Fading hope (Pt. 2)

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The light shining on it revealed the mutation of the Infected. Its face was misshapen with its jaw dissolved into its neck exposing a vertical mouth that flexed at it sucked in air. The short silent moment of my fuckup was replaced by a high pitch scream. The Banshee let loose an ear-splitting screech alerting any Infected that could hear it.

FUCK!

“STOP! Hey mate, now that I got your attention I’d like to share with you this new site I found with literally anything you can think of, ranging from orgies, grannies, teens, incest and you know.. the kinky stuff. I made this review just to help a brother out. Peace.”

– Jake A.

Stealth was no longer an option. My haul of goods was quickly forgotten as survival was now the most important thing. I turned around and booked it up the staircase. There was no way I was going to run out into the streets now. The rooftops are my only escape. As I pounded up the stairs, I could hear other shouts and cries answering the Banshee’s. This was one of the worst things to happen at night.

Banshees are weak Infected that mutated from chrysalises. Their kind showed up around the time the Alpha mutation did. Given their blindness, they developed heightened vocal cords and a mouth to amplify it. They draw all kinds of Infected to its location as if calling for help. Banshees are known to travel in packs or herds, so to see on alone was odd, but no less terrifying.

My chances of survival were falling every second I stayed in that building. Alphas would be on me faster than Freakers. They’ll tear me apart as soon as they have me in their grasp. Feast on my flesh like a ballistic animal while I howl from the pain. My goal at being the best Scavenger shredded to pieces.

Fucking hell!

Getting to the third landing, I slapped my face attempting to keep my mind moving forward. Thinking of death slowed the legs. I gripped the railing up towards the fourth level and lunged. Halfway up, the sound of windows and doors being smashed in echoed throughout the complex. Hungry roars followed the destruction as the clamoring of bodies joined it. It sounded like a pack of feral wolves were charging up the staircase.

Their speed was faster than mine in an enclosed space. The strength of an Alpha allowed them to climb vertically so long as they had something to grab on to. Even if there wasn’t anything to climb, they could easy find something to cling to given they can jump near three times the average human. The chances of escaping one Alpha were slim. But a pack? I might just die tonight.

Reaching the fifth floor, I ran past my favorite tool and up the stairs leading to the roof. I burst through the door and quickly surveyed my surroundings. None were on the roofs yet, but by the sound of them they were rushing up from the fourth floor. I didn’t care about the force I put into closing the door. They already had my scent.

I abandoned the duffle bags I set near the door and headed towards the manmade bridges that connect the roof tops together. When the city was built it was constructed close together like some European colony. The proximity of most of the buildings was close enough for an athlete to jump from roof to roof. Over the decades of living in the city, people had put up various kinds of movement aids. Those consisted of makeshift bridges, ledges, and plenty more to help traverse the rooftops of Nova.

At the edge of the building, I quickly crossed the bridge and jumped the intentional gap that’s for stumblers to fall through. Just when I got to the other building, I heard the door slam open followed by snarls and growls. I didn’t wait to see if they knew which way I went, they’d know either way. My main focus was to get to safety, but where is that in Downtown?

Knowing this part of Downtown, there were only two Scavenger Dens I could get to. I used my surroundings to identify which way to go. The closest den was a building shattered at one side of its four story structure. Safety was just inside there, but I was two blocks away from it. The second was another two blocks in a different direction. One of the abandoned fortresses of the vicious group that occupied Downtown before their destruction.

I kept my momentum as I crossed from rooftop to roof top. Jumping from ledge to ledge and climbing several more. I couldn’t stop even as I could hear the Alphas gaining on me. My legs carried me in the direction of the blown out building. Taking a hard turn, I saw it in the distance. I was so close to safety.

A few more roofs and it was just within reach. I dashed towards the bridge connecting to the strongest point of the building’s structure. At the bridge I was about to cross, I froze. On the other side of the bridge between me and safety was an Alpha. It’s disgusting muscular form and feral face sent a new wave of fear through my body. Its hungry eyes locked onto me and roared before lunging across the bridge.

Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

This was just fucking great. As the creature lunged, I heard the replies of the other Alphas gaining on me from behind. They were too close. All of them too close. My instincts told me I was surrounded and left with no other choice but to use my trump card. My hand went to the side of my belt and pulled a small can from a loop keeping it in place, a grenade. I clicked the release and turned to run for my life.

