Here’s a continuation for the Origin story for Harriet. Sorry for the late update, I’m working on some crucial chapters for Kingless Country that have really sapped my free time. See you Wednesday!
Game of Life — Harriet, Part 2.
Harriet rolled her thumb over the call button of her smart phone, staring down the numerals nine-one-one. She couldn’t do it. Her father’s corpse lay before her, frozen with his final look of rage– what was left of his face anyway.
She pocketed her phone and stumbled down the stairs. The police might blame me for this. I need to know more. The hiss of television static lured her to the living room. Her mother sat on the couch, shoulders slumped.
Harriet hesitated at the doorway. Her mother should have been dead or at least in no condition to move. She held her ground, debating if she should call out to her.
“I knew this would happen,” Mother said. “That good-for-nothing never could hold his temper.”
Relaxing at her words, Harriet approached. A gout of blood poured from her mother’s forehead. She held back the bleeding with a dishrag. Tears formed in Harriet’s eyes and an overwhelming wave of relief washed over her.
“Mom?” she said, just over a whisper.
She didn’t hear her.
“I’ll just have to kill him. He just doesn’t try hard enough.”
“Mom,” Harriet said, this time louder. “Dad, is dead.”
Her mother turned, revealing the ruin of her left eye. She strained to look over Harriet with her remaining one. “Dead? Harold is dead? Why?”
Harriet swallowed back the lump in her throat. “B-Because I–I killed him. I had to. He killed Iona.”
“That’s ridiculous. She’s right behind you.”
Harriet spun around to find Iona, standing with her with her arms dangling loose in front of her. A concave would split between her eyes. Gore dribbled from the wound and her eyes looked in separate directions.
“Iona?” Harriet fled from the door. “What are you… how are you still alive?”
“You killed dad. I’m telling.”
“What the Fuck? You can’t be alive.”
“Language.” Mother leapt over the couch and grabbed Harriet by the throat, pinning her against the wall. Harriet clawed at her fingers, trying to breathe, but mother was too strong.
“You killed my Harold, you did this.” A crazed look danced in her remaining eye.
Harriet searched around her, for something, anything to help her. She clawed against the wall, brushing a finger across a fish trophy replica. It wriggled, but didn’t come free.
She tried to beg, but no sound came out. The room got fuzzy around her. A sharp pain shot through her arm. Teeth bit into her flesh, tearing away a meaty strip. Her sister gnawed on her like a rabid animal.
Mother let Harriet go, leaving her to slide to the floor. She crouched, rating at her with her lone good eye. “Don’t worry darling. You’re still my little girl. You’ll always–”
Harriet slammed an elbow into Iona’s jaw and grabbed a lamp from an endtable. She slammed the lamp into her mother’s remaining eye and tore to the gun cabinet.
Iona righted herself quickly and took a clumsy first step, landing hard on the ground. She clawed at the ground, pulling herself closer. “Give up, sis. You’re already one of us.”
Harriet shook her head, pulling open the unlocked case and grabbed another rifle. It’ll take too long to load. She picked up the heaviest one and brandished it like a club. “Back! I’m not joking around.”
“You never did,” Iona said. “You just wanted to kill dad. You have an excuse now. You are just as bad as you say he is. He treated me just fine.”
“He beat you to death.” Harriet said, holding the rifle higher. “He only laid a hand on you once, and that’s all it took. You’re dead… you’re already–”
“No fighting under my roof, young lady,” Mother said, standing up. Both her eyes were smashed to uselessness. “You know you’re just like your father– prone to violence. It must be all those video games.”
Harriet screamed, slamming the butt of the rifle between the split crack in Iona’s head. The first hit pinned her to the floor, leaving her body twitching. The second splattered brain matter all over the carpet. “Just stay dead!”
Mother frowned. “You know I don’t like repeating myself. No fighting.”
Harriet rushed her mother swinging the rifle in a wide arch and shattered her jaw. She fell to the ground, hard. Not good enough. Harriet closed the gap and smashed the rifle down over and over until her arms went numb. The rifle fumbled from her fingers and the wound started to sting.
“N-No. Mom. I didn’t– I didn’t mean to.” Harriet stumbled backwards, clutching the bleeding cut. And I’ve been bit. It’s all over.
Harriet clenched her jaw and forced herself to stand. She staggered to the cabinet, and opened the lower shelf. Loads of shotgun shells sat in tidy rows. She just needed two, though. She loaded it with shaking fingers, tears rolling down her face the whole time. I’d rather be dead than a monster.
Her phone beeped in her pocket. She ignored it. She didn’t have any time. Instead, she slipped the barrel into her mouth and squared her shoulders against the wall. Harriet squeezed her eyes shut and ran her thumb along the trigger. Hesitation hit her like a slap to the face. Mother didn’t get bit.
She opened her eyes, staring down the steel of the double barrels. She could see clearly, She could think clearly. Harriet felt many things, but guilt wasn’t among them.
Slow and steady, she pulled away the shotgun and set it aside. Whatever drove mother, father and Iona crazy… hasn’t hit me yet. Maybe it never will.
Harriet pulled out her phone from her pocket, woke her phone and hit send.
“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?”
“My family is dead. They went crazy.”
“Who am I speaking to, please?”
“Thank you Harriet, let me confirm your location– oh. I uh… I see you have a quarantine warning in your area.” The sound of shuffling paper came across the phone. “I suggest you close all doors and lock all windows.”
“That won’t help me. I need help, real help.”
“I’m sorry. That’s all it says. I wish I could do more for you. Goodbye Miss Milkins.”
The line went dead.
Harriet dialed nine-one-one again and hit send. A computerized voice came up. “I’m sorry this number doesn’t want to talk to you.”
“What the fuck?”
“L–language.” Mother’s body said. That one might have been her imagination. Or at least, she hoped so.