Thank you Squircle for this incredible place! It’s exactly what I was looking for and I hope you don’t mind me using it in my story!
“Built in 1853 and deinstitutionalized in 1962, Dementé Insanitarium was named after the first owner and headmaster of the asylum, Vladmir Dementé, who passed down the right of the institution and kept it in the family for a couple generations, up until the last headmaster whom was not of family blood. The last Dementé to head the research at the asylum was named after his great grandpa, and mysteriously disappeared after over three decades of running the place. Nobody has stepped inside since the state closed it up, but if you are daring enough to venture inside, you may learn the secret of the disappearance of Vladmir Dementé.”
I’ve changed the story a bit… The state didn’t really close it up, but kept underground modern laboratories and thus continued their supernatural research. All citizens heard of with strange powers are seized and sent here, as are talented inventors. But an experience went terribly wrong, a witch zombified her doctor and all hell broke out. In a couple of days the whole facility was contaminated, including the witch, who by the way was the first to succumb to the zombie doctor’s craving for fresh brains…
That’s when Derek shows up. It won’t take long now before the government finds out what has happened, and sends in their special forces for a big clean-up. Oh, how Vladimir Dementé would have loved the chaos…
Derek can’t really go around asking questions about Dementé Insanatorium in the little town of Sleepy Creek as he doesn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to himself. The place doesn’t figure on any maps so it takes him a whole day of cruising around the outskirts of town, before a flash of metal draws his attention. When he turns back to check, he literally stumbles on an overgrown road sign, hidden in the brambles by the side of the main road. The access to the dirt track is blocked by a heavy chain-link fence, but Derek climbs it easily after hiding his motorbike. It takes a while to trek the whole way up to the asylum, and he’s starting to think about turning back to get his bike when after a sharp turn he can see the old building looming ominously in the shadows of the mountains…
He finds himself a hiding place where he can observe the asylum without being seen and after making sure there’s no traffic whatsoever, he decides to return after dark to check out the premises more closely. The first floor lays dark but there’s definitely movement on the second. He regrets not having thought of bringing some field glasses – the distance and vegetation making it impossible to actually see what’s going on inside.
After getting some tools and a hot meal in town, he’s back again at sunset. He quickly cuts off the padlock, ignoring the “private property” sign warning the intruders about what will happen if they trespass, and slowly cruises up the driveway as close to the foreboding building he can come without raising suspicions. It’s surrounded by another high perimeter fence with barbed wire on top. More warning signs…
“No trespassing”… But no guards and no dogs. Just the fence… I could climb it easily but it’s probably electric. Hmm… I think it’s time to have a closer look.
Hiding his heavy motorcycle behind an overgrown sign, he creeps closer. There are no lights on, making it difficult to distinguish the building through the unkempt canopy of trees and bushes.
He decides to try the gate first. Tentatively pushing at it with a dry branch to check if it’s electrified, it noisily creaks open. Derek hesitates for a split second, surprised to find the imposing gate unlocked, then he quickly dashes for the shelter the shadows close to the building provides before somebody wonders about the noise.
But everything remains eerily silent. Slowly he makes his way around the building, cautiously peeking through the windows before checking if they are locked.
After what he can make out in the feeble light, the first floor seems to be abandoned. He’s preparing to break a window when suddenly there’s movement – a military advances slowly and Derek quickly ducks, thanking his lucky star. Keeping his head down he proceeds, being careful not to be seen.
Everything seems calm inside. But how do I get in without drawing attention? I can’t really break a window if there are guards, and so far the ones I’ve tried have all been locked…
On the far side of the sanatorium he almost misses an already broken basement window, overgrown by ivy. Carefully he slides inside, finding himself in a dimly lit corridor. Making sure to stay crouched against the stone wall while listening for a sign of life, he searches with his eyes for the nearest escape but the corridor is devoid of doors of any kind on his left, and on his right it makes a sharp turn. The only sound is a steady humming that seems to come from what’s probably the main mechanical room.
So that’s where I’ll start.
He follows the sound through meandering underground corridors until he faces a heavy metal door. The noise and the security recommendations tell him he’s at the right place.
The last sign draws his attention, “Caution Eye and ear protection… Yeah, I can figure that…
The door slides effortlessly open and he steps into an awful noise. Stopping on the threshold to get used to the noise and the smell, he hesitates.
Must be like this in hell…
He tries to get his bearings in the huge room, taking in the red light and the din of the compressors. The main distribution piping is covering the walls and the ceiling and steam emanating from the valves at regular intervals is laying the room in a permanent haze, making it difficult to see clearly.
Making his way through the racket he heads for a staircase with an emergency exit sign above.
An unexpected sound stops him in his tracks. The hissing and clanking of the pipes almost drowns out the strange growling coming from above. He raises his eyes and recoils.
What he first takes for a technician is blocking the exit. Clawing at him through the fence, the creature is gurgling and hissing frantically. Derek backs away as it shakes the fence forcefully, pushing its head so hard against the metal links in the attempt to reach him that large chunks of its face is torn away. Derek turns on his heels and hastens back the way he came, happy to have the high metal fence between him and the awful creature. He slams the metal door shut behind him, panting.
What the hell was that? Never seen anything like it… He draws a deep breath. That way up seems to be a no go…
He backtracks, taking a left turn, then a right, then left again – the basement is a tangle of rooms and endless corridors. He passes through the laundry room and some storage rooms, one of which is filled with row upon row of urns.
Gosh, I don’t want to think about what’s inside…
He can’t help himself, but takes a look anyway, confirming his suspicions. Ashes…
He continues through several more storage rooms, another laundry room and an underground garage with three gleaming new black SUV’s.
One of these might come in handy if dad can’t ride with me… And the keys are in the ignition. Cool…
He backtracks once again. The basement of the Insanatorium is a real maze, but Derek’s wolf sense keeps him from getting lost. One of the doors gives direct access to the crematorium. Curious, Derek pushes a button and the huge oven blasts alive as if it had served yesterday.
I’ve seen enough… I have to find dad and get him out of here!
He pushes through a wooden door on the other side of the crematorium and finds himself in a hall, lined by dirty security doors and with a large staircase at the end. Suddenly there’s a rustling and gnawing sound from behind one of the doors. Stopping, he rubs the grime of the glass with his sleeve so he can peek inside.
