The Ward had been breached and the Ep Rex Victims were flooding out. They stumbled around randomly, searching, each one shouting a name. Their loved ones were the only thing on their mind in this moment of insanity.
Caleb and Rand tried to evacuate the area. The Victims didn’t know their way round the Centre and it was, in the end, just an abandoned industrial complex in the dark. On fire. Rand forced the scientist they had met to help form a chain towards the fire door. They herded walking wounded into the courtyard.
Some were left behind. They didn’t have time to deal with that. They could smell smoke. Caleb made a sharp exit, followed by Rand.
Outside, the Victims called their friends and relatives. Word of the fire must have reached the waiting area, because people were pouring out of there too. The two groups saw each other and like penguins, the friends and relatives cawed to the Infected. The two masses slowly approached each other and melded together. Some of them actually found who they were looking for, and brief moments of gladness emerged from the freakish calamity all around.
There was an explosion somewhere. A miniature mushroom cloud appeared. Caleb heard follow-up pops and whooshes.
“Damn it,” said Rand. “That’s Testing. Lot of chemicals in there.” He got on the phone and called the Fire Department. They already knew about it and were on the way.
Caleb did not feel either deranged or disoriented. The stark light of dawn, combined with a lot of movement, was the type of environment his altered senses enjoyed. Suddenly, he spotted something familiar coming out the fire door. It was a person, but Wreck sense told him it was one of them. There was an aura of fulfilment, strength, community.
He shouted “Wreck!” in the tone he assumed people shout “Shark”. Nobody was listening, except Rand. But he couldn’t see it.
“Are you sure?” he said.
“Positive,” said Caleb.
“There’s going to be mayhem,” said Rand. “Can you take it?”
Caleb kept his eye on the shambling dead and headed towards it. He hadn’t dropped the axe, which was no coincidence. He wasn’t about to make that mistake.
The courtyard was anarchy. It was like a concert where the band had just been electrocuted. Hundreds of people blundering everywhere in the dark, hysterical, weeping, shouting stupid questions. The Wreck spotted a meal and advanced, hands grasping.
The intended victim saw what was coming and screamed. Those nearby heard it, turned to see what was going on, and joined in. This repeated, creating a sort of Mexican wave of screaming. The panic level set a new standard. Everyone ran, in pathetic pairs with one supporting the other.
Caleb got to the Wreck before it grabbed anyone and slammed the axe into its chest. This thing had been a skinny, middle-aged office worker. Its ribs shattered like so many flourescent tubes. The force of the blow sent it to its knees. It tried to get up but Caleb managed to decapitate it before it got its bearings. He almost walked away but realised it was still moving.
“God damn it…” He chopped it some more. There was a pause while a few people looked at him in awe.
Then he saw the cavalry emerging from the building somewhere near Holding. The two soldiers. They had somehow acquired assault rifles. Must have had them stashed nearby while they were killing and burning the Infected. With them was a really big son of a bitch. It was that huge, dim-witted bastard who was dragging bodies out to throw into the ground earlier. He was carrying the chainsaw, and it was working.
Trying to isolate Wrecks might be tricky… but that wasn’t their plan. They went to a woman with her Infected husband and dragged the man away from his wife. They threw him on the ground and shot him. The wife screamed. Then the big gorilla carved him up with the chainsaw.
Now people strarted running from them. Probably a good idea. Caleb turned to where Rand had been but he and the lab tech weren’t where he expected. Two more Wrecks emerged from the burning building. Only the Infected could tell they were zombies.
The fire had spread through the offices. Flames rose into the dawn air. A gust of wind blew a cloud of black smoke over everything.
With that, Caleb went almost totally blind. He put his hands in front of him instinctively. The sense of movement and light was gone. He couldn’t sense the auras of Wrecks either. The smoke had knocked it out. His own eyesight was almost nil, a blurry soup. He heard the chainsaw. And screams. Running. A deep boom that sounded like part of a building collapsing.