Two steps to the left and I tossed the grenade behind me. However close the Alphas were on my heels, their chase pushed me forward. I was heading towards a ledge just high enough that I’d have to jump to make it. Counting the seconds, I timed myself almost perfectly. The roars behind me suddenly erupted in screeches as the dark rooftop burst with light. I jumped at the same time the can exploded only to tumble and roll onto the higher roof.

The grenade I tossed was called a flash grenade. Rare to find and ridiculously expensive to purchase. The intense explosion of light disorients the Infected and even more so to Alphas. Given Alphas are nocturnal, the intense light disrupts their vision making it harder for them to find you. Hence why they are my trump card. Best to use at night or dark location since daylight contradicts its use. I would know from experience…

That distraction bought me mere moments but could have saved my life. Picking myself up, I broke into a sprint towards the second Den. If an Alpha were that close to a Scavenger Den would mean someone was already in there or it was compromised. Could have been that Alpha ran ahead of the pack to cut me off, but I couldn’t take the risk. There was no point taking chances when your life is on the line. In seconds, the Alphas were back on the hunt.

I crossed bridges, climbed, and descended my way across Downtown with predators on my tail. I could see the deteriorating makeshift structures the Radicals had put up and knew I was heading in the right direction. I saw the shredded red and black flag that identified the Scavenger’s Hole. The distance between me and safety closed with every breath and jump. The Alpha’s sounded just about as close as they had been before I dropped the grenade.

With the den within reach, I made a stupid decision. There was a set of wires connecting the den with a roof on the other side of the one I was on, but the distance worried me. So much that I risked taking a chance. At the edge of a roof, I launched myself across the open space only to crash onto the rooftop of the den. I rolled around and around until I stopped when slamming into something hard. The impact had me clutching my side and fighting to breath.

Looking up I saw the Alphas had reached the roof I had just jump from. Their angry faces looked to be judging the distance. One jump and missed falling to the ground with a loud thunk. Several others ran along the edge getting closer to the wires that connected the buildings together. I forced myself to move knowing they would be on me any moment.

Shuffling myself towards the metal latch cut into the roof, I pulled on the heavy door. I just got it open when I felt the rooftop shudder. Turning around I caught a large Alpha jumping the distance and impacting the side of the building causing a light tremor again. It roared from the side of the building as the one who caused the first impact climbed up the side of the building.

I locked eyes with the creature and flung myself into the hole. The Alpha lunged only to be cut off as the metal lid slammed into place. Inside the darkness, I shifted my hands around frantically trying to find the lock. The Alpha on the other side shouted in frustration and pounded on the door. I flinched each time it slammed its fists until I found the lock. Sliding it into place, I dropped from the ladder and stared up at the metal door.

The singular pounding grew as more Alphas tried to get in. The metal was creaking, and I knew it wouldn’t hold. There had to be at least four or five maybe six Alphas out there. Knowing I wasn’t safe yet, I turned and ran into the small stairway of the building. My flashlight beamed a small line of light as I rushed through the small building. There was always a Safe Hole in a Scavenger Den. A spot that could be barricaded in case Infected got inside.

I found it on the bottom floor. A room crudely reinforced with metal bars across the four walls and no windows. The door to the room was heavy as I pushed it open and went inside. Right then I heard the metal door fall through the building. I was about to shove the door closed and lock the bars into place when I noticed the bucket to my left. There was a colored liquid inside that smelled horrendous. Just what I needed!

Taking the few seconds I had, I picked the heavy bucket up and splashed the contents onto the front of the door. The yellow and brown liquid splooshed and coated its surface. The smell wafted off immediately. Tossing the bucket carelessly aside, I rushed to shut the door. I caught a glimpse of one of the angry Alphas right before the door was shut and locked into place.

I jumped back as the first Alpha slammed into the door. It roared on the other side before making some kind of repulsive sound. It grunted and coughed before gagging. Another Alpha pounced on the door before making the same disgruntled sounds as the other. The process repeated several more times before the Alphas shouted in frustration and fled from my location.

In the small room I slumped onto the floor knowing there was nowhere else for me to go. The Alphas may have left, but they still knew their prey was in their vicinity. I could hear them stalking around the building making grunts and cries every so often. They wouldn’t lose the hunt until dawn. There was nothing left to do but wait in the darkness.

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