We're all retards. Seriously.
Last night, while standing around in the hallway, in my piss-stained pants, hearing what amounted to sounds that could put any nightmare to shame from outside (coming from creatures straight out of those said nightmares), I remembered something that could help us so goddamn much right now, it seems almost silly we hadn't used it yet.
My thoughts had trailed to the others, passing Henry specifically when it hit me.
The fucking cameras.
The school's security cameras. The ones he spent fucking days getting on and only used to fucking spy on me and Anna when they thought we were Bonnie and Clyde or some stupid shit. They we're still operable and I distinctly remember Henry showing us that they had could be used in the night (had been made for it he declared then).
So I rushed back to the infirmary. The sad dude had been sitting there next to Monica's bed. His face sagging, a trembling little hand leading something he held clutched up to his open little mouth.
I called to him then, my approach probably alerted him, but I wanted to call his name at that moment. His head popped up, eyes drawn with the weight of the past sleepless nights and something else: embarrassment.
His hand fell away numbly, plainly, but I didn't pursue it. Or rather, pursue what I knew was clutched inside.
First I asked him where Anna was, and he blinked, and pointed past me. I turned and damn, I must be blind. She was sitting there, against the wall, beside a chair, head against shoulder, dozing lightly.
Alright, so we're all basically accounted for.
I asked him about the cameras then. Again, he performed his annoying little slow blink, but he perked up right away after a few seconds. Might have been amusing, his eyes going from little weary slits to Cheerio O's in split-second except for the ferocious scream we all heard then.
But, this wasn't from outside.
This was from inside. Upstairs, to be exact, the scream echoed.
And again, we were at a worst-case scenario. Another Freak had gotten in. Only now, with a whole freaking pack outside, if one could get in, it meant the whole pack could get in.
And that was a dead end for all of us.
The cameras became of no importance then, we stood still, we understood what was on the line.
Anna was the first one to move. The scream had awoken Anna, but her gaze was not clouded by sleep, it was alert, and she peered between me and Henry pensively before asking what the hell was up. A second scream sounded through the halls again with accompanying echo and she understood the situation at once.
Lifting her rifle, she ordered that I accompany her out there, and Henry should stay behind to protect Monica. In the wave of fear that had captured us, there was no implied chain of command. It seemed we simply followed the most fearless one.
So we nodded dumbly at Anna's commands and I followed her out, into the dark hallway.
When we opened that door, I honestly expected something akin to D-Day out there. My imagination ran wild there and for a split second, I saw hundreds of Freak-dogs wandering the hall, heavily lined faces turned toward us. Row after row of razor sharp teeth opening. Saliva dripping out in giant gallops.
Which is why I exhaled loudly there. But I blinked, and the vision departed, leaving only me and Anna, standing in the dark and loitered hallway.
She shushed me, and moved forward, toward the nearest staircase. Our priority here being we get to Hector before the Freaks did.
So we climbed the staircase slowly, Anna's gun cocked ahead and mine barreled behind. Every few steps we'd bounce into each other, slow down, and keep going. Once, my feet seemed so thick, they locked together and I had to grab unto the railing for a few seconds to get them moving.
All the while, the inhuman screams sounded throughout the halls. Each one louder and shriller than the last, proving that the source was definitely on the second floor. Definitely near our destination.
We got to the landing, and Anna led, sticking her gun into the hall entrance, finger on the trigger.
Nothing happened for a minute, no sounds of movement or even a scream. In fact, after thirty seconds, I realized somewhat ominously, that the howls and screams from the dog-Freaks outside had ceased as well. All that remained what the dark and deaf night.
We entered the hallway, and this time we were surprised. We found nothing. Only the soundless hallway to greet us. Confused, we stepped towards Hector's classroom. My hand reached out for the door handle as Anna covered me, when my cell-phone rumbled.
I almost ignored it, it was probably just Henry asking what the hell was up with the silence. But I answered. And thank god I did, because the voice on the end was Henry, and the first thing he practically screamed was for me to not open that door.
Confusion layering my body like a cold sweat, I asked him softly what the hell he meant and he warned me that the source of the screams we'd heard coming from inside the building, their source lay on the other side of the door. In Hector's classroom.
I asked him if a dog-Freak had somehow gotten inside, and he said no. Hector was the Freak.
He was downstairs in the school's security office. He'd decided to use the cameras then. And what he saw was not only damn important, but fucking odd.
He told us to high-tail it downstairs so we could see it ourselves, and not to bother with securing the way. He promised there were no longer any Freaks on the premises. Besides Hector, he added darkly.
Downstairs, he showcased his working camera system and gave us a visual representation of an empty school. Apparently, soon after the indoor screams began, the dog's simply froze and fled, for reasons unknown.
But that's a good thing, so we shouldn't dwell on it as if were a bad thing. That bad thing, Henry proclaimed (he seemed much chirpier now) was what was going on in Hector's classroom. Expertly, he switched between locations on the small monitors before finally reaching a dark room with a writhing figure laying prominently in the center.
His appendages were flipping at impossible angles and his head kept snapping back and banging the floor.
We watched this figure silently for a few minutes, watched as he ripped out a chunk of his remaining hair, and shattered the floor's tile with one particular forceful snap from his head. Then, before our eyes, one of his arms seemed to inflame visibly and grew twice its size.
That broke us out of our stupor. Hector was infected. Had been for days. And I realized, I knew when it had happened. The day the dog had gotten inside and killed Sean. Upstairs, it had rushed Hector and pounced on him before I finally got it.
Back then, I'd worried about accidentally shooting Henry, so it hadn't crossed my mind, but obviously, I should have checked then. The dog probably bit him or maybe simply swiped him with a claw. Whatever happened, it infected Hector.
And we weren't careful enough. I turned and headed for the door, but Henry called at me. He told me to be careful. Fully mutated or not, Hector was dangerous. I shouldn't underestimate him. Basically, don't dawdle. Do it quick.
I nodded and went out.
I reached the second floor again and stopped outside Hector's door. My hand was on the knob when another scream punctured the night air. My breath caught in my throat.
Fuck, it really was a fearsome thing.
I entered and nearly spit. The dude was on the southern wall. I mean, he was fucking hanging off the wall. For a few seconds, I thought he was fucking defying gravity but then I saw his left hand and foot. His now elongated hands and feet were clutched into the wall, right into the drywall, while his whole body shook in seizure.
But Henry was right to tell me not to drop my guard.
As soon as the door was open, Hector flung himself off the wall, in my direction. His shaking body looking like an inflamed marionette doll wrapped in bloody tissue that was falling apart at the seams.
I raised my rifle and stopped him mid-flight.