San Francisco, California
OK. Five blocks down 22nd street, under the Freeway, and out to the commercial dock. Docks are usually locked fairly tight – chain link fences, walk ways etc. I get over the fence and try to find a ship that could offer protected shelter. Once I make sure the ship is clear - it's a floating fort. Right? Uhm… Am I really asking and answering myself…
Gina sat up straighter on her sofa and drank the last of what she thought of as “free standing” water. This was the water from the tub and faucets that had filled as many containers as she had. She set the old 7-11 Slurpee cup down on the end table and looked out at the distant blue of the Pacific. Her drinking water was not lasting as long as she had thought. She had a little less than two cases of bottled water left. It would only last about a month or so at the current rate she figured.
She had watched the streets for days. She kept a tally of all the creatures she had seen. She did the statistical math about average per block. It meant nothing. Some days the streets were deserted then the next they were filled with the creatures.
Start small and break it down. Four stories to the ground. You know you can't go out the door. Gina had opened her door after a few days of silence in the hallway with the idea of trying to see if she could get to the emergency fire steps. She had the door half open when she saw the zombie shamble quickly around the corner of the hallway, black coagulated blood dripping from its mouth. She shut the door and pushed her dresser in from the bedroom while the creature slammed itself against the locked door repeatedly. It was the soft crying sound it made between attempts that caused her to scream out for it to shut up which only caused it to redouble its effort. That went on for almost 10 hours before it stopped. For all she knew it was still waiting on the other side of the door.
Clear an area and hold it, if possible. She knew there were bikes on the rack out in front of the building. If she could get down there and get a bike the trip to the dock would take 15 minutes. Step one would be determining what supplies she had besides water and some dry goods in the pantry.
She laid everything out in the fading afternoon light. A pretty nice set of unused stainless steel butcher knives she was given by an old flame who thought she should take a cooking class with him. A mop, a broom, a metal dustpan, a ball of heavy rough twine, 2 flat head screwdrivers, and a pair of pliers.
Not the M16 I was hoping to find - but it could be worse.
Gina looked at the mop then at the twine. She stood up and walked out to her balcony.
“Ahem. Cough cough. Noise,” she said in a slightly louder than normal voice, watching her neighbors balcony.
His white dress shirt was torn completely open. The cornflower blue tie was completely sucked in to his stomach wound where his significant other had feasted on him. He lurched to the edge of the balcony, his mouth working open and closed as if he could already taste her warm flesh. His gray arms reaching for her.
Be smart and be sure.
Gina walked back in to her apartment and picked up the twine. She quickly spooled out a few feet and severed it with a paring knife. She picked up the mop, looking at it thoughtfully, thinking of bad eighties television. She tied the twine to the end of the mop by the spongehead and then slightly further up the shaft of the handle. When she held the mop out there was a nice loop hanging down. Gina swung it around tentatively, grabbing the spindle on top of one of her kitchen chairs and pulling. The chair slid across the hardwood floor.
Fuck you Macgyver.
She walked back out to the balcony.
The creature let out a moan and a slaver of red glistening mucus plopped to the cement below.
Gina pulled her arm back, and flung it forward, exending as far as she dared over the railing. The loop of twine landed on her neighbors shoulder as he swung wildly at the mop head.
She pulled the mop back quickly and repeated the motion, stretching further out over the gap between the balconies. This time she snared him around the neck. Gina planted her body against the railing and yanked with all her might. The creature jerked forward, the mop handle snapping back to catch Gina in the cheek. She sat down hard.
Twine broke son of a bit-
She stood quickly, rubbed the sore spoton her cheek, and looked over the balcony edge. It had hit head first. She looked down at the creature. It was still. No movement.
“Can you hear me now?” Gina asked, holding the mop out in front of her.
There was no sound from her neighbor's apartment. She walked back into her apartment and opened an unpacked box labeled Knick-Knacks. She reached in the box and pulled out a snow globe. It was from her internship she did at Goldman. If you looked close the snowflakes were actually dollar signs. She shook it and a blizzard of dollar signs blanketed Wall Street. She walked back out to her balcony and threw the snow globe across the divide and into her neighbor's apartment. It made a solid thud then a smash of breaking glass - then… nothing. It was quiet over there. She waited a few minutes longer then returned to her apartment.
Its only about 8 feet. If I only had some rope.
Gina's eyes locked on the twine.
One strand broke on me but what about a whole bunch?
