Stay away from the suburbs in Michigan - Chap 7
Mark and the nurse helped the kid get out of the driver’s seat while Allie and I climbed out of the minivan. I could hear the footsteps of the changed people running towards us. A low growl caught my attention from off to my left. I glanced over to see a dog walking over towards the open trunk. “Close the trunk, quick!” I yelled.
This caused the dog to turn its attention to me, but allowed the nurse and Mark time to get the kid into the back of the SUV. I jumped back in the van with Allie and closed the door before the dog could get to us.
The SUV was packed tightly and there wasn’t any room for them to get in. The others tried to adjust and make more room for Mark and the nurse. The dog started barking and ran towards the SUV. Mark slammed the trunk and grabbed the nurse to run towards the closest house on that side of the street.
I looked out the back of the van and could see that the changed people were almost to the SUV. The engine roared and it suddenly zoomed forward. I couldn’t tell if they hit anyone, but I saw a bunch of people begin chasing after it. At the same time, a couple gunshots rang out from the direction Mark and the nurse were heading. This was our chance. I grabbed Allie and our things and opened the door again. It looked like there was a clear path to the house opposite the one Mark and the nurse were headed towards. It was the closest and likely only option “Let’s go,” I whispered and we ran to the house and made it in through the open door. I quickly closed and locked it.
All of the lights were off in the house. We stood there quietly in the darkness and listened for noises. Nothing caught my attention so I whispered to Allie, “We need to make sure it is safe in here. Stay close with me.” She nodded her head and grabbed on to my hand. I kept the lights off so as to not draw attention to the house in case we weren’t seen coming in. Keeping Allie close behind me, I pulled out my flashlight and started looking around the main floor.
We started with the living room and dining rooms. Every time I moved the light the shadows danced and jumped increasing the rate of my rapidly beating heart. We quickly confirmed that the rooms were clear. Next, we went through a hallway past an empty bathroom and into the kitchen. A slight breeze was coming in through the open doorwall. I ran over to close and lock it. No people or animals could be seen with the light on the patio that trailed off into the darkness of the backyard.
Looking around the kitchen, I was surprised to see how clean it was, with a few plates on the table and counter. There was even a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich that looked relatively fresh along with an empty cup save for what looked like milk residue on the bottom. Whatever had changed with the people in the neighborhood didn’t appear to affect all of their behaviors unless this family was recently attacked and changed. Although, it was likely a long time judging by the length of the grass we ran through to get here.
The door to the garage was also open along with the garage door. I scanned the driveway and street in front, but couldn’t see or hear any sign of the SUV or the people that were chasing it. I left the garage open so we wouldn’t attract additional attention, but closed and locked the door.
“Okay, main floor is good…should we go upstairs or to the basement next?” I asked Allie.
“Definitely upstairs. I don’t want to go in the basement,” she said.
We walked quietly over to the stairs and carefully went up to check the bedrooms. There were four rooms up there, with only one door closed. We looked in the bathroom first, which was spotless. The next room we went into was the master bedroom. Clothes were neatly hung in the large closet behind the bed and the bed was neatly made. Pictures and decorations were organized nicely on the dresser and nightstands. Towels were hanging in the attached bathrooms and it looked like the shower was recently used.
The next open door appeared to be a guest bedroom with not many decorations or much furniture. It was quick to see that it was empty. “I’m going to check the room with the closed door now. You stay back,” I said.
“Okay dad…be careful,” she responded.
Allie stayed back a few feet while I walked up to the closed door. I leaned in close to it and listened for any sounds. Not hearing anything, I slowly opened the door and aimed my flashlight in. It was a kid’s room and everything looked in perfect order; very unusual for a kid’s room in my experience. Movement to my right caught my attention. There was a cage resting on a dresser, with a bunny inside. It looked to be chewing on something, but stopped when I focused my light on it.
“Dad is it safe?” Allie whispered loudly, causing me to jump.
“Yes, you can come in,” I said. “There is a bunny in here, but stay back from it”
Allie came in and looked at the bunny with a huge smile on her face. “Awwww, it is so cute!” she said.
I was happy for a moment that she could be distracted from everything that was happening around us. Her childhood was so unfair with everything she had already been through and now this. I took her hand and together we walked a little closer to the bunny to check it out better. There didn’t seem to be anything different about it, but there was no way I would take any chances with getting any closer than a couple feet away.
