The rain fell violently from the sky that day. The winter air froze it in mid-flight, and the droplets shattered like glass as they hit the pavement.
"What a day for a wedding." Eddie whispered sarcastically under his breath.
His black-dress shoes slid along the frozen puddles of the pathway as he walked. He desperately wanted to run, but he was clumsy enough as it was. The church bells began to chime mockingly in the distance.
I'm going to be late
Eddie finally came to the crossway between Baysflower and Tilendale Avenue. He knew if he took Baysflower the trip would be significantly shorter, but he would have to walk past the dreaded gates. It was a bit of a risk, but Eddie refused to be late for his own wedding.
He began to walk briskly down the dank street, trying his best to stay in the middle away from the gates that lined both sides of it. He glanced over at the black wrought-iron cages, and the Grey Ones behind the bars stared back at him. They almost looked human; they had all the right features, limbs, and build. Despite this, however, there was something very wrong. Their skin was greyer than the sky on a Wednesday in November. Their eyes were lacking rings of coloured irises. They were dressed in dirty rags, and they smelt of feces and unwashed flesh. Their hands reached desperately through the bars toward Eddie, clawing at the air. He could tell that they were hungry for him.
As Eddie began to quicken his pace, he lost his footing as his body fell to the floor. He tried to grab onto something to keep himself from sliding on the ice, but it was too late. He was already headed right for the gates. The Grey Ones grabbed hold of his arms and clawed into his flesh. He managed to pull himself free from the mess of clawing arms, but it didn't matter. All it took was one open wound to get infected.
Eddie closed his eyes to brace himself. It would only be a matter of minutes before the change would set in. He vividly recalled a time when a scientist visited his 8th grade biology class to explain how it worked. He remembered her saying that all the veins inside your body erupt simultaneously, then your body turns cold, and all of your memories of human life evaporate. It isn't a pleasant occurrence, but at least it is quick.
Half an hour passed and nothing happened. Eddie opened his eyes in shock. He looked down at his skin; it was still the colour of peach. He had somehow survived. He recalled the scientist also saying something about Carriers. Carriers had a certain antibody in their blood stream that prevented the infection from spreading throughout their system.
"I must be a carrier." Eddie exclaimed in amazement.
He glanced at his watch, it was half past 10. If he ran, he could still make it in time to the wedding.
Annabelle looked angelic as she sauntered down the aisle. Her chestnut-brown hair was done up in loose, long ringlets and a delicate vale was draped over her face. She smiled brightly when she saw Eddie standing at the altar; the type of smile that always made his heart race. They had been best friends since kindergarten, lovers since teenagers, and engaged for years; but he still got butterflies every time she smiled like that.
The ceremony was everything Eddie had always dreamed it would be. In her vows, Annabelle talked about the time, in grade 1, when Eddie made her eat a bug. The whole church boomed with laughter. In his vows, Eddie talked about their first kiss.
"Annie always has a way of getting what she wants." he said as he winked at Annabelle.
"One day we were biking to school when Annie took a spill and broke the fall with her face. She had bits of rock up her nose and scratches on her cheeks. You'll all think I'm horrible when I say that this was one of the best days of my life. But when Annie came up to me crying, she told me to kiss it better. So I kissed her nose, and I kissed her cheeks, and then I kissed her lips for the very first time." Tears started to roll down Eddies cheeks.
"I still think she fell on purpose." Eddie laughed as he wiped his eyes with his sleeve.
When the Priest finally announced "Kiss the Bride", Eddie's stomach fell to the floor with excitement. It would be their first kiss as man and wife. Eddie reached for Annabelle's vale and lifted it away from her face. Annabelle's cheeks were blushing brightly and her eyes were sparkling with eager excitement. Then, Eddie pressed his lips to his wife's and melted into her. She was warm and fragile underneath his caress.
Until she wasn't anymore
Annabelle's breath started to quicken underneath Eddie's lips. He could feel her body begin to tighten. Eddie unhinged his lips and looked at her. The pink blush on her cheeks was beginning to fade and the sparkle in her eyes was darkening. He could see the life leaving her body and evil taking its place.
What have I done
Eddie found himself standing in the middle of Baysflower Avenue again, holding a bouquet of flowers. He was staring at the Grey ones, or rather, he was staring at his Grey One. Annabelle was pressed up against the bars of the gates, moaning in hunger. Her eyes were blacker than a windowless cellar, and her skin was greyer than pavement. Pain greater than anything he had ever felt ate away at Eddie's heart. He would give anything to take back that retched day when he made the biggest mistake of his life. Eddie set down the flowers in the middle of the street. He walked away, tears of agony rolling down his face.