I sit quietly inside of the car, thinking. I keep looking around, trying to find a way out of the knee-deep shit I'm in, but I cannot find a solution. Terror paralyzes my body as my mind struggles to regain control. All I can do is stare, blankly and angrily, at the bright moon as it mocks me from up above. Why? Why did you have to fucking leave the station?........oh well...the good thing is that that woman and her children are safe. The hard part's over. Now there's just the problem of getting MY ass back inside. How ironic...now it's I who needs the rescuing. I try turning my body to see if the roof is visible from the way I'm lying down. I squirm ever so cautiously, trying not to rock the car as I do. With my neck twisted uncomfortably, I can see Walter searching for me. He peers through his scope, but keeps looking in the wrong directions. C'mon, you son of a bitch...please, pleeease...find me. As he sweeps his scope over the car I'm in, I risk my life and wave frantically at him through the rear windshield. Yeah! He spots me! My eagerness causes me to forget my situation and I snap my hand back down to my chest. I finally am able to turn my whole body to where my chest faces the backseat. Now, I can see Walter clearly. The asshole puts his hand up and tells me to wait. After a few minutes of sitting in the dark, I look back up and I suddenly spot a thin, dark line descending down the side of the building. Rope?...this guy better be fuckin kidding. If he thinks that I'm gonna be shimmying my ass up the side of this building, he's fucking insane. Walter pokes his head up and aims the rifle at the glass. My eyes widen with panic as he motions me to get down. Aw shit!
(BOOM!) The glass explodes, spilling over my head and neck. I clumsily leap out, onto the trunk of the car. I see Walter fire off a shot at something behind me, but I don't even bother looking. I hastily grab the rope and I try to pull myself up. Damn, I don't remember it being this hard back when I was in the academy. I pathetically fall after a second attempt. "Shit...Don't look!", I tell Walter. He throws his rifle aside and grabs hold of the rope. "Horse shit, wrap the rope around your hands, HURRY!" I do what he tells me and, surprisingly, he begins hoisting me up; I try to ignore the shadows I see approaching my sides. Slowly but surely, I begin to approach the top of the building. I reach the ledge of the roof and I toss my right hand over the railing. Walter pulls me up and I fall back onto the pebbles, physically and mentally exhausted. I just lay there, breathing heavily as I face the stars. "Damn your heavy..." Walter says through a wheezing of coughs. "I lug myself up and I throw my hand onto his shoulder. "Thank you, Walter...Thank you...". It's all I feel like saying to him. He looks up at me sweating and panting, "Next time, your pulling ME up.", he says jokingly. We laugh as we lean on each other and head back down to get some rest. "They know we're here now Pete...". "Yeah...don't worry, help is coming...", I tell him. I help him onto one of the beds as we enter the barracks. "Get some sleep you ox." I tell Walter. He smiles as he closes his eyes and quickly falls asleep. I lie down and feel my body go limp with relief as I sink into a feathery cloud. Compared to what I had been dealing with, this was paradise.
I awaken as the sun pokes its finger into my eye. "SON OF A BITCH!!!" I exclaim, as my retina is annihilated. I sit up and look around, but there is no one to be found on any of the beds. "Hello?...". I begin to hear the approaching sound of bare feet slapping against the smooth tile floor just outside the hall. I reach for my pistol and take aim towards the doorway. My mind starts to wander with thoughts. What if those crazies broke in while I slept and they all left me behind to find hiding spots. Nobody even thought to wake me?! I steady my hands as the sound gets closer. Just as I'm about to pull the trigger, Rudy pops into view.
Pete: Rudy, jesus, man, I almost killed you!
Rudy: "They're here, Pete!"
Pete: Who?! Those cannibals?!
Rudy: No, help! Upstuh stuh stairs on the roof, hurry!
I follow Rudy as we quickly run to the roof. As he swings the door open, I see it; a Chinook helicopter resting on the heli-pad. Just the sight of it makes me quiver with glee. Surrounding the helicopter on the heli-pad are Claire and the rest of the survivors being accessed by armed men in HazMat suits. One of the "suits" turns to see me exit onto the roof and swiftly aims his shotgun at me. "YOU! DON'T FUCKIN MOVE OR I'LL BLOW YOUR GODDAMN HEAD OFF!!!", he screams with an Irish accent. Rudy runs in front of me and waves his hands in the air. "NO! Don't Shshshoot, He's one of us...he's one of us!!!" The armed man slowly walks down the steps leading up to the heli-pad, all the while still aiming at my face. I stare him down to show that my only fears are the wretched things waiting below us. "I told you to bring EVERYONE up here!", the man says to Rudy. "He was sleeping and I didn't want to...", before Rudy can even finish, the man cuts him off, "Shut the fuck up!" Pissed, I raise my 38. to the man's brow line, "Hey, fuck you! Who do you think you are talking to him like that, you son of a bitch!". One of the other "suits" takes his mask off, revealing a middle-aged Polynesian man (I can tell from his tattoos). He quickly tries to calm the situation, "Harold, calm down, for Christ sake! We were sent here to do a job so just do it and shut your mouth!" The man slowly lowers his gun as I do the same. He begins to speak, but, this time, with a calmer tone, "When I ask you to do something, I expect you to do it right...we don't follow protocol, we die, you got it...get up there.", he tells Rudy. The man turns to me and tosses his strapped gun over his shoulder.
