Chapter 02: In for the Night

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Laura almost became a murderer.

It was a very near thing.

They'd put down most of the zombies that had been attracted by the crash and made tracks for the structure, which turned out to be one of a few in a dark encampment. She had opened the door and stepped inside, sweeping the room with her shotgun and zeroed in on a dark figure standing across the way. She'd came very close to blowing its head off, her finger tightening on the trigger, but something about the way it was standing, the way it didn't immediately start coming for her with the relentless, mindless determination she'd come to expect from the undead, kept her from tightening her finger that final, crucial centimeter.

"Who goes there?!" she snapped.

"My name is Mike Ellis," the figure replied.

That clenched it. Definitely not a zombie. She stepped out of the way, sensing that Turner desperately wanted to come in and offload his unconscious cargo.

"Who are you?" Mike asked.

"Laura Walker," she replied. "Hold on."

She turned quickly around and looked back out the door they'd come through. Only a pair of zombies remained, coming for them, stumbling through the dying light. She began to squeeze the trigger once more, but then lowered her shotgun. She let it drop, hanging by its sling, and pulled her pistol out. She aimed and fired twice.

Two heads snapped back, two bodies collapsed to the ground.

She waited for an additional moment, then decided they were alone for now and stepped back into the building. She shut and locked the door. Turning, Laura scanned the room once more. There were two other doors, one to the right and one dead ahead. The man, Mike Ellis, was making his way slowly across the room. He was moving cautiously, as if drunk, and he was nearly naked. Turner had dropped off Viktor on one of the examination tables. Laura felt fear slip in as she realized she might have misdiagnosed Mike.

What if he was bit and turning?

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Fine," he replied, but he must have heard something in her voice. He stopped and looked directly at her. "I'm okay," he said. "I just...I was in a coma, I think. I just woke up," he replied. "And for now, I'd like to get dressed."

"Okay." She hesitated. "You just woke up? You have no idea what's going on?" she asked.

"No, I don't. All I know is something just tried to eat me. Had to shove a scalpel through its eye," he said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at a corpse draped over an examination table. Laura was impressed. He was a quick study.

While he went in search of some clothes, Laura moved to the other two doors. One just led to a storage room that was empty and had no other way in, the other led to an empty antechamber that led elsewhere in the facility. Laura left it alone and locked that door as well. For now, they were secure. She glanced at a few windows.

Well, mostly secure.

She fed a few more shells into her shotgun and checked her pistol. Mike finished zipping up a white jumpsuit he'd found stashed away somewhere. The pair of them moved over to where Turner was examining Viktor.

"What happened to him?" Mike asked.

"We were just in a crash outside. He hit his head, I imagine," Laura replied.

"He'll be fine," Turner replied. "At least I'm pretty sure. I'd have a lot better of an idea if we had some fucking power."

Laura looked over at the new guy. "I don't suppose you have any tech skills? I'm mainly just good with a gun and he's a medic," she said.

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