Chapter 8: Reyesent, Washington
"Where is he?"
"Sh!" I tried to turn around, but then thought better of it. Natalia and I were both lying on our sides, under a car, waiting for Buddy to come out of Saper's Grocery. We couldn't have been waiting for more than five minutes, but it felt longer. The parking lot we were lying in was rocky and the sharp rocks were pressed into my face, making little indents in my skin. I was sure that Natalia wasn't more comfortable than I was, but I couldn't shake that feeling.
We both jumped when we heard a high pitched scream and the sound of running footsteps coming from inside the building. "Run!" The automatic doors slid open and Buddy came running out, a loaf of bread in his hands. Behind him was a figure that might've once been a human, but it was kind of hard to tell now. It had been a man, now blood stained and torn up, limping, but somehow running with a spiked bat in his hand.
The two of us scrambled out from under the car and we ran through the parking lot. The lot was shrouded in fog, much more than there had been when we originally hid under the abandoned vehicle. Buddy had told us to hide there, just in case anything…came at us. I heard the automatic doors open and close again. I looked back and saw more things chasing us, deformed humans like the ones we had seen last night when all hell broke loose in the city. "Oh my God, run! Run!" I ran faster, losing one of my shoes. I stepped on a sharp piece of glass and fell down. "Buddy! Help me!"
I looked up, thankful that Natalia and Buddy had stopped running. Buddy came running back to me and lifted me up, forgetting my shoe. I looked over at Natalia, whose eyes flashed for a second, but refocused on running. Buddy was now considerably slower carrying me, but there was no way I could stand. While he had been picking me up, he had dropped the loaf of bread. If we got out of this alive we wouldn't have any food.
"Here!" Natalia called out a few feet ahead of us, "There's something here!" I watched as she leapt up and grabbed hold of a rusted ladder hanging down from the fire escape attached to a small apartment building. After getting up to the first platform she reached down, intending to lift me up after her. I looked at Buddy, about to tell him to lift me up instead of throwing me up, but him being Buddy, he did just that. I gave out a little yelp of surprise as I felt myself leave earth's gravitational pull. As I started coming down a sharp pull on my right arm made me look upward.
Natalia was holding onto my hand with one hand and holding on to the highest rung that she could reach with the other. I heard a small groan and the rung snapped with age and rust, almost hitting my face. Natalia quickly grabbed onto the side of the latter and used that to pull me up. Once I was face down on the platform, Buddy came up behind me. I couldn't see them, but I heard the creatures snarling below. Natalia was already up the second ladder. "Come on," Buddy said, as he lifted me so that I was now on top of his back. "Hold onto my shoulders,"
I was thankful the building was short. It was only about five floors, not counting the first one. Most apartment buildings in Reyesent were much taller. After finally getting up to the roof, Buddy dropped me onto the cement without ceremony and collapsed on the roof himself. Natalia stood standing, looking over the edge and at the city around us. Or, in front of us, really. I hadn't noticed how far we had run until I sat up. Saper's was near the outskirts of the city and we had really run in the opposite direction. There were a few apartment buildings scattered here and there, and then there was the highway that would lead to Redvale.
I began to stand up when I felt a sharp pain in my foot. "Ah…" I remembered the piece of glass I had stepped on and held my injured foot on my lap. From what I could see, it was a pretty big piece of glass and half of it was wedged in my foot with the sharp part sticking out. Blood was oozing from it and every time I put pressure on it, it seemed to go in deeper.
"Ugh…" Buddy looked closer at my foot, then looked away. All three of us jumped when we heard a banging noise that seemed to be coming from the other side of the roof. I screamed when a metal door swung open from the roof and a girl's head popped out.
"Come inside! Quick!" Natalia and Buddy ran for the hatch and began to descend into the building. I rose up my foot, looking at the girl in distress. She quickly got out of the hatch and began running towards me, only to collapse as something collided with her head. I watched in horror as her body hit the roof, blood spurting out of her forehead where I could now see a clean hole made by a bullet. Pretty soon her blood began to flow towards me.
I scooted away, not wanting it to touch me. I looked in the direction the shot had come from and almost passed out. A bunch of those creatures were crowded together on the roof of the building next to ours. One of them had managed to stand up straight on two legs and was holding some sort of makeshift gun. Whatever the machine was, it could kill. Moving away from both the creatures and the door, I didn't realize how close to the edge I was. I heard someone shout my name right before the searing pain shot through my body.
I woke up, not entirely sure where I was. I was on a sheet that had once been white on top of an old, torn mattress. My head, sadly, was not resting on a pillow and my eyesight was still a little foggy. I could make out someone sitting at the edge of the mattress, reading a book. I was a little surprised to see that it was Natalia.
I groaned to let her know I was awake. She turned her head towards me and put the book down. Neither of us said anything for a while. I raised my head up a little and looked down at my leg. A long, deep scratch ran down my thigh. A little blood still trickled out here and there but it had stopped bleeding for the most part. "Where are we?" I asked, trying not to look at my leg.
Natalia shrugged, "Remember that roof we were on?" I nodded. "After you passed out, Buddy carried you into the apartment building," she winced a little as she said this, "There were some people already in there. They said they'd predict this…attack and had created an underground bunker for it. Aka, the building's basement. Where we are now,"
I looked around the room, my eyes struggling to adjust to the dim light. I looked back down at my leg again and started to feel woozy. I lay my head down gently again when suddenly I heard a bang as the door to my small room flew open. I turned my head and saw the figure of a woman walking briskly toward my bed with a small purse. Natalia got up as the other woman sat down on my bed, next to my leg, and began rummaging through her purse. She stopped suddenly and looked up at me with piercing brown eyes, "What's your name?" I could only stare. The pain in my leg had begun to intensify. "Answer me, peasant! What is your name?"
