With a collective breath, the pained echoes slowly died away. My hands held out to the wall hoping to keep upright. As my head rolled from side to side, still feeling the full force inside, movement in the corridor shifted, their attention a group focus. I heard the mood as clear as if I watched from above, footsteps, bare feet padding, stalking with a single aim. Slow and cautious in the dark. I turned to Dan, listened to his desperate low whimper, listened to their thoughtless steps outside, each in time with his low, quiet, self-destructive cry.
I moved, keeping my feet slow, trying not to aggravate the standing water. Outside theirs were quickening and I grabbed Dan up, his eyes so wide, his weight nearly empty as I pushed him against the wall. I could almost see the shadows in the gap as I leant against him with my back, a foreign instinct holding my arms out wide to shield him from their arrival.
But they didn’t come. All I saw was a shadow pass the gap in the door, a figure bent low, there and gone in a flash, right before a confusion of scents caught me from the corridor.
Gunfire burst out, tiny flashes lighting the corridor for an instant, each peppered with a riot of movement. Screams ripped again through the loud bangs, Dan grabbing around my waist, holding me tight as he sobbed. The chaos was soon out of the corridor, soon beyond the far door, echoing further away, leaving just the two of us behind. I hoped. The lights in the corridor flickered on and I jumped out of Dan’s grasp, a breath unbidden pulled into my lungs, Dan’s smell wafting all around. I turned wide eyed, a painful emptiness raking at my insides.
Dan looked up and I closed my mouth. He stood watching my silhouette as I backed up to the doorway. I wandered if he could tell I was weighing up if I should take this last chance to kill the pain, to take his life, or to fight against these new feelings and not take the step I knew I could never come back from.
I welcomed the scream echoing in the distance, forcing my attention to the call rushing down through the corridor. I turned, placing my hand on the cold of the metal door and peered through the gap. I startled back at the floor strewn with bodies, my eyes roved the blood soaking into almost every space, the white of the floor only visible through the smeared foot marks, the rushing boot prints, licking at the lumps of tile, plaster from the walls, lead and flesh crowding its surface.
I counted seven bodies, four of them soldiers, but could only tell by their thick body armour, doubting their mothers could recognise what remained of their faces. The other three I didn’t have enough words to describe, but knew they were like the man, the Bodmin Bodysnatcher, who’d smashed his head against my door, who lay at my feet, a dark ooze of clots filling where his eyes had been.
Stepping out, blood sucked around the sole of my foot. It was warm to touch, like stepping into a lukewarm bath, sending tingles of pleasure along the inside of my thighs. I peered along the corridor and saw the door at the end ajar, the light burned bright the other side and I pulled my left from the cell, breathing slow and considered as the blood wrapped around the sole. A gentle waft of air passed my nose and I turned, following the scent and beckoned for Dan to follow. I didn’t wait for him to move. As I passed each door I peered in, finding each cell empty, the former inmate either dead or a player in the melee echoing in the distance.
The lights out from the corridor were brighter this time, lit up like a football pitch with no corners in shadow. The gap in the fence was wide open and I ran before someone could play their awful trick again. I knew Dan followed behind even though I didn’t turn to look. Beyond the gate was another doorway, lit from the other side. The body of a soldier lay across the threshold, his gun still cradled in his left arm, both out of his reach.
The corridor was much the same, but with less blood, the bodies of two creatures lay, both mown downside by side half way down, riddled with wide gaping holes strafing their bodies, at least half of their heads missing. The doors in this corridor were glass, had been. None remained, each shattered into cubes laying, blown across the floor of the examination rooms, the laboratories and store cupboards.
I continued to add my red footsteps to the jumble of prints, gasps from Dan confirmed he was close. By now the screams had lessened, the gunfire more sporadic and way off into the distance. Cold chilled my bones and I knew this chance would end soon, my time to form a plan shortening with every moment. I ran.
Precious seconds had passed since the last gunshot, since the last echo of a demonic scream. There was no noise to hide the loud crack as I kicked the locker room door open, sending a throb of pain up through my toes. Beckoning Dan into the room, I pushed the door closed, paying him no further attention as I busied myself, barehanded pulling open each small metal doors, somehow knowing I had new strength.
Staring at Dan with a detached wander, I couldn’t decide if he was gawking at my feat of strength, or my naked curves as I dressed in someone else’s clothes, my mind elsewhere, mouth filling with saliva as I couldn’t help but fantasise what his flesh would taste like. Just a nibble.
The door swung wide and we cowered in each corner, the burst of flavour almost leapt me to my feet, despite the red dot on Dan’s forehead and the scream of the voice to get face down on the ground.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.