ok im posting the rest of the story in one post!!!
Chapter 17: Intermezzo II
The crowded cafeteria bristled with life and noise as David looked down at the tray that sat in front of him on the table. Salisbury steak with chives and gravy along with instant mashed potatoes on the side. A plastic cup with tap water sat next to his tray. Funny, he thought to himself, I haven’t had this stuff since high school.
The sound of trays clattering on the table caught his attention and he looked up in time to catch Sarah and Brian sitting down at his table across from him. After exchanging a nod with his friends, David looked. Four rifle toting soldiers in full uniform and gear stood at both entrances. Hundreds of people were crammed into the room at once, some of them even sitting on the ground with their trays, digging hungrily into their food. They ate barbarically, pieces of food and specks of gravy falling on their clothes. David recalled what he had heard earlier in the gymnasium, that they would be served only one meal per day in the cafeteria. This was all they would get until tomorrow.
He felt around his back for the green satchel bag as it hung from his shoulder. Giving it a few taps he felt the 10 or 12 cans of Spam, Chef Boyardee and fruit in heavy syrup that lay inside. He’d have to sneak a snack in the bathroom later on tonight if he was still hungry.
Suddenly, a man stepped into the room, escorted by two armed soldiers. The man wore fatigues just like the rest of the soldiers, but on his chest and left sleeve were a series of patches, colored bars and medals that signified his rank. He was a balding, forty something year old Caucasian male, his eyes stern with discipline. The man turned to face the soldier to his left, giving him a nod. The soldier then put his fingers in his own mouth and blew a loud, ear piercing whistle. The room quieted down almost instantly.
“Attention! Captain Hein requests your complete and undivided attention!”
The soldier barked loudly, spittle flying from his mouth and into the floor. The Captain then looked back at the roomful of people before him and spoke.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have four, no three new residents here today. I think they would like to stand and introduce themselves.”
Suddenly, everyone in the room looked around and within a few seconds their eyes laid fixed on Sarah, Brian and David. The three of them slowly and reluctantly stood up.
“Hi.” David’s voice echoed through the room. “I’m David.”
“Sarah.” Came the murmured response to his left.
“I’m Brian, nice to meet ya’ll.” Brian raised his hand in a semi-wave, but upon realizing that no one returned the gesture, dropped his hand slowly back onto the ground, his mustached smile fading away.
“These three will be staying with you for the remainder of the crisis. Make friends with them, bring them into your circles. Enjoy your meal ladies and gentlemen, and remember curfew is at 2100 like always. Lights off by then and everyone asleep in the gymnasium. We will keep you safe for the remainder of this emergency.”
A silence. Then a woman yelled out from her seat.
“What about the food?? You can’t expect us to live off of one sh-tty meal a day!”
A man stood up and chimed in. One after another, more people followed the trend. The room rose up in loud, angry revolt.
All 500 or so people in the room ducked down and hit the ground simultaneously. While pressing his face against the dirty floor with his hands behind his head, David just barely peeked. He saw that the soldier to the right of Captain Hein had raised his rifle up. It was smoking from the barrel and up in the plaster ceiling David noticed three new holes.
“I’m sorry, but we do not have enough food to feed you three square meals a day! My men are working on trying to bring in food from the surrounding area, but we do not yet have an efficient system of bringing it in. Until then, you will make do with what you have.”
The Captain paused and his eyes went around the room slowly, intently.
“Either that or you can get the hell out.”
Captain Hein turned around and walked out of the room. The two soldiers followed. After they exited, the cafeteria broke out into quiet murmurs and within a few moments full out conversation commenced once again.
David looked at the people around him. They shot unfriendly looks back at him, Sarah and Brian. A small boy walked past Brian with his tray, stopped, and then flipped him off. The boy then walked away back to his parents.
“Well hey f-ck you too, kid!” Brian yelled back.
“They’re mad that we’re taking up more space in here.” Sarah said softly, poking at her steak with the fork. Her green eyes were empty, distressed. David could see why. No one here liked them.
Suddenly, from through the window that separated the hallway and the cafeteria, David saw Captain Hein stop and look at him. The two men locked eyes and David saw the Captain shot a look of pity at him. The Captain then spoke to the soldier to his left, his lips moving too quickly for David to try to read. Then the Captain continued walking down the hall as the soldier to his left walked back into the cafeteria alone.
The soldier walked past the other tables, getting dirty looks from just about everyone he passed. He stopped in front of Sarah.
“Excuse me,” He began. “The Captain asks if you three would like to dine with us in the meeting room down the hall.”
David looked up from his mashed potatoes. He and Sarah then exchanged glances, then stood up carrying their trays. Brian got up just as quickly, his angry focus still on the boy who flipped him off. The three of them walked out of the cafeteria with every eye in the room following them.
The meeting room was much more welcoming than the cafeteria was. About thirty soldiers and a few police officers in uniform sat at the long table that the school faculty must have sat in a long time ago. The three of them found three empty seats at the end of the table and sat down. They picked up their forks and began eating.
“I tell ya man, that girl was smoooookin’. And she wanted me, right there on the spot.”
“Aww shut up Peterson, you never even touched a girl and you never will.”
“Hey I’m telling you guys the truth!”
“Hey, who wants to push Peterson off the back of the truck the next time we go raiding Wal-Mart?”
The entire room answered affirmatively at once, and then broke out into jolly laughter. Then, one of them spoke.
“You know what’s causing all of this?” The soldier spoke solemnly, poking his potatoes and swirling them around with his plastic fork. “You know, this living-dead mess?”
Everyone in the room went silent and stared at him. The soldier stopped swirling his potatoes and looked up.
“This, my friends, is the sole responsibility of our one, true enemy. Two words: Global. Warming.”
The room burst out in laughter once again.
“Al Gore can’t explain this sh-t, Thompson. You’re off your rocker.”
“It was a joke, dumbass. Maybe if your momma wasn’t too busy blowing me last night she coulda told ya what those were.”
More laughter followed. David looked back at Brian and Sarah. They were smiling at the atmosphere around them. A few of the soldiers looked up at them respectfully, raising their paper cups. David raised his back.
Suddenly, the sound of gunfire erupted in the distance. Everyone in the room fell backwards off their seats and ducked down. The soldiers crawled towards their rifles and the simultaneous *click* of safeties switching off resonated in the room. The gunfire continued, rattling off far away. It was coming from the park.
The soldiers scrambled towards the door and David, Brian and Sarah followed. They headed towards the rear exit of the school, now devoid of the two guards that normally stood post. Instead, the guards stood outside, looking off into the distance. Running out into the cool night, David and the others saw what they were staring at.
