When I came to I was overwhelmed with thirst. Enough so that I managed to drag myself from the bed. I stumbled to the bathroom turning on the faucet and stuck my head beneath it. Screw cups. After several gulps I took a deep breath and sank to the floor, my back resting against the bathroom counter. My body ached and my head still hurt but the nausea had fled along with the fever. I was exhausted but I'd be ok. I needed to eat something, Kate too. Kate... I sat up straight and stared through the open door of the bathroom. I felt my mouth go dry and realized I was holding my breath. Panic gripped me as I slowly stood up and paced towards her bed. "Kate?" I whispered, I hoped. She didn't respond.
I didn't have to check her pulse to know, or feel the coldness of her skin, I had known before I left the bathroom. I swallowed a lump in my throat and moved toward the phone. I picked up the receiver trying not to think of the conversation I'd have to have with Kate's parents. I dialed 911 and bit my tongue to calm the hystical tidal wave threatening to engulf me. Once this shock wore off I'd...
I was overtaken by confusion as an automated voice told me to hold due to an increased volume in emergency calls or some BS like that. I hung up and tried again. And again. And again. I grabbed my cell from my backpack and tried again. Nothing. I hung up and this time I called Hawk. My call didn't go through. What the hell? I turned on the television flipping through channels, emergency news reals dominated the screen. I felt my pulse quicken as I watched. Images of people collopsing, weak, ill. Hospitals overrun with invalid bodies. Chaos in the streets, looting, riots, planes where being grounded. I was slipping into stage one crisis mode. Was this sh*t really happening?
I started to question my sanity as I slipped on some shoes and exited the hotel room. The hallway was empty and remained the same when I stepped into the elevator. As I reached the ground floor and the elevator doors opened everything changed. I gaped at the scene. Twelve dozen people or so were crowded in the main lobby. A large group stood clustered beneath a mounted televsion screen, their necks craning upward to stare at the screen. A smaller group was at the front desk harassing the only uniformed staff member I could spot in the room. The largest grouping of people where at the front doors where a police officer could be seen trying to calm them. Others were sprawled on the floor, unconcious, ummoving, maybe even dead. The tension was a hot knife cutting through the room. Tempers were flaring, fear, anxiety; how long before this place turned into a full on riot? I had to get out of here.
I turned around to step back into the elevator when it hit me. Sh*t. I had left the room without a keycard. No way was I getting through that crowd to the front desk either. Damn. Time for an innermonolouge.
Think. If I were Remy LeBau what would I do? Easy. I'd charm the female clerk at the front desk while using my slight of hand to lift her key card. Probably opens every room in this place. But that's a bust, I'm not exactly a master of female seduction, and beside we've established I'm not getting through that crowd. So? Steal it from someone else. She can't be the only person with a master key card. This is a hotel; maids, maintenance, managers, they'd all need access to rooms, and there's no way in hell that chick is the only one, right?
I looked around the room, closer this time. Red Blazers, look for Red Bl-THERE! Slouched over at the bottom of the staircase. I left the elevator and tried not to draw any attention as I weaved through the edges of the fray. I didn't bother being subtle as I rifled through his pockets and no one had the presence of mind to stop me. When I found what I was looking for I continued up the stairs. I went back to my room and crossed my fingers as I slide the card in. Green lights lit up to my relief and I was allowed entrance. Inside, the room was as I had left it. I glanced at the TV again before muting it and grabbing my bag. I walked a straight line to the bathroom locking the door behind me. I turned the water on, stripped off my clothes, and entered stage two.
I wallowed there beneath the faucet for who knows how long. The world was falling to sh*t and I here I was. Alone. Terrified. Taking a shower? My oldest friend in the world was dead in the next room and I was taking a f^&*ing shower. I like to think I'm a rock, an island if you will. But the truth is I'm only human. I broke. I'll spare you the details and just say by the time I had run out of tears the water had run out of heat. I shivered under the icey water before having the sense to shut off. Then I just sat. Locked in a hopeless spiral of depression.
