Jack narrowed his eyes, still focusing on the last letter his father had pointed at.
Edgar Ross. Who could ever forget him? The bureaucrat was the very reason his father was dead!
Jack could still vividly remember the day Ross had brought half an army to kill his father.
To kill them all.
He remembered the gunshots that had sent him and his mother running back the way they had come as fast as they could, but it hadn't been quick enough. The attacker had fled without a trace, the only thing left behind being the shocking, gruesome image of the quickly cooling corpse that was his father. Numb with the sudden shock and overwhelming grief, Jack had approached the corpse slowly, only forcing himself to stifling a gasp for his mother's sake when he saw the damage. So many bullet holes!
His momma had just stood there, her expression blank except for her eyes that were shining with unshed tears. If there was one thing he would never doubt, it was that his parents truly loved each other. It had felt like an age until Abigail let out a desperate, wailing sob and covered her face in her hands as if she couldn't bear to see her husband in this state any more. Jack wanted more than anything to sink to the ground and sob with her, but he had to be strong for both of them, and instead had held her shivering frame for a long time before finally working up the courage to get her away from her deceased husband.
Ross was the reason he had trained so hard the last months, he wanted revenge for himself and his suffering mother.
"I know he usually stays in Blackwater," Jack said slowly as he pulled himself back to the present, a little uncertain if the man actually lived there, "But shouldn't we prioritise here? The Apocalypse is reigning down on us and people will die. Ross can wait, can't he?"
The next line was spelled hesitantly "As soon as the mask is back I will die."
Somehow it had not occurred to Jack that his father was not here to stay. Once he thought about it, though, it made sense. When the mask had been placed on the altar before, the undead had died once more, the bitten had turned to themselves and lived, if not too severely injured. Jack knew they were lucky his pa had gotten the idea to tie him and his ma up. If he hadn't, they would probably have eaten each other or sustained injuries trying to escape that could have killed them in the long run.
Of course, they had been famished and severely drained when John arrived, but at least they had been alive. His father wouldn't be.
Unable to help it, Jack glanced at the empty eye socket for a moment, it being as close as it was in his peripheral vision.
As soon as he did, though, wished he hadn't.
Jack just couldn't look away, this was too creepy to be a figment of his imagination, he could feel a cold shiver run down his back as he observed something moving inside the empty hole he right side of Johns head.
"Uh..Pa?" he stuttered, "There is something in your eye, I mean hole, the.." Unable to actually say the words, Jack moved his finger rapidly over his own eye, hoping it got the message across.
John regarded him silently and slowly pointed up to his blind side to receive a confirming nod from his son, followed by a "Yep." As an extra assurance.
Jack watched as his father gently moved him out of the way to head towards the bedroom he and his mother had once shared. Taking a deep breath and a moment to gather himself again, he followed.
Entering the room, he found his pa standing before the full length mirror that his mother would usually be the only one to use, looking down at his undead self.
His clothes was stained with dirt and filth, but that was to be expected, he had dug himself out of his own grave after all. There were parts of his face that hadn't fallen victim to decay yet, it made him recognizable and at the same time a complete stranger when one combined them with the chewed through bits.
On the whole, if Jack were to describe it, it looked like John had been dragged face first on the concrete in Blackwater for..just about a minute.
The rest of his face could have looked normal had it not been for the overly pale, almost green tinted skin, the missing left eye and the strange yellow shine that had replaced the brow in in his iris on the right.
Examination finished, John pulled up the cuff on the arm and removed the gloves he was wearing. His hands looked smaller, Jack noted, skeletal. He pulled at his shirt next to look through the ruined fabric and at the wound on his left side, where Jack noticed yet another shocking image.
It looked like something had started... eating him. Jack could see three pearly white ribs clearly and some organ he guessed had to be.. from the looks of it ,the hot spot for maggots.
Dear God, It was so strange to look at him like that, his dear old pa some type of walking worm feast. Too strange, Jack realised as a familiar queasy feeling crept into his stomach that caused him to turn in the doorway. There was only so much he could take at once, after all.
Bile began to fill his throat, but he forced it back down so he didn't hurt his father's feelings, and walked purposefully over to the stuffed brown owl on a pedestal by the window. That owl was one of his favourite things in the house, but now only spared it a glance before he promptly plucked the head off it and fished out his hidden treasure: scotch.
Without delay, Jack popped the cork off , took a big draught, and made a grimace before taking another swig. The debate of what to do next was brief, as the sound of breaking glass from the bedroom and a yell of frustration broke his train of thought.
Funny, he thought suddenly, letting out an uncharacteristically dark chuckle. Now of all times to show a vain side.
Almost since the beginning of all this, Jack had vowed to himself he would act as normally as he could around his father, knowing it would not do any good to tiptoe around the fact that the man was a living dead. Was he being insensitive by doing that?
He toyed a little with the owls head as he continued to listen to the ruckus in the other room; now the drawers and wardrobe were being opened. What on earth was Pa doing in there?
Taking one last mouthful of the alcohol, Jack replaced the cork on the bottle with the intent of putting it back in its place. At the last second, however, he decided against it, placing the bottle in his duster pocket instead; he had a feeling he would be needing it.
