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Walking Corpses

By 263Adder

Romance / Thriller

Chapter 1

"It's you, all of it."

"Give me the gun."

"You're going to kill me.

"No. No. I'm not going to kill you, Vera. But there's someone else on this island..."

"There is no one else!"

"There's someone on this island and they're going to kill us both if you don't give me that gun." Philip said, approaching me.

My hands shook as I pointed the gun at him.

"Vera, give me the gun. I need the gun!"

"So you can kill me too?"

He slowly raised his hands in the air, cautious in his approach.

"I am not the murderer Vera. There's someone else here. We're being hunted Vera. Right now, we are being hunted!"

"We've already talked about this!" I screamed. "There's nowhere to hide on this island. We would know by now. Everyone else is dead Philip and I didn't kill them so it must be you!"

"I haven't killed anyone on this island Vera. But someone is going to kill us if you don't give me the gun."

"You could have killed Bill while I was out here."

He sighed. "Yes I could have. I also had the time to kill the doctor too."

I tried to steady my shaking hand. "If you're trying to stop me killing you you might want to try harder."

"But as we've already established," He continued calmly, ignoring my threat, "I didn't have time to kill Wargrave. There wasn't time Vera, you know it."

My hand was shaking even more. "There's only two of us, there's no one else!"

"We'll check again." He took a long, irritated breath. "Have you fired a gun before?"

"I think I can figure it out."

"Answer the question Vera."

"No!"

"Okay. Keep your finger on the trigger, there are six rounds, there are no more bullets so you can't reload anyway. I'm going to walk ahead of you up that cliff. You can keep the gun pointed at me and walk behind me."

"I'm not going into that house with you."

"It's the only way to be sure."

"Be sure of what?"

"I don't know what kind of murderer you are. But you look like you feel pretty guilty about it." He sneered. "Perhaps before you murder someone else you'd like to make sure you're not about to kill the wrong person?"

"There's no one else here!"

"And I know that there is! Because I know sure as hell I'm not the killer, and I'm pretty sure if you were I'd be dead by now. Now, maybe you're right that there was no one else on the island. Maybe it is one of us. Or maybe it's someone in there." He pointed at the cliff, in the general direction of the house.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"We know Marston is dead, I moved his body. We also know for sure that Macarthur, Mr Rogers, tubs and Doctor Armstrong are dead, with their injuries. But the doctor was the only one to check Wargrave, Mrs Rogers and Miss Brent."

"Why would he lie?"

"He might have been working with them! Why would he leave the house? Because he was going to meet someone! Someone who knew he could turn on them so they killed him first. Killing him where he wouldn't be found so we'd all suspect him. It was a red herring, like you said."

"You think someone pretended to be dead."

"Well we wouldn't suspect a corpse."

"So you want to make me check the bodies so you can steal your gun back and shoot me?"

"I could have shot you as soon as Bill was dead. I know I'm not the murderer, and I know you're not. Besides, I already told you you can keep the gun. Just be prepared to shoot someone other than me." Cautiously he passed me by, giving me a wide berth, making his way towards the cliff. "Come on Vera, what have you got to lose?"

I remembered Bills words. Maybe we're already dead. Maybe this is hell. I can't die twice...

Following Philip I made sure to leave a wide gap so he couldn't spin on me to snatch the gun away. It takes longer to reach the house in such a fashion, and Philip doesn't miss the opportunity to keep talking.

"We have to presume they're not playing dead anymore, there's only two of us, they'll want us dead now. When we go in we check every room downstairs before we go up. If they realise we're both still alive they may try to hide again then we'll have the upper hand."

"How?" I ask, nearly stumbling as I keep my eyes on his back and not the path.

"They'll go back to playing dead to be safe. They have to lie still and play the part. I'll check the body while you stand back with the gun pointed at me and the body. If they move shoot them." He looked over his shoulder and shot me a grin, "think you can do that sweetheart?"

I nod silently and he focuses on the path again.

"So I can take it now that you really did kill that boy."

