jashyr: skull (horror)
[personal profile] jashyr
Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 17/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Seventeen

In The Dark

As Raj, Kim and Pete trudged down to the industrial estate’s edge to see if they could get a mobile signal it started to rain. Not a true climatic downpour that could have helped put out the warehouse fire a few miles to the south but a thin barely there type of rain that soaked though their party clothes and left them even more miserable.

Now they were out of immediate danger Pete was in a foul mood and was letting everybody know it, singing along to Monty Python. “We're packing it in and packing it up. And sneaking away and buggering up. And chickening out and pissing off home. Yes, bravely we are throwing in the sponge.” Kicking at the pavement he levelled a malevolent look at Raj and Kim. “So what are you two evil bastards going to do next, leave me to die up on the moors of exposure? Go drown some kittens? Microwave some puppies.”

Sick of his attitude Raj rounded on him. "Of course I'm evil, I work in IT. I just prefer to be evil on my terms. That involves still being alive to be evil again tomorrow. Don’t you dare make fun of what Shona did for us. If it wasn’t for her we’d still be being chased by those dead zombie things and everyone else around here would be a target too. There’s a housing estate less than a mile south. Who knows what’d happen if they started breaking into peoples’ houses and murdering their kids.”

“Um, yeah,” conceded Pete feeling chastised.

“So shut up and just hope we can get some help back here in time to get her out.”

At the edge of the industrial estate Raj stopped and tried his phone again. Still no signal. Leading the way he started to trudge down towards the motorway intersection as they could hear traffic in the distance. “There’ll be a signal down by the motorway,” he said with more confidence than he actually felt, “theres a bunch of mobile masts down by the speed cameras.”

“I’ll have to ring my Chen and the kids,” said Kim quietly. “I hope they’re alright. I should really get them to leave in case this thing turns into an epidemic.”

“It’s times like this I’m glad my parents live in Leicester,” said Raj, “my brother’s still living at home so if this spreads they’ll have someone to protect them.”

"At least my folks won't be caught up in this, they’re on holiday in Cyprus and my Nan's off gallivanting with her bingo crowd in Whitby,” added Pete, thankfully.

 “Now you'd have cause to be worried if we had vampires rampaging around the countryside but I think she's far enough away from this mess.”

"Why vampires?" asked Pete, puzzled.

Raj sighed. "I'd call you a Philistine but you'd only have to look that up too." He spied the footbridge over the motorway ahead and started running for it. “Come on! We’re nearly there.”

Reaching the footbridge, he swung himself down underneath it onto the grass verge, out of the rain. Opening up his mobile again he was delighted and relieved to see a single bar of signal strength and started dialing 999 as the others swung themselves down to join him.

A female voice on the other end of the line asked “police, ambulance or fire service?”

“Police,” confirmed Raj, suddenly realising that he didn’t know what he was going to tell them. A zombie attack seemed so unworldly now he was just sitting out here in the rain and mentioning the mass murder of his fellow employees might get his call labelled as a crank.

“Police, what is your emergency?” The call centre seemed incredibly busy in the background and the normally cool, calm police call centre liaison sounded rather flustered.

Thinking quickly he replied, “a group of hoodies are breaking into offices on the Moorlands Road Industrial Estate. There were a few with knives and one of them had a gun.”

“Are you in immediate danger?”

“No, I ran away before they spotted me.”

“We'll dispatch a patrol car as soon as possible. Please do not try to tackle the intruders yourself.” The line went dead.

“The police are on their way,” Raj informed the others. “Let's go back and see if Shona can get out.”

As they were on their way trudging back up the road a navy-blue Land Rover with blacked out windows passed them, howling up the access road at 60 miles per hour.

“That was quick,” remarked Pete.

“Nope,” replied Raj, “that’s not an unmarked police van.”

“How can you be sure?” asked Pete, doubtfully.

“How many times have you been stopped and searched by the police, white boy?”

“Never.”

“Exactly. When I was a teenager I got stopped at least once a month. You get to know the types of cars and vans the police use when that happens. That was far too expensive for them.”

Reaching the edge of the industrial estate again, the three of them could see the 4x4 parked in front of the Holt office. Its occupant was sat in the driver’s seat with the door open, its lights illuminating the front doors of the office so Raj, Kim and Pete could see that they were still shuttered and barred.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” whispered Kim, pulling others into the shrubs by the side of the road.

The Land Rover’s occupant got out of his seat and stood up, stretching. In the light of the headlights the group could see that he was wearing a black outfit that would certainly be described by BBC correspondents as ‘paramilitary’. He reached around to pick up a torch from the passenger seat and started to sweep it around the perimeter fence when a police panda car approached from the main road. 

The police car parked up and two policemen got out. As they approached the man in the black uniform called out cheerfully, “good evening officers. It’s been a bit of a busy night hasn’t it?”

