How far will a parent go to keep their child alive? John and Angela Mason’s lives are brought to a tormenting halt when their ten year old son is reduced to a lifeless shell. John watches his wife slip into madness as his son rises from the dead. He realizes they must escape the terrifying infection in order to survive but how can he choose between the insanity consuming his wife and the undying hunger of his son. An appetite for death will come in one form or another and it will be left to John to decide on the hand that feeds.
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An excerpt from The hand that feeds, by Michael W. Garza
They crept down the hall on their hands and knees. The scratching grew louder. Two distinct shadows formed in the space beneath the bedroom door. Alex was standing there and both John and Angela knew it.
They reached the end of the hall and stopped. Angela looked over at him with pleading eyes. John’s mind screamed at him to back away and he had to force himself to reach for the doorknob. He felt the cold metal with his fingers and paused. The scratching on the other side of the door stopped before he turned the knob.
John froze. He and Angela sat at the door for several agonizing minutes, listening for anything. John could hear his heart beating over everything else. The next sound they heard was something hitting the ground. It was far enough from the door not to break the light underneath. A moment later, something slid across the floor. John held his breath until it came to a stop.
Angela reached for the doorknob, wrapped her hand over John’s, and turned. Hesitantly, they pushed. A rush of stench engulfed them as the door opened. Angela turned away; John had to put his hand over his nose to keep from gagging. He kept his eyes on the room, waiting for anything to move. Both of them stepped through the doorway and the sight of blood smeared on the hardwood floor struck them. Small handprints dotted the maroon colored mess.
Chunks of dark brown fur clung to the floorboards. A hacking gag from Angela pulled John’s eyes to the corner of the room directly across from the door. There on the floor lay the remains of the family dog, Rex. There was little left to identify the animal. All that remained was a mix of blood and exposed organs dotted by patches of soaked fur.
“My, God,” John said.
The smell intensified once he could see the remains of the dog. Nauseous, his head spun as the aroma of death filled his senses. He wanted to get back out into the hallway as quickly as he could. He couldn’t fathom what was happening to his son, and the only thing he knew for sure was that the thing that awoke on Alex’s bed, wasn’t a boy, it was a monster. He felt his legs shaking beneath him and he couldn’t make them stop.
His concentration was broken. A new sound crept across the bedroom floor and grabbed a hold of him. John recognized it at once. The low, guttural growl was the same as it had been when Alex lay on his bed. John felt Angela’s fingernails dig into his arm. He looked down at her hand and back up at her face. She wasn’t looking at him. Her face was pale and her eyes widened beyond their limits.
John found himself unwilling to look. He knew she’d found where Alex was and John wasn’t sure he wanted to know. He was more willing to leave the room and never open the door again. Slowly, he forced himself to follow her stare. He turned on his heels and gazed back at the small bed. It took him a moment to see them. John was drawn down to the dark space underneath the bed. What he found there would haunt him every time he closed his eyes. Looking back at them, watching every move from within the darkness, were the soulless eyes of his son.
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