Lorna ran through the vast interior of the upmarket hotel, her only guide were the loud screams in the distance.
Such was her intense focus on the location of the desperate cries, Lorna paid little attention to the scenes of devastation that adorned the elaborate corridor.
Body parts no longer attached to their appropriate hosts were strewn along the floor. The expensive carpet was soaked with blood, the crimson consequence of whatever evil had occurred splashed up with every stride Lorna took.
The screams became louder as she neared the source of the petrified pleas. Lorna had no idea what had prompted such cries. If she had stopped to think about it, paused to take in her surroundings and the scenes of utter carnage around her then she would be forgiven for just turning around and running in the opposite direction. Yet she had resolved to follow Veronica and would not stop this pursuit until she found her.
But why? Lorna had only met her a few hours beforehand and most of that time had been spent arguing with each other. They were from very different backgrounds; Veronica came from the more affluent part of the city, her accent and manner all indicating a life of privilege and wealth. Lorna, on the other hand, was from the other side where you had to fight for the slightest morsel of comfort.
In normal times these two could never be true friends, centuries of a class system designed to keep everyone in their rightful place would see to that. But these were certainly not normal times. Something had happened. Something bad. At that moment they were the only two who weren’t dead. Lorna felt a desire to keep it that way.
She followed the screams towards two large closed doors. A mutilated body leant against the dark oak panels. The prettiness of the purple dress worn by the newly deceased was marred by the brutality of her demise. The jaw ripped from what was once an attractive face.
Angry crimson flowed from the jagged gaping hole that was now to forever be her mouth. Lorna wanted to throw up as she stared at the disfigured corpse.
She stopped her macabre study of the body when she realised the screams from behind the door had stopped. There had been something oddly comforting about the persistent cries from Veronica, it had meant she was still alive. The sudden cessation of that sound filled Lorna with dread that poor Veronica had met a similar end to the jawless purple dress lady.
Nervously, Lorna put her hand on the handle and her ear against the door, straining to hear any signs of life. The only sound was a low hum as if music was playing. Taking a deep breath she pulled down the handle and opened the door.
The vast ballroom was dark save for the sporadic multi coloured lights flashing from the DJ booth. The sparkles from the glitterball above rained down onto the shiny dance floor where Veronica stood gazing at something in the distance.
Lorna made her way towards her, almost slipping over on a pool of blood that seeped from another female guest, this one missing both her arms.
She reached the edge and put her hand on Veronica’s shoulder.
“Hun, we got to get out of here” Lorna said.
Veronica turned to face Lorna, her eyes were red from crying. Having witnessed the mutilation of her closest family and friends it was a surprise she could still stand.
“It’s Richard” she replied in a hoarse voice which Lorna could barely hear over the music.
“Who’s Richard?” Lorna asked.
Veronica did not respond but turned back and gazed towards a dark corner of the room where a smartly dressed man emerged.
Lorna watched as this tall figure, she presumed was Richard, lumbered slowly over to the dance floor until he was only a few feet away. She could see his clothes glistened with blood. He could have been a victim of the horror that had occurred but Lorna spied a thick angry cock clearly on display.
Lorna leant in and spoke to Veronica “Sweetie, I don’t think that is the Richard you know.”
But Veronica ignored her and moved to the centre of the dance floor, face to face with the man she loved. Two lovers illuminated by the sparkles from above as the melody of Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush blared out from the oversized speakers.
Lorna tried to shout out a warning to Veronica but her words became lost amongst the rising notes of the seminal 1980s love ballad.
All she could do was watch helplessly as Richard grabbed Veronica pulling her across the shiny floor.
The bride adorned in what was once a splendid wedding dress, now ripped and soiled in blood, slid along the floor . The Groom dressed in his finest morning suit, stalked after her, his cock, proudly exposed, leading the way.
Lorna wanted desperately to help but found herself frozen, unable to intervene she could do nothing but watch the tragic choreography unfold.
The glitterball above perfectly spotlighted Richard taking his beautiful wife’s face in his hands. His fingers dug deep into her skull, Veronica’s mouth opened in an expression of pain. Strangely with Jennifer reaching the big notes it did for a moment appear that Veronica was singing along.
