Infection At The Door
I honestly don’t remember much about the meeting that followed.
All I know is that there was a lot of yelling, swearing, and self-righteous pontificating by Andy and his cronies.
If we had known a little more about the infected, we would have kept our voices down, moved the meeting upstairs, or at least have closed the large garage style rolling door to the front entrance. Fortunately, someone had the foresight to re-lock the gate after I had come in.
Andy had just finished giving the dumbest sports analogy that I ever heard, something involving the precision of a curling team, the power of water polo, and the “American-ness” of baseball.
Everyone present, even Andy’s friends, were temporarily struck dumb by the stupidity of what had just been said.
The silence was broken by an awkward groan.
We all spun around to see a man with glassy eyes pulling at the bars of the gate.
“The infected.” came a voice from the somewhere behind me.
Panic struck the Millers Crossing Apartment building. Several of Andy’s friends started pushing their way to the stairs. Andy shouted commands that no one heard. Several people screamed.
I grabbed the closest person, which happened to be the man that had accompanied Zeke before and pointed.
“Let’s get that inner door closed.”
We didn’t want to get too close to the infected man pulling at the door, so we stood on opposite sides of the entrance, and did our best to pull the bay door down. At first tug, the door barely moved. It was slow with misuse.
I spared a glance at the thing outside. It’s gaze fell blankly directly in front of itself. It was bracing on one bar with its left hand and pulling back with it’s right. No exertion was visible on its face, but the slight bend in the thick iron bar betrayed a terrible and inhuman force.
My helper lost his footing as he tried to put a little more weight into the door.
The infected dropped to its knees and grabbed my fallen companion’s arm.
I threw caution to the wind and stepped full in front of the entrance so that I could use all of my weight.
My new friend thrashed at the infected’s grip.
Something finally gave, and the heavy door came crashing down.
The infected man let go and reached up at the door, but the momentum was too much.
My friend pulled his arm out of the way just as the door slammed into the ground.
I yanked at the lever and the cross bar slid into place, locking the door.
Broken fingers stuck out from underneath and moved slightly as the infected man struggled to pull them free.
I turned to the man inside. “What’s your name?”
The man rolled over and sat up on the floor. “Steve.”
“I’m Corbin. How’s your arm?”
He shook as he held it up. It had a dark red hand print that would probably bruise, but the skin didn’t seem to be broken anywhere.
He looked up at me with a fear in his eyes. “Am I…”
I shook my head. “Probably not. It didn’t break the skin, so I doubt you’re at any immediate risk. Let’s get your arm washed off just in case.”
The closest bathroom was in Tim’s dental office, so we went in and washed him up.
Steve told me what I had already suspected, that Andy had called most of his drinking buddies as soon as the crisis had begun. He had also told everyone in the building that I had a violent history, and I should be locked out.
After I made sure that Steve had calmed down and was going to be alright, I went upstairs to see where everyone had disappeared.
I heard a tremendous amount of shouting behind the door that opened to the second floor hallway, so I just kept climbing and went to my floor.
Linda was in the hall talking to two couples that looked familiar. They all turned to me as I opened the stairwell door.
Linda’s eyes went a little wide. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. We got the inner door closed.”
Linda introduced me to the couples. They were “real” tenants that hadn’t made it out the door for work when the scene at the hospital happened.
They went back to discussing what to do about Andy’s regime. To me, the answer was simple, so I spoke up.
“Who else among Andy’s crowd are tenants?”
One of the men answered. “Just the dentist.”
“Good. Do any of you guys rent one of the storage sheds on the roof?”
Everybody shook their head.
A smile crossed my lips. “Well, I do. Listen to this.”