The cell is really dark, but Derek can distinguish a movement on the floor – a large rat is sitting on its hind legs, looking straight back at him with gleaming eyes. With a squeak it scurries away from what seems to be-
Oh my God. Poor devil… Derek stares in disbelief at the skeleton on the floor.
The door is locked from the outside with simple bolts, but he needs to kick it open nevertheless. Kneeling next to the white bones, he inspects what once was a human being. The rats have done a thorough job, as have the bugs and worms, making it impossible to date the decease.
Expecting the worst, he moves on. Stopping in front of each cell, throwing quick glances through all the doors, he prays he won’t find the remains of his father in one of them. But the residents are all as dead as the first one.
He starts up the dark stairs. There’s still no sign of life, the sound of his steps echoing forlornly against the stone walls.
Normal. It’s midnight after all… But the whole place is creepy. Poor dad, I just hope he’s all right…
He can’t shake the image of the creature in the boiler room and shuddering he hastens his pace.
The door on the landing is slightly ajar, a bleak light fanning over the last steps. He tries to push it open, but something is blocking it on the other side.
He peeks through the gap into what seems to be a reception area. A worn out, hastily abandoned, reception area. Dusty archives are haphazardly disposed, as if they had been pushed around for some obscure reason. There’s no one in sight, but he proceeds cautiously nonetheless, pushing the door slightly and making as little noise as possible when he squeezes through the gap. One of the heavy wooden benches has been dragged in front of the door, together with a desk and some chairs balancing on top, one of which topples over and comes jumbling down. Derek has just the time to catch it before it hits the floor. Holding his breath he carefully puts it down, backing away from the unstable stack of furniture.
Wow, that was a close call. He wipes his brow, turning towards the bulletin board still filled with old clippings and ads.
There’s probably something in the archives… Dad’s file or something that tells me which floor he’s on…
Tentatively, he pulls a drawer…
He’s not surprised to find them all empty.
The sanatorium was shut down in the 60’s, that explains why everything looks like it was abandoned some fifty years ago. But we know the government is continuing their research here. So where is everyone? I’ve been through the basement, and it was empty, and the only guards I’ve seen were in the left wing – which should be over there…
He looks back at the old bulletin board, the pushed back chairs.
Keeping the abandoned look probably serve as a cover, if anyone’s foolish enough to brave the warnings and the electrified fence. But then again, it wasn’t electrified anymore. And the machines are well kept and working… So why does it look like everyone left in such a hurry?
The open drawer seems to be laughing at him and he refrains from kicking it, passing a hand through his hair as he usually does when he’s at a loss for words or doesn’t know what to do next.
Where could the recent archives be located? He remembers seeing some lights on upstairs. Hmm… I’ll just have to keep away from the guards, wherever they are, and find the stairs…
The screeching sound of a chair being pushed back startles him and he ducks behind an archive. With beating heart he waits.
Then the chair is pushed back again.
It’s coming from the end of that corridor.
He starts moving towards the sound, staying close to the wall. The corridor leads to an empty ward with several doors. He stops and listens for a clue to where the sound might have come from. Carefully he advances, keeping to the wall, ready to duck behind one of the scattered beds and pieces of furniture. Holding his breath, he peeks through the dirty glass on one of the doors.
He quickly ducks down again, processing what he just saw.
There’s a guy tied to a chair in a kind of… What? A freaking Frankenstein operating room? Jeez. What the hell is going on?
His thoughts are interrupted by a raspy voice, ‘Hey, you! Outside the door!’
Derek hesitates, but ventures a quick glance again.
‘Yeah, you. Get your ass in here!’
Derek pushes the door open and slides into the room. The guy might have a big mouth, but he’s tied up so there’s no danger coming from him. No. He’s more concerned about the person who tied big-mouth here to the chair…
The man leans forward, rattling his hands behind his back, ‘You’ll need a key to open the handcuffs, but I guess the screwdriver over there will do.’ He motions towards the workbench with his head, thick blondish hair falling into his light eyes. ‘What are you waiting for? Get a move on!’
‘Who said I’d free you?’
Derek stops a safe distance from the man, watching him cautiously. He seems to have gotten a good beating, there’s blood on the floor and after what shows beneath the open biker’s jacket, his ripped torso is badly bruised. His shoulder length hair is falling like a curtain over his face but he nonchalantly shakes it back into place with a blasé gesture, straightening on the chair. The man’s pale eyes rake over Derek, judging him. Unconsciously Derek straightens his back, belligerently staring back.
‘Well, you didn’t. But it’s the best thing you could do right now.’ Irritated, the man grimaces, ‘You won’t last through the night without me, you see… Uh-oh.’
‘Shut up, wolf boy!’
Derek spins round, staring at a middle aged man in a torn T-shirt, who silently has entered the room, nervously waving a gun in front of him.
‘Show me your hands, kiddo!’
Derek raises his hands, glancing from the edgy man to big-mouth who smiles self-righteously.
‘See? Told you so… Meet Andrew Warden, the last of the wardens.’ He chuckles. ‘And as he’s the one with the gun, you’d better do as he says.’
‘I told you to shut up, wolf boy!’ The warden takes a menacing step forward, then, remembering Derek, gestures at him with his gun. ‘Turn around! Get on your knees, boy.’
Derek sinks to his knees, his mind racing. Wolf-boy? What the hell is going on here?
Then everything goes black as the warden hits him hard on the head with the butt of the gun.
With a groan, Derek opens his eyes but shuts them right away when the faint light hits his sensitive pupils. His head is hurting and he’s nauseous.
What happened? In a flash the memories come flooding back and he struggles onto his hands and knees, breathing hard. The sound of voices seems to come from very far away and he fights the waves of nausea washing over him when he changes position.
‘How did you do it?’ The warden’s voice comes from behind him.
Aha… Big-mouth is still here…
‘I broke your fucking nose! And your ribs! And I shot you!’
‘Yeah, I remember that…’ Big-mouth answers cockily.
The warden waves his gun in front of the man’s face. ‘If I put a bullet into your pretty face, would you heal from that too?’
‘Probably not. But then I won’t be able to help you get outta here, duh?’
‘Shut the fuck up!’ the warden screams.
His words are followed by the vicious sound of a fist hitting target followed by a grunt.
‘Go ahead! Try to heal from this!’ A sick crunching sound, and a groan. ‘Being a werewolf doesn’t help you now, does it? Huh? Wolf boy?’ The warden hits the man on the chair again and again.