In the darkness of night, David caught a glimpse of something approaching the school, fast, down Rumsey road. It looked like a van, a white van blazing down the road going at least 80 miles per hour down the street. Looking at the road near the school, David saw a soldier firing his .50 caliber M2 Browning machinegun in bursts at the vehicle. To the right of the Browning several soldiers stood firing their carbines at the vehicle rapidly. But the van wouldn’t slow down.
Suddenly, the rapid fire *BOOM*s of the .50 machinegun coincided with a bright flash and a loud explosion on the road. Looking down the street David saw the van had burst into flame. A stray round must have hit its gas tank.
The van flipped over its side and rolled, the fiery wreck tumbling down the road until it rested just 50 meters away from the sandboxes that the soldiers fired from. A man crawled out of the driver’s side door, his clothes lit on fire. He walked for a few steps and then fell to the ground face flat. He continued to burn.
David ran alongside the soldiers from the cafeteria. This whole time they hadn’t fired a single round from their rifles. They covered the distance in a few seconds, and soon they stood before the burning vehicle and the man who lay on the pavement on fire.
David looked at the man. He wore what was left of a smoldering green, plaid shirt and khakis. His left arm had been taken clean off, by the .50 caliber bullets or the explosion, David didn’t know. He looked back at the van. It bore Massachusetts license plates. The soldiers approached the smoldering corpse. Suddenly, the corpse let out a noise. Not a groan, but something human. Looking around, David saw First Sergeant Jimenez pushing his way through the circle of soldiers that surrounded the wreck. The Sergeant took one look at the burning man, heard the strange noises, repeated noises coming from his throat, and walked forward. He bent down and put his ear next to the man’s mouth. The man's lips and face were burned almost completely off but his tongue was still capable of moving. The man moved his lips, saying something almost inaudible. Then his head went limp and hit the ground. Jimenez remained kneeling in the same position for a few seconds, his eyes wide. Slowly, he got to his feet and looked down at the corpse on the ground.
“Sarge?” One of the soldiers, Thompson, spoke.
“What did he say?”
A silence followed. The only sound left in the night was the fire that continued to consume the van. Jimenez opened his lips just barely enough to speak.
“He said ‘They’re coming’.”
Chapter 18: Nocturne
“Excuse me,” David began as the crowd pushed past him into the gymnasium. He stood at the double doors, the only one who stood in the path of the massive flow of people shoving and bumping their way past him.
“Have you seen this girl?” He pulled out a crumpled picture from his wallet. He hadn’t even looked at the picture since the days he was still in his apartment, stoned out and crying her name out while laying on his rat eaten couch. The girl in the picture wore a green tank top and a short, white skirt. She had flowing brown hair and matching brown eyes that were prettier than the Mona Lisa’s. Jen.
He pulled out another picture from his wallet, this one of two people. A balding man wearing a red plaid shirt and spectacles low on his nose. The man’s arm was wrapped around the waist of a mature, yet attractive lady in a purple blouse.
“Have you seen these people?” David asked the crowd. They ignored him as they passed him by. A woman paused and took a look, then shook her head and continued past with her two small children. No one spoke as they marched into the rapidly crowding room.
David kept asking. “Excuse me, have you seen these people? How about this girl?” Soon the stream of people thinned out and David stood almost alone in the hall. Then suddenly, a young couple walked by him and stopped. The young woman looked up, shocked, and then walked towards David. He recognized her, Shelly, he believed her name was. She was Jen’s best friend back when they all went to high school in Port Washington together.
“David!” She yelled out. She ran forward and hugged him. From behind her, David could see her boyfriend was unpleased. “How come I didn’t see you in the cafeteria an hour ago?”
“Shelly!” David was just as surprised as she was. “I just finished eating a minute before the gunshots broke out. They must have put us at different suppertimes.” He paused and hesitated before he shot the question.
“Have you seen Jen anywhere?”
“Oh my God! You two are still together?”
“Oh,” She said quietly. Then she looked down at the ground. “I’m sorry, I haven’t. I was upstate on college break with my parents when all this went down. We barely made it here alive. I think Jen was back on the Island when it happened. I don’t know if…”
Her voice trailed off. She looked up at David again, her eyes teary.
She started to walk off, her boyfriend wrapping his arm around her shoulder and pulling her close as they entered the gym. David’s jaw fell and he almost felt it hit the floor. Then he shook his head quickly and yelled after her.
“Wait, Shelly, did you see my parents anywhere either?”
“She turned her head around and looked at him again from over her left shoulder.
“Mr. and Mrs. Kessel?” She shot a glance at his eyes. Her gaze gave him the answer before she even said it.
“No, I haven’t. I’m sorry…”
She continued back into the gym. David heard a sob escape from her mouth. His eyes stared off into the distance, blank. Then his arm with the pictures held in it slowly sank to his side. They fluttered to the ground and landed face down.
He was alone.
David sat in his corner of the gymnasium in deep thought. His eyes went straight at the ground before him. The giant room was silent and dark now, the lights having been shut off an hour ago. Looking at the floor of the gym David could barely see a single square foot that wasn’t occupied by a towel or a blanket with a person sleeping on it. Fathers clutched their wives and children and held them tightly in their sleep, awake and vigilant. But David had no one to hold.
He looked up slightly and his eyes caught a glimpse of Sarah. At first glance David thought she was sleeping peacefully. Looking closer at her pretty, green eyes, he saw she wasn’t. She looked back at him and sat up on the hard, uncovered floor under her. They locked eyes.
“Can’t sleep?” She asked with a twinge of honest sincerity. Something David hadn’t heard in her voice.
He didn’t answer. He locked eyes with her and a moment of silence filled the air. In a distant portion of the room, a cough echoed through the gymnasium and then more quiet followed. Suddenly, he spoke quietly.
“Who are you?”
“What do you mean?” Came the whispered reply.
“I mean who were you, before this mess began? I know about Brian and John, but you never told me anything about yourself. Not once.”
She paused for a minute, then slowly lay back on the hard floor and stared up at the ceiling. Then she began.
“I used to be a teacher.” She chuckled softly to herself. “Well a student teacher anyways. In a school just like this in the Upper East Side.”
David let the words sink in. His eyes looked intently at the woman who lay before him. For the first time since that day they both pointed guns at each other on the stoop, David noticed that she was strikingly beautiful.
A deafening silence continued until the sound of the wind blew through the cracks of the empty gymnasium walls and let out a high pitched whistle through the dark. The wind died down. Sarah’s smile disappeared as she continued.
“After the infection started the schools closed down and everyone was told to go home and stay there for their own safety. I lived alone in my crappy apartment on 82nd street. I was barely able to afford living there on my salary.”
