Everything that stands. Part 2.
The onslaught never came.
As his eyes adjusted to the bright room three figures came into focus. A tall man dressed in jeans and a T-shirt stood to his right, hands out in front of him showing he meant no harm, and a broad smile across his dark features. To his left a young woman in some form of law enforcement uniform had a scowl on her face and her arms folded over her chest. The third figure appeared to have the same uniform and was pushing a dressing table up against the door, his broad shoulders flexing with the effort.
Will regained his composure and scrambled backwards away from the new faces. Too his left the gun lay bathed in dusk sunlight; he leant forward grabbing the weapon and then continued his retreat.
‘It’s ok; we’re not going to hurt you.’ The tall man said taking a step forward, his West Indian accent having a soothing effect on Will.
‘Yeah, but we should.’ The woman interjected. ‘He’s led them straight to us.’ As if they had heard her voice the door began to shake on its hinges.
‘This won’t hold for long.’ The man by the door added.
‘Thanks.’ The woman stared at Will with more venom than he had ever experienced, her arms now at her sides fists clenched.
‘Nita, go do something productive and help your partner barricade the door.’ The tall man turned to her and his face made it clear that his statement was not a request. With a heavy sigh she grabbed a chair from nearby and jammed it under the dresser. The tall man returned his attention to Will and took another step closer.
‘Now, what’s your name kid?’ Will raised the gun towards the tall man, fear still pumping through his body and overtaking all his other instincts. ‘Easy my friend.’ He held his hands up in surrender and took a step back. ‘Shall I give you mine first?’ Will lowered the weapon but gave no response. The tall man shrugged and continued anyway. ‘My name is Luther. Her name as you may have heard it Nita and her partner is Joshua.’ The door rattled and scrapped as the horde on the other side pressed forward.
‘Luther, we need to move and fast.’ Joshua remarked over his shoulder. In front of him the middle of the door had begun to splinter. Luther ignored him and took another step closer to Will.
‘Just your name, that’s all I’m after. Giving your name never hurt anyone.’ Will got to his feet but still held the gun out in front of him. As if for the first time he began to take in the room glancing to his left and right, but never really taking them off Luther. The interior was identical to the previous one, aside from the bodies and blood spatter, as was so often the case in large hotels.
‘Just lower the piece son and we can all work this out.’ Luther stepped closer, but Will still did not respond ,his eyes had become distant and he stared down at the metal instrument of death in his hand. Both men stood regarding the black object in his palm.
Their silence was broken by the sound of wood cracking and from the middle of the door a pale bloody hand reached towards Joshua and Nita.
His eyes came back into focus and the situation dawned on him. Will raised the gun again this time towards the door; Luther stepped back and held his hands over his face, but at the last moment Will turned and fire a shot into the centre of the window to his left. The whole pane of glass spider webbed, but stayed in its frame.
‘My name is, Will.’ He took a step towards the window and kicked at the bottom corner of the sheet. It gave way at the second attempt and disappeared down into the street below. Will poked his head out of the empty window frame and looked up. He smiled and ducked back into the room. ‘There’s a balcony on the floor above us.’ Will shoved the gun down the front of his Jeans. ‘We can climb up.’
Luther smiled back at him and then turned to his two comrades who had both stopped at the sound of gunfire, a smile also formed on Joshua’s lips, but Nita remained grim. Three different arms now pushed through the small hole in the door behind them and it began to get bigger. Another shake of the door brought them back to the task at hand and they put their weight back into pushing against the pressing mass from the corridor. Luther joined Will at the window and looked up at their escape route.
‘Not an easy climb.’ Luther offered but then shrugged his shoulders and looked back towards the door. ‘Not much choice either.’ Will gave him a reassuring grin and leapt forward. He caught the underside of the balcony and felt rough climbing proof paint cut into his palms. Through gritted teeth he adjusted his grip and reached up over the side.
The floor of the balcony had been made from decking so a good grip was easy to achieve, Will pulled himself up onto the outer lip and then up over the side. He stopped briefly to catch his breath before getting up and leaning over the side. Luther stared up at him.
‘The paint on the underside is serrated.’ Will said showing him his bleeding palm. ‘I’m gonna find something to hang down for you.’
‘Well hurry up because they are almost through.’ Luther glanced back into the room, the top corner of the door had begun to crack and bend inwards.
‘Luther, what’s the plan?’ Joshua quizzed over his shoulder. ‘This door’s about to give way.’
As the words left his mouth the top corner ripped and arms extended into the room. Nita’s head was down pushing against the dresser as a hand took hold of her hair and pulled her towards its fellow reaching limbs. Joshua saw this and sprang up onto the dresser forcing the loose corner of the door back against the outstretched rotting extremities. Luther took a step forward to help and was greeted by material hitting him across the face. A backdraft pulled the curtain out the window, knocking Luther off balance and he swung wildly with his arms trying to get a hold onto anything. His right hand found the edge of the window frame, but also found the shard of glass still lodged in the grouting. It sliced deep into his palm, but he held on regardless of the pain. His left arm got a grip on the curtain and slowly he dragged himself back into the room.
