Ben froze; by the sound, Claire did the same. They moved back into the black hall; Ben kept a hip firmly against what must have been a kitchen counter so he wouldn’t run into anything. Once there they could see the lighter grey patch that marked the end of the hall; they practically ran for it.
As soon as he was back in the larger, more open space, Ben dumped the bag and its contents on the reception desk and looked around frantically for the source of the noise. It was the same one they’d seen before, duster and all, and it was making a bee-line for them. Sunken eyes stared dully at him, jaw hanging loosely. He hefted the wrench in his hand, half to get a good grip on it and half to stop his hand from shaking too badly. It’s just one zombie, he told himself. It helped. It’s just one. It’s just one.
It was less than halfway across the space between them and the door, and it was a big room. “Through or around?”
He scooped up the bag again, managing to keep any cans from falling out in the process. Clutching it tight, he moved at as quick a pace as he could straight to the other side of the room, keeping behind the reception desk. Claire was right behind him.
The dead thing came as close to lunging across the desk as a zombie can when they crossed paths, making them jerk back involuntarily into the shelves that lined the wall on the other side, away from it; it ended up more as a fall against the other side of the desk though, and Ben was elated when it lost its footing and collapsed to the ground. They pressed on, leaving the building the way they’d gone in.