The Escape (Chapter 4)
Jacque turns around in the drive’s seat and puts his feet up on the dash, while pulling his cap lower over his eyes, shielding against the bright day. He still has not noticed anything happening in the street. Richard is still in the immediate reception area looking for the gurneys. And as for Malloy, he is stood still looking at the scene before him of two dead people gorging themselves on a fellow human.
Malloy slowly steps backwards on tip toes, keeping his eyes focused on the feast. Slowly he goes back through the double doors, and allows them to close as quietly as he can. He then uses his metal rod to bar the doors from opening, placing the rod through the handles. The room was a back-room for the staff, with several tables and chairs, plus catering odds and ends along the side. The walking dead and victim are all wearing the uniform of the hospital. Malloy hastens away as quickly and quietly as he can so as not to disturb them.
Richard walks out to the minibus, taking the two gurneys he managed to find down the side corridor near the reception area. He knocks on the door of the bus and tells Jacque that it looks like they are on their own to get out of there. He then looks up and spots several people shuffling their way down the road towards them. Looking in the direction of the walking dead, “Looks like I will be needing some time to operate on these two patients. So if you could keep those busy for me. You know rev the engine and make a lot of noise. Drive around the block or so.” Richard suggests to Jacque. Jacque disembarks the minibus and helps load up the gurneys with Richard. Malloy soon arrives outside at the minibus and tells them what he found. Richard tells him what had happened on the phone, and points out what is coming down the street.
Malloy and Richard wheel the two patients on the gurneys back in to the hospital. While Jacque keeps a more alert eye on the walkers coming down the road. He starts the engine up and waits ready for action. Both Malloy and Richard once back inside the hospital, begin to look for the way to the operating theatre. Richard pushing one patient on a gurney while Malloy takes the other. It is not as well signposted as most other hospitals, but they do see the way with the odd sign and head that way. No colored routes just regimented and official signposts. They travel deeper in to the hospital before arriving at the elevator which takes them down one floor. The buttons in the elevator show two floors above ground and two floors below. Malloy gets the sense of being at home here. It feels very military to him, some sort of governmental facility. Richard seems to be muttering complaints to himself, something about how badly designed the hospital is. As they come out of the elevator, they just push the gurneys up the corridor and soon arrive at the operating theatre. The room is a compact room with one operating table, and plenty of tools and equipment around the room. There is also an anti-room adjoined to the operating room, this being the scrub up room. A door leads to both the corridor and the operating room. Malloy leaves the gurney he was pushing in the operating room, and leaves Richard lost in his preparations, and goes off looking for something else he could use as an improvised weapon, while he goes back to barricade the front.
By this time, outside Jacque waits until the last moment, watching the walking dead walks ever so slowly nearer and nearer. He can see as he watches that some do not walk in a very straight line, veering here and there. Others are dragging broken or mashed legs along the road. Sometimes they bump in to each other, paying no attention to each other as they focus their attention before them. Once near enough Jacque revs the engine, drawing the attention of the walking dead, the heads turning and focusing on the bus. Jacque spots a gap between them and heads for it, passing through them and drawing their attention to him even more. He knocks one of them into another, while he spins yet another around and it falls to the floor. The walking dead turn and begin to walk towards him once more. Jacque doesn’t accelerate away, but just enough speed to keep ahead of them and encourage them to follow him. At the cross roads at the end of the street, Jacque makes the decision to go straight over, leading them further away and deeper in to town.
Malloy easily finds plenty of things to use as debris to barricade the front doors. He uses the tables and chairs, and any shelves and cabinets he can get his hands on to block the doors from opening. Towards the end he begins to be aware of a door rattling sound coming from the general direction of the corridor he had been down previously. Once he stops and listens, he pinpoints the sound coming probably from the room he locked up with his metal rod. Malloy stamps, kicks and levers a leg from a table to use as a weapon, then quietly walks towards the rattling door.
Richard finds what is left of a surgeon on the floor of the scrub room, the surgical mask still over its face. Its arm torn from its body and intestines hanging out from a large hole in its abdomen. There is blood all over the floor. Richard grabs a surgical steel spike and taps it in to the brain of the dead man, just to make sure! As the cold steel touches the skin on the forehead, the man’s eyes spring open and the stump of its missing arm tries to move. The blood now creating a sticky substance that is making movement a little difficult for it. Quickly Richard swings the surgical hammer and a metallic ring echoes in the room, just as it was beginning to move its other arm. After catching his breath and relaxing a little, Richard suddenly notices the door leading out to the corridor from the scrub room. He looks around and moves the waste bin over to block the door shut, and also thinks that he should block the observation windows, which he does. Next he then remembers the double doors leading in to the operating room, and goes to secure them too before finally relaxing to the task at hand. He scrubs up and walks back in to the operating room with a calm peace in his mind and heart. He turns on the little stereo in the room and some Latin Jazz caresses the air, he nods to himself turning the music down more than he would like, but due to the circumstance he thought it best. And begins to prepare the first patient, the one that as been getting steadily worse and not stirred since rescue.
