Stanley Ankou slid the lever back with a click and watched as the doors to the facility opened before him like the gates of Heaven themselves. “Yeah, Baby.” He looked around with caution. No time for slip ups here. Not now.
A small red light spun slowly on a pole about fifty feet down the hallway. That must be his destination. He took a step inside and took a moment to peer around both doors. He didn’t want those things coming after him. Not when he was this close. The air was damp and musty. He knew they were around somewhere. But, right now he had data to gather and he needed to do it fast.
Another series of steps found him closer to his goal. And, found them closer as well. His eyes narrowed and the shotgun rose slightly. He listened.
The groaning started low and began to rise. Shadows danced down the corridor and up from the stairwells. The smell of rotting flesh filled his nostrils.
“CRAP!” Stanley brought the gun into play – spinning around and taking aim.
The horde came into view groaning and gnashing their rotting teeth. They ambled along the corridor and filled in the space between him and the Lab. No, he wouldn’t be stopped like this.
Stanley ran towards the spinning red light, gun raised and firing. He moved with grace and agility, but there were so many of the dead and so little shotgun shells. He tried to reload, but the undead descended on him like a swarm of bees. His final agonized vision was that of the red, spinning light and the lab mere feet away.
He had failed.
“Did you at least save? I told you, right? You need to get the grenades first, then hit the lab. You toss those suckers down there and blow the crap outta them first, then you just stroll into the Lab and your on to the next deal.” Mike grabbed another handful of popcorn and brought it to his mouth.
“You shouldn’t talk with your mouth full.” Stanley tossed the controller onto the sofa and snatched up his beer. “And I told you that that wasn’t going to work because the toxics would go off and I already used…the mask.” He killed the beer and rose to grab another.
“Oh yeah.” Mike shrugged. “You done?” Another two fistfuls of popcorn disappeared.
“Yeah…for now. Supposed to go meet Angie.” Stanley popped beer open and took several swigs.
“Taking the bus?”
“Yeah,” Stanley sighed and drifted back to the sofa. “There’s a five fifty. I can take that down and connect to the 22 at the bottom of the hill. Should get there in time – no problem.”
“How are things anyway? Good still?” Mike rubbed the corn along the bottom of the dwindling supply of butter and salt at the bottom of the bowl.
“Naw, we broke up.”
Mike blinked hard. “What? Really?”
“Why?” Mike shoved the bowl away.
Stanley slid the beer onto the tabletop and grabbed the controller again. “We were better as friends, I guess.” He rubbed the back of his neck and stared at the TV with a blank expression.
“You ok?” Mike rested his elbows on his knees. “You guys are still hanging out, huh? It’s kind of a shock.”
“Yeah.” Stanley loaded the game and focused. “I’m fine.”
Mike nodded slowly, then turned his attention to the TV – his eyes dropping to the time on the VCR. “Gotta go soon. Going out with Sarah.” He leaned back in his chair. “But, I’ll watch you DIE one more time, then walk down to the car with you. I’ll give you a ride over if you want.”
“Cool – thanks. I’ll just bus it. I don’t wanna take you out of your way.”
“It’s Cool – I’m heading down there anyway. Getting her at work.”
“Oh…ok, well…sure. Ok – I’ll take a lift. Thanks, man.”
A zombie’s head exploded sending gore splattering along a wall in the game.
“Grenades, huh?” Mike stood.
“Might not set off the toxics if you head down the hall faster?”
“I’ll try that.” Stanley maneuvered his character down the darkened hallway.