[It’s just not right to start reading on chapter 52 of a story. If this is your first time around here, please start with Chapter 1.]
Another round of thunder shook the ground. A few raindrops were being whipped around by the wind. The temperature was dropping quickly.
Even the weather was against me.
We passed the post office and slowed down.
Up ahead were several clumps of infected men and women, just standing in the street and waiting.
By the time we reached the fire station, we could finally see some of the crowd that was pressing against the front doors of the hospital.
The sheer number of deads around the hospital was staggering.
Kevin turned to me for a second. “How in the world are we going to distract that many of them? There must be three or four thousand of them.”
Thunder crashed again and the rain began to intensify.
With every step Kevin and I could see more and more of the deads gathered around the hospital, beating on doors and walls.
They were everywhere. It was a sea of death.
None of them appeared to notice us. They all just faced the hospital, and all of them had that same blank stare. It was as if they knew how many more people were hiding out in the hospital.
Pretty soon we could see the whole front side of the hospital.
It was enveloped by deads.
Kevin looked at me again. “Got any ideas?”
I looked at the hospital, and then across the street to the grocery store.
And then it came to me. I knew how to make the distraction.
I touched Kevin on the shoulder. “Actually, I do have an idea. I’ll need you to run back, though, and tell Samson that they need to take everyone up the next street down. The one that runs right behind the hospital. I think it’s called Johnson Street.”
“And what are you going to do?”
I looked back toward the fountain.
Several deads were now following us. The fire station caught my eye again.
“Make sure somebody keeps an eye out for me. I’ll be wearing a fire fighter’s getup. Now get moving.”
Kevin hesitated a moment, then took off in the direction we had come.
The rain was pouring now, and the wind hadn’t let up.
I shook my head. I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.
The fire station wasn’t far, and it looked just as empty as every other building.
I figured it was pretty safe for the moment. That was my mistake.
One of the front doors was unlocked.
I just burst right in.
There was nothing out of the ordinary in the lobby.
I was pretty sure which side door led to the garage.
The door was locked with a deadbolt, but the latch was on my side of the door.
I twisted the latch and pushed open the door.
I never even considered why the front door was open, but this door might be locked.
Against one wall was a locker area. A locker was open and I could see the yellow fire gear inside.
Rain pounded against the large bay doors to the garage. The noise was enough that I couldn’t even hear my own footsteps echoing as I ran to the locker.
How was I supposed to hear the shuffling approach of an infected man?
I didn’t hear it, and so he took me by surprise.
I reached up and pulled one of the large yellow overcoats off the shelf. That’s when I caught a hint of movement from the corner of my eye.
Only a couple of feet away stood a dead man. His blank stare fixed straight ahead. He crouched.
I instinctively turned and held up my arms. I was still holding the coat, and that’s what saved my life.
The dead man pounced.
I took half a step back.
His weight collided with mine.
I lost my footing.
We crashed to the floor.
I pushed down with my arms, trying to get the coat off my face and the infected man off me.
He was heavy, probably had at least a hundred pounds on me.
He grabbed at my arms.
I struggled to breathe with his weight pushing on me.
And then it happened.
I felt a horrible pinching on my forearm.
He was biting me.
I pushed hard with my arms and my legs.
It was enough.
His weight shifted and he rolled off, still clutching the yellow coat.
I spun the other way and pushed to my feet.
Still sprawled out on the ground, he reached out.
He caught the bottom of my pant leg.
I kicked forward and ripped my pant leg free.
I stumbled two steps back.
The infected man rolled over.
I fumbled for the handgun in my pocket.
The dead man pushed up to one knee.
I pulled the gun free.
The dead man pushed against the cement floor and made a second clumsy dive for me.
I pulled the trigger and thunder crashed twice.
The dead man’s head snapped back. His body crumpled to the ground as my feet.
I took a deep breath and another step back.
That was close.
I looked around, but couldn’t see any more movement.
I figured the man must have been locked in the garage after his fellow firefighters found out he was infected.
He was probably forced to face death alone and in total agony here in the garage.
I felt a twinge of sadness for the poor man. He had been a firefighter, a hero. Then a virus had stolen his life. Now he lay broken in a pool of his own blood on the cold cement floor.
Would the virus now take my life?
I looked at my forearm.
A nasty bruise was already forming, but the coat had protected me. The skin wasn’t broken.
I stepped around the fallen firefighter and went back to the lockers.
I grabbed a coat, helmet, and gloves.
I shoved the handgun into one of the cargo pockets of my pants and put on the fire gear.
On the side of one of the firetrucks were fastened several fire axes. I pulled one free and headed for the door.
The rain outside had continued to intensify. Large puddles were filling in the street.
The deads stood unaffected by the rain, just waiting for a chance to pass the virus on to the next victim.
I made for the grocery store and went to a side door.
The pouring rain made the heavy gear seem even heavier.
I pulled off a glove, undid the coat, and felt around my pocket for the key Beth had given me.
Two deads had finally taken notice of me, and were stumbling my way.
I yanked out the key.
I put it to the door, and just hoped it would get me in.
Can Corbin cause a commotion that can call the crowd away from the hospital? Keep reading to find out!
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