[note: Sorry about the delay on this chapter. I was out of town for most of the weekend and then both my wife and daughter got sick. Hopefully I’ll be back on track by this Friday. Also, if you’re new to Oasis, you should start with Chapter 1]
Amazing Super Sale
My legs felt like jelly, but somehow they kept moving.
“Up there.” Beth motioned with a nod.
An enormous American flag hung high above the road. Beyond a full parking lot was a building with a sign that read, “Four Brothers Chevrolet.”
“Yep. We just cut through, and go out the back. Then we make tracks.”
“What if it’s locked?”
She turned and smiled. “Got that covered.”
She pulled me even faster.
I struggled to keep my feet under me. It seemed like I was getting weaker by the moment.
We zigzagged our way through the cars on the lot.
I looked back.
We had put a little distance between ourselves and the mass of infected, but they were still headed straight for us.
The entire front face of the building was glass, displaying the sparkling showroom within.
Beth hit the front door first. It didn’t budge. She dropped my hand and frowned a little, like she really expected it to be open.
“But you got it covered, right?”
She reached in her pocket. “I hope so.”
I looked back. The closest of the infected was closing in, maybe two minutes until he could reached us.
She pulled out a keyring and began rifling through the keys.
“Where did you get those?”
“They were my uncle’s. I grabbed them from the storage shed.”
“I don’t mean to doubt, but what makes you think he had the key to this business on that particular key ring?”
She thrust key after key at the lock. “They all have a master that opens all the big stores.”
She shot me an awful look then went back to her task. “I just don’t know which one it is.”
I looked back again.
Two of the infected were already crossing the parking lot.
“I don’t mean to be a pest.”
“So be quiet and let me do this.”
Getting closer. I looked around for something to use as a weapon, or maybe a shield. Just on the other side of Beth I saw a heavy garbage can.
I noticed my hands shaking, and it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to lift it. Maybe I can roll it and trip them up.
“Got it.” Beth flung the door inward.
She burst in and I stumbled behind her.
The showroom was bright and shiny, just like you’d expect a modern showroom to be. At the back I saw open double doors that led to the cubicle land where they put the hurt on customers that require a hard sell.
Beth locked the door behind us and took a few steps back.
I looked for somewhere to sit.
Over by the service desk there was a small waiting area, complete with couches, magazines, and what looked like a mini-fridge.
I wobbled that way. “How long to you think the glass will hold them?”
Beth backed away from the door. “Not sure, its pretty thick. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Where are you going?”
I smiled at her. “Get a drink, if there are any left.”
She walked after me, all the while checking over her shoulder. “You know we only stock that for customers, right?”
I opened the fridge door. “So sell me a car while we’re here. It’d better run, though.”
It was still full of apple juice, coke and bottled water.
I stared at it a moment.
A thud echoed around the showroom.
I looked around and found the cause.
The leading infected man hit the glass again. Another echoing thud.
I snapped out of it and grabbed an apple juice.
A second infected man and an infected woman reached the glass wall. More banging.
The glass still held.
I pulled the tab and tried to down the juice in one go.
Warm juice slid down my throat and met with an angry, empty stomach, which revolted.
I fell to my knees and vomited.
Beth ran behind me and put a hand on my back.
More and more banging filled the room.
I was definitely a little dehydrated, and felt weak. I wiped my mouth with tissues from the magazine table. I reached back into the fridge and pulled out a water.
Beth gave me a nervous glance and focused again on the growing mob of infected beating on the glass. “Not sure how long we’ve got. We’d better look for the back door.”
“You go look, I’ll be right behind.” I opened the water and emptied the bottle.
My stomach still complained, but this time it didn’t send anything back up.
The effect the water had on the rest of my body was amazing.
It was almost as if I had poured a tiny dose of stamina into my veins.
I grabbed another water and stood. I was shaking less and less.
Gathered at the door now were fifteen or so infected. The ones around the edges were doing most of the pounding, as the ones in the middle were being smashed flat against the glass by the gathering group behind them.
I looked for a moment to see where Beth had gone. I couldn’t see her.
“Beth! Where’d you go?”
The only reply I got was the incessant pounding on the glass.
At least two dozen more infected were weaving their way through the cars on the lot.
The scene before me was a grotesque version of the stupid “Amazing Super Sale” commercial where the hungry crowd tramples the salesman when he unlocks the door on sale day.
Beth burst through the door to the service garage. “The garage is locked up tight.”
“Haven’t you been here before?”
She shrugged. “Not exactly. The family has a lot of holdings.”
“And don’t you have a master key?”
“What I meant is there’s only this door right here and the three big bay doors, which we couldn’t lift if we wanted to. You happy now?”
“I’ll be happier when we’re somewhere else.”
The pounding grew loud enough that we had to shout to be heard. The large panes of glass were starting to bow with the pressure.
How long can the glass hold?
Beth tugged my arm and motioned toward the open double doors to the sales room.
I took one last look at the mob behind the glass wall.
What I saw was unsettling sea of blank stares pressing against the door and surrounding panes.
The sales room was a total mess. Chairs were overturned and several phones were hanging off the hook. The place had cleared out in a hurry.
She reached out to close one of the double doors, and I took the other.
We slammed the doors shut.
A thundering crash came from the showroom. The glass had finally shattered.
I looked around for another exit.
There was another door on the wall to my right.
Not much time.
Beth saw the other door, too, and pointed. “Over there.”
I remembered how the infected woman back at the lab had crashed into the desk rather than go around.
I pulled a chair from the nearest cubicle and overturned it. “Toss some stuff from the cubicles in the walkways. It’ll slow ’em down a little.”
We worked as quickly as we could through the aisle.
By the time we reached the side door, the infected were already pounding on the double door.
The door led to a hallway.
I stepped out into it first, checked right, then left.
Down at that end was the most beautiful exit sign I had ever seen.
I hoped there weren’t any infected waiting for us in the parking lot that lay behind it.
What will Corbin and Beth find through that door? Read the next chapter when they take again to the streets in, “Chapter 23: Home Sweet Home Again?“