I don't answer.

"Fine, though from experience let me tell you. Pretending it didn't happen, or pretending that you had a good reason to do it. It doesn't help you know. Better to be open about these things."

"If I'd be open about it I would have been sent to the gallows."

He laughed. "Well I guess that's as close to a confession as I'm going to get."

The house was in sight now. The white house contrasted horrifically against the stormy black sky, it's dark windows making it look like a rotting beast.

"I still can't convince you to give me the gun then?" Philip asked.

"I still don't trust you."

He laughed. "You know the more you talk the more I like you Vera. I think if I was the killer I'd have completely changed my mind about killing you by now."

"I know you think making jokes will lighten the mood but they really don't."

"Okay. When we go in we'll try to make a lot of noise at the door so they know there's two of us. They might hide then. We'll go to the basement first, check the two bodies down there then work our way up."

"Fine."

We came up to the door in silence, and shared a look. I didn't even notice I'd started to lower my arms until Philip gestured for me to raise them again.

He threw the door open. "For the last time I didn't kill anyone."

"Yes you have." I said loudly as he checked the hallway before moving to the next room.

"Fine, I didn't kill anyone on this island."

"Forgive me for not believing you Mr Lombard," I said as we kept moving between rooms getting closer and closer to the basement door. "But your record doesn't exactly inspire confidence."

"And why should I believe you, Miss Claythorne? You say you nearly died saving that boy? Well everyone else in this house was guilty, I find it very hard to believe you're the only innocent person here."

"It was an accident." I said through gritted teeth, letting him reach the bottom of the stairs before following him. He waited for me to reach him before turning the corner into the bedroom.

I stood besides the doorway as he pulled back the sheet on Mrs Roberts. Her body was already starting the swell and it was clear that she was dead. Nevertheless Philip checked her pulse before moving to Mr Roberts even though from his wounds we had already eliminated him.

Seeing his mangled face as the sheet was pulled back was enough to make me want to drop Philips gun but I held it tight, still not willing to believe Philip was innocent, even though I wanted it. I didn't want to kill again, and I didn't want to be alone on this island.

I let him pass before me as we moved back to the ground floor where we moved over to Bills body. Philip again pressed his hand to his neck and held a hand over his mouth to check his breath. This all seemed preposterous. The knife was sticking out of his chest!

He gestured that we should move upstairs. We checked Marston, and like Mrs Roberts he'd begun to swell. Philip never flinched as he checked their bodies and I was finding it harder to keep the gun pointed on him as he stood by his theory that the dead were trying to kill us.

Next Emily Brent, her body still untouched. The fresher the dead the more anxious Philip and I were visually becoming. Even though she was, had been I tried to think, a slight woman Philip snatched the sheet back quickly like she might bite him.

Again there was no movement and I sighed with relief as Philip checked her pulse and we once again accepted she was dead.

Philip tried to move onto Marshalls room but I reached out and pulled him back, surprising him. I pointed to Wargraves room. His death was one of the most recent.

Philip nodded, looking confused but not questioning. He moved forward and pushed open the door, running to the bed almost as soon as he did. I followed behind him and to my mixed horror and relief saw that the bed was empty.

"You were right." I whispered, as Philip turned to me.

"Wargrave. Where could he have gone?"

"Philip." I said. He met my eye. "I'm really scared."

He caught the gun as it began to slip through my fingers. "I know. But we know now. There's two of us and we have a gun. We can finally end this."

"And then we can leave?"

He kissed my forehead. "Then we leave. We'll build a huge bonfire, they'll see it from the mainland and send help. We'll get off this island Vera, if I have to built a boat to do it."

"God, I nearly killed you." I whispered, horrified at the idea that I had nearly carried out Wargrave's intentions and that he would have killed me as soon as I returned to the house. "I would have done it."

"You wouldn't have." He said gravely.

"Yes I would." I looked at my feet not willing to look him in the eye. "So we kill Wargrave?"

He nodded slowly. "First things first. We have to catch him."

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