They were coming in their hordes, but then they always did, didn't they? There was no such thing as a lucky break, not anymore.
Robby glanced back at the others then back towards the large metal door that was groaning underneath the weight of the bodies pressed against it, clawing to get to the other side. It was never going to hold, it was already starting to dent slightly. They were all going to die, unless she did something.
She blew a kiss to Joe's retreating figure. If she was quick, they wouldn't even know she was gone until it was too late. She rolled her eyes upwards to the heavens, muttered a prayer to whomever was watching over her and ran the opposite way.
* * * * * *
'I'm telling you man, we should avoid the hospital,' Rhys insisted, not for the first time. I knew that he was right, but it was the order Adam had given and we couldn't really disobey him. It wasn't even the fact he was supposed to be our 'leader'; it was because Adam had been there at Riverton from the very start, he had seen it all go down and he knew the city better than anyone.
But then I knew first-hand what horrors hospitals always held.
'Whatever we're doing, let's just get a move on,' Cari sighed impatiently. 'We are going to die out here if we carry on chatting.'
Though the point had been raised mere moments ago, I couldn't help but wonder what we were still doing in the open. I had to make a decision. It was up to me.
'Let's go to the high school; they have a chemistry lab there. We might be able to find some stuff.'
Rhys nodded appreciatively at my instruction, but a knot of uncertainty began to form in the pit of my stomach.
The high school was a ten minute walk away, providing we didn't run into any unpleasantries, which I wasn't holding out high hopes for. We'd be stupid if we weren't prepared for any form of attack, whether it be human or not. I led the group; it seemed only natural, with Robby by my side and Rhys bringing up the rear. Cari and two girls who's names I wasn't one hundred per cent sure of stuck in the middle. You could see the fear in their eyes but it was what was pressing them onwards. It was what was pressing us all onwards.
Ghastly noises, groans and the occasional human scream drifted throughout the city. They all fell on deaf ears though as we marched onwards with steely determination and a grim acceptance.
We had daylight on our side and I planned to be back at the camp long before night fell upon us. I was debating whether or not to keep it to myself about the fact that we didn’t go where Adam had instructed us to, when a terrified squeal brought me to a halt. I turned round to see one of the girls shaking all over, her eyes fixed in the direction of a rather darkened alleyway.
I didn’t even need to see what she was seeing; the stench of rotten flesh and death and the empty moans told me enough. I instructed everyone, in the calmest manner I could, to get their guns prepared and to get the fuck out of there, without drawing more attention. They were coming at us from most of the angles now and I had to fire off a few bullets, regrettably so. I had looked at the map beforehand but couldn’t predict how affected our targeted area would be; we could be running into a death trap for all I knew.
Fuck Adam for putting me in this situation.
‘Joe!’ I heard Rhys’ voice behind me. After putting a bullet in the head of one of the corpses’ that was a little too close for comfort, I turned to see what he wanted. He was standing at the door of a large building.
‘The high school!’ I shouted.
‘No time! Come on!’
I yelled at the others to get inside. One of the girls was grabbed from behind and she let out an ear piercing shriek. I was too far away to get to her but Robby managed to bury her knife deep in its skull. She pulled the girl along beside her, out of the reach of decomposing fingers and we all tumbled inside the building. Rhys slammed the door shut behind him, the sound resonating against the stone walls. It was a large, metal door but I wasn’t sure how much good it would be against those things. There were hundreds.
‘That was way too fucking close,’ Rhys said.
The girl was now sobbing hysterically.
‘Were you bitten?’ I asked.
Robby frowned at me. She brushed the girl’s hair away from her face and gave her a hug. ‘It’s okay, you’re safe.’
‘We need to know if she was bitten.’
‘Joe!’ Robby snapped. ‘Leave her alone.
‘I w-wasn’t bitten,’ she spluttered out between sobs. ‘R-Robby saved me.’
‘Good,’ I nodded. ‘Let’s get moving.’
‘Can we just rest for a second?’ the other girl piped up. It was the first she had spoken, but she said it with such desperation and fear, I reluctantly accepted. Cari was bent over, hands on her knees, eyes wide and panting slightly.
‘Fine, but not for long.’
Rhys pulled me aside from the rest of the group. Blood splattered against his throat and chin and he had a pretty nasty looking cut on his forearm. He saw me looking at it and shook his head. ‘I wasn’t scratched by one of them, I cut myself on some fencing when we were running.’
He must have seen the scepticism in my eyes, but he said no more on the matter.
‘We need to get a move on,’ he changed the subject. I absolutely agreed with him, but the girls didn’t seem to think that was the best idea at this point.
‘Where even are we?’
I began to look around the darkened room; I could spot some steps leading to a higher platform and some machinery. The place was relatively quiet though; at least it seemed to be for now. I couldn’t say how long it would last and the incessant thudding at the door told me we would soon have company.
‘Looks like some sort of factory. Who cares anyway, let’s get out of here.’
‘Okay,’ I squared my shoulders and tried to regain the authority. ‘You go check up stairs, see if there’s any visible way out. Shout if you find anything and be careful.’
Rhys nodded and ran off.
I went back over to where the girls were standing. ‘We need to leave now.’
‘Rachel and Elizabeth are fine Joe, just in case you were concerned,’ Robby muttered icily.
Rachel and Elizabeth? Well at least now I knew their names. And why was Robby pissed off with me? I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was just trying to keep us all alive, I didn’t have time for pleasantries and life stories.
‘Robby you –’ I was interrupted suddenly as something slammed against the door with such velocity, it actually managed to dent it. The handle was turning violently and the metal was beginning to groan beneath the weight of all the bodies. ‘SHIT.’
I ushered everyone past me, just as Rhys poked his head over one of the railings. ‘I found a way out.’
Robby pushed me onwards. ‘You go ahead.’
‘I’m right behind you.’
‘JOE! Rachel needs help!’ the girl called Elizabeth shouted. I turned to see Rachel collapsed in a heap on the floor beneath a blanket of blonde hair.
‘Oh for fucks sake,’ I groaned. ‘What the fuck happened?’
‘She just fainted!’
‘Fucking hell, all I need!’ I scooped her up, slung her over my shoulder and ran up to where Rhys was standing, momentarily distracted from what Robby was doing. I was carrying dead weight now which was bound to slow us all down and I knew that we needed to get out of there right now.