Father Santiago and Father Ruiz thundered down the stairs towards the screams. Enrico didn't even bother to try to hide the gun anymore, though in his left hand he drew the rosary beads on his waist up towards his lips. He uttered a prayer of forgiveness under his breath and kissed the beads and he descended the landing and looked in on the main room of the church. Brother Romero was trying to push more pews against the door with the help of young Pedro. Maria seemed to have gone into some kind of shock and was uttering the Lord's Prayer over and over in the corner. Enrico watched as Father Ruiz moved to help the others ply more barricades against the door. He watched them and then glanced at the gun in his hand, and felt himself thumb back the hammer for the first time in twenty years.
He took a long steadying breath and marched towards the barricaded doors. His brown robes sweeping behind him, he jumped on the first set of stacked pews and maneuvered as close to the door as he could manage. He could smell the fetid creatures even here, the smell of rot, of decay, of death. Their blackened pointed claws tore at the thin wooden frame of the church doors, the creatures not seeming to care that the splintered wood was ripping their sallow flesh. Enrico signed the Cross over his chest, and offered one last prayer before lowering the gun at the doorway.
"God.....please forgive me."
He jammed the old pistol into one of the gaps in the door and fired. He felt the gun buck in his hand once and old instincts took over as he thumbed back the hammer again. He kept firing until the gun sounded an empty click, pulling the trigger again and again. Enrico jerked the gun back and reached in the pockets of his robes for more rounds, when the creatures rammed against the door again. He lost his balance and fell backwards, his arms flailing wide. His left arm dragged against one of the splintered door fragments, slicing deeply into his arm and spraying blood against the battered door frame. Enrico let out a hissing wince and he struck hard against the stone floor of the church. He felt the pistol go scattering to his side and felt the blood trickling down his left arm. Brother Romero helped him into a sitting position, his mouth agape. He started to speak to Enrico, who pushed him aside and pulled himself towards the gun.
Suddenly, the creatures seem to surge in unison, a fervor gripping the beasts, as the door broke apart in splinters. The monsters tore at the pews and other barricaded material in a frenzy, as Father Enrico rolled over, filling his hand with the gun. He jerkily pulled himself up, hand slipping into his robes pockets for a few rounds of bullets, and backed away from the monsters. He glanced at the tear along his arm, it was deep and long and might require stitching, but he gritted his teeth and forced his fingers to move quicker, ejecting the empty rounds from the gun and loading in a fresh set. Enrico began backing away as the murderous beasts bucked at the barricade. It would only be moments now. Finally, the gun reloaded, Enrico snaked one arm around Brother Romero and drew him farther back into the small parish. He shouted at Pedro to get back as well.
"Everyone, quickly, find something to arm yourself with!"
"But... but what about our vows? We took an oath to never harm another living thing!"
Enrico cast a glance at Brother Romero, watching the fear, and deeper yet, belief, in the young man's eyes. He cast another glance at the monsters that were bursting through the doors. One creature in particular, wearing faded overalls and workboots, his long white beard tinged red with blood and entrails. His face was distorted and misshapen, black teeth glistening with gore and sharpened claws tearing at the pew with abandon. Even through the mutation he saw the man that had been his most devout parishioner, Rodrigo Santa Vera. Father Enrico briefly closed his eyes and sighed.
"Brother, today, there is no God."
Then he took aim.
End of Line.