Harold: Have you been bitten? Scratches, bruising, anything.
Pete: "No. A few bruises but I got' em last night from trying to climb up the side of the building."
Harold: ...Okay...your good then. Hop aboard the express.
Pete: Wait, that's it? You guys don't test for it or anything?
Harold: Test?...You mean like that fuckin movie where we strap you all down and stick hot pieces of metal into your blood?...there is no fucking test, my friend. We learned early on that you shouldn't bother with anyone showing symptoms anyways...once you know, it's already too late to save them.
The suits go around asking for our names to put onto a "survivor's roster". Glancing at the clip board, I notice that there are more names on it than survivors in the station. It seems like we're not the only stop these guy's have had to make. The Polynesian guy who seems like their captain begins helping people onto the helicopter. "You got a name, Officer?", he asks, as I pull myself up onto the helicopter. "It's Pete.", I answer, as I offer my hand in gratitude."
Rik: "I'm Ariki, but you can call me Rik."
Pete: "Thanks, Rik, You don't know how good it is to finally see you guys."
Rik: "Actually, yeah, I do. We were just like you guys before WE were found. I'm just a bus driver. Soon, you'll be like us, helping others that are still stranded."
I strap myself into a harness as the last of the survivors are boarded onto the helicopter. "Hey, Rik!" The pilot shouts from up front. Rik walks up to the pilot and they begin to whisper to each other. I overhear some of their conversation.
Pilot:We have to, Rik. I know it's wrong, but we can't take off, we're just too heavy.
Rik:We can't do that...it's not right.
Pilot:We have to...
Rik walks back to where all of us are huddled. "Um...We've never actually seen a group as large as you guys so this hasn't ever come up before, but...We're just carrying too much...one of you has to stay behind." The group starts to become unsettled. "I'm gonna ask for a volunteer, but, if no one is willing...we're gonna have to force one of you off, I'm sorry." We all wait in nervous anticipation to see who raises a hand, but nobody does. No one wants to be left behind with the living dead knocking at the doors. All of a sudden, Rik tugs on Rudy's arm. "C'mon, we'll come back for you.", he tells Rudy. "No!...No, please! I...Please, don't." Rudy pleas, as tears run down his cheeks. "I'm sorry, but there's just no room." Nicole and Richard begin to weep as Rudy backs away from the helicopter. "You can't just leave him!" Nicole screams. The pilot starts the engine and the blades begin to spin. Just as Rik is about to close the door I scream out, "I'll stay!" I unbuckle my harness and step off the helicopter, as the others stare at me, dumbfounded. "Wait, Pete...", Claire calls out to me, but knowing how I am, her face shows a "Goodbye" rather than a "Please Stay". I walk up to Rudy and he looks at me with a confused look. "You staying too?", he asks. "Yeah, but your not...your taking my place." Rudy looks at me with an astonished face. "Yyy You'd do that for muh me?...I can't llllet you do that, I won't." I put my hand onto his shoulder and look him in the eyes, "Don't worry, I'll be fine...I'm heavier than you are anyways." I help him back to the chopper and he surprises me with a hug. The bath he had taken had sure helped. "Hey, I'll see you guys again, no worries. Later, chika. Beverly, you watch after those two, ok?" The woman I saved last night gives me a hug and a peck on the cheek. "Thank you.", she says. Rudy hops back onto the chopper where Richard, Nicole, and Bev give him their own hugs. "You be careful brother." Walter says as he salutes me adieu. "You sure you wanna do this?" Rik asks me. Without hesitation, I answer him, "Yeah." He smirks, impressed. "We'll come back for you soon." I shake my head knowing that they wouldn't waste that much gas on one person, "No, you won't." He looks at me and then gives an understanding nod. "Be safe." He says. He shuts the chopper door and the blades begin to lift the helicopter up. I watch them watch me from the windows. The little girl in Bev's arms gives a cute wave goodbye. I stand there, hopelessly watching the helicopter disappear into the horizon. It's a heart breaking sight. There I was, left behind with no one but the birds to keep me company. Me, myself, and I against a city full of ravenous, flesh-eating bastards. I watched the sun rise as my hopes fell....I was alone.