She let out a deep breath that continued for half a minute.
“One day, my landlord knocked hard on my door. She said everyone was being evicted immediately and that she didn’t trust anyone in the building anymore. When I argued, she shoved a gun in my face. I was so scared. I ran out of the building with nothing and saw the havoc in the streets. I headed for the park.”
She paused and let out a smile.
“After a day of hiding there from those things I saw John strutting down the main park path, tire iron in hand.” She chuckled to herself again. “My blood splattered savior.”
David looked at her with honest sympathy. Suddenly everything became clear. Her look went empty again, her eyes wandering and searching through the memories that filled her head. Back to the days when she taught.
“I miss those little bastards,” She said quietly.
David looked and didn’t say anything. Sarah’s eyes began to get heavy as she blinked rapidly to fight back the sleep. Then they shut and her chest began moving slowly up and down. She was out cold. David wished he was too.
Looking around at the room before him, David saw that even the fathers who remained vigilantly awake had drifted off to join their loved ones in slumber. Over in the bleachers, the raggedly old man slept on his back, guitar held firmly in his arms.
Sleep, David willed to himself. But it never came.
Chapter 19: Tartarus
David sat against the wall of the gymnasium for an hour, his eyes still wide open and focused to the ground. He looked up and around the room. The eight soldiers who stood guard at the corners of the room changed shifts with another eight. Not a word was spoken between them. David recalled hearing Jimenez order his men to double the guard at vital areas of the base. None of them would sleep tonight.
David shifted his stare to the right and looked through the tall, mesh-fence covered windows that lined the wall. Floating in the sky, a glowing orb bathed the people who slept peacefully on the gymnasium floor with crimson red. The moon, David thought to himself. The moon was bleeding.
Suddenly, a loud, piercing ring shattered the silence that filled the night. David’s head perked up as he looked around the gymnasium. The droning, high pitched squeal continued over and over. David scanned the room and saw the people around him rub the sleep out of their eyes and hold their loved ones closer. He then focused his attention on a red, flashing object mounted on the wall. The fire drill was blaring its knell of dread.
“Everybody stay calm! There’s no need to worry.”
A soldier to the left of the gymnasium exit spoke loudly, his hand held high in an attempt to reassert authority and stifle the crowd’s fear. His own trembling voice did little to belie the terror he had in his eyes. The soldier knew the alarm meant something. And it wasn’t a fire.
The people on the floor began to whisper amongst themselves, talking worriedly with the people around them. They had already figured out what was going on. In the chatter, David saw the small boy who flipped Brian off earlier. The boy had started to cry.
“Wha- what’s going on?” Brian awoke two feet away from David and rubbed his eyes out, yawning. He looked around at the prattling crowd, then up at the blaring, flashing red fire drill. He straightened up his Mets cap and looked straight at David. “What happened?”
David kept staring at the ground. He didn’t budge. Then slowly, his lips moved.
All of a sudden the rattle of automatic gunfire in the distance cut through the crowd’s noise. A woman screamed. The gunfire continued in strings and was echoed by several more guns in the distance. It was now a solid, uninterrupted chorus of crackling coming from the outside.
One of the soldiers reached up to his earpiece and spoke into it. He looked panicked and David couldn’t make out what he was saying.
“We’re all gonna die!” A man shouted from the crowd. Screams followed him.
“Stay calm! Please, everyone calm down!” Another soldier spoke out this time. He almost seemed to be begging.
“Let us out of here!” A woman yelled after him.
“Our orders are to keep you here and defend you at all cost. I can’t let you leave.” The soldier had the eyes of a boy just barely through high school. The crowd looked at its defenders wantonly. It then lurched forward and charged at them.
The soldiers were swarmed within seconds, smothered in the crowd of 500 some odd people who were desperate to break free of their prison. David saw the boy soldier from before take blows to the head from some of the stronger men in the crowd. The boy’s helmet fell off and he slipped into unconsciousness. A man grabbed the soldier’s rifle and the crowd trampled the battered boy to death.
Looking to the other corner of the room David saw two of the soldiers firing rounds at the people who charged at them. They only got a few of their assailants before they too were overwhelmed.
David looked up at the chaos that unfolded in front of him and then back to his corner of the room. Ten feet away he saw the soldier who was watching over him previously get disarmed and then beaten down to the ground by the wild crowd. David spun around and was caught full force by a punch in the face. He fell backwards to the ground and felt a man pull the satchel bag off his shoulders. The fire alarm got louder and he saw spots in the sky.
He was unresponsive.
“David get up!”
It was Sarah’s voice. She tugged on his limp arm, begging him to wake up. Then, lighting quick, David’s arm shot out and his hand reached around Sarah’s neck. He squeezed.
“David,” She could barely muster her voice out of her throat. Her eyes went wide and she gagged. “It’s me. Please.”
David eyes opened and widened. He released his grip on the girl and she fell to her knees gasping for air.
“Wha- what happened?”
“Dave!” Brian yelled from a few feet away. “You went apeshit on Sarah!”
Brian then looked around the room frantically as it descended into chaos. People flooded out of the one exit as quickly as they could, crushing and trampling each other to death.
“We gotta get outta here!” He screamed out over the relentless noise.
David blinked his eyes twice, then stood up slowly and reached his hand out to Sarah. She slapped it away and gave him a look of distrust, of complete fear. She stood up herself and ran towards the exit. Brian looked at David perplexedly, as if he didn’t recognize him. He shook his head and ran out the exit after her.
David stumbled forward and then ran after. He was one of the last ones out of the gymnasium as he stepped over the twitching bodies of the people who were crushed alive. He caught sight of Sarah and Brian and ran after them. In the distance the sound of gunfire continued unabated. He rushed after the crowd, stumbling from wall to wall. One thought was on his mind.
This is what Hell must be like.
Chapter 20: Breach
David fell on his knees in the middle of the hall, dazed. The spots in his vision remained as he tried to shake them out of his head. He tried to piece the together the events that just happened.
The fire alarm.
A fist connecting with his face.
And the terrified look in Sarah’s eyes.
Just then, David realized that he had done something terribly wrong. And now his friends were gone and he was kneeling in the hallway all by himself.
He stood up and straightened his brown suede jacket, shaking what remained of the dizziness from his head. On the wall to the right of him a flashing fire alarm coated the dark hall before him in bright red intermittently. The blaring sound was deafening.
David walked down the hall. Abruptly, he stopped at the hallway intersection. He heard something just barely within earshot. Pounding.
He turned left and caught sight of a door shaking violently from the heavy beating on the other side. David looked to the floor next to the door and saw a soldier, his face bloodied and broken. The soldier’s weapons and equipment were missing.
