The flashlight I bought for the shotgun pierces the darkness in front of us. Even though it’s day out, the boarded windows prevent any hint of sunlight from entering the building. The building is four stories tall, connected to a few sub-buildings via an underground tunnel system. We have agreed to stay out of there.
Gaby is following close behind me, her hand on my shoulder. I can tell she’s having second thoughts. She didn’t bring a weapon, didn’t think she needed one. Now she’s probably regretting that. She grips my shoulder tighter and I know that she feels what I’ve been feeling for weeks. We’re being hunted.
The hallway is beyond decrepit. Water has done its damage on the walls and ceiling. Some hallways are completely impassable due to the floors collapsing.
I stop, shining the light in front and behind us. Gaby jumps at the speed of my reaction.
“What is it?” she asks.
“Maybe nothing, but just keep your eyes open.”
The gold bead on front of the shotgun leads the way. I’m thankful that so far most of the things I’ve seen have been as allergic to lead and steel as humans are. I hear the wind whistle through an open window and pass by a hallway before Gaby grabs me.
“Look!” she points at the faded paint on the wall. A nearly unreadable paint stencil points down the hallway to the records room. I nod at her and swing the shotgun down the hall. We’re going further into the building.
The wind begins to pick up, at least the sound of it. I can’t feel it from here. We continue down the hall to the room. The door has rotted off the hinges, and we’re greeted with the sight of row after row of steel filing cabinets. I can feel Gaby reaching into my backpack for the lantern as she gets to work searching. We agreed I would keep my eyes open for anything strange while she searches.
The sound of the wind has turned into a dull roar. I take the .45 out of the holster and hand it to Gaby grip first. She reluctantly takes it, looking at it like an alien object. Grasping it she relaxes her finger and nods to me. “I’m going out there for a second, can you keep looking in here while I close that window? I can’t hear anything over it.”
“Yeah, I was just about to say. Be careful, yell if you need something,” she says with a weak smile. She turns up the brightness on the kerosene lantern.
Stepping out into the hallway, I begin making my way past the broken gates and doors that line the walls. I turn a corner and freeze.
It’s not wind. It’s dozens of voices, and they’re calling our names. Turning around I flash my light and see dozens of eyes peer from the darkness. I cant make out any shapes, but some of the eyes glint from barely below the 9 foot ceiling. Some turned sideways as though they’re stuck to the wall. Others low to the ground.
I stumble back towards the room as the eyes close to the ground begin a sprint towards me. I can hear the sound of claws scrape against the wooden floor as they try to make the corner and slide a bit. I reach the records room and start screaming for Gaby to help me. She doesn’t ask any questions. Putting the .45 on a cabinet, we grab the closest cabinet and push it in front of the doorway.
A loud bang shudders through the cabinet as we press all our weight against its metal skin. I can feel it start to slide under the assault of whatever is waiting outside. The quiet whispers of our names have turned into full-blown screaming. I reach into my pocket and hand Gaby my pair of ear plugs. The sound makes my head pound and my ears burn.
I see Gaby drop to the ground, bracing her feet against another cabinet as she pushes against the one blocking her doorway with the rest of her weight. I scream, trying to drown out the noise of the things outside, but it’s no use. The drawers of the cabinet start launching out of the cabinet into the room, the first barely missing my head. The things have broken through the cabinets outer skin.
A pair of eyes stares at me through the gap in the cabinet and begins to howl. I take the shotgun, brace myself, and fire.
The end of the barrel erupts with fire and the sound of the screaming is replaced by a ringing in my ears. One of the eyes has disappeared completely as the other slumps out of view. Suddenly, the attack stops. The sounds of hands scrabbling on metal ceases.
I slump next to Gaby, and she starts sobbing into my shoulder. I wrap my arm around her and kiss her on the forehead. We sit there for what feels like hours, but the things never come back.
“Here it is! #141! ‘By the old hanging tree.’ Well of course it is,” Gaby mutters. I stir from what was nearly a nap and shake the dust off me.
“Does it say where it is?” I ask.
“No, but I doubt we’ll miss it. I saw it on the way in.”
“Well where is it?” I ask.
“By the cemetery and crematorium,” she says back grimly.
We pull the cabinet away from the door and head out into the darkness of the building. Night time has fallen. We sprint through the building away from the creatures, and out into the night.