It came at you first like an unexpected chill breeze on a warm day, the kind that makes you wrap your arms around yourself and shiver involuntarily. Most people never had a chance to figure out what was happening before it was too late. Only the lucky ones, the ones already ruined, like me, were able to defend ourselves.
The terrifying first installment of Heartland Junk, a zombie apocalypse serial!
Rivet ignored my reply and began pacing, tearing at his hair with both hands.
"They're in me, man. In my head. I can't...all night, they've been talking...whispering...telling me things."
"These, I don't even know, man, these voices. And like, I'm seeing this darkness. It's so deep. I haven't touched a needle in two days, but please, Ray, please. You gotta help me out." He stopped pacing and turned to me, eyes pleading. He'd burst a blood vessel in his left eye and a tributary of red ran across the white from the pupil. He looked sick. I noticed his hands, now held out to me like a beggar's, were shaking slightly.
This wasn't the Rivet I knew.
"Give him some, Ray," Jennie's light voice floated up from the couch. I'd almost forgotten about her, watching Rivet carry on like this. It was frightening, in a way. "Can't you see he needs it?"
"I, uh...yeah, yeah sure, man. Just let me..." I turned to look around the living room, searching among the overflowing ashtrays and crusted dishes for that little brown baggie filled with powder. Something pressed at the inside of my skull, like that feeling right before a killer headache. It was hard to think. I needed coffee, a cigarette, hell, a hit of my own wouldn't go down too rough. "I uh...Jen, what'd we do with it last night?"
"Kitchen?" She sat up on the edge of the couch and let the quilt fall to her waist. She wasn't wearing a shirt or a bra. "Oopsie," she giggled lightly and bunched the quilt edge up to her shoulders. Rivet had stopped pacing and was staring at her like a row of corn had sprouted from her forehead.
"It wasn't like that..." I started, hoping to head off another jealous outburst from Rivet, but he wasn't paying attention. He just kept staring at Jennie's forehead with that blank, lopsided expression, his eyes wide, unblinking.
"...Rivet?" Jennie said cautiously. "You okay, hun?"
Rivet licked his lips. Then he calmly leaned down and bit Jennie's ear off.