She grabbed two of her kitchen chairs, putting one near the front door and another in her living room. She felt ridiculous as she ran back and forth in her apartment hallway, winding the twine between a spindle on the top of each chair. When the spool was over half way used up she carefully pulled the end of her twine off each chair and knotted it. She picked up one end and walked it to the other, doubling the thickiness of her homemade rope. When she was done it was almost a centimeter in thickness.
Looks like crap but will it hold?
Gina dragged her home made rope into the bedroom and opened her closet door. She held a length of the rope between her arms, grabbing a clothing hook and pulling herself up, doing a shitty pull up. The rope fibers slid in her hands, and she had to clamp down hard to keep them from sliding about in the center of the rope, but they held. She dragged the length of rope out to her balcony, looking down once to make sure her neighbors body was still there. He was. She tied one end to her railing, leaving herself plenty of room to double and then triple the knot. She leaned against the rope, the knot tightened. Gina set the rope down and walked back in to the apartment.
Which box? Which box? Ah...
The box was marked GUILT. In it were her running shoes and work-out clothes and a small set of 5 pound metal dumbbells. She took one of the dumbbells and went back out to the balcony to finish her project. Gina tied the dumbbell in place, dropping it to her balcony so she she could pin it there with her foot, putting her weight against the knot to pull it tight. When it was done she held onto her contraption, wondering how it had come down to a bundle of twine and a barely used dumbbell. There was nothing for it but to do it.
Ok c'mon luck.
She threw the weight across the divide onto her neighbors balcony and slowly pulled the rope back.
Catch catch catch
It did not. She threw it over again. And again. Her shoulder ached. A few times she thought it was secure enough but after a few test tugs it gave way and the dumbbell tumbled over the far railing and swung like a pendulum until she pulled it up and tried again.
One more then I'm sleeping on it.
Gina fished the line in and it stopped. She pulled harder and it still held. She yanked suddenly and it… didn't move. She went inside and drank a bottle of Aqua Fina water and ate a stale fig newton as she steeled herself.
Eenie meenie minie mo… She picked the large stainless steel knife. Gina walked back out on to the balcony, listened for a few minutes and threw the knife underhand on to her neighbors balcony toward their open door. It hit the cement balcony floor, spun a few times lazily and stopped.
No better time than the present.
Gina climbed over her balcony so her back was facing the drop to the ground below.
Don't look down. If you did this on a playground you would be across in seconds…
Gina hooked her left leg over the twine rope and leaned back and took the rope in her left hand. At the same time she brought her right leg over the twine and grabbed it with her right hand so she was hanging suspended between the balconies.
Hold hold hold.
The rope sagged a few inches, stretching under her weight. Gina froze.
Now now now.
She shimmied across the twine rope underhand.
Three hands four hands five hands Christ I have to be almost across keep moving your legs-
Her head touched the cold metal of her neighbors railing. It was the part she was not feeling good about. She let her feet come apart slowly, using her abs to keep them from falling to fast. She didn't want to put extra strain on the twine. When she was hanging from her hands she carefully changed her grip and turned around in the air so she was facing her neighbors balcony. She grabbed the cold metal of the top railing and lifted herself up far enough to get a foothold on the concrete deck.
This is where you will fall don't blow it c'mon c'mon, it's not time to relax yet.
She leaned over the balcony, letting her body fall over the rail onto the hard concrete, not caring as it scraped at her flesh. She was just glad to be on solid ground. She looked back towards the safety of her apartment then reached down and picked up the knife. She slipped inside their apartment and hunched down, alert for any noise.
Like the noise of her fishing with dumbbell wouldn't have gotten its attention…
Gina figured the floor plan was basically the same as hers. Kitchen clear – the pantry was stocked and they had a water cooler with 2 unopened 5 gallon bottles tucked in the back.
Water problem solved for a while.
The living room was clear. She moved quickly in to the bedroom. The tan sheets were bloodsoaked and bloody handprints stamped the walls and mirror. She checked the master bath, checking behind the shower curtain like every dumb horror movie told her to. Nothing. She sat down on their leather couch.
Nice and comfortable.. Could probably sleep right here.
Then her eyes looked to the front door. The chain was not on. She looked at the turn knob for the deadbolt. It was horizontal. The door was unlocked. Gina threw herself off the couch and against the door and flung the bolt to locked, checking it by turning the doorknob. Locked. She felt the slightest resistance and it turned very slightly in her hand then the slow mewling sound began as the hallway creature flung itself against the door over and over.
Gina slid to the floor, her back to the door, laughing and crying.
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