Esther Velez

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The Watchtower: Episode 7

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EPISODE SEVEN: Uraniwa ni Zombie ga!

I have to get out of here.

She’d been driving down the US-1, trying to get to Soren’s house when her car broke down. It was a relatively new car, so it didn’t make any sense. She didn’t think twice when those guys stopped to help her. After all, it was in the middle of the busiest street in Homestead and there were dozens of cars all around. But the men weren’t worried about witnesses and had her unconscious in a few seconds.

And now she was here, in the darkness, struggling to stay awake. Rosemarie was no stranger to darkness. For years she’d wandered in the depths of her own mind, searching for a light to no avail. She’d tried to find hope, meaning, purpose, light. It wasn’t until she’d met Soren that she’d found it. He’d helped her see that there was something to live for. And he’d led her to God. That had to account for something.

God, where are you?

She believed that everything happened for a reason, so she didn’t question her situation. She didn’t wonder if she had done something wrong, or if God was just picking on her because he was bored. She just wanted to know where he was. In this moment, with her hands bound and the thin stream of light blinking in and out of view, where was he?

She’d heard his voice once, when she was just climbing out of the darkness. He’d said her name. Rosemarie. She still couldn’t describe his voice and she hadn’t heard it again. It was the closest she had ever felt to him, before or since. But she knew he was here somewhere. She’d just have to wait and find out.

“Okay, let’s move her now.”

Light flooded the room and her eyes snapped open.

“Well, would you look at that, the little rat is awake.”

Two dark figures approached her, and she recognized the deep, gruff voice of the speaker. He was the one who had asked if she needed any help.

“We gonna move her now, Omar?”

“Well, they’re almost ready for the shipment,” the one called Omar said, letting out a loud cough. “If we don’t get her over there soon, they’re not gonna pay us.” He grabbed her wrists and untied the rope.

Rosemarie tried to speak, but words wouldn’t come. Whatever damage she’d sustained wasn’t letting her talk, and she could barely move her limbs. One of the men—she couldn’t tell which one it was in the dark—helped her to her feet, draping her shoulder across his own.

*****

By the time they untied her and hauled her into the back of a car, she was fully awake. She could move her arms, although her legs were still numb. Her voice was back, but not as strong as usual. It was dark outside, that much she could tell, but the windows were tinted so dark that she couldn’t see a thing.

I’ve got to figure something out.

The men didn’t do much talking after they got in the car. Omar turned on the radio, but got annoyed when there was nothing but news on all stations.

“They don’t have any good music,” he complained, turning it off and rolling down the tinted window. “What is Miami without good music?”

Rosemarie leaned to the side to get a peek out the window. The windows were dangerously tinted so it was difficult to see out, but with the window open, she could make out tall buildings. They were in the city.

This is not good.

They were probably taking her to the port, which only meant one thing.

She was about to be human cargo.

 *****

The room they left her in this time was well lit. It was an empty basement, with the only entrance locked from the outside. She had located a tiny screwdriver under the stair.

That little screwdriver can’t do anything.

Rosemarie used it to tear through the tape that bound her arms together. The screwdriver would have to be good enough. She slipped it into her pocket. She might have to wait until morning before she could get home, but she wasn’t going to spend the night floating in a crate across the ocean. When her captors returned, she was going to give them a fight.

“Well, would you look at that. The little rat is awake.”

The man who called himself Omar opened the basement door and made his way down to her. He had changed his clothes since kidnapping her. He wore jeans and a blue vest, with a white t-shirt underneath. His shirt sleeves rolled back to reveal a star shaped tattoo on his wrist. She’d seen a tattoo like that before, on one of her uncles after he returned from prison.

So, not only is this guy currently engaging in criminal activity, he’s already a hardened criminal. It’s a wonder he hasn’t killed you already.

Rosemarie stepped back. She decided to keep a level head about this.

“You’ve used that line already.”

Omar laughed and wiped sweat from his brow. “I am entitled to use this line as many times as I want, you little rat. This is my operation. We play by my rules.”

“Are you coming to take me away?”

“So eager to leave?” Omar crossed his arms. “Of all the girls I’ve taken over the years, I’ve never had one respond like you.” He took a deep breath and leaned against one of the walls.

“Those stairs were a workout?” She wasn’t trying to upset him, but he didn’t look so good.

It might be a good time for me to escape now that he’s catching his breath.

Omar coughed again and shook his head. “I don’t know what it is. I’m just feeling a little sick.”

Rosemarie slipped her hand in her pocket. Now was as good as ever. She took a step for him, but he grabbed her other wrist.

