The ice-cold air stiffens our ears as the wind sweeps across the roof. Sitting on opposite sides of it, we try to pick off as many of the murderous fiends below without attracting too much attention. In between shots, we decide on pausing to try and keep the scavengers oblivious. The ones that were too slow to catch anything earlier were now resorting to the dead and dying as a food source. When it comes my time to fire, I turn from my prone position into a crouched position. I try hard to look for a good target (that being no kids and no elderly). It's strange...even in times like these, it seems like I still have my morals intact. I settle for a hefty looking guy. I imagine him as a wife-beater and then put one into his skull (the stories help ease the guilt and shittiness that follows a kill). I begin to turn back down, but suddenly a reflection of light hits my eye. Right as I'm about to brush it off as some sort of swinging chime, I see it again. I try looking closer, but without a scope, my M4 isn't going to be of much help. I motion to Walter to bring his gun over to me. His scope is just what I need. "I think I saw something." I tell him, motioning to the basement window of a building across the street. He mounts his rifle and starts to pan with his scope, "You sure?...could be anything.......wait..." His expression swiftly switches to that of horror. "...Oh god..." He murmurs as he slowly takes his eye from the sight. "You have to see this..." I put my eye to the sight and focus in on the small window near the building's front steps. Through the opening, I can see a woman poking her head into view. She holds what looks like a large, metal hairpin and she twirls it to reflect the moonlight. When she sees me looking at her, she momentarily pokes back out only to comeback with a child in her arms. My heart drops into my gut. I already know that we have no other choice but to go and get them.
Walter and I signal to the woman a thumbs up then we motion to her to lay low.
Walter: "It'll be a long wait til sunrise..."
Pete: ...Fuck, I don't wanna go down there but...they need us.
Walter: "...Now? Are you serious? You wanna do this NOW?! Have you lost your fucking mind?! Have you not been seeing what I've been seeing down there? There's just too many of them for you three to just stroll back unnoticed. How do you think you're gonna run with that little girl, huh? What if they started to chase you? Those son's a bitches are fast, just ask Rudy."
Pete: I know, Walter, I know ,but...god damn it, they're gonna die! They're going to die Walter and if we just sit here, it'll be our fault...they won't last the night, believe me. Do you wanna be able to say that we watched them die, because I don't...We can't wait for daybreak, we do this now or we don't." Walter sighs, then his face confesses that he has accepted my decision. "Okay, Pete...fine, what's your plan? We can't just go John Rambo and shoot the hell out of everything; We'll end up like those dumbasses who were the first to die..." Instead of trying to hatch up a plan that I already had, I was trying to psych myself up to do what I was about to. "I've been in that building before. The boiler room's just inside the lobby. I'll go inside and get her and her daughter out. You stay up here, Walter." He looks at me in disbelief. "What?!" he contests. "Trust me, I'll be less noticeable alone. You just be ready with that gun when we come out, alright? Anything comes towards us, you know what to do. One last important thing, when we're coming out, we'll need a distraction so that we can get back into the garage without them following us...I need you to shoot your Chevelle." He gives me a confused look. "What? Why?" he asks. "Your alarm still works, right? He smiles, "And I thought you cops were stupid." Before leaving, he hands me a huge Crocodile Dundee knife from his hip. "Try not to make a mess." He says. He tells me to be careful as I leave the roof.
