Well, this is a new one. I bet you didn't expect me to write another story. First of all, this was all from a nightmare I had in 2018. O.O I don't know what kind of sugary espresso I was on, but it was an intense one.

And secondly, I wanted to do something for Halloween and I couldn't think of anything else and I still had this in my mind. I know it's early for Halloween, but here it is.

Happy Halloween. ^_^

Chains rattled in compass to the screaming as the noise wafted from the dark basement. Heavy footsteps echoed on the stone steps. A look of worry tugged on the man's face as he gripped a milk gallon filled with blood instead of milk. He hissed in a breath, looking towards the door ahead of him. The source where the screaming and rattling chains was coming from. Hoping for the best, he walked up to the door and pulled out a set of keys. Grabbing the gold key he inserted it into the silver lock as the screaming became more unbearable. Once he heard the click he swung the door open, closing it as quickly as he entered.

The room was half a foot larger than the basement itself. Blood smears painted the white wall. A mattress laid in the floor with a few springs jutting out haphazardly. A pole-arm with an IV bag was placed near the center of the room. More chains were hung on the wall. And finally the room's occupant: she was a woman with disheveled auburn hair that hadn't been trimmed in awhile. Her face was covered in scratches that she did of herself whenever she tried to free herself from the chains. She wore a white, long-sleeved nightgown, which was also caked in blood. And today, as her visitor paid her attention she had a bone to pick with him.

"Hi, honey," said the man.

The only thing came out of his wife's mouth was a garbled scream. It was unintelligible. She did not understand what he said nor did she care about making nice. She just needed her fill.

The man steadied himself. This took intricate reflexes. Putting the milk gallon down, he approached his wife and held out his hands in peace. He focused on her left arm,where the needle had been placed. In one swipe he pulled out the IV and his wife let out another guttural growl. The man rolled the pole-arm away from his wife and over to far left side of the room. Grabbing the milk gallon he removed the cap and pulled the IV bag from the pole-arm.

While he opened the bag his wife's growls continued. It had been a month since this happened. Before, his wife was a loving, caring woman raising their daughter and making life brighter just by being in it. Now, she was deteriorating before him. She was losing her sense of self, her consciousness, her self-awareness. Nothing to her mattered anymore. Truth meant nothing to her. All she knew now was eat, sleep, repeat.

Pouring in the blood from the gallon to the IV bag, it was better to keep using the same bag than to find new ones. The blood he got from people he would stalk and kill during the night. The victims were usually homeless drug addicts. At least that's what they looked like to him. He figured that if he fed her blood tainted from drugs it would slowly kill her. So far, it was nowhere near close to killing her. But he still had try.

Finally he closed the bag once it was refilled. Now for the hard part: getting the IV back in her vein. His wife made clawing motions at him, as though one of these days she would get him by the throat. But her husband was much faster than her. In three quick steps, he grabbed her arm and inserted the needle back in the vein.

"See you tomorrow," he said, ducking his head.

As soon as he let go, he grabbed the now empty milk gallon and opened the door, sprinting out in a flash. Closed the door, he put the lock back in its place and made sure to keep the door locked. Inside, his wife's indiscernible growls echoed along with the chains rattling, making the noise unimaginably disturbing.

He thundered up the stairs, shutting the doors behind him. His chest heaved with every breath he took. And that reminded him, he looked down at his body to make sure he didn't get any blood on him. Clean, as usual.

Another series of footsteps resonated from another hall. Remembering the routine, he had to be prepared to face the questions that flooded him. His daughter stood before him. Blond hair in elaborate pigtails. Green eyes boring into his hazel ones. She was holding their pet cat, whose pink collar read Vanilla.

"Hey, Janie," said her father.

"Is Mommy okay?," asked Janie. Looking at the gallon he held, Janie was not oblivious to what went on in the basement. Pretending not to know what transpired was the only way to keep their sanity intact until they found a new place. And that could only happen until his wife died.

"Mommy is okay," he said. The perpetual answer to the constant question. "She's really okay."

"When is she getting better?"

He looked at Vanilla. He remembered the day his wife nearly tried to killed and eat her. Janie managed to take her to her room if only her mother hadn't followed upstairs. Luckily, he came just in the nick of time or else his daughter would've been gone for. He bashed his wife on the head, knocking her unconscious, then dragged her down into the basement where she resides to this day. Since that day, neither he nor his daughter let Vanilla come down to the basement. Janie kept her cat in her room with her, where she slept in the closet on a cat bed.

Since the day his wife began to turn he'd been trying to figure out where it all started. He was on the cuspid of finding an answer. He remembered she brought home a steak. It looked alright at the time, nothing unusual about it. But perhaps, cooking it released the virus. This had to be a virus, there was no other explanation. It was a good thing he and his daughter didn't eat any of that steak. Because the moment his wife bit into it, she coughed up this black liquid from her mouth.

He couldn't lie to his daughter any longer than he did.

"Mommy's not getting better, sweetheart," said her father, shaking his head. "She's never going to get better."

Janie didn't respond. She just hugged Vanilla, the cat in turn licked her paws and groomed her face. The little girl didn't want to accept that her mother was slowly losing cognition over life. Her father had been tending to her all these weeks, but to hear the truth opened her eyes to reality.

"Come on, let's get your bags packed," said her father. He and his daughter went upstairs, ignoring the banging coming from the basement.

The lie he told the neighbors was that his wife died. It was the only reason he could muster to explain her absence. He'd been careful not to get caught with that milk gallon. He did what he had to: dress in dark clothes, keep quiet, find someone homeless to bleed dry. The murders were still circulating around the news. And he saw the headlines. The Phantom Takes Shelbyville By Storm. The Phantom. That was their nickname for him. They would never know he was Clive Vetter. No one would.

That blood he got his wife would only last her until the next night. Clive could continue to find more homeless degenerates to feed his wife but it wouldn't help the fact that his wife was becoming a zombie before his eyes. The skin on her face was starting to pale and the rot smell was starting to waft from the heating ducts. The only way out was to leave and let her starve, or he could kill her as previously planned. He couldn't risk the next tenants who bought the house. It was settled then. As soon as he found a new house in another state, the better. Leave no forwarding address.

Besides, this could only take so much on a sand mind trying to survive that's trapped in a body that wants to die.

Clive wondered how many others had been infected. His wife was infected. He couldn't risk his daughter, or anyone close to him. It was time to cut the head off the snake.

In case you haven't noticed, I don't know the first thing about zombies, but there was nothing else to work on. Also, I planned to keep the characters nameless, but that wouldn't work. It worked in that book The Road. I guess some things don't work out.

P.S. The picture I used for the cover is not exactly the way I pictured the door in my story. Hey, I'm just going with what I've got. Besides, it would've turned out sloppy if I tried to draw it on Photoshop. (Not that I actually know how to use it cause I don't).