~ Chapter Thirty-Seven ~

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The grenade pins had all been pulled.

The soldiers dove to the left and to the right, others at the rear of the room ran to safety.

Then—

BOOM!

A figure shot up to their feet within all the dust and debris.

Soldiers nearest the blast, all groaned in the darkness. Others coughed and tried to wave away the dirt particles in the air.

"You wanted your cure. Now you're gonna get it." Growled the figure. They stepped over the bodies on the floor as they returned to whence they came. Back down to quarantine.

Silence followed in their absence.

The soldiers who were unharmed quickly went to aid their wounded comrades.

One soldier crouched beside another by the entry of the destroyed chamber but paused mid-motion.

His brows drew together, he thought he could hear something coming from beyond the chamber. He directed his ear to the noise.

Wide eyed, he gasped sharply and jumped to his feet.

He backed away a couple of steps before turning to rush out of the room and shouted, "Leave them! Run!"

The rest of the able-bodied soldiers watched him scramble away, before their eyes too went wide.

They could hear the rumbling crescendo heading toward them.

In unison, their heads all turned to the chamber, to the ruckus approaching.

Suddenly, infected burst out of the darkness, rushing up the corridor, and through the ruined decontamination chamber; that now rested permanently open.

Soldiers shouted and pulled out their guns.

Gunfire erupted but did little to slow the horde of undead that besieged them.

Not even stopping at the soldiers, the infected continued on and overwhelmed the civilians as well.

~~~

In the corridor below the chaos, the figure pushed through the wave of infected.

The dead had slowed from their running gait to what now looked like a horde of shoppers on Black Friday.

Perri was the only object moving in the opposite direction.

She stopped a door to peer in the little window. Inside, the soldiers by Jack on the bed were almost huddled together against the back wall. Their guns drawn.

Perri turned the door handle.

The fools hadn't even locked it... she thought as a wicked smile spread across her bloodstained face.

A push on the door was all she needed to do and a stream of infected flowed into the room.

Only four gunshots rang out before Perri could hear the soldiers screaming as they were torn apart and devoured alive.

An infected took a step too close to Jack who lay motionless on the bed.

"Don't touch him." Perri snapped at them and Jack was left alone.

Then a sound made Perri's ear twitch.

She turned around and let her eyes wander about the corridor full of shambling bodies.

Out the corner of her eye Perri noticed movement not belonging to the infected and when she focused on the source, the sound became all the more obvious.

"Perri!" Called the muffled voice from the other side of a door across the way.

All Perri could do was stare, she could feel the tears begging to be unleashed as her breaths deepened.

Then the person behind the door pressed a picture against the glass.

A photo.

The photo. The one that was absent from its place in the intricate, gold-plated frame in Madi's apartment.

Perri couldn't stop her eyes from watering as she pushed through the bodies to stop at the door.

The photo was of two fresh-faced girls, one with dark hair, the other with blue-dyed hair. The girls were pulling silly faces, wearing matching shirts and arm-in-arm as they'd leapt off a popular cliff face at an even more popular lake.

The person on the other side of the door turned the photo around.

On the back of the now creased and weathered photograph were the words: "To my best friend, I hope we can be the same people we were in this photo when we are old and grey; fun, brave and wild. But most importantly, inseparable – Periwinkle". 

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