The gravel stopped crunching and Patrick thought, for a moment, that he was alone on the roof. The flopping monsters that had poured from the door had been dispatched like his former partner and he had pitched the majority into the flaming street below; crossing himself when he could for whatever passed for souls in their grotesque corpses.
Jacks corpse had stood again, stretched and began to lope at Patrick again, his face an obscene smile with mouth agape and askew.
“Jack, shit.” Patrick ran towards his partner and kicked hm in the chest, toppling the bloody thing over the side of the roof and sailing to the street below.
The roof was quiet and empty of danger now, Patrick walked with all due care to the roof door and looked down the staircase for any evidence of more monsters waiting in the dark. Finding none he turned his radio on and called out for the chief.
“Chief, it’s 13. I’m 5 by 5 here.”
“Pat? Good. We’ve just shut the tenants on 25 in the security office, join me in the main stairwell.”
“Got ya Chief. 13 coming in”
Patrick Farrel had never once killed a man in anger; not in the line of duty either. His tour in Iraq had been a relativley short one, with a leg injury getting him an early reprieve from the desert. Security work paid a bit better and couldn’t normally involve much actual fighting. The busiest days for Patrick had been chasing kids out of the stairwell after sneaking in after-hours. He hadn’t known Jack long enough for his death to really hurt, but the fight had left him like the long-termers at the VA, lost in the moment, staring into the distance for the next encounter.
He met the guys from Unit 11 as they trotted towards the main stairwell doors, they were smiling and chatting about the tenants.
“Did you see what they were doing in the one office? I think they were trying to film their own little porno in there or something… hey Pat. What the fuck was going on up top?” Patrick knew the smaller one; Henry “Hank” Jacobs. Young, former cop, fired for some kind of harassment issue.
“Yeah, they were naked, all of them, one dude had a camera and they were in a pile in the middle of the office, like 20 people all getting it on!” The bigger one had just kept on about the discovery in the office. Patrick just walked on to the door and knocked. Chief Pendegrass opened up and held the door for the Security Guards to walk out. He gave Patrick as much space as possible, given the gore that coated his uniform.
“Chief, we got some shit up here like you wouldn’t believe. Fucking Zombies or some shit. I fought about 6 of them, Jack included. I pitched them off of the roof as they came at me, I fucking shot two of them in the chest and they got right up, Jack too.” Patrick found his tongue and wouldn’t let go “Chief, Man. They kept on coming, like they was gonna tear me up like Jack. I hadda kill them.”
Patrick could feel himself losing it. He caught himself and led the walk down to the 24rth and down, sealing the doors as he went. He described the whole fight to the Chief, who remained quiet and offered no judgment or comment. When they had finished the sweep to the ground floor, Patrick had told his story a few times and the guys from Unit 11 had simply gone silent and stopped meeting Patrick’s eyes.
Chief Pendegrass put his hand on PAtrick’s should and led him to the Security offices and offered him a seat and a drink.
“Pat, I believe you. I’ve looked outside, I can hear that stuff out there. Something has happened to Saint Paul and I’m not clear as to what. There were two suns out there today, things have changed in a big way. Find yourself a clean set of clothes and dump that shit you’re wearing in a bag, tie it off and dump it deep in a dumpster or down the chute. Go nowhere alone and keep your radio on from now on.” The Chief stood up to his full height and looked deep in thought.
Patrick got up, went to his locker and stripped off his gore covered clothes, dumping them like requested. He cleaned himself up as best he could in the showers and found a new uniform and some of the tactical gear the other guys had on. When he caught his face in the mirror, he was sure that it was still him looking out, but there was a small strangeness in his eyes, like when he first stepped off of the plane at Rammstein in Germany. He had been through something and come back broken.