“Open up! Please, someone open up!”
David recognized the voice on the other side. Without hesitation, he knelt down and searched the soldier’s body on the floor. Patting around the pockets, he felt a small metallic object and pulled it out. David slipped the key into the door lock and twisted it. The door swung open and nearly knocked him on his back. At the doorway stood John, breathing heavily. He was dressed in a clean t shirt and white slacks. His knuckles and hands were bloodied. David saw the opposite side of the door was coated red as well.
“David! What’s going on?”
John looked wild eyed. His gaze shifted to every direction at once and his voice trembled. David had no time to explain.
“We’ve gotta get out of here. Brian and Sarah already left, we have to catch up.”
“But what’s going on?”
“No time! Just follow!”
The two men raced down the hall and looked at the violence that had swept through the corridors. Halfway through the hall between the locker and the main entrance David saw the trampled bodies of a young mother and her toddler son laying face flat on the ground. They weren’t moving.
David and John turned the corner left and ran towards the large, glass double doors that were the main entrance to the building. David pushed the doors outward and came to a quick halt in front of the building. He could hardly believe his eyes.
The sound of gunfire was almost ear shattering at this close. David saw that the street in front of the school was empty but as he looked further down the road both ways he saw the frantic and panicked running of a few hundred people away from the school building. The park was barely within view at this distance but David could see enough. Hundreds of people, maybe even a thousand of them, surrounded the high pointed fences that circled the grassy encampment. Upon a closer look David saw that the people were shambling and stumbling their ways around, some of them wearing blood drenched clothing. Inside the fences David could see men and women in military uniform firing guns at every direction outward. Standing among them was Captain Hein, waving his pistol and screaming orders at his troops. Some members of the bloodied crowd tried to climb over the barrier, but they slipped and managed to impale themselves on the sharp tips of the fence. Gradually, more of the mob followed and clawed their way over their still-writhing comrades. The Captain took aim and fired at two of them who managed to make it over the fence, hitting them both in the head. The men at the park entryways firing mounted machineguns blazed through entire belts of ammunition every minute, frenetically trying to mow down the hordes that closed on the base. Up in the towers and the rooftops surrounding the park snipers were rapidly firing round after round at the swarm below them. But they would not yield.
Looking down the block and around the corner, David saw the crowd of the living running back towards the school. They were hysterical, screaming and waving their arms to the skies. Behind them, David could see more living dead appear from behind the buildings. Several people tripped on the rubble that littered the floor and David winced as he saw the crowd of bloodied, staggering people descend and eat them alive. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder and he spun around, grabbing the hand with his own. It was Brian.
“Dude it’s a sh-tstorm out here, we gotta get back inside!” He spoke loudly over the gunfire down the block. His eyes showed his urgency.
“Where’s Sarah?” David yelled back.
“She ran off somewhere in the school and locked herself in. Some other people just hid in there too.”
Brian looked up at John and his face went blank.
“Hey man,” He spoke as if to a stranger. “How you doing?”
“I’ve been locked away for an entire day, how do think I’m doing?” The giant replied.
“Come on!” David yelled. “We gotta find Sarah!”
Up from the roof of the school David heard more gunshots. He turned back to the street just in time to see a few of the bloodstained, shambling people take bullets in the chest and hit the ground. The frantic group of living people ran past the three of them and back into the building. The groaning crowd of the dead was merely ten yards away. David, Brian and John ran back up the steps of the school and through the doors. John shut the door behind him, but then let out a barely audible curse when he realized the left door was off its hinge and incapable of closing shut.
“Go go!” He screamed.
As David ran down the halls he could see that there were people cowering in the dark corners of each room, hiding under desks and behind closets. He knew they would not be safe for long. He tapped on each door he passed by, screaming.
“They’re coming! Run!”
But behind him he could see that no one heeded his warnings. Looking far down by the school entrance David saw the blood-drenched walking dead pound forcefully on the glass doors, shattering them within a few blows. The doors were completely removed from their hinges now as the shambling corpses made their way through the once hallowed halls of learning.
David and the others turned into another corridor and looked down it. On the floor were the bodies of another two beaten soldiers, stripped of all weapons and gear just like the others. He scanned through the classrooms to his left and right. They were empty in this region of the building.
David looked up at a small sign on the ceiling that caught his attention. It pointed towards a room further down the end of the hall. Somehow, he had an idea that that would be the place to go.
“Up ahead, the Principal’s Office!”
They hurried down the corridor and towards the dead end. From where he was David noticed the door to the office was open. But what caught his attention was what lay in front of the doorway.
The bodies of three bullet riddled men rested on the ground in front of the door. David slowed as he approached their bodies and looked down at one of their faces. The middle aged Caucasian man had been shot four times in the chest and his eyes were wide open and immobile. The man’s hazel pupils stared blankly at the ceiling. In the man’s right hand was a .45 caliber pistol. David recalled that the pistol was the same kind that some of the soldiers around the base carried at their sides.
David walked towards the door and cautiously reached down to grab it. As he did, he stuck his head just barely enough to steal a glimpse of the principal’s office.
At that moment six bullets impacted the doorframe and another door on the opposite side of the hall. David just barely pulled his head back in time to avoid being shot in the face. He fell down as Brian and John stepped back in surprise from the open door.
“Stay back! I’ll kill you all! I swear!”
The voice from within the room trembled. David listened carefully. It was the soldier from earlier, Peterson he believed his name was. Before he fell backwards David just barely caught a glimpse of the soldier standing behind the Principal’s desk. The boy had the look of a cornered animal. David sat with his back pressed against the wall to the left of the open doorway. He was breathing rapidly.
“He’s gone f-cking crazy!” Brian exclaimed as he pressed his back against the wall next to David. John stood next to Brian, a nervous look creeping onto his face. David noticed that John agreed with Brian for the first time since he’d met both of them.
David checked the gun in his hand. It was a parkerized .45 caliber 1911 pistol with a beavertail safety, Novak sights and white stippled rubber grips. He hit the magazine release and caught the mag with his left hand. He flashed a quick look at the side of the magazine. Three bullets remained. He slid the magazine back into the mag well and held his breath. He then stuck his right arm with the gun in it as quickly as he could through the door way.
David pulled his arm back, cursing aloud. Bullets peppered the door across the hall from him, turning it into swiss cheese. He didn’t land a solid hit on the psychopathic soldier, but he did make the boy duck down a bit. Suddenly, David heard something. He shot a look back down the hall. Groans were coming from the corridors he had just ran through a minute ago. He heard the shattering of glass in the distance and the screams of a woman. They were getting closer.
