“I think they broke my nose.”
Those words stopped Adrian Bench in his tracks. He turned to face the speaker who stood holding his nose and wincing. He couldn’t actually hold his nose, the glass helmet he wore prevented any physical contact but his hand was positioned in the right place.
God I hope this isn’t the first one, Adrian thought as he scowled at the man. “Stop whining and brace yourself. There are worse things to come,” he barked. Then turning to the people standing closest to him he whispered “Check him.”
The men approached the injured man and began a thorough search of his protective suit. The man’s eyes had widened with dread when he realised what the implication would be if the others found what they all feared they would. Adrian went to one of the broken windows in the room and started to board it up. Their suits protected them from the noxious gases but they had been attacked by about a dozen giant aphids when they came into the containment zone. It only took a rip in a suit to contaminate the unfortunate victim. He prayed the man’s luck had not run out.
“He’s safe,” one of the men called out to him as they finished their search. Adrian sighed with relief. They would have had to shoot the man in the head to prevent him morphing into one of the creatures that had caused this place to be sectioned off.
“I used to live around here,” a slightly chubby man announced to the group of eight men as they waited for a signal from Adrian for them to move on. “Hackney Empire is just up the road and that one leads back to Dalston.”
His companions nodded and looked in the direction he pointed. The only other Londoner amongst them was a woman who had lived in Willesden before the containments had started. Now she lived in a camp just outside Essex with other London survivors. The rest of the group had been called in from around the country to assist in this mission. Adrian couldn’t understand why people still wanted to save London but there were too many sentiments involved. The people had lost enough already and completely losing their capital would not do. He heard that some people still lived in Chelsea and St John’s Wood. You couldn’t pay him enough to risk it.
“I hear something.”
The group visibly tensed as they waited to see if it was a false alarm. The shuffling sound became louder as whatever it was approached the terraced house they were hiding in. Adrian nodded to his companions and they all set their weapons to the red bar. They had known it wouldn’t take long for the creatures to pick up their scent. Penetrating the bubble to get this far into the containment zone had probably already alerted more creatures who would take longer to get to them.
The creature came into vision on the street and stopped outside the house. From its size they knew it had once been a child, maybe eight or nine years old. Now it stood about six feet tall, a half blinded deformed creature that reacted to nothing else but its compulsion to feed. Its flapping ears twitched as it listened out for any sign of life in the house. It already knew the house was occupied; all it needed was to locate what room exactly to attack.
I hate doing this, Adrian thought as he opened up a window, raised his weapon and fired two shots into the creatures head. There was no point waiting for it to come into the house before they killed it. The creature didn’t even have a chance to acknowledge its demise as its head exploded into a hundred pieces and splattered all over the road. The body remained standing, swaying a little but definitely not falling. Adrian shot it through the heart and it finally fell to the ground. If he had given it a chance, it would have grown a new head and found its way into the house.
“We need to get back out there. The device is half a mile away and the longer we wait the more of them will sniff us out and attack. Sixty seven, do you have the cube?”
The woman he was addressing nodded and patted her suit pocket. There was a back up cube with Eight four, just in case they lost Sixty seven on the way and couldn’t retrieve the object they had come for.
“Thirty two how’s your nose?”
“I’ll live sir.”
“You’d better,” Adrian replied but his voice held no harshness in it. “Right, we’ve gone over this a dozen times already so I won’t repeat myself. When I open the door, we run. Shoot to kill. If any of us is attacked and it looks like there is no chance of survival, shoot to kill. We don’t want to create any more of these creatures if we can. Ready?”