“What’s it eating dad?” Allie asked.
I moved the flashlight a bit and leaned in a little closer. There was a partially eaten finger resting in front of its mouth. Our peaceful happy moment was abruptly halted. “Let’s go,” I said and started pulling Allie back.
The bunny suddenly made a big jump into the side of the cage, knocking it over and onto the floor in front of us. Allie let out a little scream and we ran out of the room closing the door behind us. The cage rattled loudly behind the door.
Why couldn’t we have just one nice moment, I thought. But there was no time to dwell on that as I needed to be sure the basement was safe. But first I wanted to see if there was any sign of Mark and the nurse in the house across the street.
We went back into the open bedroom with a window facing the street and looked outside. With some light from the night sky and the outdoor house lights, I could make out a few shapes in the street. It looked like a couple coyotes or dogs out there.
“Do you think the others are okay?” Allie asked.
“I bet Mark and the nurse made it in the house. And we saw the car drive away so I’m sure they are safe too.”
“Why did they drive away?” she asked.
“They didn’t have a choice…the people were coming too fast and we would have been trapped in the van if they didn’t pull their attention away from us.”
I aimed my flashlight out the window and turned it on and off a few times. We stood there looking out the window and waited a couple minutes. There was no sign of a response from Mark and the nurse.
“Let’s go downstairs,” I said. “We’ll try again to signal them before checking the basement.”
The stairs creaked and groaned as we went down them and back into the living room. I still didn’t see any people outside the window and only saw animals further away in the street. It felt safe enough to try again with the flashlight.
After a minute or so this time there was a flashing light in return from an upstairs window. I felt a surge of relief that they had made it in safely. We needed to find a way to regroup with them and then with everyone else. It felt so much safer together and Allie was much more distracted when she could help with Anna.
“I’ll check out the basement and then we’ll try to meet back up with the others.”
Allie hung back in the living room while I walked over to the basement door and listened for noises. Nothing but silence filled my ears so I opened the door. It was really bright down the stairs and looked like all the lights were on down there. As I took my first couple steps, Allie called for me.
“Dad, something’s happening across the street.”
Great, now what, I thought. I quickly walked back up and closed the door behind me.
Allie was standing a few feet back from the window looking across the street. The lights were on in all the rooms we could see.
“What are they doing Dad?”
“I don’t know, but they must have a plan.” I said.
The front door opened up while we kept an eye on the house. Then loud music started playing…”so can’t you see me standing here, I got my back against the record machi-ine, I ain’t the worst that you’ve see-een…” blared from somewhere inside the house and out into the neighborhood.
The animals out front started going towards the house and some people appeared in our view rapidly heading there as well. We watched them make their way onto the porch and in through the front door.
“Do you think Mark and Nurse Jessica are coming over here?” she asked.
Allie was much better with names than I was. “I hope so. Let’s be on the lookout for them,” I said.
A few minutes passed before we heard knocking on the doorwall in the kitchen. I ran over and turned on the light so I could see them better. “Are you both okay?” I asked through the glass.
They shook their heads yes and turned around a couple times to show that they didn’t have any visible bite marks. I couldn’t see everything, but they looked safe and seemed normal. Feeling like I could trust them, and that I really didn’t have much choice if I wanted us to survive, I let them in.
“Are you two all right? Jessica asked.
“Yes, we were able to escape safely when they were distracted by the gunshots and the car pulling away,” I said. “That was a nice plan to get over here…nice choice with Van Halen by the way!” There was a quick smile from Jessica. “Are you guys okay?”
“We made it in without getting hurt. The house was empty except for the basement.” Mark said. “Did you check everywhere?”
“There is a cute bunny upstairs. However, it tried to attack us through its cage so I wouldn’t go near it…and it was eating a finger.” I said. I thought they would have been more surprised by that last bit of information. Although, I guess with everything we’ve seen, there probably isn’t much more that could be surprising. “I had just started checking the basement when you began your distraction.”
Jessica stepped closer with a look of concern on her face. “Were all the lights on in the basement?” she asked.
“Yes, I thought it was odd since everything else was dark in the house,” I responded.
“We have to block the door and get out of here. Now.” Mark said.