When he re-entered the bedroom, Jack was surprised to notice that John had changed out of the clothes he was buried in and into the black duster outfit he had worn when he came home from Mexico. He thought his mother had thrown it out; it was torn (especially on the shoulder) and not particularly clean either due to the dust and dried blood splotches. He had also tied a black bandanna around his neck, no doubt to cover his face with should (and most likely when) they meet anyone. An eye patch completed the ensemble, except for the hat. Jack had to smile a little when he saw that; figures he would choose one that resembled his old one.
"Did you figure out what was in there?" Jack asked, leaning against the door frame, trying to look casual, as if he were merely talking about the weather.
John pointed to the floor near the broken mirror at crushed black beetle in answer.
"We should probably get going, Pa" Jack advised then, "It simply wouldn't do for some other undead to get to Ross first."
John stood up in agreement and forced the old bible, with some difficulty, into his pockets.
"You know, a few pages would probably suffice." Jack remarked when the pocked looked dangerously close to ripping the seams on the jacket.
John stiffened and looked up, obviously horrified at the very though of tearing pages from the holy book.
Not expecting such a reaction to a mere suggestion, Jack threw his hands up in surrender. "Or not...relax." He mumbled. "But we can't stop every time we need to talk." Jack mumbled to himself. He regarded his father thoughtfully, wondering how they were going to communicate in the off chance Pa couldn't reach his Bible. After a few moments, he got an idea.
A few weeks before he had met a young girl in Blackwater. He had walked into her on the street, knocking a parcel out of her hands. He had apologized and picked up her parcel but the girl had not said a word. He was even beginning to get slightly irritated, thinking she was being rude on purpose. When he looked up and noticed she was rubbing her fisted hand over her chest in a small circle. Twice she did this, stopped, and repeated. Automatically drawing the conclusion that he had hurt her somehow, he opened his mouth to ask if she was all right when the young girl was quickly approached by whom Jack presumed was her grandmother. It was then the elderly lady had explained that the girl had been deaf all her life, and that, instead of ignoring him, she was apologizing to him right now by using her hands.
He remembered the meeting very well, due to how unique the experience had been to him, and partly because the girl had been..rather attractive. In any case, it brought him to the realization that if that girl could talk to him like that just through her hand, so could his father. He didn't know the official sign language but thinking up a few signs could hardly be difficult. After all, the only ones who needed to understand, was the two of them.
"Have you ever heard of sign language, Pa?" He asked, watching as the other man made a gesture showing he had heard of it, yes.
"Lets just say this means `stop`." Jack put his fist at shoulder height. John mimicked the motion, clearly following. Jack continued egged on by his father's apparent approval of the idea, "This can mean `Wait here`" He opened his hand. "Come here" He just waved towards himself, when he realised that particular translation was redundant,"...Obviously" he added, rolling his eyes and grinning a bit at his moment of idiocy.
What more would they need to say? Jack scratched the back of his neck thoughtfully, coming up with a few commands, but not how to communicate them. "Be on your guard..what would that look like?" Jack asked; he didn't have to think of them all by himself, after all.
The both of them pondered this for a moment before John raised his hand, thumb, index finger and middle finger raised.
"Great," Jack said, "And if you want me to talk to someone in particular, you just point at them, yeah? We can figure out any others as we go along."
John nodded in agreement, and both spared a moment to rehearse the few that they had quickly. After a minute or two, Jack clapped his hands together once, pleased with their results, "Right," he declared, "I think we're ready. Let's get that bastard."
Murmuring in agreement, John opened the door to step out in the eerie silent day.
When Jack followed his father out, he was surprised to find Dahlia standing as far away as she possibly could from his pa's strange looking one-or at least, as far as the pole they were tied to would let her. In fact the image would be comical if Dahlia hadn't been making small noises of distress as well.
The pale horse itself did not seem to be very interested in Dahlia at the moment, which only made the behaviour stranger. Did Dahlia know something they didn't? "Pa, I have to ask you...what kind of breed is that? She's not like any I have ever seen before."
John gave a shrug, communicating that he didn't know.
"It's your horse." Jack pressed, "You of all people should know."
Again, only a shrug.
"Does she at least have a name?" He asked in annoyance.
John seemed to be pondering that for a moment before he pulled out the Bible again. Only one word this time, "Death" He spelled.
"You named it Death?" Jack blurted in bewilderment, "Well that's not very inventive or proper at all."
"I didn`t name her" Read the answer.
Jack crossed his arms, "Then who did? And what is wrong with her eyes? They're all... white like."
"I'll explain later"
Jack had just enough time to comprehend the sentence, before his pa shut the book determinately, as in warning not to press him any further.
Trusting his father would keep to his word, Jack shrugged and mounted his horse. His pa did the same, and began riding towards Blackwater, finally on their way.
AN: Oh my...That took a time and a half, didn`t it.
I am really sorry but i have had other things on my mind these months. I hope you can forgive me. I have a clearer view on how i want to continue from here on. I hope to update a little more often than 4 months apart from now on though X)
I am really thrilled people actually wanted to know what happened, since i personally did not expect people to read it. Thank you all so much for reviews and alerts.
Now i have some questions to my readers(assuming i still have some).
1. Would you like more of the Horses of the Apocalypse (and Unicorn) or will Death do?
2. Are there any people you would like to see?
Cyberhugs to my beta Bkwrm19!
Thank you for your attention :)