will get around to editing hopefully some tomorrow, have another 2 chapters for #NaNoWriMo lined up....got to keep writing!
Everyone had woken up on edge, even Rocky was growling, but seemingly at nothing. Peter chose not to share his nightmare with the group.
They all met in the break room where cereal was laid out next to pitchers of cold milk, and large trays of hot hash browns. They ate their fill and discussed the impending trip further northwest.
“Zach, how are you feeling,” Amy queried.
“Like I was shot, but other than that, pretty good.” He was smiling as he spoke.
“Before we get going, I want to look at the wound. Peter, next time you see Jim, could you ask him if there’s a hospital in decent condition nearby?”
As if on cue, Jim walked in. “Peter, I need you to see something.”
“What is it Jim?”
“I think it would be better if you just came and saw for yourself.”
“Ok, you guys hang tight, I’ll be right back.”
Zachariah stood up, “I don’t like this Peter, I’m coming too.”
Peter glanced over at Jim, who just nodded. “Ok, come on then.” Peter shrugged.
Jim led the two men upstairs and into a back hallway that had been skipped on their previous tour of the building.
“Jim, where’re we going?” Zach asked.
“The roof.” Jim opened a door that looked like it led to a closet, behind it stood a ladder that led to a trapdoor which, when opened, revealed the blue of an early morning fall day. He began climbing the ladder ahead of them. “Come up, but be quiet when you get outside,” he called back.
Peter and Zach exchanged glances, and Zach mouthed the words “You first.”
Peter nodded and began his ascent of the ladder, followed slowly, by Zach, who was hindered by his injured arm. When he reached the top, Peter turned around and offered a hand to Zachariah, helping to pull him the rest of the way out.
As Zachariah got to his feet, Jim hissed at him. “Stay down.” It was then that
Zachariah noticed the three other men on the rooftop, all with rifles, looking out over the front parking lot.
“Over here,” Jim waved with his hand, practically crawling along the roof towards the edge. Peter and Zachariah followed his exaggerated example, and crept slowly towards the foot high lip that encircled the rooftop.
Arriving first, Peter peered over the edge and whispered “Shit,” loudly enough to be heard by Zachariah a few paces behind him.
Zachariah glanced over the edge and saw that, at least on this side of the building. They were encircled by a ring of cars, trucks, and SUVs, stacked almost on top of each other.
“It goes all the way around,” one of the gunmen, whom Zachariah recognized as Larry, the Sheriff from earlier, said. “They must have pushed them here while we slept.”
“Don’t you have guards?” Peter thought it was a stupid question, but how could they not have guards in a time like this.
“No, we have alarms rigged all over the building. Had they gotten into the building, we would’ve known about it. Did you see the message?”
“What message?” Peter looked over the edge again and noticed in white paint, a stark contrast against the black of the asphalt parking lot,
88A paint roller stood neatly in its tray next to an open can of paint made the intended ‘we-were-here’ vibe all the more poignant.
Peter scanned the rest of the area, but could not see any signs of life. “So, they know we are here.”
“Who’s Graham?” It was Larry who posed the question, after Peter had ducked back down, “And what the fuck does 88 mean?”
“It's me, and that was my jersey number, before the…” Peter trailed off. He picked up again a moment later, “But that guy at the house, he was wearing my jersey.” He shivered as the nightmare that awoke him came back into focus. He looked at Zachariah, hoping he would have some answers.
“Don’t ask me. Man, I guess it could be him. Do you think he is following us?”
“I don’t know who you are talking about, but it looks like we have been found. The good news is we are secure in here, and with your help we can withstand an onslaught by the Crazies.” Jim stated, staring intently at Peter, casting occasional sidelong glances at Zachariah.
“Yeah, about that…” Peter and Zachariah began in unison.
Peter nodded and Zachariah continued. “We were planning on leaving today. Boulder City is still a long way off, and if we want to get there before winter sets in, we’ve a lot of walking to do.”
“Even so, we’ll be fine. Lets get back inside.” Jim crawled back towards the hatch and began the descent.
“Tell Jim, I’m gonna stay up here, keep an eye out.” Larry told Peter as Zachariah began down the ladder.
“Will do. Good luck up here.”
When his feet finally hit the ground of the second floor, Peter found himself alone in the small room with Jim.
“Zach went to tell the rest what we saw up there. You sure you won’t stay?”
Peter gave it a second thought. “No, we’ve made our decision, as soon as everyone is ready, we’ll make our way out. And I would recommend you do the same. If they know you’re here, and they do, it’ll not be long before they come for you. I don’t like the warning, it’s as if they’re gaining intelligence.”
“We’ll be fine. We’ve guns and bullets, and plenty of food.”
“Ok, let’s get back to everyone else.”
Peter found his companions, minus Zach and Amy, still in the break room where he had last left them. Asking about the other two’s whereabouts, he was informed that Zach had ripped a stitch coming down the ladder and Amy was fixing him up.
“Ya’ll about ready?” Jim walked in behind Peter.
Peter raised his eyebrows, “Did Zachariah tell you what’s going on?”
Chris nodded, “Yeah, I guess in order to get the carts out we will have to push one of the cars out of the way. I don’t like it.”
“I don’t either, but what choice do we really have if we want to leave?”
Amy and Zach joined them, a fresh bandage wrapped around the wound. Larry followed a moment later.
“I just saw three of ‘em.” He was out of breath.
“Did they see you?” Jim had a worried look on his face.
“I shot one of them, they better have fuckin’ seen me.” Larry panted.
“You ready to leave now?” Jim shot Peter a glance.
A young man ran into the room.
“Ah, folks, this here is my son, Jim Jr., I don’t think ya’ll have had the pleasure. Aren’t you supposed to be watching the front door?” He added as if the thought had just occurred to him.
“Yea dad, Diego was there too, he just sent me running. A few of the Crazies just showed up and dragged one of the cars out of the circle.”
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