With the sound, the vibration through my feet, adrenaline, energy, a will to survive raced through my veins as my vision cleared. Ryan let go as he saw me raise up. I nodded, turning away, looking for our escape.
Holding my palm out for him to stay put, I light-footed it across the hallway and into the bedroom on the right, my first choice of three doors. Inside I found what I needed and came back with a dark wooden chair having tipped the clothes to the floor. Ryan moved as I pushed the wood under the handle and followed me back into the room, carefully easing the door closed behind us with his palm. With the chest of drawers covering the door, I didn’t let myself relax, didn’t let myself calm, not ready to find out if my thoughts would take me. Instead, I took in the full room, the window with the single pane looking out over the extension roof from where we’d come, looking out on to the roof next door where we wanted to be, looking down at the sea of the dead which hadn’t thinned even one bit.
Inside the room I pulled out the drawers, raked out clothes looking for what, I wasn’t sure. Inside the room I rifled through the wardrobe, jabbing at the buttons on the electronic safe while I listened to its negative reply. Pushing the hanging clothes to the side, I pulled out empty suitcases, my smile gleaming at the sight of the gun case, heart screaming at the luck finding the baseball bat at its side.
I turned with both in hand, passing the rifle to Ryan, who pulled it from the case, but his expression lacked my excitement.
“It’s an air rifle,” he said. I thought for a moment, fighting against the drop in my will.
“Any bullets?” I said watching him crank the barrel like he was snapping it in two, then pulled a bag of what looked like metal balls from inside as he nodded. I ran to the window, a plan already forming, but the view was no good, just gardens edged on the vast space of the moor. I ran to the chest of drawers covering the door and without dropping the bat, I heaved the drawers to the side with only a last minute hand from Ryan.
Bat out in front, I looked left and right. With the coast clear and no noise coming from the room we’d left the creature, I stepped out into the hallway and we were through the second door, raking the curtains to the side, breath pulling in as I saw between the two rows of houses the road teeming with dead soldiers and residents, some of which I recognised from our last visit. I didn’t linger on their faces for fear of what my mind would project, instead I fixed on the cars parked outside each house, most of them only a few years old, most of them perfect for my plan.
I turned to Ryan.
“You any good?” I said, nodding to the rifle. He looked down at the gun and shrugged his shoulders, giving me wide eyes in return. I’d never fired one before and turned away, scanning again, eventually pointing the bat and looking down its length to the furthest away car. A Freelander in a dark red, but the details didn’t matter. He didn’t ask questions, didn’t look confused, but still I told him to make sure he understood. “The windows, right?”
He nodded, matching my expression and I turned away. Covering my eyes, I jabbed the bat end-on shattering the glass, turning and wheeling it around to remove the remaining shards. As the music rained all around, landing to the carpet and to the tarmac outside, we snapped back behind us, the corridor alive with the sound of heavy thuds against the door.
“Do it,” I shouted, holding back the full force of my voice and I turned around the room, cursing myself for not blocking the doorway before, searching around the edge, frantically trying to find the large piece of furniture I needed to block the door, but finding it wasn’t there, the room only filled with a light divan bed, a cheap wooden frame surrounded in thick cardboard. Still, I shut the door, cursing as it slammed with the draft, heard the chair wheel along the corridor and come to a rest. “Do it,” I said when I hadn’t heard the push of air. With the bat up high, gripped with both hands, after a practice swinging its weight through the air, I turned to Ryan, watching his eye to the sight, watching him move the gun and steady his feet, pushing the butt into his shoulder. The chair careered along the corridor a second time and he took his eye away, glancing back. I raised the bat ready for the door to swing and heard the puff of air. Holding my breath in the long silence I urged it to fill with the car’s screaming alarm.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.