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Playing With Fire

By nstafins

Horror / Romance

Chapter One

Merle

God damn, that sun was fuckin' hot. I swore I could feel myself cookin, like meat on a griddle. I squinted my eyes and looked up at the sky. Sweat dripped down the sides of my face and neck, my shirt stickin' to my back. If I spent any more time out here, I'd shrivel up and dry out like a god damn raisin. Too bad I wasn't goin' anywhere anytime soon. I looked back at my wrist. It was still handcuffed tight to a metal pipe that ran the length of the roof top. God damn that black jackass for droppin' the key. Son of a bitch probably did it on purpose. Probably because I shoved that gun in his face. People were so damn sensitive these days.

Behind me I could still hear the door rattlin' on its hinges. That chain wasn't gonna keep those walkers stuck inside forever. Sooner or later it'd break and then there'd be nothin' stoppin' 'em from tearin' me to bits. Fuck those assholes for leavin' me here. That was low, even by Merle standards. When I got off this roof, they'd better hope and pray that I was too tired to kill 'em all. The snarlin' behind the door seemed to get louder.

I looked down at the handsaw, glintin' in the sunlight near my feet. Wasn't sharp enough to cut through the chain. But I'd bet it was plenty sharp to cut through somethin' else…good thing I was just crazy enough to do what needed to be done. I could live without two hands. I'd be damned, though, if I went out like this. Handcuffed to a fuckin' roof and torn to bits by those hungry geeks. Nasty bastards. I'd show 'em. It ain't that easy to get rid of Merle.

So I took off my belt and tied it tight around my arm, gritted my teeth, and pressed those sharp little blades against my skin. It was pain beyond pain. It rocked through me, washin' over me but I refused to let it take me under. It was a good thing I was one tough son of a bitch or this never would've worked. As soon as I got back to that damn camp, I was gonna take the hand I had left and wrap my fingers around Officer Friendly's throat. I tried not to think too hard 'bout what I was doin', just moved the saw back and forth, back and forth until there was one last taut stretch of sinewy skin.

Suddenly, I was free. The handcuff was left danglin' on the pipe and I was on the ground, writhin' in a warm, sticky pool of my own blood. My breath was comin' in short, heavy gasps as I struggled to try to control the pain that had wrapped itself around me and was draggin' me down. Holy fuckin' shit. I did it, though. I cut off my own god damn hand. I could almost feel the blood tryin' to rush outta me. I forced myself into a sittin', position and tightened the tourniquet around my arm.

The world felt like it was spinnin'. It was hard to focus on anythin' besides how much it hurt. It was unlike anythin' I had ever felt before and ever wanted to feel. Even through all that, though, I could still heard those damn walkers. Still screamin' and growlin' as they tried to get to me. Probably could smell a drop of blood the way sharks could in an ocean.

"Jesus god damn Christ." The words rushed out of me in a strangled sort of whisper as I struggled to my knees and tried to stand.

The corners of my vision were startin' to get all dark, my breathin' still too labored. I took one last look at my hand, lyin' on the concrete before staggerin' to the side of the roof and lookin' down. And it sure as hell was a long way to the ground. No ledges, no fire escapes, no any god damn thing that might make it a little easier to get the hell off this shitty roof. I spun back around to face the door. Guess my only choice was to face down those ugly sons of bitches one handed. I almost grinned. Man, if Daryl coulda seen me now…even that son of a bitch woulda been impressed.

I ignored the pain as best I could, though it was radiatin' up and down my arm and spreadin' through me like a wildfire. I knelt near the spilled tool box that had been left behind and picked up a heavy lookin' wrench. I tested its weight in my hand. Felt about as good as anything. Definitely good enough for smashin' through a few skulls.I felt my vision startin' to swim again, those damn black spots dancin' in front of my eyes. I shook it off. I had shit to do.