Jacque carries on leading the walking dead further away from the hospital, noticing that more of them seem to have joined the procession. After a while of more or less going straight, except for a slight turn to the right, he comes back to the main road at a t-junction. Every now and again he had to stop and rev the engine to keep their interest. Turning right on the main road, Jacque begins his loop back. And once he spots the walking dead are on the main road and following he puts his foot down on the gas pedal.
Richard gets lost in the music and art of his surgical operation. He feels extremely pleased with how well it is going, it is like his best works ever, and took no time at all to finish. He feels that she will be very lucky and pleased with how well operated on, that she is Richard Moore’s work of art. He feels so invigorated.
Malloy heads towards the room he was in earlier, and finds that the door is being rattled from within. But the door is not moving fast, only a slow back and forth motion against the barred doors. Malloy stands looking at the doors and contemplates what to do next, when he hears a sort of answering sound from further in the hospital. He turns and hears towards the new sound, making sure that he always has an escape route handy, and not become cornered. The sound leads him down corridors and pass closed rooms. Finally coming back to the area where the elevators are situation. Opposite the elevator doors is a door to a stairwell. Malloy carefully opens the door, to find the stairs lead up, so up he climbs slowly, all the while listening carefully for the sound. About half way up he hears the sound again, and it is the familiar sound of a pained moan, coming from the next floor up that he is climbing towards. It sounds like only one but he is not sure. So with this in mind Malloy goes back down and out from the stairwell, hiding himself behind where the door will open so as to ambush if necessary.
After standing still and looking at his masterpiece for what seems like awhile, Richard realises that he has another patient to attend to. So he moves this one to one side, and then heads off to clean up once more and begin his next surgical art. Before beginning, he double checks the perimeter, making sure the covers and barricades are still intact and secure. This time around the operation took more time than the previous one. It was still a great job done, especially under the circumstances, but Richards was not so happy. However he did accomplish what was needed to help the tour guide.
Jacque has travelled on down the same main road they had gone before since leaving the gas station, however he spots an earlier turn off to the right that peeks his interest. Knowing that he had lead the walking dead away, he turns off the main road on the right. The road twist one way and then the other, but soon he sees the coast coming in to view before him. He soon makes it back on to the road they had travelled on that lead them to the hospital in the first place, so Jacque turns right at this junction and goes back to the hospital to check up on how things are.
Malloy patiently waits outside the door from the stairwell, and he hears the occasional moan come from up the stairs. But after over five minutes of waiting he hears no more, no more moaning or anything coming down the stairs. Stepping away from the wall behind where the door would open, he keeps his distance and looks through the little window in the door. Now he is suddenly aware of a shuffling noise coming from behind him, and then he hears a door swing shut somewhere down the corridor. Malloy gets a little annoyed by his situation, and mutters to himself that he should not allow himself to be surrounded. So with that in mind he decides to head off towards the shuffling sound and go on the offensive. Malloy soon finds the walking dead in a corridor and takes a swing at it with his makeshift club. The wooden table leg hits it on the side of the face, splitting the wood in half and the rough end scraping flesh from off the jaw of the walking dead. Its head snaps back and to the side as blood sprays out from impact. The walking dead tries to grab for Malloy, but due to the impact it got hit off target and now its head is looking the wrong way, and its hands grab at thin air. Malloy throws his full weight in to it and knocking it over like it is a sack of spuds. Malloy lands on top of it pinning it to the ground unable to move. It moves and tries to squirm under him, its teeth gnashing at him. Malloy jumps to his feet and quickly stamps his foot down on to the prone walking dead. He just manages to catch the head, stamping down hard on its face. The bone of the nose audibly snapping, and a squelching sound from where the eye pops out under foot, along with cheek bone and jaw. Malloy quickly looks around and checks in case something else is about. He then feels a hand grab around his ankle. And as Malloy looks down he can see the walking dead he just stamped on, is now trying to pull it caved in face towards his ankle. Seeing this Malloy gives the broken stub of the table leg a little toss, catching it and slamming it down hard to the face of the thing. However he miss times it all and manages to break the last of it on the floor next to what remains of the head. The things pulls its head up to Malloy’s boot, its blood and mucous, along with an eyeball rubbing up against his leg. Quickly with his other foot, Malloy gives the head a fast and sharp kick. Malloy feels a brief resistance as his boot goes in to the cavity of the head before it gives way to the force of the blow. A sickening sound resonates in his ears as his boot comes away with blood and brain mater coating his laces. He gives it another quick final kick to make sure before walking off.
