Chapter Two Part One - First Run

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“What do you think?” asked Jackie as she drew the car to an easy, steady halt.

“It looks secure enough,” James replied. “There's not much to that fence but both it and the gate are still intact. Original workings, too.”

“Yeah, that does imply the place is deserted,” Jackie continued. “If anyone was holed up here I'd guess it'd be a little more heavily fortified.”

“You're right, and as not even the windows are boarded I'd say we're good.” She clambered from the vehicle and stretched her limbs. It had not been a particularly long drive but she wanted to make sure that her body was ready for whatever it had to deal with. The best way to do that was to ensure she was always as limber as possible. “I don't like the look of that gravel, though. Can we get in without having to crunch our way over it?”

“Yeah should be easy enough,” replied James, glancing over the low picket-style fence. A single wooden bar ran across the top a few inches above the pickets themselves, attached to the larger uprights. “We just need to hop over the fence and onto the grass on the other side.”

Jackie made her way around to the other side of the car and opened the far-side rear door. Upon the seat were the only weapons they had; a tyre iron and a wooden chair leg. She tossed the latter to James as she quietly closed the door.

Both cleared the fence easily as it was not particularly high, then walked slowly towards the building. It was not the only structure on the property but it was the only one that looked like a house.

“I'd guess that the door is... yeah, just around here,” said James, leading the way. Jackie followed and moments later, both were stood upon the doorstep. The door itself was UPVC, the upper half of which was a translucent window.

“I don't see any movement,” said Jackie as she did her best to peer through. “We'd best knock, just in case.”

With a shrug, James tapped the tip of the chair leg upon the glass a few times then both took a step back, eyes upon the window.

“Nothing,” he said after almost a minute had passed. He reached his hand towards the handle and was only a little surprised to find the door was unlocked.

James pushed the door gently so that he and Jackie could see into the house beyond. The door opened onto the kitchen and the stench of rotted food hit them like a wall.

“Whoa,” he said, quietly, screwing up his face as he tried not to taste what he was smelling, too. “Something's a little ripe.”

“I'll say,” Jackie replied, her face a near-mirror image of James' expression. “It looks a damn mess in there but we're Zed free.”

“Well I'll take the smell over Zeds any day of the week.”

“Yeah,” she replied with a chuckle. “You and me both.”

They entered the property and picked their way around the upturned kitchen table, the chairs strewn and broken. Several of the cupboard doors were hanging by their hinges.

“I'm not sure we're going to find anything here,” said James with more than a little despondency. “We'd better have a good look around though. You never know what the owners left behind.”

“Well I'd say these cupboards have already been raided,” said Jackie, scanning those cupboards that she could see into because of the way the doors were hanging, and opening those that required it. “And whoever hit this place quite clearly didn't like peaches!”

“A single tin?” James said, catching the can easily. “That's it?”

“That's all that was in the cupboards and if you think I'm going to open the fridge you've got another thing coming.”

“Fair, can't argue with that.”

“We should check the rest of the house,” she said as James tucked the can of peaches into the rucksack he was carrying. “I'm not expecting to find any more food but a damn cigarette would be lovely about now.”

“Agreed,” the girl replied. “I'll take up, you take down.”

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