“I told you I didn’t trust her, Col” Robin’s voice crackled over the walkie-talkie I’d taken with me.
“This was hardly her fault, Robin. If we’re not back in two days… Just assume the worst. If we’re okay, we’ll make it back”
“You’re not superman, Col. If you guys aren’t back by tonight, we’re sending out a search party tomorrow”
“If we’re not back by tomorrow, you go out on a supply run. Get as much as you can, plenty of stuff for the garden”
As we’d been leaving for the power station, Joe had pulled me to one side. Since he was a farmer by trade, he’d mostly been operating as defence, but he informed me he’d been doing a little secret operation. He’d found a way up to the roof of the building, gotten some pots and things together and had started up a little vegetable garden with some seeds he’d found in the apartment he was staying in. Rae had left things like that alone when she’d been organising everything.
“We’ll get supplies once we know you’re safe”
“That was an order, private” I said sternly.
“Yes, sir” Robin said begrudgingly.
I let out a sigh, going back to the others. Maria was checking over the consoles again, and Kat was still sat with Riley, picking at the bandages on her hand. We’d finally compromised and agreed to wait it out, though it’d taken us a lot longer than it should’ve done. Maybe I’d gotten too used to people not questioning my orders, but then again, I hadn’t exactly been a lieutenant long enough for anyone to question my orders. I leant against the wall, watching the others.
“Ah!” Riley yelped, my attention snapping to him. “The food I brought was in the car!”
“Maybe that’s what attracted them?” Maria suggested, looking up from the console she was tapping away at.
“Stop it, they’ll smell the blood” Riley said, putting his hand on top of Kat’s, who was still playing with her bandages.
Kat flinched, getting to her feet and stalking off, ignoring me telling her not to wander off. She came back a little while later, a map in her hands. There was a rear exit, but it involved going a little too close to the front entrance for my liking. If we could find some rope, however, we could get down to the floor the control room overlooked. From what I could tell, it would be a straight shot from there to an emergency exit. The only things concerning me about that plan were the sound from breaking the glass, and the drop to the floor.
“We still need to get back to the Hummer, we’re still outnumbered, and these two still don’t have guns” I said, gesturing at Riley and Maria.
“I’m hungry” Riley whined in the background.
I saw Maria pull something out of her pocket and hand it to Riley as I studied the map. The majority of the emergency exits needed us to head past the front entrance, and the more I considered it, the worse the outcome seemed to get.
“Oh my God, I love you, Maria!” Riley moaned, biting into whatever it was Maria had given him.
“Don’t mention it, chico. I gotta look after my favourites, huh?”
Kat tensed as a loud bang sounded against the door. I looked up from the map I’d been studying.
“Oh God” Riley whimpered, clamping his hands over his ears.
“Okay, plan b. Maria, Riley, help me barricade the door. Kat, see if you can find something we can use as a rope” I said quietly, the four of us spurring into action.
Kat presented me with a ball of heavy duty twine, not exactly looking happy about it. Riley looked at the twine, freaking out.
“Colligan, there has to be somewhere to hide!”
“Is this all there was?” I asked Kat.
“There were also paper clips” she said.
I bit back the urge to laugh, looking at the twine. “Is anyone prepared to risk breaking their leg in the name of science?” I questioned.
“This isn’t funny, Colligan” Riley said nervously.
“I guess that’s me, then. Tie it around something” I instructed, handing Kat the end of the twine and unravelling the rest of it. Kat did as I’d said and I smashed one of the windows, shielding my eyes from the splinters of glass that fell. “Wish me luck” I said, holding the twine and looking over the edge. From what I could remember, heavy duty twine can hold around forty pounds. I’d doubled it up, which hopefully meant it would take eighty. I just had to hope the extra eighty or so wouldn’t prove too much.
Kat’s eyes widened, apparently only just realising what I was planning on doing.
“No! Colligan! Stop it!” Riley called out, still panicking.
“I’ll be fine, Riley” I smiled, before setting off on the slow, dangerous journey down to the floor below.
The twine seemed to take the strain for the most part, but as I got around three quarters of the way down, one of the pieces snapped. I could feel the single strand left starting to give way, so I hurriedly slid down it, ignoring the burn in my hands.
“Send someone else down. When you get about halfway down, let go. I’ll catch you” I called up to the others, hoping they could hear me.
“Oh my God! Are you okay?” I heard Riley called as Kat made her way down.
“I’m fine. Can’t say the same for our rope, though” I said, catching her when she let go.
“Oh my God. Oh my God. I can’t go. Maria, you go! I’ll wait here. I can’t go!” I heard Riley moan.
Kat’s cheeks flushed as she scrambled out of my arms. “Watch where you put your hands”
“There are more important things to worry about right now, Kat. Riley, I need you to come down next” I said, ignoring the fact that my hands had only been on her waist and shoulders.
“Ass” I heard Kat mutter, but chose to ignore it.
“No! Maria can go first, I’ll wait the zombies out” Riley insisted.
There was a pause, and next thing I knew, Maria was scaling down the rope, Riley tucked over her shoulder. I got the feeling he hadn’t exactly gone willingly. Maria let Riley drop first, dangling precariously from the fraying twine. I caught the both of them as they dropped, setting them down and getting the map out.
“This way” I said, leading everyone off.
“I just want to go home, Colligan…” Riley sighed.
“We’ll be back soon, I promise” I said and he nodded.
The four of us walked in silence, eventually ending up at one of the fire exits. I was uneasy throughout the walk. It’d taken us too long to get this far, and I didn’t like it one bit. What I disliked even more was the fact that if Robin had been here instead of me, things probably would’ve gotten done a lot faster.
I leant against the wall by the fire exit, taking a deep breath. “Now we just need to distract any that are left”
Kat opened the door a sliver, glancing outside and shut the door again, shaking her head. I looked outside when she failed to inform us what it looked like, letting the others know there were eight of them circling the Hummer.
“Throw a rock?” Riley suggested and Kat let out a quiet chuckle.
“Don’t be so rude” Maria glared.
“I wasn’t” Kat snapped, frowning and pulling out her gun.
Maria tensed a little but didn’t back down. I watched the two of them, ready to pull my rifle out. If Kat tried anything, I’d have no option to take her down. The way things were going, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. When neither of them made a move, I relaxed a little, focusing on the situation outside.
“Kat, you and Riley go first. Me and Maria can try and keep them distracted. Your main goal is getting to the car, if we get separated and there’s no safe way to get to us, then you get back to the tower, understood?” I said, not waiting for anyone to object.
Maria and me ran out first, making noise to try and draw their attention. They were fast, but not fast enough. I heard the fire exit door open and saw Kat and Riley sprinting to the Hummer. Now we just had to lose the ones following us. Great. We kept running, managing eventually to get enough of a lead on them to dash to the Hummer. We dove in, slamming the doors behind us as I started the car, speeding off into the distance with them still on our tail.