The Fatal Shot

“Shoot!” Eric yelled.

Cody stood with his feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. He held the gun with both hands, aiming.

“Shoot!” Eric yelled with more passion.

Cody dropped his arms. “I can’t.”

“Give it to me.” Eric took the gun from his brother and aimed.

He felt the pressure of his finger against the trigger, but his finger would not squeeze. No matter how much he willed it.

His arms dropped. “I can’t,” he said, “not my brother.”

While saving a family of five, Vincent had been bitten. His skin was now ash, one ear lob and a large hunk of his nose was missing. The skin on his face was pealing and hanging lose. His clothes were dirty and disheveled. But his eyes were focused on Eric and Cody with the intent of turning them into zombies.

“Let’s just get out of here,” Cody said.

“Leave him?” Eric asked incredulously.

Cody looked at him then at Vincent.

“Right,” Eric said. “We can’t take him back.”

“He’ll start an epidemic,” Cody said.

They turned and ran uphill towards the door back to their world.

The door was a large 12-foot bolder with a crack the length of its height. The ground shook as the bolder split opened at their approached.

Cody stopped to take one last look before he followed his oldest bother into the portal. He knew it was the right thing to do, leaving Vincent, but it was the most difficult thing he’d have to do in his entire life.

Vincent growled and snarled as he picked up his pace.

After the remaining two Miller brothers exited the portal they turned to watch the rock close. It didn’t.

“Close,” Cody said. Nothing.

“Close sesame,” he commanded.

Vincent stepped into the portal. His image faded as he passed from that world to theirs.

“Why didn’t it close?” Eric demanded.

“Three entered, three must exit,” Cody said. “Now we have to kill him.”

“I know.” Eric raised the gun and aimed. He was an expert marksman. He wouldn’t miss. Sure Vinnie could be annoying at times, and he’d jokingly threatened to shoot Vincent on occasion, but this was his brother. Tears threatened to blur his vision.

No, Eric thought. Vincent was already dead. The disease had already killed him.

Cody sniffed back his tears. “That’s not Vinnie,” he confirmed Eric’s thought. “If he get’s through, we won’t be able to stop the devastation here any more than we could stop it in that other world.”

Eric overrode his finger’s unwillingness to budge.

Bam.

Bam.

Bam.

He had timed the shots just as the monster exited the portal. In that split second, Eric envisioned the bullets striking the monster in between the eyes, demolishing its brain.

But Vincent stumbled. He was having difficulty walking. He hesitated, shook violently…

The bullets entered the portal and dissolved.

Vincent stepped out.

Cody and Eric looked at each other in disbelief. Eric dropped his arms to his sides.

“Are we home?” Vincent asked, smiling. “Good. I’m not sure I liked that place. It’s good to be back.”

Vincent’s skin was pink. No pealing. His ear and nose were whole, his eyes clear. His clothes were clean. They looked freshly ironed.

He straitened his jacket and tucked his shirttail in his pants.

“I’m hungry,” Vincent said. “Let’s go home.”

As they two followed him, Cody quietly asked, “What just happened?”

“I don’t know.” Eric shrugged.

“Maybe the disease doesn’t work here,” Cody said.

“I just glad I didn’t shoot him,” Eric said.

“I don’t think he remembers.”

“Good, I don’t want to remember it either.”

Vincent never did revert back to being a Zombie, but a couple of times a year, he would tremble as if remembering. He’d growl and make “fitz, fitz, fitz,” noses with his upper lip and bottom teeth.

When it happened late at night, while he was deep asleep, and lying on his side, the opposite leg would twitch like a puppy getting his tummy scratched.

The end

***

I’d like to say the Miller Brothers learned their lessons and stayed home and lived happily ever after, but they didn’t. They were too adventurous, too much heroes, and just unwilling to live quiet lives.

So I guess this is not the end.

***

Click on Warriors Three to read the first Post on the Miller Brothers.

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