Derek shakes his head, fighting the crippling sensation of nausea when he moves. He must try to stop the man before he’s beating -what did he say? Wolf boy?- to death… His body starts trembling, his hands curl and uncurl as claws snap forward, his jaws aching from the outburst of fangs.
Derek’s werewolf senses take over and with a growl he attacks the warden from behind, not giving him a chance to see what was coming.
The poor man doesn’t realize what’s happening. In the blink of an eye he’s on his back on the floor, desperately trying to fight off the furious wild beast that Derek has become.
‘Please! Don’t kill me! Please…’
The man chained to the chair huffs, spitting some blood on the cracked tiles at his feet. ‘You won’t be feeling good in a cage, kiddo. And that’s where you’ll end up if you kill that man… Or worse if you just take a bite of him…’
The blond man’s husky voice reaches something deep down in Derek, who calms down somewhat.
‘I’ll do anything… Call him off! Please!’ the warden pleads for his life.
Big-mouth licks the blood off his busted lower lip. ‘Just take the damn keys and unlock me.’
Swiftly turning the warden onto his stomach Derek wrenches his arm up behind his back, effectively blocking his prisoner’s movements.
‘The keys… The keys are in my back pocket! Ouch!’
Without a word Derek fishes them out, yanking the warden up on his feet.
Maintaining the warden’s arm in a painful grip, Derek maneuvers behind the chair and unlocks the handcuffs.
‘Not too soon…’ the blond man mumbles, rubbing his wrists.
With a crunching noise he swiftly resets his nose and aims a punch at the warden’s face, knocking him out. Derek struggles to hold the heavy body upright, glaring at the blond man over the unconscious warden’s shoulder.
‘What? I’ve always been a sucker for revenge.’ Big-mouth shrugs apologetically, grabbing the warden’s other arm. ‘Now let’s cuff him to the chair.’
Derek stands back, watching in silence as the blond man secures their prisoner to the very same chair he himself was tied to just a minute earlier.
The muscular blond man blows on his knuckles. ‘Hurts a bit… Where’s the gun?’
Without a word, Derek aims it at him.
‘And what do you think you’re doing? You’re gonna shoot me? I don’t think so.’ He sits lazily on a workbench. ‘I’m the only one here who’s not contaminated. And that’s the best argument I can find right now. I think we should help each other – there’s always been solidarity amongst pack members.’
‘Pack members?’ Derek asks. ‘As in pack?’
The blond man doesn’t blink, repeating, ‘THE pack.’ He holds up his hand, and Derek watches in awe as it transforms instantly into a clawed paw.
He hesitates. ‘You’re a werewolf, so what? Why should I trust you?’
The blond man looks at him with skepticism, ‘Didn’t you hear me?’
Derek doesn’t answer.
‘OK,’ he says slowly. ‘I’m a werewolf. You’re a werewolf. And as there’s probably only you and me alive in this hell hole, I guess we could say we’re a pack of sorts.’ He looks a little irritated when he adds, holding out his hand for the gun, ‘And pack members look out for each other.’
Derek hates to admit it, but big-mouth is talking some sense. And there’s something else. Something he can’t define makes him trust him.
He hands over the revolver, ‘Here… I’m Derek. Derek Vargas.’
The man takes the gun, swinging the cylinder out and checking that the chambers are all loaded. ‘Cade.’
He swings the cylinder shut again with an experienced movement, turning towards the warden and slapping him awake.
The warden blinks, raising his head and whimpering, ‘I won’t tell anyone. I swear I won’t tell. Please.’
‘I know you won’t.’ Cade mumbles, cocking the revolver with his thumb.
He aims the gun at the warden, who closes his eyes and starts on a stammering prayer. A wet spot is spreading between his legs.
‘Don’t kill him. We might need him.’
Cade doesn’t flinch. Slowly his finger tightens its grip on the trigger. ‘He’ll die anyway. Look at his arm, he was bitten. This is mercy.’
‘What do you mean “mercy”?’ Derek is confused.
‘Then again… The gunshot will make the others come swarming from all over the place, and we don’t want that…’
Hiding the gun in the small of his back he turns towards Derek. ‘Why are you here?’
Derek crosses his arms, ‘Why are you here? Even though you seem a little crazy, now I think about it.’
Cade smiles a big wolfish grin. ‘I think it’s obvious why I’m here,’ he pats Derek on the shoulder, ‘but you’re going to answer my question first.’
Derek doesn’t say anything, holding Cade’s gaze.
‘I’m older, duh.’ Cade approaches his face to Derek, ‘And…’ he pauses for effect, ‘I. Am. An. Alpha.’
Derek doesn’t flinch. ‘My dad’s supposed to be kept here. And I’m telling you this because you might know where he is.’ He draws his breath, ‘Duh.’
Cade looks at him an instant, then he smiles. ‘I like your guts. They’ll probably get you killed one of these days, but I like your style. C’mon, let’s go.’
‘Hey! You can’t leave me here!’ The warden screams desperately.
Cade bends down, his eyes level with the terrified employee. ‘Shht… You know what will happen if you make too much noise…’
The warden gulps, nodding frantically. ‘I won’t say anything I will be quiet I promise I will just don’t leave me here please don’t leave me I promise I will be quiet please-’
Cade tut-tuts. ‘We can’t take you with us.’ He stands up, backing away with a finger on his lips, ‘Shht…’
He walks up to the double doors and pushes them open. ‘After you.’ He bows ironically making a sweeping gesture with his hand to Derek. ‘Let’s go get your dad… And don’t forget the screwdriver – it might come in handy.’
‘Handy?’ Derek hesitates but grabs the rusty tool, and after a last glance at the sobbing warden, he pushes through the swinging doors after Cade.
‘What do you mean by contaminated? And who are the “others”?’
Derek follows Cade through the door the warden came through, into an adjoining room with some scary looking equipment. The warden’s jacket is nonchalantly thrown on a chair.
‘I’ll be damned…’ Cade picks it up, a quick search of the pockets reveal a lighter, a pack of cigarettes and some extra bullets. He throws the jacket on the floor, examining the torture chair it had hidden. ‘Check this out.’
Derek saunters over, ‘Wow… I thought things like this only existed in scary movies like Silent Hill…’
‘Yeah… and it’s been used recently, from the look of it…’
‘Is that blood?’
‘Probably…’ Cade turns some switches and Derek jumps away from the chair as it is getting charged with electricity.
‘Hey! Watch out! The damn thing is working.’
