'm so sorry that I couldn't protect you from this. I don't want to do this. I don't want to end up being the monster. But what else can I do? I can't let you see those monsters, hearing them has been too much for you already.

Meg lifted the gun, and held it an inch from the back of her son’s head. She quickly kissed his tiny head again, a blinked furiously to clear the tears from her eyes.

She let his tiny voice finish the last line of the song.

"Please don't take my sunshine awayyyyy..."

"I love you baby," she whispered as she pulled the trigger.

His body stiffened and pushed against her arm, and then relaxed just as quickly. His little hand dropped from her arm, and she dropped the gun. She allowed herself to become lost in the misery of killing her only child to save him. She didn't care about the blood and gore, because it was a part of him, and she had done this horrible thing.

"Oh God. What have I done? Oh God Alex. I'm so sorry. Mommy is so sorry baby." She crooned to his lifeless body in her lap and arms. She rocked back and forth.

Suddenly the basement door gave with multiple cracks, and the zombies poured in.

Angry and devastated all at the same time, she looked up into their ravenous faces. Men, women, and children in various states of decay eyed her. Needing this nightmare over she screamed, "Well are you assholes just going to stand there, or are you going to eat me already?"

As if that was the catalyst they sought, they descended upon her and her son.

This was the worst Monday ever.


Shay Leigh is the author of Sins Within and Sinless Within, which can be found on She writes Poetry, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery and Thriller.

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Matt Roberts - 10/20/2015 12:09 AM
Yeah baby! Excellent story! I think she made the right choice.
Mikey - 10/20/2015 7:31 AM
Brrrrrr! Ice cold.
Jordan Drew - 10/20/2015 7:35 AM
Oh man, all the feels! Great story, Shay, thank you!
Heather - 10/20/2015 12:31 PM
Somehow, you made zombies even more terrifying! UGH!! Nice job!
Angel R - 10/20/2015 12:40 PM
It was good, great song choice for such an emotional moment
Alice - 10/20/2015 7:47 PM
Very nice!
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