The town was eerily silent. The ocean chopped behind them, and a few gulls flew overhead, but nothing else stirred. Buildings were darkened, where people should have been starting their morning rituals. A police patrol passed them on the street running parallel the beach and Molly pushed them against a wall. A powerful light shined out from the car's passenger window and moved over the town houses.
"Is it because we have weapons?" asked Tam.
"Yeah. The cops won't be much help, and getting picked up won't do us any good."
The car passed slowly along and soon was out of sight.
"They're out all the time now. They figure their presence will keep people from taking to the streets with weapons, like we are. I applaud their efforts, but their in over their heads. Come on."
The trail was barely visible now. A bit of sand was dragged onto the asphalt, but there were still spots of blood here and there. The two women rushed across the street, where the trail disappeared up a grassy hill.
Let's hope it continues up there," said Molly.
The hill led up to a park, nestled between two apartments. A series of winding stairs cut through it in a zig zag, but there was no blood on them, meaning Patterson and Carter had cut straight through. The blood continued near a circular fountain and led into a tight alley.
Molly stopped them at the precipice. "Tam. This looks really bad." The woman was uncharacteristically grave. "If you want to wait here, I understand, but I can't promise it's any safer."
"No way. I'm sticking with you." At that, Molly drew out her katana. Slowly, she stepped into the dark alley, with Tam close behind.
On either side, multi-storied buildings climbed upwards. Past the rooves, the sky was a pale streak and the confined space was disturbingly dim. The trail of blood continued, trailing off around a corner. Molly rounded it cautiously, then jumped back. Tam was already gripping her sword and ready to fight. Molly called to someone in front of her.
Tam took the corner next and saw the figure of a man standing farther down the alley, facing them. He wore a drenched flannel shirt and ripped jeans. His eyes were wild and darted between the two of them.
"Get away from me!" he said, taking a few steps back. "Who are you?!"
Molly stared furiously at him.
"It's me, Molly! Where is Carter? Did you find the others? Where's the rest of the group?!"
She took a defensive position, the katana blade held forward.
"Molly, he's your friend!" said Tam, taking her shoulder.
"Get back, kid!" Tam stepped away. She was scared, now, and completely confused. Was this what Molly meant when she said they'd have to defend themselves against them? What was wrong with the man? He seemed lost and terrified.
"I've never seen you before!" Patterson said, swiping his arms at the air. He looked down and convulsed severely, then his gaze raised back up. "Th-there she is! Get her!" He pointed a finger at Molly, like the monster from earlier.
"Dammit, Patterson!" Molly broke for him, and the disgruntled man took off down the alley.
"Molly, wait!" Tam chased after them, but the woman was fast. She lost her after a few quick corners.
"Molly, waaaiiit!" The girl had to stop and double over, hands on her knees. She was alone now.