Cade scrutinizes the chair closely, ‘Wow. They probably used it for “therapeutic” purposes, huh. Pity the warden crushed my cell…’ He taps his chin thoughtfully, ‘Take a picture of that. We should put it on the net. Let the world know what’s going on and such.’
‘I don’t have a cell.’
Cade looks at him in disbelief. ‘No cell? Where do you come from? Straight outta hick town?’
‘Of course I have one! It’s just I left it with my brother when…’
‘Because he hasn’t got one?’
‘Well, yes… but…’ Derek sighs, ‘Just forget it.’
They push through the swinging doors back into the hall, walking in silence.
They can see someone moving around in one of the rooms further down the corridor.
Derek lights up, ‘Great! A doctor! He probably knows where I can find my dad!’
‘I wouldn’t go-’
But Derek has already pushed the door open… ‘Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me if you know where to find Don Vargas?’
‘-in there if I were you.’ Cade finishes his sentence and with a sigh he draws his gun, following the young werewolf.
The doctor turns slowly around, looking at Derek with empty eyes. The young werewolf realizes his mistake a little too late but Cade is right behind him, casually putting a bullet through the zombie doctor’s head just when he attacks.
‘Are you fucking crazy? You could have killed me!’ Derek stares from the body spilling its brains out on the floor, back to Cade. He jumps with nerves when the woman he had taken for a patient growls behind his back, rattling the armrests on the chair. Backing away, he bumps into Cade.
‘But I didn’t. I probably saved your life.’ The older werewolf takes the screwdriver from his hand and approaches the woman. With a glance he makes sure that she’s secured to the chair, before firmly planting the tool between the woman’s blank eyes. The growl transforms into a gurgle, then nothing.
‘That makes us even,’ Derek grumbles, watching Cade try to withdraw the screwdriver.
Cade swears under his breath, ‘You didn’t really save my life, you just unlocked the handcuffs…’
The old rusty tool is firmly stuck in the skull, and only the handle comes loose. Without looking at Derek he walks over to the door, carefully opening it and peeking outside.
‘We should get away before the gunshot gets us in trouble.’ He slides through the door, adding, ‘And try to keep your emotions in check – transforming and biting one of them dead bastards won’t help your dad.’
Derek glares at him, feeling stupid for losing his composure. He swears to himself never to make that same mistake again.
He follows Cade into the empty corridor, moving fast.
‘Hey! What do you mean by dead-?’
‘Shht.’ Cade lowers his voice to a whisper, ‘They – the zombies – react to noise.’
‘Uh-huh… You mean Zombies like in the-Walking-Dead-Zombies?’ Derek asks, even though he already has a pretty good idea about the “things” he has seen so far.
‘Yeah… Kinda. I see you catch on fast,’ Cade says, his low voice dripping of irony.
Derek fights the urge to ask further questions, concentrating on keeping up with the swift moving older werewolf.
He said the warden was bitten. Does that mean he’ll transform into one of these… things? Maybe I should have let Cade kill him… I sure wouldn’t like to become a walking dead… Gah, how come I loved that TV series?
‘Wait a sec.’ Cade stops and fumbles in his boots, withdrawing a mean looking knife. ‘I think you should have something to defend yourself with.’
‘Thanks.’ Derek weighs the knife in his hand.
‘Just go for the head. It’s the only thing that stops them.’
Derek nods, swallowing hard. Drawing his thumb along the sharp blade he watches the blood drop to the floor as in slow motion, feeling the tingling of the healing process. If what Cade said is true, and he knows it is because he has seen three zombies with his own eyes, it might be too late to save his dad… He has to find him anyway, and put him out of his misery before-
A low growl and the sound of shuffling feet interrupts his thoughts. Cade meets his eyes and they grin at each other before stepping around the corner…
They try to keep a low profile, hiding when they can, and fighting when they have to. Derek catches on fast and they make good progress. Soon they sneak into the huge library, where Cade knows there should be a staircase leading to the director’s private apartment. But the walls have caved in and the stairs are filled with jumble.
‘We could just jump over Ugly Betty here-’ Cade falls on his knees looking at the zombie trapped under a large rock, ‘-and climb…’ He frowns, ‘But then we have to get past the guy up there.’
Derek follows his gaze. Another creepy undead is stuck midway up. Clawing the empty air and growling ferociously he’s efficiently blocking the access.
The hissing female zombie is desperately reaching for Cade who’s kneeling just out of reach, ignoring her. Derek takes out his knife, holding the blade between his thumb and forefinger. Squinting, he aims, throwing it right between the eyes of the creature above which slumps forward with a gurgling sound. Cade forms his lips in a whistle, looking at Derek with admiration.
Derek grins, ‘After you.’
The library stretches over two floors. After climbing the jumble on the stairs, they have to cross over to the far part of the huge room to the screening room, where there should be another, private, staircase leading to the director’s office. They try to keep out of sight of the zombies wandering aimlessly around, but it’s impossible. Slowly they move forward, silently killing off the creatures they encounter, keeping their backs free.
‘I think these two were the last ones…’ Derek cleans his blade on the neutralized zombie’s hospital shirt, looking around him. Where’s Cade?
He walks around the bookshelf and there’s a door ajar. ‘Cade?’ he whispers.
‘Shhht!’ grabbing him, Cade puts a hand over his mouth but it’s too late. ‘I sure hope you run fast,’ he adds, letting go of Derek and running straight into the zombie filled screening room.
Derek hesitates for a split second, then follows right behind Cade, sprinting up towards the scene, turning right and oh shit! Cade jumps a huge chain-link fence that is blocking the access to the stairs behind.
‘What are you waiting for!?! C’mon! RUN!’
Derek takes a deep breath and lunges forward, scrambling over the fence and falling in a heap on the other side. He crawls quickly backwards out of reach of the bloodthirsty bunch pressing towards the metal fence trying to reach him.
Folding the Intelligence Profile into his dad’s passport, Derek throws his dad’s medical journal on the desk and slides the passport, the USB key and the micro-cards into his back pocket.
Cade scrutinizes his face. ‘Something in there you didn’t want to know about?’
‘Sort of…’ He leans casually back in his chair and returns Cade’s stare. ‘So… what’s the next step?’
Cade hesitates. ‘We have to get down there again. Your dad’s in the right wing. Irony of sorts, not far from where you found me.’
‘So… Are you going to tell me what you’re doing here? You don’t seem to be looking for anyone.’
