The Bunker

colorful candy - illustration for horror flash fiction piece The Bunker

A Horror Story

As the movers brought the last of their things inside the new house, Rachel discovered a door under the stairs. The door was heavy, made of solid steel. It led to a small basement that had been converted into a bunker. It was dusty and full of cobwebs, like no one had been down there in years. The walls were lined with shelves, and there were large water storage tanks, a generator, and what looked like an air filtration system. The building permit was on a shelf in the back. Apparently it had been installed after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She also found a brochure from the company that had sold it. Photos showed a well-dressed couple standing in their bunker, the man in a suit and tie and the woman in a floral dress, heels, and a tall beehive. They were smiling happily despite whatever disaster had forced them to live in a steel box underground.

Her son Billy discovered the bunker soon after, eyes wide with amazement. He became obsessed with it, calling it his “secret hideout.” To him, it was more than just an overpriced basement. It was special, like something out of a super hero movie. He asked to help stockpile emergency supplies. Rachel told him he was too young to worry about such things, but he insisted that he was seven now, practically a teenager. Besides, he had learned all about emergency preparedness in scouts.

Rachel showed him how to order things from her favorite online mega store, gave him a spending limit, and told him he could handle everything. Why not? It didn’t really matter. After all, the Missile Crisis was long over.

Months later, the news announced sightings of the dead rising from the graves. Some sort of genetically engineered virus. A dozen different countries, medical research corporations, and terror groups were blamed. Conspiracy theorists said it was the work of aliens, weakening the earth’s defenses before an invasion. Religious groups said it was punishment from God. Experts on the news said the zombies were basically sleep walking, wandering in a dream. They probably didn’t realize they were attacking the living.

Some people actually sought out the undead. Groups took over cemeteries, setting up tents and waiting for more dead to rise. When new walking corpses, the campers just stood there and let themselves be torn to pieces. People on the news didn’t know if it was suicide or an attempt to join them in undeath.

The problem quickly escalated, with more and more dead clawing their way from the ground. The city was overwhelmed. Even emergency crews abandoned their posts. When the first rotting corpse lumbered up to their window, Rachel grabbed Billy and carried him down to the bunker.

Later that night, zombies pounded at the bunker door. She expected them to moan for brains like some bad cartoon, but instead, they just beat their arms against the metal for hours. They never grew tired, never slept. It was endless. She turned on the emergency radio to block out the noise.

She looked through the emergency supplies, glad she had given her son permission to build his stockpile. There were bandages, pain killers, even a book on first aid. However, she discovered that the only thing Billy had brought down to eat was candy.

“There’s no food!” Rachel gasped. “Did you only buy different flavors of Crunchy Smiles?”

“Of course not,” Billy said, grinning.

“Oh thank g—”

“Just the cherry kind. That’s the best one.” As he gazed up at his mother, his face fell. “Did… did I do something wrong, Mommy?”

She let out a small whimper, but forced her face into a smile. “No, honey. Everything is going to be fine.”

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