AtoZ2014: Tunnel

Tunnel

“How the fuck are we going to get over there?” Gerald wondered aloud. The window was about a hundred feet across the warehouse from them and they no longer had access to the floor.

“We’re going to use the ladder to cross from shelf to shelf,” Bill stated, his eyes never leaving the window.

Gerald glanced down at the floor below them, at the faces which stared up at them, imagining he could see the hunger in the eyes of the undead. One small error in crossing would mean death for them. “Are you sure?”

“Have you got a better idea?”

“Uhhh, no.”

“Then we have to at least give it a try. Otherwise we’re stuck here until something else happens.” Bill’s logic was sound as he added, “Besides, I have a feeling that Razor and his friends aren’t going to just leave us here to sort this mess out for ourselves. They’ll be back and I don’t want to be here when they do.”

Grabbing the ladder and making toward the end of the shelving unit, Bill looked back at Doug, “You about ready to come with us?”

Doug focussed on him and nodded, his hands falling back to his sides. Resigned, he followed the pair across the planked surface of the top shelf.

At the edge, the trio looked down, seeing the crowd of decomposing bodies reaching up for them. Gerald and Bill struggled to line the awkward weight of the ladder across the divide, almost losing to it to the ground more than once. Finally seating it, they stood and gathered their wits. Each one knew the dangers, but they’d have to stow it all away if they wanted to get out of the warehouse alive.

“Okay Gerald, you go first, then Doug. Once you’re both across I’ll bring up the rear. If we’re careful and quick, I think we can cross to the shelf closest to the window in about half an hour or less. That should give us lots of time before they’ll come back to check on us.”

Gerald nodded and placed a foot onto the first rung of the ladder, opting to walk across instead of crawl. His progress was slow and there were a few moments where balance acted as his enemy, but Gerald was able to cross safely. It was Doug’s turn.

Opting to place his trust in his hands and knees, Doug began to crawl across the rungs of the ladder, trying very hard not to look down to see the horde that reached up for him.

A slip of his hand on one of the treads caused Doug to collapse on the ladder, his gaze riveted to the hands that fell just a few feet short of him. He hugged the steel frame, his eyes squeezing shut.

“Doug, you’re going to need to move man!” Bill said from where he stood. There was no way he’d be able to cross if Doug didn’t get off the ladder and there was no way he wanted to linger any longer than he had to. Besides, there was no telling if the ladder would hold both of their weights without buckling.

Doug knew he needed to move. He knew he needed to get back on his knees and get to the other side. Focussing his gaze, he stared at Gerald, his vision tunnelling until all he could see was the opposite side. Finding the strength to move, he clamoured quickly to the end of the ladder, his foot jarring the frame toward the edge.

Both Gerald and Bill screamed, the pair rushing to save the ladder that would grant them possible salvation. By the skin of his teeth, Gerald just managed to get a hand on the top rung as it began to fall, the opposite end still on the side with Bill.

But Bill had grabbed the ladder as well, beginning to pull it toward him, with Gerald in tow. It all happened so quickly, Gerald being pulled off the shelf by Bill, and Doug turning to grab onto Gerald’s legs before it was too late. All the while the hands strained from below, trying to reach the impossible heights of their prey.

Doug pulled Gerald back onto the shelf, collapsing on top of him once he was sure he was safe. The pair stayed in a heap, collecting their breaths before reseating the ladder for Bill. In a few moments Bill was across as well and they were moving onto the next chasm.

Finally getting to the last shelf, the sized up what they had to do next. The window was just a short distance away, but it was over zombie-infested ground. Deciding to use the ladder, they propped it against the wall, Gerald scaling it to investigate the window and what was on its other side. He pushed it open to survey the asphalt below.

It was clear, but how would they all be able to get out? Someone needed to hold the ladder tight against the wall; otherwise it might slip and toss the last person to his death…

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

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