Chapter Three Part One - Gate

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Jack most definitely came in handy. He was a large young man, as strong as an ox. Under the direction of Annalise and Jackie, it only took him and James a couple of days to create a secure area directly off the front of the hotel.

During a more thorough exploration of the grounds the two men had located a couple of hire shops, one of which it seemed used to hire bicycles to guests of the hotel wishing to explore the grounds and surrounding countryside at a leisurely pace. The other – the one they were far more interested in – had at one point operated on a similar basis however rather than bicycles, four-wheel drive vehicles were the conveyances of choice.

Within the quite sizeable garage there were eight of the machines, Range Rovers and Land Rovers mostly, although there was a single Porschè Cayenne labelled as 'executive.'

Both had surveyed the executive vehicle with disgust. Brought up as a farmer, Jack did so because he was of the opinion that four-wheel drive was not synonymous with comfort whereas James did so because as far as he was concerned there were only two vehicles Porschè had ever made that were worth talking about, and as the Cayenne was neither a 911 or a 944, it did not count in his opinion.

It had only taken a small amount of searching to find the wall safe in which the keys were kept and Ken's sledgehammer had negated the need for the code. It was at that point, as James turned around with a handful of keys, that he had noticed a lot of stacked fencing through the window at the back of the garage. It was the kind of temporary fencing they used around building sites – metal and strong, with massively heavy blocks of concrete into which the fence slotted.

It had been Annalise's idea to create the secure area just off the hotel's entrance and soon, using a couple of Land Rovers and trailers, James and Jack had begun the task of moving the fencing from its location behind the garage and assembling it where Annalise wanted it.

“This might come in useful,” said Fiona, making her way outside as Jack was in the process of slotting the penultimate panel into its designated concrete block.

“Where the Hell did you find that, Fi?” Annalise asked, impressed that she had been able to find a welding torch.

“Maintenance,” she replied with a smile. “Fawaz and I were exploring. He's a regular little treasure hunter.”

Taking advantage of the perfect moment to appear, the young man appeared behind Fiona wearing a pair of goggles that were far too big for him, and Annalise chuckled.

“Jack,” she said. “You done much welding?”

“My fair share, I'd wager,” the man replied. His naked, muscled torso glistened with sweat in the early-April sunshine. “Leave it with me and when I've got this last panel in place, I'll make it so it would take a horde of Zeds to break through.”

“Let's just hope we don't have a horde come through here,” said Jackie, quietly.

Moments later, James returned having been searching for something rather important – a selection of chain and padlocks. Whilst it was all well and good welding the majority of the fence panels to each other, access was required, and that meant creating a gate of sorts. There would be two panels only held to the rest via chains and those two would be connected by the strongest chain and padlock they had.

Jack set to work welding the panels together. It was a long process as there were a lot of panels but as she watched him work, Annalise got the distinct impression that he was simply happy to be doing something with his hands.

Once the task was complete all gathered outside, even Ken who had spent the last couple of days on bed rest. His leg was infected and without proper medical attention – something that Annalise doubted he would get any time soon – he was not going to survive for long.

“It looks good,” said Sarah, smiling as Hope gripped her hand tightly. “To be able to stand outside without fear of getting bitten...”

“We're going to have to man this gate on a constant basis,” said Annalise. “Not only when we're out on a run, but in case more survivors find us.”

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