Old movies always showed abandoned buildings as virtual deathtraps, rotten and collapsing, debris strewn everywhere. This old coffee joint wasn’t living up to the image, he thought. It was nothing more than dusty. Linoleum stairs climbed their way upward, and if they creaked once or twice, it was possible they had in the years before catastrophe as well.
He’d seen other buildings that did more to live up to the image, to be sure. Open windows, holes in a roof, a missing door; if a place had any way at all for the elements to intrude, they intruded with fierce destructive purpose. There were many buildings in such states now, but there were plenty that had been left relatively good shape, and some of those had escaped further damage for now. The elements would still win, but it would take a lot longer.
Another flight of steps awaited him at the third floor, along with a sign proclaiming roof access. The door awaiting him led outside to the promised roof, from which he could see a good stretch of road in all directions.
The lone zombie had made it mostly through the intersection. A living person would’ve been some distance away by now; it was slowed even more than most zombies by what looked like a broken ankle. He moved from corner to corner of the building, checking up and down each street, moving quietly; there was nothing else in sight. He did see what looked like a rooftop path in roughly the direction he’d been moving in though, and it would carry him away from the zombie limping his way along the other route. It wouldn’t last for long, but he’d feel far less exposed than he would down on the street. He’d be forced to head back down soon enough, but there was no reason not to take advantage of the height and sight lines while he could.
There was no gap between the building he was on and the next, so he simply climbed over a low wall and was on his way. It was the same for several more buildings, then he found himself scaling a drain pipe as he came to a building that was one storey higher than the others.
This building had not fared as well as the coffee shop had. A large hole in the roof showed plenty of ruin within; he tread carefully, not just to avoid falling in but to avoid making noise. He was safe enough while he was up on the roofs, but if there were zombies within the buildings he passed over and they became aware of him, their frustrated moans could summon others. The streets could become unpassable awfully fast.
He saw no movement within, and had to climb up to the roof of the next building as well. He leaned out over the street and looked onward; taller buildings were becoming the norm. He’d covered most of the block though and could still see a lot further down.
The road ran generally downhill toward the lake. He had about another 3 blocks ahead of him before a T intersection cut off the visibility he’d gained, and over those 3 blocks he couldn’t see a single zombie. “It’s about time SOMETHING went right,” he muttered.