~ Chapter Four ~

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After the jeep was long gone and the ambiance had grown quiet, the pair skulked about in the night.

It was not going to be safe to enter the city whether it be day or night, so rather than walking around blind in the darkness, Gavin suggested finding someplace to rest.

They would be better off striking out for the city interior in the wee hours of the morning. For some reason the infected were less active around dawn.

There was a building a few hundred meters before the congestion of vehicles that marked the city's entrance. It would be their best option... as long as there were no dead inside.

Only quiet greeted them upon their approach. Even the insects and other crawling things didn't dare to venture this close to the city. Not that there were many critters left roaming about these days.

The building looked to have been erected by the military. Most likely in the early days of the epidemic. Probably used as a base of operations if the surplus of damaged army gear was anything to go by.

Gavin led the way, creeping over to the door. Perri on his heels.

He gave the door handle a try.

Locked.

Signaling Perri with a shake of his head over his shoulder, they backtracked along the wall of the huge building until they reached the corner.

Perri poked her head around. It was clear. Or at least it looked clear. It was too dark to be certain.

They remained close as they stuck to the wall, stepping over damaged crates and the occasional corpse.

Just the fact that there were corpses was a bad sign. They couldn't have been there for more than a week. What's worse, it was hard to tell whether they were the cadavers of the infected or of survivors.

Gavin touched her on the arm. She stopped to see why.

He gave a pointed look at an open window just above them.

They quickly and quietly lifted a few crates into place to form a path up to the window.

Most of the crates were near empty, so even though they were easier to lift, the makeshift stairs weren't very safe.

Placing additional crates, and even corpses, around the sides was the best they could do to stabilize it.

After standing at the foot of it, Perri grimaced at the sight. She looked to her companion and tucked her tomahawk through the straps of her knapsack.

Taking a deep breath, she attempted the climb.

Crates creaked and wobbled as she clambered up. Taking it slow and making sure she had her balance before continuing.

It wasn't the fear of falling that made her heart race. It was the fear of the racket she'd make if she fell and all the crates came crashing down along with her. She'd wake the dead for sure.

Meanwhile, Gavin waited at the side, holding onto the mound to keep it as steady as possible.

When Perri was in arms reach of the windowsill, she held her breath as she stretched out a hand to grab the ledge.

She grabbed onto it as hard as she could. Now that she had gotten this far, she was going to make sure she made it inside. She had to.

Inching closer without any unnecessary movements that could cause the crates to shift beneath her, she pushed the windowpane as wide as it would go and then she climbed inside.

There were desks covered with paper, more crates, cardboard boxes and more corpses.

Someone had definitely been there recently. But, had they been killed, or had they killed the infected that nested there.

She crouched by the window, behind a desk and pulled out her laser-pointer. When scanning a room for any sign of the infected, her laser was better than a flashlight.

It was as good as knocking on the door to find out if a room was empty or if there were dead inside. Either there would be silence, or the room would snarl in response.

The laser didn't wake them, but in the complete darkness—like the room she was in now—it was bright enough for, at least, Perri to see.

Luckily, this time, the room was clear.

She peered out of the window to check on Gavin.

He waved a hand by his throat in a cutting motion and shook his head.

Perri nodded her understanding; he wasn't coming up.

Perhaps he didn't feel comfortable enough to make the rickety climb.

So, Perri mouthed the words "I'll open the door". And Gavin gave her a thumbs-up.

Turning from the window, she pulled out the tomahawk—just in case—and started to sneak through the messy room.

Perri moved to the only doorway in the room and pointed her laser at the wall opposite the opening. She drew tiny circles with the laser dot on the wall. If anything were watching from the hallway, it would see the chaotic red dot and make itself known.

But none did.

Better to be safe than sorry. That's what her brother had said when she first saw him use this technique.

She stepped into the hallway and followed the corridor which led her down a set of stairs to the ground level.

Again, she checked the room with her laser light and found it clear of infected.

This room was a lot more disorderly. The men and women stationed here certainly seemed to have left in a hurry. But, some... some didn't quite make it out.

There was a heaped pile of corpses at the front door on the other side of the room.

Moving closer, Perri's brows pulled together as her eyes strained to examine the bodies in the dark.

They weren't the corpses of people who had gotten stuck trying to flee out the door.

No.

Those bodies had been stacked against the door.

But, who put them there? Perri thought to herself.

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