‘Could be because I’ve already found who I was looking for,’ he says curtly, debating whether he should let Derek in on his business at the Insanatorium or not. His pale eyes seem to look right through the young werewolf, reading not so much his mind but judging his actions.
‘I had something to take care of… but kinda got caught in the commotion. Andrew the warden had me in isolation –I guess that’s why I’m still alive- and I talked him into helping me out.’
‘It didn’t look like a fruitful cooperation,’ Derek says drily.
‘Nope. I guess we had some trust issues.’ He leans back in the comfortable leather swivel chair, forming a pyramid with his fingertips. ‘Anyway, I found who I was searching for – one of the professors in charge of the research in this place, and I locked him up in a cell. If he’s not dead yet, I bet he wishes he was…’ He sighs. ‘It’s my job. To find people.’ And get rid of them, he adds to himself.
‘Some kind of private eye?’
Cade chuckles, ‘No. More like a bounty hunter. Or sometimes a cleaner.’
Cade doesn’t develop, but Derek gets the picture. He changes the subject. ‘How are we getting out of here?’
‘The same way we got here.’ Cade takes a chair and breaks off the legs. ‘We’ll stake them in their rotten heads!’
Expertly twirling the two pieces of wood like it was an unlinked nunchaku, he adds, ‘Right through the fence. And when there’s no one left, we’ll climb out again. Easy.’
It wasn’t that easy, but Cade’s plan worked and they got downstairs and back to the right wing. Continuing their killing spree, they eliminate the sparse zombies shuffling around in the corridors until they finally reach the cell mentioned in the Vargas’ file.
The door is locked from the inside, ‘-which is rather good, as it means nobody’s been in here since the door was locked,’ Cade says, aiming his elbow at the glass window, shattering it.
They can see someone lying on the bed, apparently sleeping.
‘-but you never know,’ Cade adds smartly, reaching in and opening, ‘-he might have been contaminated before he locked himself up…’
‘Thanks for that. Just what I needed to hear…’
Derek rushes in, expecting the worst, but his dad seems to be unharmed. He hardly recognizes the frail old man on the bed; his flamboyant red hair is now speckled with grey, his hollow cheeks covered with an unkempt beard. Don Vargas lies unconscious and unrecognizable, not even waking up when they check his bruised body for bite-marks. Falling on his knees next to the bed, Derek fumbles for his dad’s emaciated hand. The Hell with Cade, he can’t hold back his tears anymore.
‘Stop crying, for god’s sake. I can hear that old heart of his beating from a distance.’
Derek refrains from answering something harsh. Blinking away his tears, he turns to Cade who’s waiting, arms crossed.
‘I don’t think he can walk.’
‘Yeah. I figured as much. We can’t take one of the hospital beds in the corridor, they’ll make too much noise. I guess we’ll have to carry him until we find a wheelchair…’
Cade lifts Don’s inert body using a fireman’s carry, the body draped over his shoulders. Normally, carrying a body wouldn’t be a problem for someone as tall and fit as Cade, but the gun wound is taking its toll. He can feel it still numbing his hip… Even if Don’s body is quite skinny, the distance and time make it heavier and heavier. Having to move swiftly doesn’t make it any easier.
‘He’s heavy, your old man,’ Cade puffs.
Derek grins. ‘Lucky for you he’s lost some weight, you should have seen him last year-’
He stops abruptly and signals for Cade to be quiet. There’s some movement just around the corner and they quietly back away before being discovered.
Derek and Cade make slow progress, as they frequently have to stop and hide or change directions. They are passing through an abandoned ward, crisscrossing between the numerous hospital beds scattered through the corridor, when suddenly there’s a sound coming from one of the rooms they’ve just passed. Derek throws a quick glance behind him, seeing a doorknob turning. He grabs Cade’s arm and pulls him forward.
‘Hurry! There’s someone coming!’
‘Hurry? Your old man weighs a ton!’ Cade protests, but he speeds up the pace anyway and they turn the corner as the door repeatedly bangs open on one of the beds.
‘We have to make your dad fit for fight –or at least fit for walking– otherwise we’ll never get out of here.’ Cade mumbles, straightening his burden.
Derek nods in agreement. He knows Cade’s right, but just seeing his dad so defenseless, slumped over the tall man’s muscular shoulder, makes him doubt him ever being able to stand on his own feet, even less move…
They’re lucky to stumble on the community showers – empty! Cade carefully lets Don down in one of the shower stalls and turns on the water.
‘This should do the trick.’
‘Wait! He’s been through a lot, I don’t think a cold shower is what he needs.’
Cade strips down. ‘It’s not that cold and we don’t have any coffee, do we?’ Singing he gets into one of the other showers. ‘You should jump on the occasion – God knows when we’ll get another chance at unlimited water!’
He’s crazy. He must be… Showering when there are hordes of undead next door, waiting to shred us to pieces… Derek concentrates on his dad. What have they done to him? Torture? He must have been through Hell and back to look like this…
The cold shower thing seems to work. Don comes to his senses, shivering and wailing.
And now his own son puts him through this! Derek thinks, filled with remorse.
He quickly reaches in and cuts the tepid water.
Derek drags his dad out of the shower and props him against the wall.
‘Dad? Can you hear me, dad?’
Don squints at him. ‘Teddy? Derek?’ A faint smile draws the corners of his mouth upward. ‘I knew you would come, son…’ Suddenly his eyes pop wide open. Grabbing Derek’s arm he looks suspiciously around him, ‘But I have to warn you, there’s been an accident and there are dangerous people and… and…’ He yawns leaning his head against the wall. ‘I’m so tired…’
‘Shht, dad, everything will be all right.’
He helps his dad to a more comfortable position on the tile covered floor. Taking off the hospital gown, he detours his eyes from the sight of bruises covering the skinny body. Angrily he wrings out the water and grime before hanging it on the only radiator, covering his dad as much as he can with his own jacket.
‘He can have mine too,’ Cade has finished showering and is checking his wounds. ‘He’ll be ready to go in a couple of hours. We’ll stay here and rest until he wakes up.’
Derek nods, ‘That looks ugly…’
Cade passes absentmindedly a hand over the nasty wound on his hip squinting at his image in the mirror, ‘I guess the bullet must have been drenched in wolfsbane… Ouch! It still hurts a bit…’
‘Wolfsbane? That’s why you don’t heal?’
‘I’m healing, all right. But not as fast as usual…’ He meets Derek’s gaze in the mirror. ‘A night’s sleep would do the trick. Or a quickie.’
