Little did I know, when going to the range every other weekend for some fun target practice, that I would one day be putting my husband in the crosshairs of his scope.
I’ve been watching Seth through his ATN X-Sight scope for about an hour now. My finger taps nervously at the trigger housing of his 6.5 Creedmore, a beast of a rifle. It was Seth’s. Mine now, I guess, you know, when I put him down.
I know as soon as I squeeze the trigger, the undead milling about and around me will be drawn to my hiding place by its sound. I have to do this, but I haven’t been able to, not yet. To do so would mean the end of the life we’ve made together. Not that we’ve had any semblance of a relationship since his transformation.
We should’ve killed Cassie the moment she stumbled through the front door with the bottom half of her right leg ravaged down to the bone. If we had, Seth would’ve never been bitten by her, and he would be with me right now.
I’m hesitating. Did I not learn anything from recent events? Hesitating, just like Seth did with Cassie. Why? Because I know once I pull this trigger, I will be alone on this God-forsaken side of the world.
Lumbering footsteps sound in the high grass to my right.
I jerk my head toward the noise.
Fuck! They’re closer than I expected.
“Seth, baby. Please forgive me,” I whisper. This situation is not what I wanted. Please know that I have always adored you. I always will. I wish a better hand had been dealt with you, Cassie and me. Us. Please know I do this because I love you. I don’t want you walking out your last dead days as one of them.
Another rustle in the high grass off to my left; they are even closer than the dead ones on my right. If I don’t do this, these fuckers will trip over me, and the same thing that happened to Cassie will happen to me. No way am I going to turn into one of them.
I take a deep breath to calm my body and steady my nerves. I don’t want to half-ass this shot and wing Seth. I need to do this right and put him out of his zombified misery.
I lower my eye to the scope again, then move the rifle ever so slightly. The crosshairs rise from Seth’s chest to the center of his head.
Seth stands transfixed in the middle of the scorched earth. He looks dead ahead, almost like he is staring directly at me.
I know that’s not the case.
I’m at least 500 yards out, maybe more like 550. I know Seth can’t see me. Their eyesight doesn’t get better when they change, does it?
I breathe out slightly, hold, then squeeze the trigger.
The rifle’s report is loud as the concussion booms, we heard a city’s distance away when the bombs dropped, and our world fell into hell. As the bullet obliterates Seth’s head, a hole as big as the world itself rips open my heart.
I am alone now.
As tears blur my vision, I stand, snatch up my backpack, shoulder my rifle and run though the dead already converging on me.
I know eventually, I will find other survivors, but even now, I know, no one will be able to fill this ever-widening void in my heart.