The roof door rattled as the walkers stuck on the other side tried to push their way through. The chain looked about ready to snap, the door wedged open by a good foot and a half wide gap. I could see the snarlin', nasty faces of the geeks on the other side. Weren't nearly as many as I thought there were. At least I had that goin' for me. I shoved my arm through and raised up the wrench before bringin' it down hard on the geek's skull. I felt it shatter into pieces before the thing dropped to the floor. I wrestled with the chain on the door before I finally got it off and shoved it the rest of the way open.

A walker came barrelin' out and I side stepped it just in time as it stumbled past me. I didn't give it time to recover, duckin' inside the building and pullin' the door shut tight behind me. I whirled around and rammed my shoulder into the two remainin' walkers, pushin' 'em down the stairs. I finished 'em off with the wrench.

I stopped to try and catch my breath. I cradled the stump of my arm into my chest, all mangled skin, tendons, and bone. The tourniquet would only do so much. I knew what I really needed to do was find a way to close it up as best I could. If I didn't, I was basically just beggin' to bleed out or get an infection and Jesus knows I didn't cut my hand off to die from some sort of pathetic gangrene thing. Not Merle.

The clangin' sound of footsteps on metal stairs snapped me back to the present. There were more walkers comin'. I could hear them snarlin' and growlin' as they pushed up the stairs. I knew what I needed to do now anyways. I'd spent enough time in prison and fought enough fights to figure it out. It wasn't gonna be pretty though.

I took the door that led to the floor below the roof, comin' out into one of those fancy department stores. Not that it was all that much to look at now, havin' been ransacked and nearly picked clean by looters. I shoved my way through the half empty clothing racks, tryin' to ignore the burnin', throbbin' pain that was swallowin' up my entire arm. I finally came out onto an aisle way, lookin' for anything at all that could point me in the right direction. Instead, I came face to face with another walker. It's clothes hung off it in moldy, shredded rags and it's skin was peeling away to reveal the yellowed, decaying skull underneath.

It lunged at me with it's skeleton arms but I didn't give it a chance to grab hold of anything, bringing down the wrench on the top of it's head with a satisfying crunch. It crumpled to the floor and I stumbled back a few steps, catchin' myself on a half-dressed mannequin. It was gettin' harder and harder to catch my breath, each one I drew in soundin' more ragged and forced than the one before. I didn't feel right in the head neither…felt like I was stragglin' through a dream. I made myself keep goin' though. I wound my way through the aisles, keepin' my eyes peeled. I couldn't wait to see the look on those sorry mother fuckers faces when I rolled back into camp. Like I said, It ain't that easy to get rid of Merle.

Good luck seemed to finally catch up with me as I came around the next corner and a cafe came into view. I just hoped like hell they had what I was looking for before my body finally decided to give out one. I slid across the counter and pushed open the swinging door into the back of the tiny cafe. Shards of broken mugs and plates littered the dirty floor and the freezer door hung off the wall on its hinges. The place looked like it had been torn apart either by a horde of walkers or desperate survivors tryin' to find their next meal. The one thing that was left untouched, though, was the gas stove sitting in the corner. Jackpot.

I made my way over to it, turning up the burner as high as it would go until it sprang to life, the orange flame dancin' teasingly. I rummaged through the cabinet next to it until I found a metal pan that had been left behind and set it on the burner, waitin' for it to get hot. The idea of pressing the scoldin' hot metal against the nub of my arm almost made even me cringe, but there weren't a whole lot of options left. Wasn't like I could go waltzin' into a hopital and wait for some hot nurse with a tight little body to come fix me up. Damn, wouldn't that be nice though?

I got impatient waitin' for the damn thing to heat up. When it seemed about long enough, though, I took the pan off the stove top and slid down onto the tiled floor, leaning back against the metal cabinet. I held the stub of my arm out in front of me. Good thing I was a lefty. Would've been a shame to lose my jackin' off hand. I gritted my teeth and lowered the pan onto the bone and flesh. The skin sizzled and the smell of burnin' flesh hit my nostrils. I tried to fight the guttural scream that built up inside me, but it finally escaped as my vision began to swim.

Everything was fading black. I fought against it hard, but eventually I felt myself sink.


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