‘A quickie? You mean that… err, having sex speeds up the whole healing process?’
‘Nah…’ Cade laughs and pulls on his jeans, ‘But it makes you forget the pain!’ He slaps Derek’s shoulder. ‘Now try to get some rest, I’ll take the first watch…’
After a couple of hours, Don wakes up declaring that he can walk as long as they get out of there. He has some trouble admitting Cade’s leadership, arguing about his older age and also the fact that he has been held prisoner longer than Cade. Derek can see how Cade tries his best to hold his tongue, he had forgotten just how aggravating his dad could be.
Grumbling Don finally backs down when Cade asks him about the layout of the plant – it seems that Don never has left his “apartment” except for interrogation and some secret work somewhere he was taken blindfolded. Grudgingly the older man follows them when they finally leave the showers.
They make it through the corridors again without any major incident. Don complains all the way, asking Cade to justify each change of direction before proceeding in their wake. More than once he jeopardizes their security, not keeping his mouth shut. When they approach the canteen he hesitates again.
‘There are probably “people” inside… Are you sure this is the only way out? Why can’t we just jump out a window?’
Cade sighs, ‘Duh, I’ve already told you – because the windows have electrified iron bars. And we can’t break them, believe me, we’ve tried. Now stop bitching and be quiet.’
Don grumbles to himself but he follows Cade and Derek anyway. Cade stops and adventures a glance around the corner, making a gesture for them to get down low. They start walking on their hands and knees, keeping out of sight of the canteen windows. Of course Don has to verify if Cade’s orders are justified, he can’t help himself. He glances discreetly into the brightly lit room and stops dead.
Derek and Cade stops, turning their heads.
‘There are kids in there!’ Don gestures towards the brightly lit canteen.
‘Shht. C’mon, we have to keep moving.’
Cade and Derek start moving forward again.
Cade sighs, ‘What now?’
‘But we have to get them out!’
‘No, we don’t,’ Cade whispers back without turning his head. Adding under his breath to Derek, ‘If your dad doesn’t keep quiet, I swear I’ll kill him myself.’
‘Get in line.’ Derek mumbles. ‘He’ll come after us, just keep moving.’
Don hesitates. He watches them continue their slow progress forward, then he makes his decision. He walks back a few steps, pushing the door to the canteen open.
‘Hey! Kids! We’re here to save you!’ he hollers, briskly walking into the messy canteen.
‘Wait here!’ Cade draws his gun and hurries after Don, but he slips on the grimy floor, sliding under a table.
Derek has no intention of waiting. Drawing his knife he rushes after Cade inside. The momentum of surprise is soon over, the zombies are already coming forward en masse. Don is banging his fists on the closed kitchen door.
‘But open you little bastards! I said we’re here to get you out!’
Cade is trying to fight off a zombie crawling after him, but with a growl Derek grabs the arm, tearing it off. Cade blows the zombies brains out, crawling back out.
‘Don’t turn!’ Cade cries out to him, ‘You mustn’t bite them!’
Derek does his best not letting the stress and anger get the best of him. Slicing and shooting they make their way over to Don who is backing away, pursued by a huge bald inmate. Derek plants his knife in the skull, panting.
Standing with their backs to the wall, they watch the zombies press forward.
‘The tables!’ They make an improvised barrier with the adjoining tables, knowing it won’t keep the bloodthirsty animals back for long. There’s no way they can get back out the same way they came in.
‘Derek! They’re in there!’
Derek looks in the direction his dad is pointing and can see a young boy signaling for them to approach. Don starts towards the kitchen door again, but slips on the blood on the floor, banging his head.
‘This is becoming a bad habit,’ Cade grumbles, resolutely throwing the unconscious man over his shoulder. Together they move towards the doors to the kitchen.
They have reached the doors, but the boy seems to have trouble opening. Don is waking up, squirming on Cade’s shoulder as he aims at the closest zombie, but his gun just clicks.
‘Fuck!’ He aims a kick at the knees, felling his target but almost losing his own balance. ‘Hurry!’
Swearing Derek kicks in the door before the kid behind it has the time to open it completely. They dash through, the teenage boy rapidly closing it after them.
Cade dumps Don unceremoniously on the floor before leaning against the door to help keeping it from opening again.
‘My hero!’ A redheaded girl throws herself at Derek who surprised stumbles backwards.
‘We have to barricade it!’ Cade wheezes, struggling to keep the revolving doors from opening under the onslaught of starving zombies.
‘Ohmigod!’ Another girl is kneeling in front of Don. ‘He’s not dead is he?’
‘Not yet. But he’ll soon be if you don’t help me barricade this freaking door!’ Cade shouts.
Together they push one of the heavy kitchen counters in front of the swinging doors, securing the handles with a broom.
The three teenagers speak at the same time, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe you’re here! Is it the government who sent you?’
‘To help us out?’
‘Is it the end of the world?’
‘Where are the others?’
‘The others?’ Derek looks bewildered at the boy.
‘You can’t mean there’s just the two of you? And… him?’ The boy looks around in search of Don who has come to his senses again and who’s roaming the kitchen in search of something edible.
‘Look! There are apples.’ Don bites into a juicy red apple, the liquid flowing down his chin. He throws one at Derek who catches it in the air.
‘Geez. I didn’t realize how hungry I am!’ Derek takes a bite, closing his eyes. This must be the most delicious apple ever, and he doesn’t like apples.
Leann has been staring at Cade. ‘He’s hurt! It’s not a bite, is it?’ she says accusingly.
‘It’s not. Just a scratch, I’m OK.’ Cade flinches,’ Just give me one of those apples and let’s go.’
‘You can’t mean we have to go out there?’ There’s panic in Mitchell’s voice.
Cade munches on the apple, ‘Is there another way out of the kitchen?’
‘Well, it’s settled then. We’re going out.’
They grab some large butcher knives before leaving, even if both Derek and Cade have some doubts about Don and the teens actually being able to use them if it becomes critical. Cade goes out first, drawing the attention to him, then Derek follows, swiftly killing off the zombies from behind, making it possible for Don to lead the three teenagers unseen out from the canteen. The maneuver is successful, and the six of them manages to get away without getting hurt.
