“I don’t trust her, Col” Robin said, watching Kat leave.
“I know you don’t, but we’re just going to have to make the best of a bad situation. At least she’s helping, now”
“Whatever, man. I just wanna know if I’m cool to shoot her if she comes back without the rest of you”
“No shooting survivors. Just pick off a few of the dead guys outside, if you need to”
“Yeah, yeah, I know the score” he chuckled. “Want me to deal with the corpses?”
I nodded. We’d taken to burning the bodies, purely for the fact that we didn’t know a safe way of disposing of them. From what we’d seen, transmission occurred through fluid contact, so cremation seemed the best way.
I left Robin to it, looking for the others. Maria had volunteered to come along, since Dante was still an awful shot, and we needed someone who knew what they were looking for. After all, I knew nothing about generators, and I doubted Kat or Riley did either. I was a little concerned about Riley and Kat coming, if I’m honest. Riley’s foot was on the mend, but he didn’t know the first thing about using a gun. And as for Kat’s knee cap…
I made my way up to Kat and Pet’s apartment, once I’d found Riley and Maria, knocking on the door. Pet answered.
“Oh, are you heading out now? I’ll go get her” she grinned, running off. She came back over with Kat, pushing her out of the door.
“The others are waiting downstairs” I said simply, turning and making my way back down to the others.
“I call shotgun, ‘kay, Loco?” Maria laughed as I led them all off to the Hummer.
Maria got in the front with me, while Riley and Kat slid into the back. Riley expressed a need to stop by the drug store to restock on some medicine, and I told him we’d stop by on the way back.
“Wait, what? Where else are we going?” Riley asked.
"We gotta hit up the power station, chico" Maria said, her Hispanic accent thick.
“The power station? That is some way away... I can't even hold a gun…”
"That's why there's someone big and strong here to protect you. And Loco, too" Maria smirked, glancing at me as I laughed sarcastically.
Riley let out a nervous laugh, clutching his supply list to his chest. Kat looked at him.
“Thanks for checking out my leg” she muttered, her gaze turning back to the window beside her.
Riley smiled. “No problem! We can't have our strongest people getting hurt now, can we?” he questioned, not getting a response, and Maria glanced back at Kat.
"You don't talk much, do you?" she asked. Kat glanced at Maria, still staring out of the window, chewing on her nails. “Unlike me. My pappy always used to tell me off for talking too much”
“I wonder why” I teased, earning myself a glare.
The rest of the journey to the power station was spent in silence. The power station itself was on the outskirts of town, and no one had really wanted it. We’d done fine running off the energy from the power station in the city, but for some reason they decided to give us our own. Looking back on it, I’m kind of glad they did. I pulled up outside the dreary grey building, looking out for any signs of movement before even thinking about getting out of the car.
"Okay, so this is mainly for intel. From what me and Dante could see, the connection to the building's been chewed through, which explains the short. What we don't know is if the power's still on" Maria informed the others.
Something didn’t feel right about the place, and I stayed where I was, trying to scope the place out from the safety of the Hummer. It was too quiet, as cliché as that seems. Maria seemed to sense my cautiousness, waiting for me to give the all clear before she got out. Kat, on the other hand, got out and looked around, before banging loudly on the side of the Hummer. I was about to ask her if she was crazy, when four of them burst out of the power station. And they were heading straight for the Hummer. Kat fired. Two of them stopped, sinking to the ground. The other two kept coming. Kat jumped back in the car, slamming the door as one of them crashed into the side of the Hummer. She wound down the window slightly, disposing of the other two.
Riley held his head, his face drained of colour. “That was too noisy! My head hurts! Wait… We have to move, right? More will come now!”
"I'm honestly surprised there were four" Maria said, getting out of the car. "Looks like they worked here"
Kat got out of the car at the same time as me.
“Do you even know how to use the machinery here?” I asked Maria.
“Not a clue, Loco” she smiled. “Lead the way”
I led the others in through the main entrance of the building, the double doors hanging open, sagging from their hinges. It was almost impossible to believe that this much destruction could have occurred in just a few short weeks. Well, they certainly didn’t feel short. Kat stopped when we reached the security office, knocking on the door. I stopped, wondering what she was doing, while Maria carried on towards the control room. I moved to follow Maria, seeing Kat tap Riley on the shoulder.
“What is it, Ka- Oh, your nails!”
