Monday, August 6, 2012

The Caffeine Apocalypse, Part One

Sarah pushed the curtain aside and looked down. Four stories below, a mob filled the street: standing, staggering, pushing in towards the building.

Doug stepped up beside her, and Sarah automatically stepped back. She didn't like Doug; the sleazy bastard had tried to hit on her three times now, and at least one of those attempts had taken place while his girlfriend was in the room with them. This time, though, he seemed to be just looking.

"How do they keep finding us?" he asked, sounding frustrated.

Sarah didn't answer. They'd argued it over before, but nobody really knew. Privately, she suspected that the professor was right: the shambling horde in the street below could smell them. It didn't really matter, though. However they did it, the infected had found them and surrounded the building.

"Hey," said a voice from the doorway. Sarah looked up, relieved at the interruption.

It was Evan: a young man just out of high school, who'd been working as a plumber's assistant until the plague had swept everything away. He'd been an invaluable help to the the professor -- and to the rest of them, for that matter -- and the fact that he treated everyone from the professor to the year-old twins with a sort of pleasant equanimity made his presence infinitely preferable to Doug's.

"Hi, Evan. How's it coming?"

"We're getting close." He paused, then asked: "Sarah, can you find Melanie and head up to the roof? The professor could use a hand, and Doug and I need to go check on the barriers downstairs."

"All right." Sarah crossed the room from the window to the small table beside the door. A coffee maker sat on the table, with the usual accoutrements: styrofoam cups, creams, sweeteners, and a box of little straws that were completely useless for stirring it all together.

The streets outside were swarming with infected, and the building was too isolated from its neighbors to offer any hope of escaping overhead... but the lower floors were blocked, the electricity hadn't failed yet, they had plenty of food and water, and the professor had a plan. No, right now the only thing that worried Sarah was the prospect of running out of coffee.

Doug went past her and out the door, following Evan down the hall. Sarah poured herself a cup of coffee and drank half of it. Doug was, she thought, at least willing to work... provided the tasks were manly enough. He wouldn't have been her first choice of companions for the end of the world, but then if she'd had any choice in the matter they wouldn't be having an apocalypse in the first place.

Still carrying her coffee, she went to look for Melanie.

Continue to Part Two...

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