“Yes sir, it has,” responded one of the policemen. “We’ve had reports of a disturbance up here, some people trying to break into premises.”

“Yes, unfortunately.” The man in black held out a black wallet to the police officers. “I’m with Reapmore Security Services. We had an alarm go off in this building as someone attempted to break our windows. Luckily they only managed to do a small amount of damage by throwing stones, nothing too serious. When we arrived they took off down towards the moors. The rest of my team is inside checking that no one managed to break in. None of the doors were open and none of the ground floor windows were damaged so I think they were just after a bit of mindless violence. Kids these days, huh?”

One of the officers took the wallet and murmured into his police radio too quietly for the three hiders to hear while the other office took a step back to take a better look at the buildings around the place. “Yes, the power cut increased the number of incidents tonight. At least you appear to have scared them off before they went for any of the other buildings.”

The other policeman stepped forward and handed the Reapmore Security guard his wallet back. “Thank you sir, that all checks out. If you’re certain nothing serious has taken place we’ll be on our way.”

“Thank you officers, I’m sure we’ll manage. We’re going to put a guard on the building overnight just in case they come back.” He nodded politely and the officers got back in the police car driving back down towards the motorway.

As soon as the police car was out of sight the Reapmore guard picked up his radio and spoke into it, “all staff, we have live escapees from the building. Repeat LIVE escapees. Initiate security breach protocol.” He went round to the back of the Land Rover and pulled out what looked to be a semi-automatic machine gun.

“Oh this really isn’t good!” whispered Kim.

*****

Shona crept up the staircase on the lookout for more zombies. She’d heard shuffling up ahead several times but couldn’t see anything in the dim light from the moonlit windows. As she approached the first floor doors she could hear the noise of crunching from beyond the door, blood had splattered the window and she could see no movement in what little of the corridor was visible. Squirting some bleach under the door she was aware of some shuffling that seemed to be edging away from the other side of the door and satisfied she started to make her way up to the top floor.

Peeking around the corner towards the exit to the top floor she spied another zombie - this time it was behaving rather oddly, continually walking into the wall that would have otherwise been the continuation of the stairs as if thinking the building was much higher that it was. Shona recognized Pat Dunn, a vicious-tongued harpy of a woman who ran the Credit Control department. While Shona had long wished she would leave the company and never return she still felt sorry for her in her current undead state. Pat used to talk about her grandchildren constantly as if they were the most perfect little angels in all of the world. All of a sudden thinking about the zombies as people rather than obstacles made Shona go cold and seriously think about what she was doing. Sinking down onto the steps and taking deep breaths to calm herself she realized that the banging of Pat’s head against the wall had stopped and she threw herself forward, down onto the mezzanine, just in time to avoid the two wizened, claw-like hands that were reaching out for her head.  

Turning Shona could see Pat advancing down the stairs, lurching unevenly. Pat’s skin appeared to have burn marks across the face and arms, with several holes that appeared to have been made by a large soldering iron marring the formal dress she had been buried in. Shona charged the cattle prod and discharged it at Pat’s midriff. Unlike the rest of the zombies there was no reaction, no jump back, no sudden tensing of muscles - just a relentless stumbling forwards. Grabbing one of the packs of bleach at her waist Shona pulled the top off, fumbled with the child proof seal then aimed a stream of bleach directly in Pat’s face. It seemed to enrage her, just like the other zombies, but right now there was only one target and it was Shona.

Thinking quickly she threw the cattle prod over Pat’s head, momentarily distracting her with the metallic clang as it hit the floor by the second story exit. Tucking the bleach back into her pocket, Shona grabbed the banister rail and hauled herself up on it to reach for the floor of the story above. The back of Pat’s hand impacted with Shona's ankle as she launched herself upwards and she almost lost her grip. Desperately trying to pull her legs out of Pat’s reach she could feel the sweat on her hands making the balcony banister slippery as she hung on for dear life. Belatedly realizing she had no chance of pulling herself up like all those gymnasts she’d watched in the Olympics Shona released that a change of tactics was needed.

Swinging backwards to gain some momentum, she lined up a kick with the center of Pat’s forehead. Aiming carefully so as not to be intercepted by the flailing arms, Shona let fly with a solid heel right between Pat’s eyes. Already unsteady on her feet Pat was knocked cleanly backwards, landing with a nasty sounding ‘crack’ and twitching uncontrollably. Shona hung there for a few seconds until she was sure that Pat wasn’t going to get up again then swung a leg out to reach for the mezzanine banister. Swinging her right arm over she got a solid grip on the banister further up the stairs and clambered over so she didn’t have to step over Pat. Picking up the cattle prod and checking that the bleach was secure she went to open the door to the top floor only to be distracted by the noise of a car entering the car park. She couldn’t see the car from the staircase window so she decided to make a break for the roof. If someone was here they could call for help and get her down.

It seemed as good a plan as any.

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Jashyr

September 2010

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