Luther pulled the material from his face and was met by Nita just in front of him, she was bleeding from the back of her head a large chunk of hair had been ripped out and red droplets now covered the shoulders of her uniform. Over her shoulder Luther could see that Joshua was still stood on the dresser, but was leaning to the right and kicking at anything that tried to come through the shredded wood.
Nita grabbed hold of the curtain in Luther’s hands and followed it out of the window. Above her the other end was tied to the balcony and Will leant over the edge looking down.
‘Come on let’s go.’ He shouted down at her.
Luther followed her gaze up and gave Will the thumbs up.
‘Joshua!’ Luther shouted. The stocky man looked up towards his name caller, accessed the situation in front of him and gave a quick nod.
Luther turned back to talk to Nita but found her half way up her climb.
Will gave the curtain an extra tug his end, grabbed Nita under her left armpit and together they fell backwards onto the decking.
She rolled off him and darted back to the balcony edge.
‘Joshua, come on!’ Luther shouted again as he swung out into the open air. His right hand burnt with pain as cut tendons strained against the force of his own body weight, almost causing him to lose his grip. He tried to pull himself up but all strength had left him.
‘My hand is fucked.’ He called up to the two faces above him. ‘I can’t climb.’ He glanced towards Joshua but as the sun set behind him the room became a series of shadows. ‘Pull me up God damn it!’ With a jerk he slowly began to rise up to safety above. Just as his feet reached the top of the window a figure jumped out from the darkness and grabbed a hold of his left leg. The extra weight took Will and Nita by surprise, the two of them crashed against the wooden frame and the curtain loosened from their grip. Luther looked down and saw the grimacing face of Joshua staring up at him.
‘Climb damn you!’ Joshua called up to his counterpart.
Luther shook his head and held back a scream. ‘Climb up me.’ He growled through gritted teeth. Joshua looked at the blood soaked curtain wrapped around the other man’s right hand and nodded his agreement. Will and Nita doubled their efforts but the going was tough.
Shadows formed and from the darkness a shape appeared at the window. And then another and another. One reached forward but missed Joshua and plummeted into the darkness below followed by another three bodies. The night exploded with noise as the four creatures hit the ground hard.
The two men jerked upward as Will and Nita finally got a hold of the makeshift rope.
Another shape leapt from the gloom and this time it caught hold of Joshua. Again, Will and Nita struggled with their haul and found themselves pressed against the handrail.
Before Joshua could react the creature’s teeth sank into his left buttock and its arms tightened around his knees. Joshua released his left arm and swung it down onto the top of his assailants head. He struck again and still the jaws would not separate.
‘JOSHUA!!’ Will screamed out from above. ‘Don’t move.”
Joshua pulled his arm in and grabbed hold of Luther’s leg again just as another individual jumped out of the pitch Hotel room and wrapped itself around its fellow pursuer. Its dead eyes stared greedily up at the two living beings stretched out above it and with a lick of its lips it began to climb up the hanging body ladder. Joshua screamed again as the creature enveloped around him sunk its teeth deeper into his flesh, Luther could feel the last ounces of strength leaving his arms as the climbing being at the bottom of the chain caused them all to swing with its erratic movements. More of them reached out from the shattered window as their momentum brought them closer to the outstretched arms. A few caught hold of their rotting companion’s and began to drag the whole group back into the room.
Suddenly the top half of the biter’s head exploded, it’s vice grip on Joshua vanishing as it fell like a stone taking its hungry friend with it and four other forms wrenched out of the window.
Will dropped the gun on the decking and began to help Nita pulled the curtain up. As Luther reached the lip on the railing he let out a triumphant shout and then tumbled down into safety. Joshua follow, his face drained of all colour and a look of absolute fear.
‘Fucking thing bit me.’ Joshua said holding a hand over bite marks to stop the bleeding.
‘Just stay calm, Josh.’ Nita knelt down next to him and had a quick look at the wound. ‘We need to find a first aid kit. You two go see what’s in this room.’ Will and Luther slid the door open and entered the Penthouse suite.
Joshua looked up to see if the other two were out of earshot. ‘I’m done for, Nita.’
‘Don’t say that.’ She replied keeping her eyes on the wound.
‘It’s true though. You’ve seen what one of those bites does to a man. I give it an hour before I turn on you.’ He reached out and turned her face so that she could look at him. ‘Leave me here and carry on.’
Nita blinked back a tear and then shook her head. ‘Not a chance.’
‘I’m dead anyway and sooner or later I will change.’
‘Well, we’ll worry about that when it happens.’ Nita snapped. She wiped a tear from her cheek and gave him an apologetic smile. ‘Sorry.’
He returned the smile and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
Luther returned to them with some bed sheets and a bottle of Vodka. ‘It’s all I could find but it should help stop the bleeding.’ He handed them over.
‘Alright drop them.’ Nita said as she unscrewed the lid.
Begrudgingly Joshua complied, leaning forward and lowered his trousers.
The wound had already begun to coagulate and a black discharge wept out of the multiple tooth holes. Joshua screamed as the alcohol washed over his damaged skin.
TOO BE CONTINUED