"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God."
The kid had started to panic.
Odd that he should only choose to do so now that they were temporarily out of harms way.
That's people for you.
Shana tried not to let his mantra naw too harshly on her last strand of patience, but it had really not been a good night.
"Hey! Kid!" she shouted, trying to snap him out of his waking catatonia.
Ok, great. Well, when at first you don't succed . . . stop being polite and pull your fucking gun.
"Listen to me!" She had the barrel of her gun up against his temple before her words had even finished. "If you don't shut the fuck up in then next ten seconds you won't have to worry about being wolf-bait, because I will shoot you right where you stand."
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Apparently it worked. The kid fell silent almost instantaneously, a look of abject terror on his face. Under a pale beam of moonlight, that seeped in through a high up window, Shana saw the glint of tears begin to form in his eyes.
"I . . . I . . . I'm s-s-s-sorry."
"Shit, kid." Shana dropped her arm and held her gun at her side. "Look, I know you're scared to hell and probably confused to hell and back, but falling apart right now just isn't an option."
"I . . . I . . ."
"Yeah, I know." Saving people was so much easier when you didn't actually have to interract with them during the process. "I am going to help you get out of here alive. Ok?."
The kid nodded dumbly, like one of those toys with the wobbly heads.
"Good. Now I need to figure out if there is another way out of here, before that wolf manages to break through the door." Or uses it's freaky uber-brain to start looking for another entrance. "You can tag along behind me if you don't want to stand here by yourself, but you must not get in my way. Are we clear?"
The catatonia seemed to be kicking in again, and Shana was starting to worry that she would just have to shoot him rather than leave him to be mawled. Just then an almighty crashing sound came from the door, as the wolf made another assault upon it, and she was pretty sure that she saw it buckle. Fortunately, this seemed to be just what the kid needed to snap him to his senses. He almost leaped out of skin in his attempt to reach her side.
"Ok. Let's go." he stammered.
Shana offered him a wry smile, forgetting that his night-vision would not be as good as hers, so the gesture was most likely futile. She patted him once on the shoulder and turned to face the rest of the room.
The layout appeared to be your usual factory floor set-up. A large open space, which must once have been filled with many machines, but now only held the rusted remains of one or two. Presumably when the place had closed down these had just not measured upto the standards required, and had been left behind.
If she were prone to nostalgia then Shana may have felt a pang of sadness at this thought, and it's resonance to things she had left behind herself. But her father had taught her well that a hunter's life left little time for sentimentality.
Across from where they stood was a metal staircase, which appeared to lead up to an office. If there was no other exit on the ground floor, then it was possible that there may be a roof exit up on the next level.
Keeping a firm grip on her gun Shana began to make her way to the far side of the room. She didn't need to check if the kid was following; he would be. There wasn't really a great deal to look at, and so it took only a minute to do a sweep of the ground level, and discover that the only way out was the way they had come in. Heading straight to the staircase next, Shana took a second to register the fact that the wolf appeared to have stopped battering at the door. Good or bad? Take your pick. The staircase was not as badly rusted as the old machinery, but it still didn't look entirely safe.
"Ok kid, you have two choices. Up the stairs first and hope they don't break, or up the stairs second and hope nothing gets in and eats you whilst I'm not looking?"
He didn't need asking twice, and began his ascent without even pausing to check the stabilty of the rickety metal stairs. At least he was getting into gear though and starting to think about his own safety, which made him less of a liabilty. When he reached the top the kid turned and gestured urgently for her to follow. Shana glanced back once at the now silent door, and then took the stairs two at a time. They groaned a little under her weight, but then again she wasn't as scrawny and malnourished as the homeless kid. She was lean and muscular, and it made her both fast and strong.
Bypassing the kid Shana made her way past the broken windows of the office that overlooked the lower floor. Glass crunched under the soles of her combat boots, and the sound seemed very lonley in the silence. She turned the corner at the end of the office and breathed a sigh of relief. A door stood at the end of a short walkway.
"Oh, thank God!" the kid cried as he rushed past her towards the door. His hands were already locked aroung the door-nob, which he was attempting to turn, as she stepped up behind him.
"Come on, step aside will you." Shana elbowed the kid out of her way and tried the door herself. It was stiff, but that didn't necessarily mean it was locked. No time to bother with finding out though: it meant wasting a bullet but there was a much easier way to get out. She shot straight through the lock and planted a hard kick to the door without lowering her gun. The frame splintered and the door flew open, revealing the rooftop of the building.
Shana strode outside without hesitation, her gun held straight out before her. As she walked she rotated full circle, taking in everything of her new surroundings, until she faced the door again.
The kid was gone.
"What the fuck?"
He was already dissappearing over the side of the low wall at the edge of the rooftop by the time she spotted him, having found a fire escape.
He didn't even pause. This was just great. She had successfully saved him from the jaws of death, and now he was going to blunder straight back into them.
Striding to the top of the fire escape Shana leaned over and grabbed the kid by the collar of his ratty clothing.
"Get off me!" he squealed.
"If you don't get back up here right n- "
Before she could finish her sentence there was a crashing and groaning sound as something collided with the fire escape. The kid had just enough time to look up at her with confusion, before he was torn out of her grasp and disappeared into the shadows below. The fire escape was clearly in even worse condition than the internal staircase, as it was ripped from the wall with the force of the collision.
Shana stood, leaning over the edge and withdrew her still outstretched hand. Down below the kid screamed, and the sickening sound of tearing flesh and crunching bone echoed up to her.
Step away Shana, you can't help him now.
Although the destruction of the fire escape meant that the wolf couldn't make his way back up to her via that route, she knew it wouldn't take him long to recommence his assault upon the door at ground level. And, of course, it also meant that unless she felt like jumping, she couldn't get down off the roof by any other means than the way she had come.
Things seemed to be going from bad to worse.
Closing her eyes Shana turned away from the sounds of the wolf making its kill. When she opened them again, something caught her attention.
Above the sillhoutted skyline of buildings in the distance a faint glow had appeared.