David closed his eyes and assessed the situation. The younger soldier obviously had the firepower advantage in the situation, but he was throwing bullets away like a lonely bachelor would toss money at a stripper.
David decided to try something. He stuck his arm through the doorway again and pulled it back just as quickly.
The soldier was edgy now, having been fired at already. He pumped more lead into the door across the hall and the doorframe just inches away from David’s head. One of his shots nicked David’s arm as he pulled it back, tearing through the jacket sleeve and sending pain signals from his arm to his brain.
David winced. He looked at his arm. A grazing wound, he thought to himself, but enough to tell him to stop. He looked off in the distance and then shook his head determinately. He told himself to give it one more try.
He stuck his arm through the doorway and pulled it back once more.
*BRRRRRRRRT BRRRRRRRRRRRRT* *click*
David spun around and dove to the left, ending up lying on his side and facing a panicked Peterson caught mid-reload. David lay on his left arm and raised the .45 to eye level.
The slide of the pistol locked back and David saw the soldier fall rearward, dragging an American Flag hung on the wall to the ground with him as he slid to the floor. After a short gargling sound Peterson went silent behind the desk. David stood up and walked into the room.
Peterson was dead, that much was certain. One of the bullets entered his upper chest, the other slammed into his throat.
“Daaaamn. You killed him good.” Brian and John had entered the room behind him. Brian let out an impressed whistle.
David looked at the young soldier’s blood stained face. In his last few moments Peterson wore a look of absolute terror. The soldier’s eyes remained open wide, staring accusingly at the man who killed him. David felt a part of his soul die.
John looked up at his friend and put his arm on his shoulder. He gave a short squeeze and then let go.
“Come on, you can mourn the dead later. We gotta find Sarah.”
David snapped out of his trance. He turned to John and slowly nodded. Brian picked up the empty M4 carbine that lay at Peterson’s side. He grabbed two magazines of ammunition from the dead soldier’s vest and slammed one of them into the empty mag well. He bent down and pulled out the Beretta that was secured in Peterson’s holster and tossed it to John. John caught it and checked the slide, clicking the safety off. Brian tossed a magazine for the pistol and John caught it as well, stowing it away in his left pocket.
David looked around the room. A map of Yonkers with the school and the park circled in bright red sat on the Principal’s desk along with a blueprint of the building. A little desk sign that read “Captain R. Hein” rested at the front of the table. David yanked open the drawers of the desk one by one, finding a stainless steel ivory-gripped 1911 in the top right drawer along with two spare magazines. He slapped one of the magazines into the empty gun in his hand, then slid the gun in the drawer down the front of his jeans. The magazine went into his jacket pocket.
Brian and John focused their eyes on the building blueprint. Flipping through the pages, they looked around intently.
“There!” Brian shouted out. “The fallout shelter in the basement! You can bet your ass that’s where we’ll be safe!”
“The stairwell that leads to it is in the opposite side of the school,” David protested.
“You got any brighter ideas, genius?”
“But what about Sarah?” John asked.
“I know where she’s hiding, but...” His voice trailed off. “She’s probably dead by now.”
“We’ve come this far for her. We lived together and we’re gonna die together,” John replied.
The three of them looked up at the door and saw a man in a white collared shirt stumble against the bullet riddled door frame, grabbing it for support. The man’s neck had been chewed off and his eyes were milky white. His jaws and teeth were soaked in blood. He laid there against the frame and then pushed off, staggering forward.
David, Brian and John all raised their guns at the man. Brian pulled back the charging handle of his rifle, then took aim.
“School’s out, bitch.”
Chapter 21: Things Fall Apart
David stepped out the doorway of the office and over the three, now four corpses that crowded in front of it. John followed behind, but Brian was still searching the soldier’s body.
“Hurry up man, there’s nothing left on that guy!” Yelled David.
“Just a second!” Brian yelled back. He turned and stood up, slipping something into his pocket discretely. David then turned back to the hallway. Looking down the corridor to the left from where they came, they heard the screams of women and children. The sounds of doors breaking and their windows shattering echoed through the hall. David looked back at his comrades.
“We’ve gotta go all the way back to the main hallway?”
“Yep, that’s what it says on the floor plans,” Brian replied. “Besides, Sarah was hiding in a broom closet somewhere close to the main hall last time I saw her.”
“Then we’ve gotta go back.” John said. He looked up at David and spoke to him directly, sympathetically.
“Remember, there’ll be people down that hallway inside the classrooms who won’t be as fortunate as Sarah. We can’t save them all. We’ve got to keep moving, no matter what.”
David nodded solemnly. The three of them ran back through the hallway that connected with the main corridor. Looking around they saw that the violence had continued unabated and had swept through the classrooms to their sides like a biblical plague. As David rushed through the hallways he looked into a few of the classrooms he passed by. There were bloodied and groaning people inside them, kneeling over the limp and sometimes kicking and screaming bodies of women and children. David saw that the bloodied figures were gorging themselves on their terrified prey, ripping them apart and devouring the pieces hungrily. David kept running, blindly, trying to force the images out of his head. He turned the corner into the main hall and kept running.
Brian yelled out and David immediately put his attention back towards the path in front of him. The three of them came to a screeching halt. Looking ahead, they realized the extent of the breach inside the school building. The main hall was overrun with them. Dozens of them. A pale, dirty blonde woman looked up from the corpse of the soldier she was feasting on, ripping his eye out from its socket with her teeth. She looked up at the three of them, swallowed the eye in her mouth, and let out a terrible moan. The other monstrosities in the hallway looked up at them as well and rose from the carcasses they were consuming. They stumbled down the hall towards David and his friends.
“Brian,” David said softly. “Any other plans?”
“Hold on, hold on,” Came the nervous reply. Brian fished the floor plan from his pocket and searched through it, his hands shaking. In front of them, the crowd was quickly closing the distance.
“I got it! There’s an alternate way to get there, we have to turn back and keep going down the hall we were just in. Then we make a right and go down the secondary hall towards the gym. Hopefully there’ll be less of them there.”
The three of them spun around and ran back up the hall, turning right and bolting down the corridor as if all Hell followed them. And it did.
“Turn here!” Brian said.
They did so and turned into the hallway that led down to the gymnasium and the locker rooms from before, coming full circle from when this disaster began. They turned right again and ran down the same hall that the panicked mob broke out of the gym from. Looking down, David saw the young mother and her toddler son on the ground again. The mother was awake now, but she was sobbing uncontrollably over the body of her trampled son. David and the others stopped and approached her, but she merely sobbed again and pulled back her lifeless son’s body, holding it close to her chest.
