A Beautiful Spring Day
Saturday was beautiful. Not only was it the first day of Spring but it was also the first day in nearly a week that wasn’t tainted by cloudy skies and persistent rain. This little ray of sunshine was just the kind of motivation required to stretch the legs and do something other than sit around the house and watch reruns on television.
Even though the day was off to a wonderful start, I was fully aware that it was nothing more than a tease. The local news was reporting cloudy skies and a light rain by early afternoon. If I was going to enjoy any part of this day I was going to have to get started in short order and soak up the sun while it lasted.
After a pleasant breakfast, I thought it would be a good time to take Syrus out for a walk. From our pit bull’s demeanor as of late, it seemed as though he was just as sick of the wet weather as my wife and I were. I was sure that he wouldn’t mind spending a little time in the warm morning sun. As I stood in the living room, staring at the leash hanging near the door, I considered holding off until after my morning errands were complete. My concentration was broken as Syrus realized what I was staring at and began whipping me with his tail in excitement.
Before setting foot out the door, I gave my wife a kiss on the cheek and told her I would be back in about an hour. I turned to head towards the door and was tripped up, nearly falling flat on my face. Not wanting to have me slip out past him, Syrus was in a tight heel position, snug against my side. This, I determined, was the cause of my sudden loss of balance
I managed to stay on my feet but had to break into a run in order to do so. I crossed the living room in no time at all, trying to keep myself upright. Behind me I heard my wife’s hysterical laughter at my clumsiness and Syrus’ raw excitement for a dry walk through the neighborhood. I tried to give Syrus a stern look for tripping me up, but all I could manage was a slight smirk as I thought about what I must have looked like trying to regain my footing.
Once Syrus’ leash was fastened, we stepped out into the warm morning air and headed away from the house. It didn’t take long before the house was out of sight and Syrus’ tail was wagging a mile a minute. The happy look on his face made me smile and appreciate the day all the more.
About thirty minutes into our walk we reached a wooded park area. While Syrus sniffed around to take care of business, I reached into my shirt pocket and retrieved an Illusione 88. I was so wrapped up in the walk that I nearly forgot to light my traditional walk the dog cigar.
Before Syrus could his thing, he began acting strange. His intense sniffing of the ground came to an abrupt halt as he stood frozen, staring off into the tree line about fifty yards away. Once my cigar was lit, I took a couple slow puffs and offered Syrus some words of encouragement in hopes that he would ignore whatever was in the woods and resume our walk.
Even though my pooch returned to sniffing the ground, he seemed too distracted to take care of business. In an effort to make him more comfortable, I began to move away from the tree line. My assumption was that there was an animal of some sort roaming around and he didn’t recognize its scent.
As we began to walk, I heard a low gurgling noise off in the distance. Syrus suddenly froze and the hair along his spine stood up on end while he let out a low growl. The more I tried to break his concentration and walk away, the more he resisted and fixated on that low sound off in the woods.
Frustration mounting, I turned my back to the woods and crouched down directly in Syrus’ field of view to break his concentration. He looked up at me with worried eyes and I knew that something was wrong. We needed to get out of the immediate area.
The very instant that I began to rise I heard a crack behind me. Before I could turn to see what the noise was, Syrus was off like a shot. He charged out six feet and was brought to an abrupt halt as the leash, which was looped over over my wrist, lost all slack and pulled taut. Upon his violent stop, Syrus immediately took a few steps back to put himself into a protective position as I tried clambering back to my feet after being dragged to the ground.
Everything seemed to happen in the blink of an eye, that is until I turned my head to see what the ruckus was all about. In the slowest second of my life, my eyes scanned the area and began to focus on the grotesque being no more than twenty feet behind me. With its sagging greenish skin, it gave me a deathly look as the full weight of the situation came to bear on my mind.
With a screech that would have made Will Smith in his Fresh Prince of Bel Air days proud, I began scrambling to create distance between myself and what I thought of as some sort of Zombie. This time, it was I that hit the end of the leash and was brought to an abrupt halt as Syrus refused to give any ground.
Trying to remain as calm as possible, I began to assess the situation. The creature ahead of us was not pressing forward, instead it emitted a low growl that raised the hair on the back of my neck. I tried to formulate some sort of plan to get out of this serious problem. A quick shifting of Syrus’ head alerted me to two more creatures off in the woods.
I once again tried to move away but Syrus refused to move. Seeing me try to flee must have triggered aggression from the beast. It slowly began moving forward, all the while showing off it’s broken, jagged teeth through its menacing smile. With the creature making ground, the other two off in the woods broke into a trot to move in for the kill.
In a panic, not knowing what else to do, I leaped to my feet and hurled my Illusione 88. Despite my pounding heart and trembling hands, I managed to strike the monster in the face with the lit cigar. On impact a tiny poof of smoke rose into the air as the ash exploded on the loose skin of my foe.
Stopping immediately after being struck, as if too angry to consider what to do next, it just glared at me, paying little attention to my growling pit bull protector. It just stood there, body trembling with rage, the lit cigar at its feet burned on. A thin wisp of smoke rose to meet its disfigured nose. With its concentration broken, it bent and retrieved my makeshift weapon from the splotchy dead grass at its feet.
Curious of this burning object, the beast brought it closer to its face for examination. In an unanticipated move, it tilted its head back and roared. I felt weak in the knees from a sudden wave of terror. As if calling them off, the trotting beasts came to a sudden halt and stood frozen watching the event transpire.
The lead creature stared into my soul with its inky black eyes as if it could stop my heart with nothing more than a look. Without breaking concentration, it placed the lit cigar into its mouth and took a long violent puff. The cigar glowed red and the smoke leaked from its disfigured mouth and through a puncture in its left cheek. As if pleased by its conquest, the beast turned and walked off towards the woods, letting out a low menacing laugh as it went.
Not wanting to loose my opportunity, I began tugging on Syrus’ leash and quickly got out of the park and back on the busy streets. Before long Syrus and I were back home standing before my wife as I explained all that had happened. With a look of amusement on her face, she announced “Only one problem with Reading, too many damned zombies. To make matters worse, they’ll do anything for a cigar”
This was clearly a work of fiction, just in case you were wondering. I wanted to try something different here on Walt In PA. I was struggling to come up with a serious topic to write about and opted to write something that would be fun for both me and any readers that may stumble onto it.
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