Lorna tried to push herself forward but she doubted she could reach them in time. Through the dull illumination of the lights, Veronica glanced towards Lorna and gave a look that told her not to worry before appearing to recommence this bizarre karaoke.
Lorna looked away, she had no desire to watch the finale of this macabre reunion. The song that was to be their first dance ended, punctuated by the sound of Veronica and Richard’s union coming to a bloody and violent conclusion.
For a moment the room was bathed in a calm silence. Breathing heavily, Lorna looked towards where she had last seen Veronica. The bride’s body was slumped over, the glittering lights illuminated the blood that ran down the previously brilliant outfit. It was fresh.
Lorna could hear her own blood pump through her ears as she made her way slowly across the dance floor to the scene of horror just a few feet in front.
The silence of her brief journey interrupted by music which started playing; with no DJ present in the booth the CD had switched automatically to the next track. The Lion Sleeps Tonight echoed across the hall. Whatever feelings Lorna had about that particular song it didn’t really reflect the sombre mood of what had just occurred.
She reached Veronica and nervously extended her hand out to touch the bride’s blood stained shoulder.
“I’m so sorry hun” Lorna said mournfully.
Veronica turned around revealing the headless body of her husband behind her. His hand rested listlessly on his chest, the ring that had symbolised their union sparkled with every revolution of the glitterball.
Till death do us part. Or perhaps more Till I suck you off and your head explodes.
Did Veronica know this would have caused Richard’s demise? Or did she fancy one final intimate moment before she joined her friends in being brutally slaughtered?
Whatever her reasons that is what she had done. With Richard’s fingers pushing hard against her skull she had taken him into her mouth and…. Splat!
Lorna knelt down next to Veronica and hugged her. She had no idea what else to do. Veronica spoke, her voice was hoarse from the grief she had emitted and it may have been all the ‘weema-wehs’ that boomed from the speakers but Lorna thought she said “He was just so big.”
There was no good reason to remain at the hotel, everyone was either dead or missing. The occasional crash alerted Lorna to the realisation that they may not be totally alone. She had no desire to investigate, no real willingness to bump into whatever it was that those men had become.
Lorna took a swig from a bottle of wine that was nearby. She knew that keeping a clear head was probably the more sensible thing to do but such were the scenes of annihilation around her she needed to dull her senses.
Nothing made sense and in those circumstances what was the point of trying to think about it.
She looked over at Veronica who had not moved since her husband’s head exploded. Eighties music still blared out, the jaunty pop jingles a juxtaposition to the sorrowful and broken figure of the bride.
She had lost everything in the most awfully violent way. Was this happening elsewhere? Was it happening to her friends and family….Lorna shut down that thought process with a huge gulp of wine.
Such was the fragility of keeping it together Lorna just focused on one thing. She dismissed any thought of searching for anyone else who may need help. She ignored the growing fear that this horror may not be isolated to the hotel. No. The only thing she concentrated on was leaving this place as soon as possible.
Lorna got to her feet and wandered around the hall. Not to examine the gruesome remains of the victims nor to ensure none of the erect maniacs lurked in the shadows; with her stomach rumbling she was on the hunt for food.
Lorna walked towards a long table that was the home to a bountiful array of finger food. The recent carnage had meant there were now actual fingers within the food.
Then she spied them, an entire tray of chicken nuggets. Her stomach roared at the thought of being replinished but the glitterball shone a warning light over them, dark red covered the delicious bites.
Even if Lorna had been tempted to play the ‘Blood or Ketchup?’ game the presence of a human head put an end to any thoughts of a banquet.
She swigged from the bottle and addressed Veronica;
“Come on hun we need to go.”
“Go without me. I just want to stay here… I don’t care if I die.. Not now. ” Veronica replied.
What could Lorna say? She did not want to leave Veronica alone, the thought of her submitting to being ripped apart would weigh heavy on her conscience.
But Lorna was not a counsellor, she possessed no skills that could assist in a situation like this. Even when her own friends would suffer a bereavement the best she could muster was a sad face emoji before waiting a couple of weeks to ask if they were okay.