“They’re coming,” David said softly. “They’ll kill you if they see you out here.”
She looked up, teary eyed. David recognized her from the gymnasium before. Her pretty brunette hair was a mess and her clothes were torn.
“Death would be a blessing.” She replied. The tears had stopped flowing. She clutched her son’s body and held it tight, stroking his hair. John shook his head.
The three of them ran further down the hall, looking at the crowded main entrance. There were less of them here, but that was probably because they were staggering after the three of them down the halls they had just run through. A good diversion, David thought to himself.
A skinny man wearing a bloody wifebeater and striped pajama pants stumbled over to David, his hands clawing on his jacket sleeve. John raised his Beretta and fired, putting a bullet down the freak’s ear canal. Its grasp on David weakened and it collapsed to the ground.
“Sh-t! More of them outside!”
From beyond the door-less front entrance the sound of gunfire continued. The battle was still raging on in the park, but the shooting wasn’t nearly as loud or uninterrupted as before. Directly in front of him however David saw another mob of those groaning, walking carcasses heading up the steps into the school. The three of them ran down the hall to the left of the school entrance. They continued for about 50 meters or so until Brian came to an abrupt stop. He turned left to face a solid, heavy, windowless door and began pounding on it.
“Sarah! Sarah come on! We need to get out of here!”
No response came. Looking back to the entry way David saw the swarm approach and turn to face him, locking their milky white eyes with his own. They stumbled forward, forty meters away now.
“Open up Sarah! Come on I know you’re in there!”
Still no response. David kept his eyes focused on the crowd that was nearing ever closer. Then he turned to the door and leaned his head close. He closed his eyes and spoke.
“Sarah, it’s me, David. I- I’m sorry about what I did. It was an accident, in that whole mess in the gym. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please Sarah, come out.”
His tone was that of someone begging for forgiveness. For redemption. After a few seconds the door clicked open and swung inward. David, Brian and John simultaneously swung their weapons over and aimed through the doorway. It was Sarah. She put her hand on the barrel of Brian’s rifle and lowered it. Her eyes were drooping, weary, but she mustered out a forced, yet genuine smile when she saw David.
“I forgive you,” She said quietly. “Now let’s go.”
She looked up at John, shooting him a smile.
“Welcome back,” She said.
“You too,” He replied.
David and Sarah locked eyes then. He nodded and pulled out the ivory gripped pistol from behind his belt buckle with his free hand. He handed it over to her and she grabbed it with her left hand, cocking the hammer. Looking back down the hall, the mob was only 20 or so meters away. The four of them ran down the corridor, the walking dead groaning after them.
“Turn this way, past the cafeteria!”
They followed Brian as he led them. Running down the corridor, David looked through the windows that separated the cafeteria and the hallway he was in. He saw a soldier, cornered behind two dining tables, firing his rifle away at a mass of those freaks that descended upon him from every direction. One of them grabbed his arm and pulled the rifle away. The others reached at him, clawing and ripping him to pieces. David could hear his screams from through the windows.
Looking ahead, David noticed that the rear entrance of the school was wide open, the doors torn off their hinges just like the front entrance. Brian yelled out.
“This way! Come on, we’re almost there!”
Brian ran past the cafeteria and turned right into another hallway, the others quickly following. Then, David saw it. The dirty and rusted yellow metal sign that was bolted against the wall to his right, an artifact of more tumultuous times when the world believed that every day was another chance for them to be blasted straight to Hell. Two words with a giant yellow and black nuclear symbol under them. Fallout Shelter.
“Hah hah! We made it!”
Brian and the others ran towards the heavy steel door under the sign. It was secured by a heavy latch that required two hands to open. He slung the rifle over his shoulder and pressed both hands down on the rusted door latch, pushing with all his might. A loud, audible click sounded and Brian pulled open the door.
“We made it guys! I can’t believe we-”
The smile on Brian’s face faded away. He looked down the stairs that led to the fallout shelter. He then looked down at his shirt and saw the hole in his stomach. The baseball jersey he was wearing was rapidly turning red around the area of the hole. Brian slowly fell to his knees at the doorway.
Brian fell backwards from the two cracks that resounded through the air. David caught him as he fell, looking down at his face. Out of the man’s mustached lips specks of crimson flew out and landed on his jersey.
“Brian!!!” Sarah screamed. John held her back from running towards her fallen comrade and into the line of fire.
“You’re not coming in here! Never!”
The voice from down the fallout shelter stairs screamed viciously, desperately. David looked at Brian’s face. He was coughing up blood violently now. Two more holes had appeared in his chest as blood seeped from where his lungs should be.
Brian slowly reached into his deep jeans pocket and pulled out something. His shaking hand resurfaced, holding a green spherical object with a yellow stripe around its circumference. Big yellow lettering went around the ball-like object. The lettering read “M67 FRAG GRENADE”
David took the object from Brian’s hand and stood up, lowering Brian onto the floor on his back. He found the pin on the side of the trigger and pulled it hard. He pressed down on the trigger and heard a click, then a hiss. Walking closer to the stairwell but crouching low, he tossed it underhand and the green sphere rolled down the stairs noisily.
David ran to the side of the heavy steel door and kicked it shut, then Sarah and him pressed their backs to the wall to the right of the door. John dragged Brian’s bleeding and coughing body with him, leaving a streak of dark red onto the tile floor. He dragged him over to where David and Sarah were at the side of the door and the four of them waited.
A muffled yet deafeningly loud explosion came from the wall behind them and the heavy steel door even shook violently for a single second. After that, the sound of silence.
David approached the door and cautiously pressed down on the handle with both his hands. The door swung outward and he looked down the stairs. They were empty but the stairwell leading down was covered in black ash. Metallic fragments embedded themselves all around the concrete stairs, walls and ceiling.
David walked down the stairs, Sarah following. John carefully picked up Brian and carried him down the stairwell. With each step down Brian groaned in agony.
David peaked around the corner of the enclosed stairwell. The sound of constant radio chatter filled the air as David approached closer. The scene in front of him looked like the back room of a butcher’s shop. On the floor lay a single uniformed soldier, his jaw torn clean off and a nickel sized hole blown through the side of his head. The rest of the man’s body looked like ground beef covered in camouflaged colored rags.
David looked around the room. To the far left of the chamber was a sturdy metal desk with a radio headset and a transmitter sitting on it. In the background the sound of people screaming and shooting on the other side of the radio permeated throughout the concrete bunker. A man sat in a chair in front of the desk. He was untouched by the explosion, but in the back of his head was a single bullet hole. David looked back at the bloody carcass on the floor and saw a .45 caliber pistol clutched loosely in the shredded corpse’s hand. The slide had been cracked by the flying fragments of the grenade.