It was the sound on the other side of the door that jarred my back to reality. I stared at the door, stock still, listening as hard as I could. I heard it again. Soft shuffling, someone was in the hotel room. I felt the color drain from my face as I reeled internally. I've seen this movie. This is the part where the half naked girl hears a noise outside. This is where she calls out, "Hello? Hello is anyone there?" alerting her attacker of her location. Maybe she feels brave enough to open the door, maybe he just comes crashing through, either way it ends with the bloody edge of a knife and quartet of violins shreiking like banshees in the background.
I kept my mouth shut and moved silently towards my bag. First thing I was doing was getting dressed. I have this irrational fear of dying naked. I know it shouldn't really matter, but to me it does. Something about being naked just makes people feel vulnerable. Besides, Psycho, right?
Something crashed on the otherside of the door. It sounded like a lamp breaking. I listened intently again, it was like something was being dragged around out there. I surveyed the bathroom wondering if there was anything I could used to protect myself from would be psychos other than little pocket knife in my pocket. My eye caught on Katie's compact sitting on the counter. I gingerly picked it up opening it as I neared the door. I tried not to make any noise as I slide the mirror beneath the door, angling it for a view of the room. I pulled out the pocket knife too, just in case. I could make out a figure standing just infront of the tv. They were stumbling around as if they were drunk; arms stretched out grouping at the TV screen. I bowed my head in disbelief. Psycho Drunkards are stealing the TV. Great.
SMASH. The TV went crashing to the floor. I jumped in surprise dropping the pocket knife, which clattered on the tile. I froze. The shuffling footsteps changed direction. Crap. I crouched low to the floor trying to quietly retrieve the knife. As my fingers grazed the handle a loud bang thrashed upon the door. I jumped again and the pounding continued. I grabbed the knife in my hand and moved up against the door again. I slide the compact back under trying to get a look at my attacker. Maybe if I were quick enough I could take this guy. Hit him somewhere vital and book it.
But it wasn't a guy. It was a young woman, and not just any young woman. As you can probably guess it was my oldest friend. Kate. Her eyes were opened but unfocused, her skin still pale and stiff, and she beat upon the door with a blind hunger. I dropped both the knife and the compact this time backing away from the door. Oh sweet Mary mother of christ. Zombies.
Something inside of me started screaming, do something! I hit stage three in a blind panic. My pocket knife was useless, too small, maybe if I could get it in the eye, but Kate cleared me by well over a foot. I glanced around the bathroom again looking for something, anything, blunt enough to use like a bat. Toilet brush, plunger, both too small, too weak. Shower rod, too long, won't be able to swing. SH*T! The pounding continued in time with my racing heart, the hinges starting to whine. Don't give up, keep looking! Towels. No. Shower head? No. Tank lid? Maybe. Wait, towels... TOWEL RACK!
I grabbed the bar mounted on the wall and dropped down with all my weight. It ripped free from the wall bits of plaster and dry wall sticking to either end. Rough, but it should work. I looked at the pile of towels on the floor and snatched one up. I ran to the sink flipping the faucet to douse the towel in water. There was a wrenching sound behind me as the top hinge of the door frame started to give way. I pulled the towel out of the sink, wringing it out and wrapping it around my left arm. I grabbed the towel rack in my right hand and retreated to the corner. I put one foot on the toilet the other on the edge of bathtub, hoping this would give me enough height. A few more strikes and the door frame splintered apart. My former friend clambered past the cheap wood fixing me with a vaccant stare. Arms outstretched she surged forward. I braced myself waiting for her to come close enough. She lunged the last foot and I flung out my left arm to sheild myself. She gripped the wet fabric and bit down hard. I felt the pressure but her bit wasn't penetrating the towel. Even better, she was latched on like a fish on a hook. I jerked my arm to the left as hard as I could pulling Kate along with it. She stumbled and tripped over the edge of the bathtub tumbling down. I torn my arm free from her grasp and swung as hard as could with my improvised weapon. There was a wet thud. The end of the rod came back red with bits of hair. I swung again. And again. And again. Stage three.