Kickoff written by DarkKupyd

The Broken Record of Alice Charlton

Alice can turn back time, but can't control it.

I felt my stomach drop. The large mastiff-turned-zombie charged the iron screen door. There was a slight crack from the frame as the dog slammed into it a second time. I hurriedly locked the front door, grateful for the screened one. My fingers trembled as I tugged the curtains close.

My breath was the only one I could hear. I turned to look at the man I had ushered inside. He was a wild man, much older. I saw my father in his face and paused. The man stood his ground, a rifle pointed at the front door. The bite marks of the dog were visible on the handguard.

My mind had me frozen, imagining this man turned to pieces in my front yard had I not let him in. Then I realized the silence extended to this space. The man eased back from the door and lowered the gun. I couldn't hear the dog anymore. The gurgled growls or the slamming of the door. I carefully lifted up a corner of the curtain and peeked outside.

"I think we are safe," I stated after a pause.

The man let out a loud breath.
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Then there was a slam and a snap from the back of the house. The dog. It must have jumped the fence because now it stood in the kitchen. Black blood dripped onto the linoleum from the gash the backdoor had inflicted. There was a cuss from the man that didn't come out all the way. The dog was upon in a blink of an eye.

The rifle flew my way and landed at my feet. I crumbled to the ground. There was an awful crunch and sloshing sound as the dog tore apart the man's flesh. I could hear his screams even after they stopped.

My eyes fell to the rifle. I knew I was next. Once the dog was satiated with the man, he would come for me next. That was a fact. But my hands stubbornly stayed at my sides. I couldn't tear my eyes from the carnage.

There was a pause. The dog stood there, muzzle fresh with blood, then stepped into the now emptied ribcage. Its eyes were dead. Not a single thought behind them.

We locked eyes and, for a moment, I wish I had died before this fiasco started. I kicked my feet
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off the floor and reached for the shotgun. I remembered when my grandfather took me hunting for the first time. How heavy the gun felt to me when I was eight years old. The gentle chirp of the birds and insects in the forest behind Grandma and Grandpa's house was. How sore my shoulder was for days afterward. The terrible pop sound the rifle had made. And the smell of gunpowder that I swore burned a hole through my nose. A useless memory.

The jaws of the dog clamped down on my forearm. My fingers barely grazed the butt of the gun. I never had a chance. The sound of my bone snapping and the ferocious sound of a ravenous beast covered up the screaming I heard. It sounded distant. Far away, At the moment, it felt like it was happening to someone else. Like I was looking down at a scene from a movie.

There was me, seventeen, unwashed and unkempt in some ill-fitting clothes with a mastiff locked onto my arm. Flesh and bone with blood spurts detached in the jaws of a killer. It unfolded silently
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to me. I blinked, a few times. There was a burning sensation in my arm that jolted down to my shoulder. I yanked my hand away from the curtains. They fell. undone. When I looked behind me, there was the man with his rifle ready to shoot the dog should it break the door.

I turned on my heel and yanked the man by the arm. The slamming on the door had quieted. I hurried into the first room to the left of the hall. A guest bedroom based on the simplicity of the furniture. The man, confused, followed me in. I gently locked the door behind him as the awful snap of the backdoor echoed through the house.

A shiver ran down my spine. Death. It had been avoided for now, but for how long? I looked back at the man. I noticed the backpack with gear and other useful equipment. The jacket he wore had a camouflage print and seemed padded enough to withstand a bite.

He stared at me. Already, he was living longer than before, taking breaths he couldn't have earlier. I grinned, satisfied.
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