John laid Brian on the hard floor against a large box. The wounded man let out a cry of pain, the holes in his chest and gut leaking ever more on the ground and on the wooden crate behind him. John pressed down hard with his hands on the holes, trying to stop the bleeding but forcing another pained cry from their dying friend.
“Heh... heh heh… We made it.”
Brian spoke while his chest moved up and down rapidly. Sarah and David knelt down in front of their comrade.
“Yeah,” Sarah said. Tears were forming in her eyes. They fell from her rosy cheeks and onto the floor. “We did, thanks to you Bri.”
“You’re… damned right we did.”
A bloody cough escaped his throat. He looked up at David. David saw that his eyes were gentle, a noticeable change from the constant look of hostility they normally had.
“Hey Dave…” Brian spoke softly.
“Yeah man?” David replied solemnly, his eyes focused on his friend’s face.
Brian closed his eyes, then smiled.
“I’m glad I didn’t blow your head off that day.”
David paused before answering. He forced a smile, his eyes getting teary too.
“Yeah, me too.”
Brian slowly reached up with his right hand and pulled his Mets cap down, covering his face.
“That’s… all folks.”
His hand went limp on his lap and his head fell back against the crate and rested there. His chest stopped moving.
After a moment, Sarah sobbed loudly. She knelt there on the cold floor covering her eyes with both hands, trying to stop the dam from bursting. It already had.
David edged closer to her. He put his hand around her shoulder and gently pulled her head onto his chest. He felt the wet tears seep through his shirt and touch his skin. He took another look at Brian. The man’s face was concealed completely behind his baseball cap but somehow David knew that it bore a look of complete and utter peace.
The sound of gunfire and screams continued from the radio headset lying on the desk, punctuated only by Sarah's mournful yet muffled sobs.
Chapter 22: Damned If You Don’t
John leaned against the concrete wall across from the crate where Brian’s body lay. His shirt and hands were covered in the dead man’s blood. He looked down blankly, his eyes focused on the scene before him. At the body of the friend whom he oft argued with but never managed to say goodbye to. He slowly turned around and collapsed against the wall, pressing his forehead against it. He pounded on it with his right fist, again and again, the scabs on his hands reopening and fresh blood dripping out once more.
David held onto Sarah tightly, stroking her blonde hair. He had done enough crying in this crisis and knew that his tears would change nothing. But he allowed Sarah to cry anyways because she simply needed to. After all of this, anyone would. But not David. Not anymore.
After a while Sarah lay asleep in David’s arms. Then, slowly and gently, David carried her in his arms and walked 30 feet over to the metal desk. He rested her softly against a crate and looked at her. The tears had dried on her cheeks and she was exhausted. David glimpsed back at the desk. A small digital clock sat there reading 1:25 AM.
David walked over to the desk and pushed the dead soldier’s body out of the chair and onto the floor. He sat in the chair and settled in, placing the noisy radio headset over his ears. He listened.
“Reloading! *BANG BANG BRRRRRRT BRRRRRRRRRRT* There’s too many of them!”
A man’s voice screamed frantically through the headset. In the background David could hear more automatic gunfire. He must have been in the frontline at the park. Suddenly, another voice began speaking.
“This is Rooftop unit Charlie and I’m running out of ammo! Request- sh-t, they broke into my building! I think they’re coming up the stairs right now!”
“Charlie unit, we’re too overwhelmed here in the park to provide assistance. You’ll have to fend them off yourself. If you cannot, then try to hide.”
David recognized the voice. It was Captain Hein’s. The man spoke calmly but then the sound of pistol shots told David that he was fighting just as heavily as his men were.
“I can’t hide anywhere. I’ve only got my sidearm and- *BANG BANG* Oh God they’re here! *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG* AHHHHHHHHhhhhh”
The sound of bones crunching and something wet followed.
“Sh-t, we’ve lost the last rooftop unit! Sergeant, are the claymores set up yet?”
“Just one more left, Sir!” David recognized that calm, yet determined voice. It was Jimenez’s.
“Don’t bother setting up the last one, just fire what we’ve got!”
“Yes sir! You heard him, boys!”
“Firing in 3…2….1…*click*”
Even from under the concrete and metal bunker that he was trapped in, David heard the distant pop of multiple explosions going off in the direction of the park. A millisecond after he heard the pops a series of deafening roars came from the headset. He lowered the headset from his ears and shook his head around, trying to regain his sense of hearing. After a few more bursts of machine gun fire all went quiet.
“Hah hah! We got em! We got em!”
David heard the sound of soldiers cheering into their ear pieces triumphantly. Their cheers continued for a full minute and he felt a smile creep across his face.
“Quiet! I need radio silence NOW!”
The Captain’s voice boomed into David’s headphones and instantly an ear splitting silence fell. David was perplexed. What had happened?
“They’re getting up.” Came the Captain’s reply to his thoughts. “Oh God, they’re all getting up.”
The loud, constant crackle of automatic weapons fire continued as David drew a blank expression on his face. They had unloaded everything they had and it didn’t stop the mobs.
“This is Scout tower Echo, I’m looking at the school through my scope and there’s more of them coming from the front entrance. They’re coming out in droves! Oh my God,” The man on the other side of the radio paused. “It’s the refugees! They’ve turned into-”
“Keep firing! Don’t stop until we clear em all off!” Came the Captain’s shouted response.
“This is Alpha Gate Machinegunner 1, I’m running low on ammo and the barrel of my .50 is white hot, I won’t be able to hold em!”
“This is Bravo Gate, we’re falling back!”
“No! Hold your positions! Not one step back!”
“We can’t Sir, they’re- AHHHHHhhhhhh”
“This is Charlie Gate, we’re falling back!”
One by one, David heard the same thing from every soldier who spoke in the radio channel.
The base was overrun.
Suddenly, David heard one more pop in the distance followed by a loud explosion through his headset. He winced and then the gunfire continued. The last claymore, he thought to himself.
Soon the sound of gunshots became drowned out by the sound of screams, and then the sickening sound of crunching bones and tearing flesh.
“All stations, can you hear me?” The Captain’s voice crackled through the headset. “Is anyone there?”
David hesitated. He wanted to speak into the microphone, but something inside him prevented him from doing so.
“Oh God, not like this. Not like this.”
David heard the sound of a pistol racking through the headset.
“Martha, I’m coming. I’ll be seeing you and the kids soon enough.”
A short silence.
David looked off at the wall in front of him. He stared, and then slowly pushed the headset off of him and laid it on the table. The only noise that came from it was the wet sound of the gruesome feast that was taking place at the park.
