Submitted by Todd Cash (

I see all the cars gridlocked around the MicDoonalds tonight. The access road in front of the restaurant is chock-full. It looks like some pop art sculpture. Since it's the weekend, must be no basketball game.

Driving down a second road, which runs behind MicDoonalds, is always a blessing on nights like these. For some reason, the traffic never gets bogged down on this road. It could be 'cause it'sone huge curve and on a slope. It might have something to do with it not having a stop sign. All I know is that I'm thankful for it. I'd hate to be trapped in traffic with people ten years younger than me while I listen to chiper djs report on gas hikes, poisonous bacteria in bananas, and the freaking census. How do they happily report these things as if they are giving directions?

'Course, that's all assuming that I could hear my radio over throbbing speaker systems, squealing girls, and blaring horns. I didn't do this ten years ago. Others my age did. I didn't understand them then and I don't understand these kids now. I'll never know why people feel the need to cruise in an area where cruising isn't possible.

At least they are learning about traffic.

I've a reason to be here. Next to the MicDoonalds is a Buckbusters. My girlfriend, Anne, manages the branch of the "world's most expensive movie rental store" in our town. Of course, this store also has more movies than any other movie store in creation. Credit to where credit is due.

I pull into the Buckbusters' parking lot and turn off my Camaro. It's a '75 model, like me. Just as I'm about to go into the store, the sounds of screeching tires and a thud catches my attention. I turn to the traffic-backed access road in front of the store.

A group of people mingle in the middle of the highway that runs alongside the access road. Only a small stretch of grass and red clay mud separate the two roads. The people seem to have come out of the ice cream shoppe across the highway. A dozen or so more people stream out as I watch.

I stick my head into the store as traffic on the highway comes to a halt.

"Anne, call the police. It looks like someone got ran over."

She's on the phone, tucking strands of cinammon-colored hair behind her ear, as usual. I love that habit. I turn my attention back to the accident . . . and hear screams.

For a moment what I see doesn't look real. The mob of people from the ice cream shoppe begin reaching into people's cars and pulling them out. Everyone seems to be fighting. Half of the teenagers get out of their

vehicles. Half of those go down to the highway to get into the brawl. I want to scream at them to all leave before this thing explodes. I don't. I know nobody will listen to me.

I go into the movie store and wait for Anne to pause in her conversation with the police. She finally does.

"Tell them that people are fighting in the middle of the highway. Kids are getting attacked too!"

Anne nods as she goes through a series of "okays" and "uh-huhs" with a person at the other end of the line. Behind me, in the back of the store, I hear someone fall down. I turn around too late to see who it is. I only

see a pink and white cup with a brown milkshake spilling out from around a large neck-high video rack. There are yellow-white pieces of something in the mass of brown. Other people rush over to the person. Since I know nothing about first aid, I turn back to the traffic jam.

"How are the cops supposed to get in here? Nobody's in their cars to move them. No way the ambulences can get to the injured," I say to nobody in particular. Anne hangs up the phone.

"Did someone fall down in here?"

"Yeah, you might want to call an ambulance for them too."

"Jesus, aren't you gonna do something?"

"What do you want me to do, get in the fight outside or start practicing medicine?"

Anne gave me her "not-now" face. I backed down.

Suddenly a man inside the store screams out that he has been bitten. An older guy jumps up from behind the video rack, clasping his right hand. Hard to tell, but it looks like two fingers are missing. Blood shoots out over the movies. His bleeding wound looks like a deranged sparkler.

I watch as people run away from what sounds like a woman talking through water. I can't make out one gurgled psychotic word. All I can think is that it must be important if she's biting people's fingers off.

When she stands, I realize just how wrong things have gotten. Her skin is lime green. Her chin and mouth are smeared in blood. She is chewing on something I want to pretend is bubble gum.

Like a drunk, she tumbles into a little boy with a Pukeman video game in his hands. I race towards the woman, grabbing a movie case as I go. The boy screams out when the monster's hands grab him. She opens her mouth wide enough for the two fingers in it to fall out. I shove a copy of "The Out-of-Towners" into the gaping hole.

She falls down. As the boy gets clear and backs next to the bleeding man, I brace my weight against a rack of movies. With one good shove, I topple it over the creature.

That's when the man she bit snarles madly and takes a chunk of hair and flesh out of the boy's head. Blood and juices run down his face like rain on windshields.

"Tony," Anne screams. The rest of the people are all at the doors now, pointing and screaming at either the mess inside or something outside.

"We've got to get out of here now!! Some of those things are in the parking lot already!"

"Gaaaa," someone says behind me.

I run to the front of the store and join the other. I see dozens of people dead on the access road and highway. Some cops are shooting others down. About four of the creatures are in the lot.

"We've got to go now!"

Anne nods her head, looks into the store, and screams again.

"Two of them are in here! The boy is one now!"

I spin around to see Fingerless Pete and Devil Boy staggering our way.

For some crazy reason, I was calm and thinking clearly. Go figure. "Look, people, they aren't as fast or smart as us. Whatever they are doesn't matter. We can get to our cars and go."

A younger woman in the crowd steps forward. She has her hand outstretched to the little boy.

"Bobby, it's Mommy."

Before Bobby can severe his Mommy's hand, she is pulled back by another man.

"That ain't Bobby," he says. "I don't know what that thing is!"

Everybody is either screaming or crying as I throw open the door to the parking lot. People charge out with the force of a popped zit. I hold onto Anne's hand as we sprint for my Camaro. It's a safe run. We even take the time to scope out the trapped teenagers getting attacked by their former best friends and dates.

I let Anne in the car first, give her my keys, and slide across the hood. She unlocks my door. Anne starts the car as I close the door.

The road I took in is still free. My tires bark wildly as my 350 horse-powered engine demands to leave. We race out that way as a DJ talks about reports of strange attacks cropping up across the country. He also says something about banana bacteria again, but I'm no longer listening closely.

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