"Lyndsay," Natalia answered for me, coming to stand near my head.
"Hmph," the woman went back to looking through her purse, her brown bangs falling into her face as she did so. My eyes widened a little as she seemed to find what she was looking for. In her hand was a syringe, which I could only guess was going into my leg. She looked down at my wound and then back at the needle, "I won't be able to get all of this in," she looked down at my leg again, "Not if the opening is that skinny," I swallowed hard, my palms starting to sweat, as if I could tell what was going to happen, "Lie still!" I started to scream as the woman put her hands on either side of my wound and pulled the skin in opposite directions, splitting open my leg even more. I gasped as a sharp wave of pain flowed over me.
I could barely hear Natalia gagged over the sound of my flesh ripping apart, the blood spilling over the side of the mattress. It was when she plunged the needle into my pink, tender flesh that I screamed at the top of my lungs. "What's happening!?" Buddy came running in, I could barely see his face over mine. Natalia joined us, more concerned with my safety than the fact that Buddy was giving me his attention.
"It's gonna be okay, Lyndsay," he was holding onto my hand now, "It's gonna be okay," Turning to the woman, Buddy's normal happy-go-lucky attitude was gone. "Why did you do that?" he yelled, "Haven't we all been through enough?"
Natalia took in a sharp intake of breath when the woman came over to Buddy and slapped him, "Don't talk to me like that! I'm the Vice President of Morcucorp and future queen of this world! You're lucky I saved your friend, here, she could've become one of them!"
"Morcucorp?" Natalia walked over to Buddy, holding onto his hand while his other one went up to his face where the woman had slapped him, "You're Esma, right?" Esma nodded, "Why are you helping us? And where's Morcubus? And Brandi?" She rolled her eyes at that last statement, but as she thought of those other questions her expression seemed to change from one of cold authority to one of exhaustion and sadness.
Esma sat down on the edge of the bed, "After the explosions and the arrival of the Rakes it was everyone for themselves. People were dying and bleeding everywhere. Morcucorp's main building was destroyed. Brandi and I were in Industrial District 4 when that happened. Morcubus was in the building, near the top floor. He didn't make it out,"
Buddy came and sat down beside Esma, awkwardly patting her shoulder. It was then that her head snapped around as she grabbed his wrist, "Hands off me, peasant!" Buddy yelped in surprise and jumped up. Despite the situation, Natalia giggled a little. I was still distant and could barely make out anything accept for voices and shapes.
Esma got up off the bed to face Buddy and Natalia again, "I know who you are," she looked at Buddy with a look of disgust. She turned her head towards Natalia, "I don't know you," Natalia was about to reply when Esma cut her off, "Doesn't matter, though. You're gonna die. Most of us will. I won't," she said this last statement with a smirk.
Natalia tried to ignore that last comment. I moaned to get their attention and three heads turned towards me. The pain was beginning to wear off and my head wasn't feeling as fuzzy, "You," I started, "You said something about rakes..?" Esma's face turned solemn again.
"That's what we've been calling those creatures," she replied, "Brandi and Derek had been looking at something on the internet a few days before this happened. Apparently, whatever it was they were looking at is similar to what attacked us,"
"And those things are called Rakes?" Natalia asked, still not completely believing it.
"Like the kind you use to get rid of leaves?" Buddy asked.
Esma rolled her eyes and shook her head, "No, you idiot," She walked over to a place in the wall and pulled on a latch that we hadn't seen revealing a small compartment. Inside it were some papers with crudely drawn sketches and a few scribbled sentences next them, which she pulled out and handed to Natalia and Buddy. "Like this,"
Natalia gasped, "Those are the things that chased us here!"
"Wasn't there something else?" I tried to sit up, but failed. I propped myself up on my elbows as best as I could.
Buddy looked over at me, "Yeah, pal!" He answered, "When I was running out of the store there was a…" he trailed off, looking for the right word, "A…a zombie! Or something like that…"
Esma sighed and took back the papers, throwing them in the wall, "Great!" She slammed the little door shut, "That's just what we need,"
"Where's Brandi?" I asked. Esma shrugged, "She said she was going to see if she could find any weapons she should be back any second," as she said this we heard a muffled bang coming from outside the room. Esma gestured toward the door, answering our question. She opened it, revealing Brandi coming down the basement steps into the main room, carrying a sack with gun-shaped lumps coming out of it.
As soon as she saw us she dropped the bag carelessly and came into the room. "Who the hell are they?"
"Lyndsay," she jerked her head toward me, "Some S.P.A. agent-"
"Buddy," Buddy cut in, holding his hand out for Brandi to shake it. Brandi just looked at him with the one eye that wasn't covered by an eye patch.
"And I don't know who that is," Esma pointed at Natalia, "But whoever they are, they're gonna die,"
Brandi laughed until Esma left the room and shut the door. She stopped laughing and her face got serious, "Listen to me," she said quietly, "I know Esma keeps on joking about death, but you don't know how easy it would be for anyone of us to die today," She looked over at me, "Well, maybe you do," she paused to push a strand of black and purple hair out of her face, "But either way, I suggest you don't leave. I know Esma's a bitch, but it would be stupid to go outside. Especially unarmed," Natalia and Buddy nodded. I agreed silently, wondering if when I had asked for a life-threatening adventure, my wish had come true.
Lyndsay, Natalia, and Buddy at the time were certain that out of the five of them, Esma and Brandi were the ones not to be trusted. Little did they know how wrong that assumption could turn out to be.