“Don’t get any ideas, you little rat,” he rasped. “I’ve got a quota to meet this month, and you’re all I’ve got left.”

“Your hands are freezing!” She tried to free herself from his grasp, but he was holding too tightly.

“I’ve worked at this job for three years now, and I’m barely making ends meet.” His skin was growing pale and he was still sweating. “Doesn’t matter how many girls we give them, they just want more and more and more.”

“You’re sick, mister. Please, let me go.”

Omar swore under his breath, then coughed again. “I told Charlie that he could get home to his family when we finished for the night. He said he was feeling too sick to drive, and then he went and drove himself home!” Omar pulled her closer. “Well, I’m not weak like him. I’m sick and I’m finishing my job.”

Rosemarie pulled out the screwdriver with her other hand. He noticed it and laughed.

“You gonna try to escape, you little rat? It’ll take a lot more than a baby screwdriver to—”

Suddenly, he let go of her and doubled over. Rosemarie took a step back. He was coughing and screaming. “My head! My head!”

What is going on?

“Are you okay, mister?”

What are you asking, Rosemarie? Get out of there!

Omar continued screaming and dropped to the floor. She turned for the stairs.

“Wait! I’m dying, you little rat. Are you just going to leave me here?” The voice that came from the ground was small and raspy.

She looked down. His body had stopped moving and the voice was gone.

I need to get home.

Rosemarie turned away again. This time, she felt a hand on her shoulder.

She turned around to see who had grabbed her.

The face wasn’t Omar’s.

Neither was it human.

 *****

She slashed at its face with the screwdriver, but it caught her hand and tossed it aside. The room filled with the smell of rotting flesh. The creature growled at her, revealing a mouth full of broken teeth and horrid breath.

Rosemarie screamed. What is going on here?

She turned to run up the stairs. With his buddy gone, Omar must have left the door unlocked so he’d be able to get back out.

Omar.

She didn’t care for her captor, but he must’ve fallen prey to the creature first. Had it been in the basement with her the entire time? Why did it wait until she was about to escape to attack?

Rosemarie made it to the door and spun around. The creature was gaining on her. She lifted her leg and kicked its chest. The creature yelled and tumbled down the stairs. She winced as she heard a sickening crunch. There was no way it had survived that fall. Just to be certain it would leave her alone, she bolted the door behind her.

“What is going on here?” The question escaped her lips in a whisper. Being kidnapped was one thing. Facing a strange creature was another.

Too much adventure for one day. I’ve got to get out of here.

The house where she was being kept was empty, save for a few tables and chairs, and it was surprisingly well lit. She made her way through the various halls and rooms until she found the front door.

A phone sat on an end table, buzzing. She glanced at the screen. The call was from an unlisted number. She picked up the phone and silenced it.

I have to call home!

Rosemarie felt the blood drain from her face. She could not, for the life of her, remember what the number was.

Was it 305-284…no, that was our number when I was a kid. What about Soren’s number? I can’t believe I don’t know these numbers! This is what I get for keeping up with the times. I’m stranded somewhere in Miami and I don’t know anyone’s —

A loud crash from the direction of the basement jolted her from her thoughts.

“But the creature is dead!” She had heard it’s neck snap on the basement floor. How could it possibly have survived the fall. Rosemarie grabbed the nearest chair. When that creature appeared, she was going to defend herself.

It turned the corner and stood in the middle of the hallway, observing her. She couldn’t help but scream as it lunged toward her. She swung the chair as hard as she could, hitting it upside the head.

The creature tumbled to the ground, screaming, black ooze dripping from its head. It twitched, then stopped moving all together. She took a step forward to look at the creature. She had done some serious damage to its head with that chair.

This time, it’s definitely dead.

She was about to turn away from it when she noticed something on its arm. A star shaped tattoo. Just like the one that Omar had.

Don’t tell me…this is Omar? This must be what those quarantine guys were talking about. He was probably sick with that infection. And I killed him.

Rosemarie bolted from the house. She needed to put as much distance between herself and whatever Omar had become. She grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1. She had to tell the police what had just transpired in that house. She had to tell them to contact her family, to let them know that she was still okay.

But those reasons paled in comparison to the real reason she was calling 9-1-1:

It was the only number she still knew.

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica Velez

    May 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Zombies are coming! Wow, even without zombies Rosemary was in some serious trouble. At least she was never taken to the shipment point.
    That’s so funny that the real reason she was calling 9-1-1 was because it was the only one she knew. I know only like two numbers and that’s it.

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