They follow an empty corridor lined by cells. Seeing the others throwing scared glances towards the closed doors, Derek knows he’s not the only one hoping they are locked. The lack of sound and movement and the firmly bolted doors doesn’t make the corridor seem less scary though. Leading the way, Cade and Derek suddenly stop, looking at each other. But the others have heard it too. The sound of a child crying nearby echoes through the empty wing. Leann pushes past the two men and rushes around the corner before they have a chance to stop her. The cries are replaced by her terrified scream and they almost knock her over in their haste to come to her rescue.
A blond doll is sitting in the middle of the corridor blocking their way.
Cade takes the girls arms in a firm grip, shaking her slightly. ‘You stop screaming. Now!’ He hisses, resolutely slapping her cheek. Leann stops with a hiccup, and a little disoriented touches the red mark blossoming up.
‘I-I-I’m so-sorry,’ she stammers.
Cade just snorts, ‘If there are any zombies in this wing, we’ll get to meet them now.’
There’s already an incredible ruckus going on behind the closed doors, bodies thumping, handles rattling, and of course a lot of growling and hissing.
They all throw terrified glances up and down the corridor,
‘I want to go home.’ Leann wails.
‘Don’t worry, Leann. We’re taking you home-’ Derek says soothingly, his eyes raking over the doll. Did it just look at him and smile? He looks at the doll again, its unblinking eyes meeting his. He steps slightly to the left and the doll’s eyes follow his movement. Innocently it blinks.
‘WTF…’ He kneels in front of the old porcelain doll, reaching for it…
‘Don’t touch it!’ Leann screeches, slapping his hand away. ‘It’s haunted!’
‘Really?’ Irritated, Cade picks the doll up and fakes a conversation that makes Jen giggle.
‘I don’t think you should play with it.’ Mitchell seems concerned.
‘I’m not playing.’ Cade lets go off the doll as if it had burned him.
‘OMG! I told you it was possessed!’ Leann starts backing away, right into Derek. She turns towards his chest and hysterically sobbing grabs his jacket. ‘I want to go home! Let me out of here! I don’t want this no more please please get me out of here!’
Derek doesn’t know what to do with the frantic girl, so he just pats her back, mumbling soothingly. Cade looks at Derek, lips twitching, ‘What?’ he mouths, shrugging apologetically.
The little group set of in a fast jog down the hall, continuing to the far end of the hallway accompanied by the steady growl of the zombified inmates but without actually meeting anyone. The door is closed, and Cade is getting ready to kick it open when he notices that Derek isn’t there.
‘You know how to use this? Good. If I’m not back in five minutes, you shoot this door open and you’re on your own.’ Putting the gun into Don’s hand, he starts back for the young werewolf.
Derek had watched them leave, but something was holding him back. Hesitating, he throws a last glance at the doll, which is now sagely leaning against the wall. How did it get there? Derek can’t move. Hypnotized he watches the doll slowly turn the head towards him.
‘What the fuck are you waiting for?’ Cade tugs him back around the corner. ‘Hey? What’s going on?’
‘I could swear the damn doll was looking at me, then…’ Derek starts, but lets the sentence hang in the air.
Cade throws a quick glance around the corner. ‘Well, it doesn’t. Have a look.’
With beating heart Derek peeks around the corner again but withdraws quickly. The doll is still leaning against the wall, staring ahead just like any other doll. But there’s movement – all the doors are suddenly opening, letting out their prisoners.
Followed by the bloodthirsty horde, Derek and Cade sprint down the hall, pushing abandoned beds and slamming doors as they pass, gesticulating for the terrified group to get a move on opening the locked door at their end.
Don aims at the lock. Closing his eyes and turning his head away, he shoots once, twice… three times before he finally hits the lock and the door springs open.
Lucky for them, the door opens inward, permitting to block it with the circular room’s only piece of furniture, a heavy steel table.
‘Derek! Come over here and take a look.’
Derek leaves his watch by the door and saunters over to where Cade is leaning on the railing, observing something below. He points at the creature sitting back bound on a chair and Derek recognizes with horror the warden. The man hisses and growls, white foam spilling from his mouth.
Leann and Jen adventure a glance over the edge, ‘Who’s that?’
Mitchell is on his knees, looking down. ‘I think it’s Andrew…’
‘Oh my God. He was always so kind to us…’
Leann breaks down, and Jen stirs her gently away from the terrifying sight.
Cade’s eyes meet Derek’s. ‘Mercy. Remember?’
Derek nods and swallows. The warden has transformed into a raging zombie in a couple of hours. He glances at his dad over by the window, and turns back to Cade.
‘What are our chances?’ he whispers.
‘The two of us? No problem. But with them…’
Cade nods towards Jen trying to console a crying Leann, letting the sentence hang in the air. Derek looks at Mitchell, who he somehow doesn’t trust, and his exhausted dad.
‘I wonder what they did to the poor guys down there.’ Mitchell points at the operating table.
‘You don’t want to know, Mitchell.’ Don’s voice is raspy and low, filled with horrible memories.
‘We have to get moving. This room is a deathtrap.’
‘We could jump down and get out the same way I got in.’ Derek suggests. ‘Through the basement. There were cars ready to go.’
‘Yeah, we could hoist the others down, or stack the tables on top of each other…’
There’s only one. The other is screwed to the floor-’
‘-and we don’t have a screwdriver anymore. Told you it would come in handy.’ Cade finishes his sentence and they both chuckle. ‘No, we’ll use the operating table, it’s right under us.’
‘So. Who goes first?’
‘I will. I’m stronger, and we have to move some seriously heavy stuff down there. You’ll help them get down and I’ll catch them. OK?’
Derek nods. It’s a far drop, almost fourteen feet*, but there’s no other way out.
Cade jumps down onto the operating table, triggering more growling from the tied up warden. Cade looks over his shoulder and swiftly plants his knife in the frantic zombies head, silencing him for good.
He signals them all to be silent and motions for Derek to come down.
‘What is going on?’ Mitchell asks.
‘I don’t know, but we better keep our voices down. If I go down there I won’t be able to climb up again. Can you help Don getting the girls down?’
‘Sure. You won’t bail out on us, huh?’
Derek lowers himself as much he can from the ledge, before letting go and landing softly on his feet on the operating table.
‘Shht.’ Cade waves Derek over to his side by the door to the ward.
The ward is filled with zombies. He can see the door he came in through a lifetime ago, blocked by several beds. The zombies shuffle around, bumping into furniture and themselves. One of them is struggling forward, pushing a kind of metal counter in front of him. It crashes into another zombie who falls, the heavy counter toppling over him, pinning him to the floor.