Through the blissful haze of alcohol Lorna tried to think how she could motivate Veronica to move;
Sorry your mum died being cock slapped by some maniac but…..
I know everyone you ever loved is either dead or now a monster however…..
You clearly have nothing to live for and it’s unlikely there is any hope for anyone of us although…
“Some of your friends and family may have escaped” said Lorna.
It was a complete lie of course but it did cause Veronica to momentarily break her melancholy and respond “Really? Do you think?”
Lorna took another swig of wine “Yeh. Sure. When this all started I’m sure some would have got away.”
She instinctively gestured to the dismembered bodies on the ground and quickly withdrew her hand and continued.
“They’ve probably gone towards town. It’ll be safe there. Governments have plans for these sort of things.”
Lorna didn’t know if this lie was just for Veronica’s benefit or for her own. She persisted with her optimistic yarn.
“There’s no guarantee this is happening in town and even if it is the army would be out, protecting everyone and getting them to some safe zone.”
By the time she had finished describing this utopia of sanctuary Lorna wanted to rush straight there herself.
This promise of safety made their current surroundings all the more evident. Although the stench of death had been with them from the moment they walked in, it now filled her nostrils. She tried dampening the putrid stench with the more floral smell of the wine…. and if she’s not mistaken a hint of oak.
For Veronica the idea that some of her loved ones may have escaped was enough to get her to stand up. She grabbed the wine bottle from Lorna and took a long hearty gulp.
Wiping her mouth she said “Come on let’s go.”
The return trip to the car was unpleasant but thankfully uneventful. It did take longer than Lorna would have liked but Veronica would fall into her everytime she witnessed the gruesome destruction of one of her guests. Lorna herself was not very steady on her feet, which was probably more to do with the wine than the corpses.
They reached the car and Veronica took one final look back at the dream venue of her fairytale wedding. It seemed implausible to believe that only hours before it had been the scene of such joviality.
Those assembled to witness such a loving union would have laughed, drank and smiled. The tortured faces of the corpses that littered the courtyard displayed none of those emotions.
“Are you sure you are okay to drive?” Veronica asked Lorna as she closed the car door.
“Yeh all good hun” Lorna replied “Besides, I think tonight the Police might be a little occupied with other things.”
Lorna started the car and headed back down the long dirt path. They were going into the heart of the city. That’s where Lorna believed they would be safe.
There would be a plan. There would be sanctuary. That is what she kept telling herself as she accelerated through the murky woodland. Veronica was on edge, staring out the window like a curious puppy. Reacting to every shape as a potential friend who needed their help before shouting at Lorna that she was driving too fast for her to see properly.
Lorna just wanted to get somewhere safe as quickly as possible. One on hand on the steering wheel, the other fumbling on the dial of the radio desperately scanning for some sign that everything was going to be okay.
They eventually reached the familiar urban streets with rows of houses all brightly lit by the comforting orange glow of lights.
It should have been then that they relaxed. The horror of the hotel miles behind them.
There should have been either army trucks ferrying survivors to the sanctuary or alternatively simply nothing; just the monotonous dullness of a normal street, blissful confirmation that this horror had been confined to the hotel.
What they did not want to see is that brutal devastation of the hotel replicated on a much larger scale. Yet that is exactly what they drove straight into.
The streets were littered with dismembered bodies , the culprits of the devastation skulking in search of their next victim.
Thoughts of any sanctuary faded rapidly. If there had been any question as to how the guests at the wedding may have met their grisly demise then Veronica and Lorna were treated to a live repeat.
They choked back tears and vomit as they watched whilst arms, legs or heads were ripped from their screaming owner.
Veronica and Lorna looked at each other. Through the fear and disgust in their eyes they engaged in a silent conversation as the brutality continued outside.
Should they help? Could they help? Didn’t they know how to bring down these monsters? These ruthless killing machines now occupied the streets, anyone else seemed to have perished.
Lorna put the car in reverse just as someone banged on the windscreen. It was a girl, frantically slapping her hands against the glass. She needed to be saved from the monster who pursued her.
Lorna’s foot hovered over the accelerator.
The monster was on fire.