Malloy makes his way back through the corridors and down the elevator, back to the operating theatre. He finds the windows all covered up, looks a little puzzled at this but then proceeds to the scrub room, only to find that the door doesn’t move. Stopping he listens out to hear if there is anything nearby. He hears no moans of pain or shuffling sounds, instead he hears a happy and joyful whistling coming from within the operating theatre. As Richard, happy in his work, walks back in to the scrub room, he hears a quiet tapping on the door. He stops whistling and quietly walks back to the doors to the operating theatre, which open up on to the corridor. Silently he pulls the blockage holding the door closed and carefully opens a door looking out down the corridor. Standing there he sees a familiar figure, that of Malloy with bloody boots on. Malloy standing there is suddenly aware of someone looking at him and turns to see Richard’s head peer out from the door to the operating theatre. “Get in.” Richard indicates and opens the door wider. “Perfect timing, I need someone to help me moves these two back out.” Lifting one of his boots, Malloy answers “I just need to clean up a second.” While Malloy is cleaning his boots as best he can, Richard mentions that he hopes that their friend has not had any problems outside.
They each take a gurney and push the two patients back in to the elevator. After pressing the button and waiting for the doors to close. Richard and Malloy both see yet another walking dead begin to shuffle its way down the corridor towards them. As they stand there watch the walking dead slowly making its way towards them, the doors seem to be taking an eternity to close. But eventually the doors close of the scene in the corridor and make its way back up one level. Upon hearing the ping signalling the door opening, the elevator door opens to reveal another walking dead stood with its back to them. So there they stand in the elevator, each with a gurney and a patient. Stood before them and in the way of exiting the elevator is a walking dead. Quick thinking, Richard presses the close door button and turns to Malloy. “I see that you can handle yourself. Let’s put both patients on to this gurney. I should be able to handle it. While you use that empty one to clear the way.” After moving the patients, Richard hovers his finger over the open button and turns to Malloy, “Ready?” Ping the doors open once more to reveal the walking dead still stood there, but this time it is facing the elevator door. Malloy charges pushing the empty gurney, however lady luck is not with him as an unwieldy wheel sends the object away and crashing in to the pillar. The walking dead turns and reaches out for Malloy, who now happens to be stood next to it in the corridor. It then grabs Malloy’s shoulders and begins to pull itself and Malloy together in a firm death grip. Richard reaches in to his medical bag and pulls out a sharp scalpel. He then lunges forward and plunges the blade deep in to the centre of its head, between the crown and fringe. The blade is held tight in the skull, Richard unable to pull it back out. The walking dead still pulling itself toward Malloy, spittle dribbling down from its mouth. Luck is against Malloy at this time as he tries to wiggle from it grasp and fails. So instead he thrusts his knee up in to its stomach, loosening the grip it has and Malloy just manages to slip away as the walking dead’s mouth closes on empty space, but still holding pieces of Malloy’s clothing in its hands. Malloy gives himself a little space and then squares up towards it, standing in a boxing stance. Then Malloy throws a heavy wide punch at its jaw, hearing the bone crack, along with spit and blood fly from its mouth. He then gives his hand a quick wipe on his trouser leg. Richard then knocks the walking dead up against the wall of the corridor with the other occupied gurney. Malloy steps forward, grabbing a firm hold of the scalpel and pulls it out from its head. Then he thrusts this blade deep it to the eyeball and socket of the thing, hearing the eyeball pop and explode on contact with the blade, and Malloy finds his fist thrust in to the eye socket. He feels the blood pooling around his hand and fingers.
Richard and Malloy manage to move the two patients on to the other, cleaner gurney that wasn’t used against the walking dead, and make their way to the front doors of the hospital. The doors have been well barricaded and secured. They spot that the minibus is parked outside still, the engine is running and Jacque is sat within very alert. As they are busy clearing the barricade and occasionally looking around for any danger. Malloy notices that he seems to be doing most of the work, and spots Richard paying more attention to his patients, especially the female tourist, as if he is almost admiring something. Haphazardly moving the odd small item from the barricade, his attention else where. Malloy then begins to hear some more noises from down the corridor, and can still hear the barred door rattling.
