I quickened my pace so I was about ten metres in front of Robin before coming out all flustered in the dark corridor and slowing down until he caught up with me again, then I sped up so I didn't have to walk with him again. I repeated this process until we reached my flat - all the way up on the fifth floor.
Robin looked around, on edge as I reached for the small, flat house key which was nearly always in my right hand back pocket. I proceeded to insert it into the lock, pulled the handle up and turned the key once. The door clicked, and I pushed it open quietly.
'Be careful,' Robin said in a hushed voice, his gun snapped viciously as he pulled off the safety, 'there could be something in there.'
I fought the urge to shake my head dismissively at his comment. I entered the apartment, avoiding all the floorboards I knew were creaky whereas Robin just charged through, swinging all of the doors wide open to check for any people that may be lurking the any dark corners. There were not, unsurprisingly. It was only Jack and I who lived here and we rarely had people over.
'All clear,' Robin called over to me as I peered into my fridge which had very little food in it, 'you going to be okay by yourself?'
I nodded sullenly, shuffling towards my bedroom, slamming the door shut heavily in a manner very unlike my usual self.
Jack would always chide me for slamming doors when I was angry. He wasn't just my lover, my partner. But a father and a brother and a mother all at the same time, after I came out to my parents Jack was the only one there for be after they rejected me and kicked me out, and I quote, "we don't want a queer in this house. I knew there was something funny about you!" As you can probably tell, my stepfather was not the sweetest of souls. But, hah, that's rich coming from him.
I had to repeatedly ward him off my younger sister, Ella, several times as he made his lecherous advanced towards her. He was a repulsive borderline child molester and I have no idea what on earth my mother saw in him.
I'm glad that Ella moved out before he had a chance to do anything terrible to her, though. That was a good move.
I sat down on the bed with my head in my palms. Silent sobs shook my entire frame, how could someone who had been so close be ripped from me so quickly? Jack. He was all I had. That look of utter disbelief mingled with agony could have stopped my heart there and then, oh why, why hadn't I just yanked him a little harder? I may not be the strongest man in the world, but surely I could have mustered the strength to save a loved one?
Am I really that weak?
I looked up, and stared at the metal photograph frame on Jack's bedside table. It was taken last year, on our second anniversary. It was pouring down with rain but I still insisted on going to the beach. My mouth was smothered childishly with strawberry ice cream and Jack was staring(more like squinting because of the wind) down at me fondly, like he really did love me.
My heart tore itself up even more as the sudden, heavy wave of realisation crashed down on me.
I was never going to see him again.
He was never going to brush my cheek with his thumb and smile widely at me when he did something he was proud of, or make his perfect lasagne in his grandma's old cooking pot. I was never going to experience the rush of teenage-like embarrassment whenever he kissed me. Never again.
I sank back down, into a tiny little ball, clutching my stomach as I bawled my eyes out loudly.
Ten minutes later, when my throat was raw and sore and my eyes were so red and puffy I couldn't see properly, I sat up, still feeling the terrible pain inside. Although I felt even a tiny bit better for releasing all the pent-up emotions from the events of the day.
I went to my bathroom, splashed cold water on my face and breathed out shakily. My mind begged me to go back to the people - being alone wasn't good at all. Not good for my mental health, anyway. I dried my face shaking, quickly, and sprinted full pelt back to the lobby where I found Robin and Lieutenant Grey rooting through the drawers in the lobby reception.
'Riley!' Lieutenant Grey looked up from the cabinet he was swamping around in, 'good thing you're here! Do you happen to know where we could find the keys to all of the apartments?'
'The caretaker,' I mumbled gloomily, rubbing my eyes again. 'But I don't know if he's been ripped to shreds yet.'
All this doom and gloom wasn't like my usual self. But I honestly couldn't find the energy in me to act like everything was perfectly fine and dandy. Because it wasn't.
'We should probably find him, then.' He said decisively, Robin nodded in agreement.
I stood in front of them for a while, shifting in my scrubs uncomfortably before realising they needed my help, 'you need me to show the way, right?'
Robin gave a short, carefree laugh, 'Col here is good with a map, but not apartment numbers!' He chuckled.
Lieutenant Grey's eyes were cold as he glared at Robin, but I could easily see he was amused also by Robin's lighthearted attempt to make us feel a little chirpier.
I took the lead, glancing back now and then to make sure they were behind me. A light, far off clanking sound distracted me from my daydream for a second but I passed it off as nothing. The pair of men behind me bickered constantly for about five minutes before the clanking sound got louder.
Neither of them noticed and I didn't really want to say anything in case it got the all riled up for nothing.
Well, I thought it wasn't going to be in need to be mentioned until a gore-soaked women leaped out at us, gurgling with the anticipation of ripping our heads off. She moved quickly, pattering down the stairwell at a frightening speed. I stumbled backward, Robin pushed in front of me, shooting her dead centre in the forehead.
I gasped with shock, staring at him with wide eyes, my ears ringing with the sharp bang.
'I.. uh...you... do you think there will be more?' I stammered uselessly, gawking at them both.
'Could be, who knows?' Robin shrugged, as if shooting a person didn't phase him in the slightest.
'Well, we wont know until we get those keys!' Said Col.
'It's scary... that even in the outskirts of the city it's already like this. How can a large city be affected this quickly? I mean, the entire hospital got hit within half an hour and there was originally only one bitten patient in our care!' I babbled fearfully.
Robin whistled, 'kind of like the plague, huh?'
My eyes flicked to the shorter of the pair quickly, 'it's nothing like the plague.'
'No,' He backtracked, realising I was a medical student, 'I mean as in it's spread so quickly and we don't know what is causing it or how we can prevent or treat it...'
I went quiet, I had to admit it was kind of similar.
I looked up at them as they carried on walking, 'you're in the army, right? That means you gotta have some sort of plan!'
'Well...' Col began.
My heart sunk lower than my stomach.
'You don't have a plan, do you?'