Before heading to the garage, I head to the barracks to see if the kids are sleeping. I peer in, trying not to be seen. All of them are fast asleep, hopefully dreaming of better days. I reach the garage door and hesitate to open it. I'm petrified and scared shitless. I'm afraid of what lies behind the safety of this steel door, beyond the light above my head. I stare at the brass knob, almost as if it were the doorway to hell itself. For a moment, I feel so close to just abandoning the idea, but something forces me to open the door. Fresh, cold air hits my skin as I try to look into the dark lot. I hope nothing has entered since I last passed through here. I quietly close the door behind me and I mount the flashlight onto the M4. "Here we go." I tell myself. Again, my steps echo in the darkness, adding to my paranoia. I try hard to concentrate. I feel like I'm about to lose it. I've never felt so scared as I do right now. After what seems like an eternity, I arrive at the garage entrance. I duck my head under to see if there are any of them hanging around. Looks clear. I run across the street, crouch dashing from one ruined car to the next. I turn my flashlight off to help me be a little bit more stealthy. Bad idea. As soon as I do, I run to a car with one of them feeding on a dismembered torso. I cover my mouth to keep my gags silent. I unsheathe the knife that Walter gave me. I'm gonna cut this fuckin thing's head off. I hold the knife in my hand and I prepare to stab it in the head. I start to hesitate..."please, don't turn around, please don't turn around" I keep repeating to myself. My hand comes down with all my strength and the knife buries deep into the zombie's skull, exiting through his nasal cavity. I begin panting heavily as I sheathe the knife, but I don't stop moving. I know that if I stop for too long, something is bound to come across me. I reach the building and enter without thinking for a second. Any place was better than the streets. I cautiously survey the lobby and, without wasting time, I enter the boiler room.
I whisper, not wanting to have to resort to the knife again, "Ms?...Hello?...I'm the officer from the roof...Please, we have to hurry." The fact that she's not answering me and that I am still unable to find her slightly causes me to panic. A metal closet opens to my immediate right and I quickly ready my M4. "Ms?..." I start to think that this whole plan is stupid. As I wrap my finger around the trigger, the young woman we had seen through the window exits with not one, but two children. I'll never forget the way this woman looked. It was a mix of desperation, concern, sadness, and complete and utter exhaustion. I thought I was tired, this woman had to keep both her kids quiet and safe while zombies ran just outside, eating people.
"I'm gonna get you outta here." I tell them. She looks at me with doubt and fear in her eyes. "Please, I can't have anything happen to them..." She says. She doesn't sob, but I can tell by her voice that she wants to cry out in agony.
Peter: "What's your name, Ms.?"
Vanessa: "...Vanessa.", she says, holding her children tight.
Peter: "OK, Vanessa, ok....look, I know your scared...but I swear to you...I won't let any of those things come near you or your kids..."
She looks at me with her tired eyes.
Vanessa: "...That's what my husband said before they took him..." She says, swallowing and sniffing to keep from crying.
Peter: "...My friend, Walter, he's covering us from the roof, right over there...When I give him the signal, we have to run as fast as we can back to the station...Can you do that for me, Vanessa?"
She nods her head,
Vanessa: "Yeah, I think so."
I kneel down and pick up the other child, the boy.
Peter: "I'll hold this little guy, you just stay low and follow my steps exactly, ok? When your ready, you tell me, but you make sure that you're ready."
Vanessa:...OK, I'm ready."
I ask her for the metal hairpin that she used to signal us and I use it to signal Walter to get ready. I reach the entrance and I quietly open the door. As soon as I open the door, I hear Walter fire a shot. Nothing happens so we anxiously wait inside for the next round...the alarm goes off and Vanessa and I start running for our lives. Just as we reach the garage door, the Chevelle's alarm cuts off. "SHIT!" I think to myself. Suddenly, Richard's face pops out from the darkness of the garage. "Hurry up!" he whispers. I give him the boy and tell Richy to get them inside. "Where are you going?!" He asks, not seeing the horde of undead approaching. "Go!" I tell him. As one of them turns the corner, it spots me. A slim woman starts running for me. From this distance, I can tell she's a lot faster than I am. I take off, away from the garage. I decide to do a loop around the building so that I can lose her. I get about halfway when I realize, to my horror, that I won't make it. I turn the corner, hop into the backseat of a police cruiser, shut the door, and wedge myself on the bottom, in between the front seats and the backseat. I can see them run past me, chasing what they don't know has deceived them. I wait for almost five minutes before trying to open the door. Locked. In the chaos, I had forgotten that backseat doors on cruisers don't open from the inside...god damn it...