I left them to it, following Maria. The control room was a confusing myriad of flashing lights and gauges. Maria moved from console to console, frowning slightly every now and then, before moving to another. I had no idea if she knew what she was doing, but I figured it was best to leave her to it, scoping out the room instead. It was relatively small, and the wall opposite the door was lined with large windows, over-looking what looked like some kind of factory floor. I could only guess that was where the power was made, but it was only a wild guess.
“C’mon you two, hurry up” I called to Kat and Riley from the doorway.
The two of them walked out of the security office; Riley carrying a first aid kit, and Kat with her hand wrapped in bandages. Kat wandered into the control room, leafing through various drawers and cabinets while Maria checked the consoles again.
“There’s a manual here” Kat said, holding up a thick, heavy-looking book.
"I know what I'm doing, niño" Maria said, glaring at Kat out of the corner of her eye.
“Let’s hope so…” Riley said quietly.
Kat simply shrugged, dropping the manual back in the drawer.
"The power's out in half the town, but it looks like we're still in the clear. There should be supplies to fix the connection in a hardware store" Maria announced after a while.
"Riley, how badly d'you need to go to the pharmacy?" I asked.
“How bad would you feel if a woman in labour and her unborn child died?” Riley asked.
I’d been about to answer when Kat tensed, turning her head as if she’d heard something. She pulled out her gun when I asked what she’d heard and she shrugged, moving towards the security office. She came back in the control room, shutting the door, cursing under her breath.
“What is it, Kat?” Riley asked, and Kat gestured for me to come over.
I went over and she opened the door enough for me to squeeze past. I made my way over to the security office, studying the flickering screens. A few of the security cameras weren’t working, but one of the still functioning ones was focused on the parking lot. And there, surrounding the Hummer, were fifteen of them.
“What is it?” Riley repeated once I was back in the control room.
"Nothing to worry about" I said and Kat raised an eyebrow.
“Are you sure?” he questioned, walking over.
"I think it might be best if you stay over here, chico" Maria said softly a Kat pulled out her second gun. Nothing like keeping everyone calm, huh?
Riley frowned. “Now I know there is something going on”
"If we go down there all guns blazing, we're going to get ourselves killed" I said to Kat, knowing we didn’t stand a chance fifteen to two.
"I'm not leaving this place without my guns out"
“I'll just stay here” Riley said, shrinking back into the room.
"Was there any alcohol in security?" I questioned.
"No" Kat said bluntly.
“You're going to get drunk? I forbid it! Not in this situation!” Riley insisted.
"If you’re planning on setting them on fire, I vote against" Kat said.
"And why's that?" I asked.
“’Cause then we will have fifteen flaming undead on our hands" Kat said and Riley sat down, his eyes closed.
"It might disperse them, though. Give us a chance to run, at the very least" Maria pointed out, but Kat shook her head. “Well I think it’s a good plan, Loco”
Kat went over to Riley, sitting down with him.
“Let’s just wait this out, hey Kat?” Riley smiled weakly, and Kat offered him a dagger.
"Look, we all need to work together on this" I said, feeling strained already.
“All I wanted was medicine. Now I'm going to get eaten” Riley whined.
"You're not gonna get eaten, Riley" I said softly.
"No, much better. We'll burn" Kat cut in.
Riley sniffed. “I don't care how it happens, at least I'd be seeing Jack again”
"You, what's your name?" Maria asked Kat, seeming as strained as I was.
"I don't know how long you've been with us, and frankly I don't care. We go out there with them out there, none of us are making are back"
Kat rolled her eyes, pulling a GameBoy out of her pocket. She turned it on, the high pitched 8-bit music whining out of the speakers. I was past caring where she’d gotten it from, more focused on trying to get everyone out alive.
"Okay, now I can see why Robin wants to shoot her" Maria said to me.
“I don't want to die, why don't we wait? They will go away soon, won’t they? Back me up here, Colligan!” Riley said desperately.
I sighed. “I don’t know, Riley”
"I still think the Molotov's our best shot. From what I saw when I was on my own, these things experience locational damage. Being covered in fire's gotta be pretty painful" Maria said as Kat closed the GameBoy.
“Do they even feel pain, though?” Riley asked, and Kat let out a sigh.
"I think so"
"I've seen one with a limp hanging around the tower" I added.
“That doesn't mean it feels pain,' he sighed , 'he could simply have an injury”
Give me strength…
“Right, well let’s look at our options”