Chapter 09: Nightfall

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They spent another hour and a half combing over the base for spare supplies. Greg and Cage gathered what they could while Kyra salvaged spare parts from the shot-up communications booth. They all worked in silence. By the time they finished loading the jeeps and drove back, the rain had returned. It was light, but the sunlight had diminished even more.

The wastelands looked as cold and desolate as ever.

They parked the jeeps in the garage, which was just big enough to hold all three of them, and unloaded the supplies. As Greg delivered what food they managed to gather and stow in a small cold-storage unit, he was suddenly stricken by the notion that they weren't alone in camp.

He set the cold-storage container down on the mess hall floor and settled the shotgun into his grasp.

"Guys, I think someone's in the camp with us." He spoke quietly into his comms unit.

"I feel it, too." Cage's cool, calm voice came back to him.

Kyra whispered, "What do we do?"

"Split up. I'll take the main building. Cage, take the infirmary. Kyra, the dorms. Sixty second interval check-ins. Stay sharp," Greg ordered.

There were two affirmative responses.

He searched the mess hall, leading with his shotgun barrel. There was nothing in the kitchen area or the little storage room adjacent to it. He slipped over to the comms room. Nothing. The security center was empty. He scanned the few cameras that still worked and found nothing. Kyra and Cage gave regular reports.

Greg swallowed. His nerves sent his stomach up into his throat. He headed out of the security center, left the building, and stepped back out into the rain, looking around. There was light, but not much. If it had just been him with the weird notion, he probably would have dismissed it as paranoia, but Cage sounded so certain...

Kyra suddenly let out a startled sound over the comms, followed by an undead groan and a gunshot, then the thud of a corpse slumping to the floor.

"Found a zombie." Her breathless voice came across the comm. Greg made for the dormitory. He noticed Cage coming out of the infirmary. They entered the building and found Kyra standing over a corpse in one of the bedrooms.

" the hell did it get in here?" Greg whispered. He stared at the pale body in silent horror.

"The door was closed when I got here," Kyra said.

They looked at the single window in the room. It was intact. Cage crossed the room. He tried to open it and discovered it was firmly locked into place. They stood and stared at each other for a few seconds.

"It must have opened the front door, then come in here, lying in wait," Cage murmured.

"This is the room where we slept last night." Greg glanced at Kyra.

She shook her head. "Come on, will you guys listen to yourselves? It's impossible."

"Only a fool dismisses legitimate evidence out of hand simply because it doesn't match up with their own perceptions." Cage made for the door. "I'm going to go and check the rest of the camp."

Kyra stared daggers at him as he left, but held her tongue. Greg got the feeling that she knew Cage was right.

"Come on." She brushed past him. "We should help."

* * *

They spent another hour hunting through the lonely, chrome corridors of the outpost. They found no more surprises lying in wait for them, and finished unloading the supplies. Greg found it difficult to shake the pervasive feeling of being watched. By the time they sat down to dinner, the sun was slipping below the horizon.

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