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.I was dizzier than a drunken sailor at the end of three days’ leave, and the room spun until I managed to grab hold of a desk for several minutes.This was really bizarre.No head wound, but I was blacking out and getting dizzy? Either I was really crashing hard from being doped up, or I was as crazy as they said I was.Looking down at the crumpled bodies before me, I decided to reserve judgment for a later date.The passage to the front exit stretched in front of me; corridors to more rooms extended to either side.I stared towards the exit, to the Plexiglas antechamber, and tried to make out the movement I could see in the distance.I looked to either side hallway, but discarded them as an escape option, the corridor to my left dead-ending in a wall past several rooms, the corridor to my right culminating in a stairwell, unpromisingly lacking the magic red Exit sign that I was searching for.Nope, no doors to the outside that way, my friend, and it was the greener pastures of the good outdoors I was headed to right now.As I moved toward the security room, a fire extinguisher hanging from the wall caught my attention, and I ripped it from its mounting bracket.Oh, yeah.Now you’re a bad ass.In my movies, I always seemed to find a grenade launcher, a man sized pistol, or a shoulder mounted tank at the last (and most opportune and convenient) moment.Like during a romantic dinner, or while on the john.No such luck today.I guess if I want some help, I need to write it in to the script.The little voice in the back of my mind tried to add to that thought, and I heard amused chuckling sound from the recesses of my brain.As I approached the plastic chamber, I could see through the open exterior doors that there were definitely people moving around outside, some of them in the white uniform of the facility, some in street clothes.They were all moving very, very slowly.Either very unconcerned, or very sick.I wasn’t liking my odds on it being the former.While I still couldn’t bring myself to buy into the story on the news, the pictures made for a compelling case of some seriously f’d up individuals on the outside.But there still had to be a better explanation for this than reanimated corpses.Rabies, maybe? People act weird all the time-it doesn’t take some sort of zombifying plague to cause that, right? More likely a whole shit load of people just got their tax bills or their alimony was due or something.Tax bills.Definitely.I could stick with that for comfort’s sake.For now, at least.I half-heartedly checked the door to the guards booth to my right which, naturally, was locked.Not only locked, but keypad controlled.I needed a code.I glanced back toward the rec room; I could ask Conan, but I doubted he’d be much help.I checked the door to the antechamber on a whim, but no go on that front either.How much did I want to go outside anyway, given that it looked from here like at least twenty of those things were wandering in the yard? I walked back to the crossroads between the hallways, contemplating my next step.Why had Starling Mountain come to mind? I know Maria worked there, but what the hell did that matter? She had worked there for years before it happened, and I never gave it much thought.Despite the many discussions we had about her work, I really didn’t have a good idea what she did there.So why wake up with it in my head after beating a zombie to death.I just used the word: zombie.Jesus, I was crazy.No other excuse.I chuckled to myself.At least I least I was where I belonged.The place was so damn quiet, especially since I had lost my theme-song soundtrack, that at first, I thought I was hearing things.From the hallway to the right, I thought I heard the faint sound of voices.Half-believing I made them up in my desire to normalize this oh-so-fucked up situation, but for lack of a better option, I moved cautiously down the hall to investigate.I stepped carefully to avoid the squelching sound my blood-soaked sneakers were making on the well-polished tile floors.Definitely voices; real, live voices too.Not moaning or shrieking or an imbecile humming television theme songs.Sounded like two people having a conversation.I moved to the outside of the room and looked through the observation glass in the door.Sure enough, two men, seated in chairs facing a television, were tuned to the cable news.An anchor was interviewing a disheveled older gentleman in a uniform of some sort.The volume was up high enough to carry into the hallway.The door was closed and latched, but unlocked, and moved easily enough when I depressed the latch that I could push it open with a toe and step in without calling attention to myself.Against the wall to the right, a chair lay overturned, and a remote control lay broken on the ground, having apparently fractured when it hit the floor.Suddenly, a thought that should have come much earlier: Where had Conan come from? And why had he stayed when everyone else had fled?I instinctively stepped backward, and my foot caught the leg of the overturned chair, slamming the back of the chair against the wall.The two men jerked, as if a noose around their necks had been pulled abruptly back, the spell of the television broken; their heads turned toward me, almost in unison.He hadn’t stayed, I realized too late.He had been left.Along with these two.I backpedaled too fast and tripped, sprawling on my back in the hallway.I scrambled to my feet, as the creature on the left rose from his chair and shambled to the doorway, and his companion simply crawled over the back of his chair, sending he and the chair to the ground in the process.They each bore hand-cuffs that at some point been attached to the wooden chairs, but which now hung loose from their graying wrists.I caught the name on the breast pocket of the guy on the left: it was Mr.Hickman.I sprinted, or did my best to sprint, down the hall, passing the rec room on the right, where Conan’s body still lay inert, but A-team’s had struggled slowly into a seated position, legs twitching.Vacant eyes tracked my stumbling, clumsy progress past the open door, and the sound of his struggling to get up reached my ears, even as I fled.I shook my head and sped up, now convinced that this whole thing was some sort of mind-fuck, but not willing to slow down and find out.The stairwell, my only option, was at the end of the hallway.I stumbled to a hasty walk as I reached it in order to navigate the narrow flight.The walls on either side of the narrow passageway were peeling, the bone-white top layer of paint revealing a light green underlayment the color of brackish ocean water.A chain link divider separated the stairwells from one another, and as I reached the bottom, two floors down, I met an iron door.I had struggled to reach the end of the hall, muscles unused to activity and shoes slick with blood, so I had failed to outdistance those things by much, despite their slow movement.Low-pitched groaning and a putrid smell announced their proximity, as they reached the door to the stairwell and shuffled through.As I reached for the handle to the door I realized I had dropped my fire extinguisher in my haste to leave the party upstairs.Not as much of a badass as you thought, eh McKnight?The handle moved easily but the hinges squeaked something terrible.The pursuit from above quickened, if that was possible, and through the chain link barrier, I saw the shuffling feet descending the flight directly above me.I flew into the open doorway, nearly splitting my head on the low-hanging door frame, and slammed the heavy iron door shut behind me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]