My fear had gripped me tight and by the time the paralysis lifted I had steamed past Slade’s dock and into a narrow section of tunnel that precluded any thought of turning around. I desperately twisted and pulled at various controls on the engine, but in my panic failed to find a reverse gearing system. I moved with grim inexorability towards the moaning and splashing monster somewhere in the dark sewer ahead.
Suddenly there was another splash somewhere further ahead. And another. More moans, guttural animalistic cries of hunger, joined the first. I was facing at least three zombies and found myself armed with nothing more than my satchel and this boat.
The boat! Of course! I had been desperately trying to get the boat to go backwards and away from the terrors that lay ahead when I should have been looking at it as my source of escape and protection through them!
The stench of the sewer, whilst always bad, increased in its foulness as it mixed with the terrible miasma of rotting flesh. The tunnel ahead was dark and heavy with shadows that seemed to peel from the walls and flee ahead of my boat only at the last possible second.
And the seconds in this vile place felt like hours as I crept forward seeing nothing in the gloom until! There! In the sewage before me a creature loomed large, its arms stretched out in front, a shaft of wood trust fully through its body and, most terrible of all, an axe buried in its ruined skull! Its dead eyes fixed on me as its slack jaw released the unmistakable howl of a flesh-hungry zombie!
With a spine of pure ice, I opened the little boat’s steam valve as far as it would go and kept a steady hand on the tiller as I began to speed through the foul water. I aimed squarely at the poor devil and braced for impact – there was a dull thud as his head hit the hull and the boat leapt up in the air, riding over him as if over a ramp! I held on tight, fearing I would be thrown from my craft, or worse still, it would capsize, but the steady vessel came down true and splashed back into the murky waters. Almost immediately the engine began to protest and I turned just in time to see the unfortunate’s head pulled into the gearing and cracked like an egg. Blood, brains and gore erupted behind me and the creature’s body, now finally lifeless and at rest, sank to the bottom. I was safe!
Ahead of me, in the inky blackness, the moaning started again. I set my jaw and spluttered forward…
To be continued…
All the “The Mysterious Note” posts can be read here.