|Posted on September 20, 2012 at 12:25 AM|
Lopez and Jeramey stood mute as they stared at each other for a brief moment, then looking down, they surveyed their furry comrade who laid there intently nursing her injured paw. Jeramey spoke first, “man that was intense wasn’t sure you were going to make it especially with your wounded friend there.” Lopez nodded, still in training mode, surveying the apartment and door, then making his way to the window. Looking out, the crowd they had drawn in the scuffle was making their way into the building. Not good. He glanced at Jeramey and said, “thanks for the heads-up and assistance man. Name’s Lopez. Have to ask another question, gotta shower I can use?”
After showering and borrowing a t-shirt and sweats, they sat in silence while eating two microwaved burritos and chips, occasionally tossing a morsel to their observant friend on the ground. Lopez took a swig of Mountain Dew and squatted down to examine his furry friend. She sat silent with the exception of a whine as he touched her injured paw. Looking at the dog, he softly said, “well looks like a sprain pup you’ll be alright.” His answer was a wag of her tail and a wet kiss on his hand. He stood and looked over at Jeramey and said, “so my fan club followed me into the building and if their sense of smell is as keen as it seems to be, we might have a bit of a problem friend.” Jeramey went over to the window and peered down. Seems Lopez was right, there was a discarded and forgotten high heeled shoe and an obvious bloody trail on the ground leading directly into the front doors.
He sighed, turned to Lopez, and said, “well from the looks of your uniform earlier, you are a part of New York’s finest so what’s the plan buddy?” Lopez looked at him and said without hesitating, “we clear the building and go from there.” Jeramey stared at the door and somewhat sheepishly said, “hey man, the closest I’ve come to direct combat is in a video game so I’m not too sure I’ll be much good but I agree.” Lopez smiled and said, “just watch my back alright? I don’t want someone coming up behind me and biting me in the ass. I got the rest. I’m pretty used to clearing buildings from my tour in the first Gulf War and at least THESE guys don’t seem to think tactically so far. What kind of weaponry do you have stored away in your apartment?” Jeramey slid the two butcher knives across the counter and Lopez satirically grinned and said, “really?!?” Jeramey shrugged and Lopez closed his eyes quickly shuffling through the images in his brain from the last hour and remembering the fire extinguisher and hatchet locked up at the entrance to the stairwell below.
Glancing over at Jeramey, he said, “grab the knives we are moving to the first floor there’s both an extinguisher and hatchet down there at the entrance to the stairwell you know of it?” Jeramey quietly contemplated that for a moment then looked up and said, “damn your good. I wouldn’t have even thought of that. Kinda sucks it’s on the first floor.” Lopez turned to his new friend who had stood up to follow him to the door and he smiled and said, “not this time bonita. You take care of that paw we’ll be right back.” The dog whined as he turned back towards the door and Jeramey followed clutching a butcher knife in each hand. Before he turned the knob he peered through the peephole and asked, “how many of your fellow neighbors are inhabiting these apartments and better yet, how many are still PEOPLE? Any clue?” Jeramey told him he hadn’t seen anyone else except for the people in Apartment 1 and the people by the Laundry Room. Lopez nodded and emotionlessly said, “yeah already met them and taken care of that problem. So that leaves my fan club who hopefully haven’t made it past the first floor yet. We have to move quietly and fast alright? Just spot me and it’ll work out fine.” Jeramey nodded and Lopez took one last look out of the peephole, turned the knob, and cautiously stepped out into the hallway.
Jeramey quickly followed, clicking the door shut behind him and looking down the adjacent hallways as his eyes adjusted to the dimmer lighting. Lopez moved at a brisk pace towards the stairwell and Jeramey quickly followed suit not wanting to lag behind for a second. He heard scratching and his heart raced but it was only Lopez new friend sniffing and scratching at his door to be allowed to go with. He took a deep breath as they reached the stairwell entrance. Lopez glanced back over his shoulder and whispered, “you ready man?” Jeramey thought, “hell no” but nodded his head in answer.
They quickly entered the stairwell, Lopez immediately going to the rail and peering down two floors below. It was eerily quiet and the darkened stairwell seemed clear enough. He proceeded down to the second floor landing and put his ear up to the door to the second floor hallway entrance. No rustling or movement was heard so Lopez moved to the first floor landing with Jeramey right behind face a nervous but stoic wreck. Lopez pulled his piece out and motioned to Jeramey to grab the handle as he placed himself a few feet back from the door, gun loaded and pointed at shoulder level. Jeramey took a deep breath and swiftly pulled the door open waiting for the crowd to flow through and the shooting to begin.
Oddly enough, nothing came through the door to greet them. Lopez rushed to the opening and looked into the hallway and walked through the door into the hall. There was the crowd, meandering up and down the hallway bumping and clawing at doors or shuffling and crawling on the ground. Lopez went right to the extinguisher and hatchet while Jeramey’s eyes went from hallway to hallway watching the “changed” to make sure none were aware of their presence. Lopez grasped the barrel of the gun and positioned the handle against the glass surrounding the extinguisher and hatchet. He mentally counted to three, and broke the glass not expecting the harsh shrill of the fire alarm to fill up in the building. All of the otherwise complacent and docile individuals in the hallway sprung into activity fired up from the alarm. Jeramey’s mouth dropped open in shock as Lopez said, “what the fuck” and briskly broke the rest of the glass to get to the two items inside. The “changed” moved towards them fast and with direction when they heard Lopez curse and Lopez snatched up the extinguisher and hatchet. Looking down the right hallway, Jeramey was transfixed by the guy dragging himself along the ground, shoes cocked at an impossible angle, legs trailing behind him limp and useless. He oddly looked like one of those wacky wild inflatable dolls used at businesses to get passerby attention. He looked to his right and embarrassingly enough, shrilly screamed like a teenage girl as a woman his height was bearing down on him. In a swift motion, and still screaming, Jeramey brought his left hand up behind his head and looking like Michael Meyers, he deftly brought the sharp knife down and buried it a quarter of the way into the woman’s milky white eye. He wretched as blood and viscous fluid burst forth from the wound and the casing from her eye sagged around the knife blade. He pushed with all of his worth as her hands still clawed at his face, gouging his neck and her mouth opened as she pushed against the blade lodging it into her head further in an attempt to take a chunk from his cheek. He felt a sharp pain as she bit into his neck and it grew sharper as she spasmed when the knife reached the core of her brain. She lay against Jeramey in a lovers embrace, face buried in his neck. He rudely threw up his burrito all down her back and shoved her off of him and was into the stairwell hallway before her dead body had hit the floor. Lopez was right behind him, already surveying the stairwell for some kind of blockade to put up against the door. He quickly dragged the communal metal garbage can over and yelled to Jeramey to grab the 32” tube tv in the back corner and bring it to the door. His muscles screaming and adrenaline pumping, he scraped the tv along the floor and quickly brought it over to the door as the thumping began on the other side. Lopez said, “hopefully these idiots don’t find a way to unlatch the door. Let’s move.”
They bounded up the steps, Jeramey’s neck on fire, and raced into the third floor hallway. Theyflew to the apartment door and raced inside out of breath. Lopez slammed the door and locked it quickly, running over to the window. Glancing over his shoulder, he said, “we have a bit of a problem.” As he peered down the street, the fire alarm was drawing some rather unwanted attention.
Categories: Chapter 29