The rucksack straps sink into my shoulders for the last time. We stagger through the high waving grass. The wind picks up, promising rain. That would be good. If Creepies sought shelter in storms they might forget about tracking us afterwards.
I turn to Kristine’s white face. Her bottom lip trembles and her eyes swim with held back tears. She’s probably bordering on a nervous breakdown after that close call on the bridge and the Creep under the car.
“Walk behin me. Man twaps.”
It’s a pointless warning. My traps leave a bit to be desired. I had good intentions of digging some nice, deep leg breakers but the rock hard dirt, combined with short fuse for that sort of aggravation, had resulted in shallow trenches filled with aluminium cans and bottles instead. As a lethal early warning system it made a great rubbish dump.
We passed a ‘man trap’. A weathered old beer carton covers part of the hole.
“That’s not a man trap,” Kristine says ungraciously.
I shrug. What would a girl know anyway?
Wouldn’t kill her to be less critical would it? I’d already saved her life twice.
Closer to the facility Kristine begins to appreciate its size.
“Holy shit. How many people live here?”
I held up one finger.
The savannah ends abruptly, giving way to a wide asphalt apron that surrounds the building. I trot across the black top and puff up a short set of stairs. Two steel jacketed doors wait for the master key I hold out in front of me like a sword.
I hate this part. On display, locked out, vulnerable. Jumping us this close to safety would be horrifically underhanded of our pursuers.
“C’mon, geddin if ore coming.”
My invitation proves to be a bit premature. Shaky key aimed at fuzzy keyhole misses. Painful chewed fingers let go. Goddamit! Somehow the keys don’t fall through the metal grating.
They should have, everything else had gone wrong today.
I lean down gingerly to pick them up. The pack crashes into the back of my head. My forehead rams into the door. Sparks fly across burning eyeballs. I sink to my knees. The keyhole couldn’t be missed from here, right in front of me.
Don’t fuck this up. I struggle to force the keys in upside down, almost howling in frustration.
Every horror movie has some clown fooling about with the key while monsters bear down on him in slow motion. My entire life is a horror movie so this comparison frightens me enough to snatch the pistol out of its holster and whip about faster than a virgin’s first fuck. My wild eyes search the wide expanse of swaying grass for the mass attack I’m positively sure will come. Kristine cowers each time the muzzle tracks across her face.
“Hey. It’s okay, cool it, we’re safe.”
Her quiet, worried voice calms me, somewhat. Then she ruins it by casting worried looks over her shoulder where I point the gun.
I need more pills. All this stress will give me a heart attack.
“Could you hurry up? I need to use the bathroom,” she says impatiently.
Why wait? Just let it go in your pants. All the cool people are doing it.
How she would enjoy my wit when I could talk again.
I holster the gun and finally make the key do its thing. We scurry into the corridor beyond. The door booms shut with my full weight behind it, overriding the gas powered closer. Kristine’s lucky not to have her hip taken out but she’s already learned to step lively around me.
I press an eyeball up to the wire-reinforced glass for a final, hard look outside.
Were we safe? Yes, yes I think so.
Thankfully no monsters press against the other side of the glass. Strange black dots swell and fade. Nerves sing like overwound piano strings.
I rattle the door. It’s secure. We’re safe. We’re safe.
Exhausted, I refrain from cheering.