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“The Bunker” -- FWG Flash Fiction for 2/17/2024

I just watched a bunch of “Mysteries of the Abandoned” on the History Channel. This prompt looks like it could have been taken from one of those episodes.





The Bunker


The overhead lights flickered to life, barely illuminating the long stairwell leading down into the bunker.


“What do you think is down there?” Danny’s voice wavered a little on the last syllable.


Finding a sealed doomsday hideout this long after…well, doomsday…meant one of two things. Either the owners never made it in, or they never made it out. Either way, it could be a bonanza of rations.


Josie huffed and nudged him in the back. Not enough to make him fall, but plenty hard enough to get him moving.


“Okay, I’m going,” he mumbled.


The lack of a sharp retort from Josie showed she was as nervous as Danny—but maybe a little more determined. At least determined enough to make him go first.


Their footfalls echoed hollowly in the enclosed space. The stairs and walls were smooth concrete and the handrail was powder-coated steel. Danny noticed a strange smell as they descended. One that got stronger as the deeper they went.


“Phew.” Josie smelled it, too. “Smells like a dead—”


“Shhh!”


They stood stock-still for what seemed like an hour, but the scraping sound of fingernails on the cement Danny thought he’d heard didn’t come again. Josie nudged him in the back, but less enthusiastically this time.


At the bottom of the stairs, Danny nearly gagged from the smell. Living after The Fall meant they had encountered many dead animals—and people. The smell of decomp was familiar to both of them. This smell was different, though, and it triggered a memory of their Grandda telling stories of the Zombie Wars.


“Rotten peaches. The hungry ones smelled of rotten peaches,” he had said.


When the moans came from the darkness, Danny realized, too late, that there might have been a third explanation for the locked bunker.


THE END


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