Just as Richard and Malloy manage to clear enough for one door to open, they hear the clang of a metal rod hitting the floor, and the shuffling of feet moving up the corridor. Quickly Richard picks up one of his patients and suggests that Malloy do the same. And then they rush through the one door and bundle on to the waiting minibus. “Mr Chen. Step on it!” Richard suggests. Looking over his shoulder as they climb aboard, Jacque Chen can see several walking dead approach the doors of the hospital from within. Turning back around, he settles in his seat and puts his foot down, safely accelerating away from the dead hospital. Looking back in his rear view mirror, Jacque notices around six walking dead walk out off the hospital. At the cross roads, at the end of the road they turn right and head back along the coast.
On the minibus Richard checks his patients to make sure that they are still fine, knowing that they should be with his masterful work he performed. The road soon leads them back on to the main road and head on towards the coast and the harbour area. They do spot the occasional walking dead walking about in the street. Eventually they arrive at the end of the road as it terminates at a parking area for the harbour. There is a jetty with several boats marooned upon or capsized nearby. They also see that the walking dead they passed is walking down the road towards them.
Malloy grabs the supplies while Jacque and Richard push the gurneys, and they head off on foot down to the jetties. They walk and look around the walkways looking for a usable boat. With luck they soon find one that looks seaworthy and will accommodate them all. It looks like a pleasure vessel with no place for beds. It only has two seats up front with a longer bench seat stretched across the back. They all climb aboard and settle the patients down, and once that is done and supplies secured onboard they begin to see how to get this boat going.
As the three survivors with their patients all on board take time trying to get the boat’s engine started and then figure out how to pilot this vessel. While they are busy they notice that more of these walking dead start to make their way down the walk way towards them. Richard has a bright idea and picks up a scalpel and shoves it in to the key ignition, ramming it in and giving it a twist. However this only has the effect of snapping the blade off in to the hole. Malloy gabs an oar, after untying the boat from the jetty, and proceeds to push the boat away from the walkway. Now that they feels a little somewhat safer, their brains think that little clearer and realise that the keys to this boat is more than likely stored in a building up on shore. However they also realise that a broken scalpel blade blocks the keyhole. So they make the decision to try and get the engine started another way. Malloy takes apart the cover around the steering column and uncover a few wires. Picking by luck the correct ones he manages to hot-wire the engine and it kicks in to life. With a heavy sigh, Malloy collapses in to the seat and relaxes. The engine is happily purring to itself. Richard takes over charge of piloting the vessel and off they set. They set out and follow the landmass around heading first east and then finally down south. More or less matching the contour of the island so as not to loose sight of land.
The journey takes them the rest of the day and in to the night to make it down south and see the sights of Port Blair come in to view. They have had to empty their spare jerry can of fuel to make it this far. As it is so late and in the middle of the night, they decide to drop anchor in the estuary of the cove and spend the night in relative safety. They each take turns keeping watch over night, and are rested and warmed by the rising sun. Malloy takes the emergency flare gun as Richard pilots the vessel in to the harbour at Port Blair. They can now see that this part of the island didn’t escape the disaster either. They can see destroyed and collapsed buildings. There are boats half sunk or overturned, some even thrown ashore.
Richard manages to steer the boat to one of the jetties, scrapping the side of the vessel along the wooden walkway, and finally coming to a stop has it hits another vessel. Jacque quickly jumps off and ties it up to stop it drifting off. They all disembark from the boat and take the patients with them. They begin to head in land looking for another vehicle to use. They walk through a lot of debris, parts of boats and collapsed buildings. However they do not come across any dead people. Soon they come to a bus route and find a public transport bus that has crashed in to a lamppost. The post is partially dented in to the front grill. Some of the windows are smashed, and onboard they find people’s belongings but no people. But they do see plenty of bloodstains. Jacque jumps in to the driver’s seat, finds the key in the ignition and turns the key. The engine does kick in to life, but it makes a squeal and a clunk as it runs. Jacque puts it in to reverse and drives off the lamppost. With some protesting and reluctance he manages to force the bus away. Both Malloy and Richard load the patients onboard and off they all go, heading further in land to find the other hospital that Richard contacted the day before. And as they travel Jacque is aware that one of the wheels of the bus is badly buckled and keeps trying to pull one way.