They were all dead.
Half an hour passed as David sat watching over Sarah as she slept. John sat slouched against the wall opposite them, his eyes fixed at the cold, concrete floor.
“So they’re all gone?”
David looked up from Sarah and at John’s tired, worried eyes. He paused for a second before he gave his answer.
John’s head didn’t shift an inch from the floor.
“Those things… they came from Massachusetts.”
David stared at John for a while. How did he know about the van with the Mass license plates?
“I saw them out on the streets, just like you did. A lot of them were wearing Red Sox merchandise.”
David searched through his memory and his eyes widened. John was right.
“I’m sure your parents are-“
“I know they are,” Came John’s stern reply. John looked up for the first time and spoke again. “I know my dad’s ok. He has to be.”
All of a sudden, both of them turned to face the stairwell. The sound came from the steel door at the entryway. Then, David heard the slam of the door shutting. He drew his pistol from his belt and John did the same. Both of them approached the stairwell cautiously, guns aimed at the ready.
The hollow sound of irregular footsteps coming down the stairwell echoed against the thick bunker walls. Then, out of the stairwell a man in uniform stumbled out. The man held a pistol with the slide locked back in his right hand. It was Sergeant Jimenez.
John and David kept their guns trained on Jimenez. The Sergeant stumbled forward a few steps, then leaned against the wall next to the stairwell. Shooting a quick glance down, David noticed the man had a bloody bite wound on his left leg. Jimenez let out a deep sigh. His constantly weary eyes looked even wearier now. Then, he lowered his head and looked at his wound. He dropped his empty pistol and it clattered to the floor. He then slid down to the ground with his back against the concrete. He looked up at the two men and smiled.
“Ain’t that a bitch,” He said as he rested his head against the wall behind him. He looked up at the ceiling smiling.
“What were the chances that some idiot from out of state would drag the entire population of New England over here?”
He chuckled to himself. David lowered his pistol. John, staring with pity at the man who imprisoned him earlier, did the same. David spoke.
“Is everyone out there dead?”
“All of them. No one got out alive but me. I triggered the last claymore and cleared a way through, barely making it out alive.”
He nodded his head towards his bleeding leg.
“One of those bastards crawling on the ground managed to get my leg good.”
He stopped and paused, reaching into his chest pocket for a pack of smokes. He pulled one out and stuck it into his mouth. He then pulled a cheap plastic lighter out and flicked away, but a flame never appeared. David slowly fished out his chromed Zippo from his pocket and leaned over the man. He flicked the lighter on and the bright orange-yellow flame bathed the dimly lit fallout shelter. The Sergeant leaned his head closer to the flame and lit the end of the tobacco. He took a few puffs and then spoke.
“You kill those guys?” He gestured his head towards the two dead soldiers and Brian. David shook his head.
“No, just the one over there.” He pointed at the shredded carcass of the blown-up soldier. “He killed our friend.”
Jimenez looked over to Brian and nodded.
“I’m sorry,” He said solemnly. “I have to take full responsibility for the actions of the men under my command.”
He took another puff from his cigarette while David and John stood quietly. Then John spoke.
“Is anyone else coming for us?”
Jimenez looked up and a laugh passed through his lips. He shook his head.
“We lost communication with the main base in Albany days ago. No one’s coming.”
He tapped the ash that collected at the end of his cigarette off onto the floor and took another puff. He breathed out a cloud of smoke that accumulated slowly above him.
“We were all that was left. And now there’s nothing.”
David and John looked down at the man who sat before them and their eyes turned somber. Jimenez then slowly got to his feet, letting out a hiss of pain from his bloodied leg. The look he gave to David said that he knew he was going to die.
Slowly, he stumbled back out towards the stairwell, dragging his bum leg behind. He turned around to face David and John. His face was paler now, but the same world weary look he always wore remained. He smiled and then spoke.
“I hope you enjoyed your stay at our facilities.”
He limped his way up the stairs and after a short while David heard the sound of the heavy steel door opening.
“By the way,” Jimenez called out from up the stairwell. “You damaged the door lock with whatever you blew it up with. It won’t hold up against those things out there.”
A pause followed.
“Just like me, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
David heard the door slam shut behind the Sergeant as he left. He wouldn’t last long wounded, by himself and without any weapons. But perhaps it was his will to die out there like his men did.
David looked back at John. The giant shrugged his shoulders and sat down, resting his back on the crate next to Brian’s body. He took one look at his fallen comrade, then to the far corner of the room where Sarah lay sleeping. He then shifted his gaze back at the floor.
“We won’t last long without any rest either. We’ll leave in the morning.”
David nodded. He walked over to the chair in front of the desk and sat down, resting his head sideways on the metal desk. He at the floor a few feet away and his eyes found Sarah. She lay sound asleep against the crate, exhausted from the events of the day. David hadn’t gotten any sleep himself that night or the previous night either. He tried to fight it, but eventually his mind drifted off as he entered into cold slumber. As his consciousness slipped away, he thought to himself once more.
We're all damned, aren't we?
Chapter 23: Live Together, Die Alone
David nestled in his sleep, burying his face deeper into his arms as he lay resting on the desk. The noise repeated itself over and over again, forcing its way through his ear drums and into his brain. Slowly, he opened his eyes and blinked a few times. The first thing he caught sight of was Sarah, still sound asleep on the ground to the right of him. David sat upright in his chair and finally the sound registered in his mind. It was coming from the door just like before. Except this time it was accompanied by loud, unearthly groaning. His eyes widened as he stared off in the direction of the stairwell. A few barely audible words escaped from his lips.
“No. Not here. Not now.”
He scrambled to his feet and towards Sarah. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her hard.
“Sarah, wake up! Come on, wake up!”
She opened her eyes and brought her hands to them, rubbing them slowly.
“What’s… what’s going on?”
She looked up at David sleepily and her eyes locked with his. When she saw the urgent look that lay on his face her grogginess disappeared immediately.
“I think they’re outside.”
She looked up at the stairwell and then back at David. She knew the significance of those words and the sheer weight that they held.
David turned around to face John and saw that he had already awoken. The giant was at full attention and stood at the entry to the stairwell. David and Sarah approached him and sensed the fear in his grey eyes. They glanced up at the steel door at the end of the stairwell. It shook violently with every pound that came from the other side. David listened carefully and heard a whole chorus, a cacophony of groans that made the very fibers of his mortal soul shiver. They were outside. And there were many of them.
Suddenly, David saw a tiny object fly off the door after a particularly powerful blow landed. The sound of metal striking concrete multiple times echoed through the spacious bunker as something flickered d