Derek looks questioningly at Cade.
‘If we run fast enough, they won’t even have the time to react. See that door over there?’ Cade whispers, ‘The second to the right?’
‘OK. I count to three, and I lead. Just go straight for the door.’
‘What if it’s locked?’
‘Well. Then I guess it’s over.’
They lock eyes, and Derek slinks back to help the others and tell them about their plan. They succeed in getting down without any injuries and more important – without any noise.
Now they’re all huddling together as far from the dead warden as possible. Only Mitchell has perked up, strolling around checking the shelves and reading the posters and documents left by the doctors who seemed more insane than their patients.
Cade was right -they make it through the ward, taking the zombies by surprise. Cade runs in the lead, shooting the zombies in their way. He’s followed by Leann who was on the Athletics team. Running for their lives Cade urges them on, holding the door open for them as they rush through into the dark hallway. Leann is pumped high on adrenalin, her feet seem to fly, she has never ran as fast in her whole life and it feels like she could go on forever. She doesn’t see the gaping hole in the floor before it’s too late.
Screaming she falls…
Derek skids to a halt just in time, arms flailing he succeeds in stopping the others.
With a thud Leann hits the floor far below. It’s so dark Derek can hardly make out the silhouette of her body on the jumble of stones and wooden crates.
‘What if there are zombies down there? I’m going down!’
‘Wait!’ Cade lies down next to Derek, fumbling in his pocket for the last bullets. ‘Here. Shoot everything that moves!’
He presses the gun into Derek’s hand and lowers himself down with catlike grace to examine the unconscious girl while Don and Mitchell are desperately blocking the door with a hospital bed, calling Jen to action the brakes.
Derek has observed Cade handling the gun, and a little clumsily he swings the cylinder open and places a round in each chamber with slightly trembling fingers.
‘She’s breathing, but I think her leg’s broken. The crates saved her life!’ Cade softly calls up. ‘We’ll need something to haul her up.’
Without a word Jen starts pulling away the old sheets from the abandoned beds accessible to them. They get her intention and rapidly tie the sheets together so they can throw them down to Cade. Together they carefully pull Leann up in a make shift stretcher. Jen brings forward a rusty old wheelchair and they install the unconscious girl as comfortably as possible.
‘Are you coming up right away, Cade?’ Derek has taken up position, leaning over the edge while the others fuss over Leann.
‘No, I’ll be a minute – I’ll check for an issue first.’
Cade rummages around downstairs for a little while, before calling up to Derek. He throws down the sheets for him so he can climb up again.
Cade doesn’t have to say anything. His grim expression and the slight shake of his head tells Derek what he needs to know. There’s no issue down there.
‘So we have to go back?’ he asks.
They both look over to where Jen and Mitch are hovering around Leann. Don comes over.
‘So? What’s happening now?’
‘We’re going back.’
Armed with knives and drip stands, they advance in close formation around Jen who’s pushing a, luckily, still unconscious Leann in the wheelchair.
But this time the zombies are waiting for them. They have to fight their way through, all four of them. If Derek had any doubts about his dad’s capacities, he’s proven wrong. The older man cuts ferociously, screaming like a madman. Cade empties his gun opening the passage, counting on Derek and Don to keep his sides free.
Against all odds they make it through the ward, turning a sharp left to where Cade had seen a door when they rushed through the first time.
It’s not far but it seems to take forever to get there. They dash through the door into a kind of lounge with couches and a grand piano. Having gotten the technique of rushing-into-rooms-blocking-the-door down pat, they immediately push one of the heavy sofas against the door. Finally they can breathe…
But suddenly they freeze. A snarl behind them make their hair stand on end.
There are corpses everywhere and the floor is covered in blood and goo. The fight in the ward was nothing compared to what just went down in the cozy lounge.
Derek breathes hard.
I got the bastard.
He drags himself up on his knees, crawling over the zombie who was molesting Leann. His jaw feels like it’s broken and he runs his tongue over his teeth to make sure that they’re still undamaged. He spits some blood on the floor, hoping it’s his own, and shakily stands up. His dad is sitting panting against a turned over table, trying to clean away the dark blood on his hospital shirt.
Their eyes meet and they nod to each other.
Cade is lifting Leann from the wheelchair with infinite precaution, laying her inert body down on the couch. Her sweatpants are drenched in blood, and Derek recoils when Cade uncovers her leg.
‘How is she?’ Mitchell drags himself out from under the sofa where he’s covered during the whole fight.
‘She’ll be all right, won’t she?’ Jen wrings her hands, her eyes darting between Cade’s face and Leann’s bloody mess of a leg.
Cade doesn’t answer, ‘We must get out of here. Take what you can to fight with.’
With a violent kick, he breaks a leg of one of the coffee tables and hands it to Jen. ‘Here.’
Derek withdraws his knife from a zombie’s eye. ‘OK. We’re outta here.’
‘But we can’t leave Leann?’
Mitchell looks imploringly at Cade who answers harshly, ‘She’s as good as dead.’
Cade continues staring accusingly at Mitchell until the boy looks away, embarrassed by his own cowardice. Ashamed, he walks away from the group, and frustrated leans his forehead against the wall aiming a vicious kick.
‘Aw shit! Ouch! Come here! Look! Holy crap!’ He gesticulates towards a small crack in the wall, ‘Look! There’s a way out!’
Derek is already kicking away, trying to make it bigger, and Cade joins in with a drip stand. Bricks and plaster fall down onto the bushes below and the crack is soon large enough for a person to squeeze through.
Derek dries the sweat on his brow with the back of his hand, ‘Do you think you can jump, dad?’
Don doesn’t think so but he would never say it out loud. They all say their goodbyes to the peacefully unconscious girl on the couch before returning to the tiny gap promising freedom. Derek goes first, followed by Don and Mitchell.
Jen doesn’t want to leave Leann, but she knows she has to. With a last kiss on her best friend’s burning forehead, she says a last goodbye and jumps crying down onto the lawn where Derek and Mitchell are waiting to catch her fall.
Cade watches her land safely, before returning to Leann. He takes a deep breath, watching the young girl. He can hear the snarling and growling from the other side of the door, and is filled with an overwhelming sensation of despair. He fumbles for his gun, checking the chambers.
One bullet left. So fucking ironic.
He reaches for one of the soft cushions on the sofa, putting it in front of his gun. Closing his eyes he uses the very last bullet.
Part II – End of Chapter 17