They travel many miles back in land along the main road, heading pass the airport as they had done many days before when they first arrived on the paradise island. They begin to see some of the walking dead shuffling along the streets, and some groups crouched down around a meal. Jacque manages to navigate his way to the Dhanvantari Hospital, fortunately spotting that it has been signposted as they got closer to the area.
As they approach the hospital they can see that there is many walking dead gathered around the entrance. The doors as they can see when they draw closer, has been barricades by the looks of it. Richard begins to shout out for anyone, the walking dead respond by turning their attention to the bus. The road leads up to and around the hospital in a circular route. Jacque takes a drive around without stopping the bus. However Richard notices that a few of the walking dead pay more attention to the door to the hospital, trying to gain entrance.
Drawing the attention of the walking dead away as he did once before, Jacque slows the bus down enough to allow Malloy to jump off. Unfortunately due to the poor condition the bus is in, and how much Jacque has to fight to keep the engine running, it stalls on him. Malloy tries to be all sneaky as he moves from the bus, however this is not going so well as they have much attention on the bus that has now stalled near him, and some of the walking dead begin to pay him attention. As Jacque fights to start the engine once more, some of the walking dead begin to scratch and claw at the door and windows of the bus. Trying to get to the tasty meal within. Malloy makes a dash for it, trying to lead the walking dead away and heads for the cover of the other buildings near by.
A gunshot rings out over the moans of the walking dead. Richard dives for cover on to the floor of the bus, carefully taking a furtive look up and out. Jacque hunkers down in the seat, but keeps trying to get the engine to start. Finally after several attempts the engine fires to life once more, and Jacque puts his foot down. He drives the bus straight up to the hospital, swinging it around and pulling up across the entrance doorway, hitting and squashing the several walking dead that was intent on getting in. They use the bus as an extra blockade against the things. Inside the entranceway, both Richard and Jacque can see fellow (live) humans moving about, a couple of them carrying guns.
Malloy easily keeps his distance from the pursuing walking dead. Dodging and weaving in and out of buildings. However there are too many of them and the group pursuing him begins to grow. So with that he makes a break for the school nearby, diving in to the entrance.
Back at the hospital, the people inside open one of the doors adjoining where the door to the bus is located. Likewise Jacque opens the door to the bus. They all greet each other, and Richard asks if they are all okay and if anyone needs assistance, as he is a doctor. As they are talking and getting organised, everyone hears a loud horn sound across from the harbour area. The sound of the large cruise ship that is due to land at the harbour within the next thirty minutes or so.
Malloy looks about the school and finds a science lab on the second floor and has an idea. He sets up a fire hazard, making a lot of noise to draw as many walking dead as he can to him. And as they eventually begin to file in to the room, drawn to the tasty meal. He leaves it to the last minute then jumps out of the window, turning and firing back through the window one of the flares. As he lands on the ground below impacting harder than he had wished, an explosion rips through and out of the windows of the second floor. Flames reach out for any targets that may be hidden there, lapping at the edges of the room. Glass shards, furniture fragments, and many body parts fly through the air.
As everyone from the hospital has loaded themselves on to the bus, which is now becoming a little more crowded. They begin to set off, seeing and hearing the explosion rip through the school nearby. And as they make it to the road between the two buildings, they see Malloy running away. Jacque matches speed with him and Malloy jumps onboard as the door opens.
As the busload of survivors make their way nearer to the harbour, the loud horn sounds again, signalling that it has reached the dock. When the bus eventually takes them all to the harbour area the engine finally dies on them with a billow of black smoke erupting from the bonnet. They all clamber out and begin to run towards the docks, heading for the ship that has come, their escape from the dead island.
By the time they all make it to the docks, the ship as already began to cast their lines and put out the boards. The crew look puzzled to find no help from the docks, only to see people running in panic towards them. Everyone begins to shout at the ship at the same time, making it difficult for any on board to understand what is being said. And as they begin to board, the captain comes to greet them. Richard takes him to one side and begins to tell him a fabricated story. A story about a virus, a disease that is spreading across the island, and that they need to set sail straight away. He then points out the now walking dead that has began to walk in larger and large groups towards the docks. He tells him that the victims turn to violence and the flesh begins to rot. Suggesting that the captain takes a closer look through the telescope, but only after he has got the boat away from the docks. The captain orders an emergency departure, and once at a safe distance, takes a look for himself with the telescope. He scans the whole of the docks, seeing many of the walking dead standing there, some with limps missing, others with bloody holes. But all looking towards the meal that got away.