The Fast and the Dead - Day 12

The building was two storeys tall; they descended to ground-level, eyes and especially ears alert for any sign of something out of place. They moved as quietly as they could, but Ben’s ankle was bad enough to hobble him somewhat. He ignored it as best he could; they should be so lucky as to find a place safe enough for a bad ankle to be a cause of major concern.

They landed in a short L-shaped hallway in what looked like the administrative area. “The showroom must be toward the front of the building.” Claire’s voice was a breathy whisper he had to strain to hear, and it was a good thing he did; Ben heard a soft thump coming from somewhere ahead of them, deeper into the administrative offices. He grabbed her arm, eyes wide in the gloom.

“Hold up,” he whispered just as low. Together they held still as statues.

-thump- -drag- -thump-

A block of ice quickly grew in Ben’s gut. As one, they walked as quickly and quietly as they could. They couldn’t hide; they had nothing to destroy it with. They had to get out.

They rounded the corner and saw the showroom ahead, but a sign dragged Ben’s eyes to attention. “Service bay,” he whispered. He hesitated at the door, then quickly pulled it open. It was creaky enough to make him cringe, certain the whole mass of them outside were about to descend on them in moments, but they plowed through. A quick stop and listen turned up nothing. He was sure the one in the offices was still on its way, but they’d gained enough distance that they couldn’t hear it, or any others that might be in the area.

Claire was checking out the service area. It was a large, multi-bay room with space for 4 cars, and two of the bays were occupied. No doubt the owners had been too busy or too dead to return for their vehicles. Their loss is our gain, Ben thought, not to mention our lives.

He looked over at the two cars in the bays. “We’ll take one of these. We’ll have to hope whatever they were in for was fixed, but they should have gas at least.”

“How’re we going to get the keys?”

He looked her over again; it was hard to tell in the semi-dark, but she could’ve been young enough that she couldn’t legally drive a decade before, when the end came. He shot a glance at the service window and limped closer. Sure enough, there was a key rack back there, with labeled keys still hanging, waiting for owners who no longer cared about cars.

-thump- -drag- -thump-

Ben froze, and Claire’s expression hardened. He wasn’t sure which way the sound was coming from. He ducked behind the counter and grabbed both sets of keys rather than wait to find out. He rejoined her, and they crowded to the service bay doors with their windows to try and read anything on the keys that would identify the cars.