[If you have never read Oasis before, you’ll probably be better off starting at the beginning.]
The Punch Heard ‘Round The Hotel
People tend to make bad decisions when they’re angry.
Davis must have been all three, because his decision was terrible. I’m not sure exactly what he was hoping to accomplish by rushing Samson like that. All I know is that he did not get the outcome he wanted.
Davis hadn’t even placed his second foot on the platform when it happened.
Fist met face with a thunderous clap.
Davis’s head snapped back and his legs sprawled forward.
Samson followed through the punch, making sure Davis was not just stopped from coming forward, but sent to the floor.
And sent to the floor he was.
His legs and hips slammed on the platform, and his head and back crashed against the floor.
I instinctively jumped to my feet and leaned over the prostrate body.
Davis’s eyes were rolled back and fluttering. He was out cold.
The whole room was in uproar.
The other lawyers were fighting to get free, and the crowd was fighting to hold onto them.
Samson pointed to the door. “Stop him!”
I looked up.
Somehow, Richard had broken free and was bouncing his fat self right out the door.
Four or five guys disappeared after him.
Richard’s crew wasn’t fairing quite as well.
Davis stayed passed out in a heap. The other three thrashed, kicked and screamed, but it wasn’t any use. The weight of the crowd was too much. It only took a minute or two for them to run out of steam.
The men who had chased after Richard did not return.
I wonder what happened. It’s not like Richard’s that fast of a runner.
Even without the physical struggle, there was a great deal of commotion in the room. The crowd was calling for swift and violent justice.
The three conscious lawyers did their level best to argue and lie their way out of it.
Samson raised his hands motioning calm. “Quiet! OK, everyone let’s settle down. They’ll catch Richard, and we’ve got these four. They’ll get what’s coming to them, but we need to discuss something else.”
Kevin appeared from the crowd.
Where has he been hiding?
“I sent Kevin out last night to see how things were going in the city. I’d like him to tell you what he told me.”
Kevin stepped up on the platform.
I had been too battered and dazed earlier to notice, but now I saw something different about him.
Kevin’s eyes had dark circles and his shoulders drooped. He looked worn and exhausted. He was hardly the confident teenager I had met in the street.
He turned around and faced the crowd.
“It’s gotten worse out there.”
He took a deep breath.
How could it possibly have gotten worse?
“The infected are gathering in very large groups. And it’s like they just know where survivors are hiding. I saw them overrunning two buildings last night. Both were big apartment buildings, and everyone there seemed to-”
Kevin shrugged and shook his head. “It’s like they know where we’re hiding.”
An uneasy silence settled over the room.
Samson folded his arms. “And what’s our situation?”
“There’s a group of about thirty or forty of them outside the north doors. Probably more now.”
My stomach dropped.
Samson scratched his jawline. “Were there others close by?”
“Not that I saw. The parking garage exits are still open, I mean both the staircase exit and the car ramp are still clear.”
I looked over at Samson. “I didn’t notice before, is the car ramp totally open?”
“There’s a metal grate, but I don’t know how much weight it’d hold if they really all started pushing.”
A woman in the crowd stood up. “So why don’t we try the desert? At least we can outrun them there.”
Samson thought a moment before speaking. “Well, we know the military rebuilt or reinforced the old walls and fences that surround the city. We also know they barricaded up the only road out of town that actually goes somewhere. They’re undoubtedly worried that anyone who leaves town might be a carrier of the virus. They may not let us leave.”
He looked out the window. “And even if they’re not actively patrolling the border, it’s a long walk across a scorching desert.”
“How long do we have if we stay?”
“Without gathering any more food, we may have a couple of weeks before we run out.”
I noticed a few people in the crowd crying. I couldn’t say I blamed them.
A skinny man stood up. “So why isn’t the government sending in any aid?”
A few more chimed in. “…don’t even care that we’re dying?” “Why have they abandoned us?” “What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know the answers to your most of your questions, but the one we need to answer is: do we hole up here as best we can for the next week or so to see if we can ride it out, or do we make a break for somewhere else before we get too big a crowd outside our doors?”
I looked around the room. The anger I had been seeing all morning was gone. All I saw now was fear.
The room sat in silence while we all contemplated our options and our mortality.
No matter what we decided, the odds were slim, and we all knew it.
I’m certain several people wondered if all this trouble was going to be worth it, if we even had a chance to survive. Some probably even considered giving themselves up to the infection right now. Just walk into the street and let it happen.
It was difficult to ward off total despair.
What was the point of all this planning if we were just going to starve or become one of those deads on the street?
Did anyone stand a chance?
I didn’t know. But I did make up my mind about one thing. I wasn’t going to give up now. I wasn’t about to let all the pain I had already gone through go to waste. I was going to fight until the bitter end.
Samson stood again and looked over the crowd. “So, does anyone have any great ide-”
The back door burst open. One of the men who had been chasing Richard ran in.
All eyes turned to him.
The man was gasping for air and had a wild look in his eyes. “Richard’s got a gun- and he’s headed down the north stairwell!”
Can anyone stop Richard before he lets the infected horde in? Keep reading to find out!
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